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October 3, 2012updated Mar 08, 2013

Five-star Croatia: Istrian Bliss at Hotel Monte Mulini

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Hotel Monte MuliniWine Vault RestaurantLobby BarRovinj

The soaring lobby at Hotel Monte Mulini lures you straight past reception to the view through the window.

The clever architects at WATG have made the best of a fab location, with a vast glass wall over three floors flooding the atrium with light and framing the yacht-dotted bay beyond. Since opening in Rovinj in 2009, Monte Mulini has joined The Leading Hotels of the World, and become a new beacon as high net worths beat a path to Croatia.

Pale local stone and timber lend the communal spaces a light, natural feel, and elegant wooden overhangs shade the main terrace and upper balconies. All rooms face the sea, with the Golden Cape Forest Park just across the bay—a great place to explore on the hotel bikes. An infinity pool sits tastefully between hotel and sea—complete with in-pool bar—or for a saltier dip, a small pebble beach is just a two-minute walk down the hill.

The Art Wellness Spa occupies two levels, with a corridor linking to the spa at Hotel Lone, Monte Mulini’s sister property. With a combined area of 27,000 square feet, this is one of the largest spas in Croatia—expect a range of face and body treatments, as well as gyms, pools, saunas and relaxation rooms.

In the Wine Vault restaurant, chef Tomislav Gretić serves inventive French-Mediterranean cuisine using produce from the surrounding region of Istria. From fresh seafood and wild asparagus, to white truffles, dry-cured ham and olive oil, local delicacies have lately seen Istria shoot to fame as a foodie must-do. Add to that some intriguing local wines—try the Teran and Malvasia—and you’ll start to see what all the fuss is about.

A short stroll from Monte Mulini takes you to the old town of Rovinj, one of the most idyllic settlements on the Adriatic. Built on a hilly nugget of land jutting from the coast, Rovinj is a maze of terracotta-topped houses with the imposing Church of St. Euphemia at its peak. As a key port in the Venetian Empire, much of the architecture dates from this period, including the fortified walls and handsome town gate. Centuries of footsteps have polished the cobbles to a stroke-able sheen, and among the snake basket of streets you’ll find local art, crafts and edibles.

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Monte Mulini can arrange a two-hour private tour of the old town, as well as trips inland for wine tasting and truffle hunting—both highly recommended.

TOP SUITES Monte Mulini Suites Square footage: 904 Nightly rate: $670

The largest suites within the resort complex, the Monte Mulini Suites have two separate bedrooms, both with en-suite bathrooms with a bathtub and walk-in shower. The spacious living and dining area includes a kitchenette and a guest bathroom—shower only—and all suites have balconies and/or terraces. Ideal for families, suites can comfortably accommodate two adults and two children. Interiors are furnished in burnished gold, cream and eggplant tones, and feature Croatian artwork commissioned for the hotel.

HOTEL MONTE MULINI VIP contact: Tomislav Gretić, General Manager Phone: +385 (0)52 636 000 Email: montemulini@maistra.hr Address: Smareglia bb, HR – 52210 Rovinj, Croatia Website: www.montemulinihotel.com

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