Just off the coast of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea, you will find the island of Hvar. With a population of just under 12,000 people, Hvar is best known for its centuries-old cathedrals (most notably the Hvar Cathedral), turquoise blue water, lavender fields and red-roofed buildings.
Despite the superyachts that fill the marina, world-class wine and fresh, seaside fare, Hvar recently opened its first five-star hotel: Palace Elisabeth. The hotel is situated in a building dating back to the 13th century and has distinct Austrian and Venetian architectural details. (The city wouldn’t look out of place in Game of Thrones.) In 1899 it was rebuilt as Spa Hotel Empress Elisabeth, and today the new hotel’s name honors the legacy of the Austrian Empress Sisi (Elisabeth). It’s a historical landmark, and though it’s been modernly updated, you will feel the history at every turn. There is truly no better location – it is in the heart of the city right near city hall and directly overlooks the main square and the marina. Perfect for sightseeing, the hotel is steps away from a public theatre (the oldest in Europe) and St Stephens Church.
With 45 rooms and suites, the hotel is an intimate, luxury experience that ignites all senses from the moment you step in. The Austrian design, from the lobby to the rooms, features a dark-yet-neutral color palette with opulent chandeliers, crown moldings, intricate rugs and juxtaposed with modern-style furniture and bright floral arrangements. Rooms and suites are awash in a grey hue with white walls, printed carpets and furniture with bright pops of color, not to mention suite guests have private terraces overlooking the marina.
The entire experience makes you feel like, well, royalty – and the spa is no exception. There are three massage rooms; a Turkish sauna; sundeck; outdoor terrace (with treatment areas if you prefer the sound of nature to music); a spa bar and an indoor pool with a connected deck, which overlooks the marina.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner, head to the hotel’s only restaurant, San Marco, which serves Mediterranean cuisine and creatively plated dishes with local produce.
For more information, visit suncanihvar.com