Rupert Parker returns to the island of Hvar to stay at the Maslina Resort on the shores of the Adriatic.
A long long time ago, as the song goes, I visited Hvar when Croatia was part Yugoslavia, and it was yet undiscovered. It’s one of those gems of the Adriatic, pine trees, deep blue sea with craggy hills and Venetian villages. The Greeks and Romans were here, attracted by its beautiful and strategic location. In recent years it’s gained some sort of reputation as a party island and indeed, in the capital, the summer months throb to the sound of cool beats.
Yet at the Maslina Resort, fifteen minutes away, near the UNESCO listed town of Stari Grad, the old capital, all is peace and quiet. The only sounds are the sea, birdsong, and the occasional ferry. It’s situated in a wonderful location overlooking Maslinica Bay with views of the sea and the islands beyond. You’re surrounded by nature with the scent of rosemary and sage perfuming the air.
The architecture fuses classic Mediterranean styles with contemporary French touches and the integrated interior design is inspired by the Adriatic Sea, salty summer breeze, pearly white rocks, and dense green forest. Rather than one large building, accommodation is in small low-rise pavilions, clad in wood to blend into the environment. They’re clustered around the pool, and each has its own lift and stairs to give it a boutique feel.
There are 33 rooms, 17 suites and three private villas. Some of the suites and all the villas have private pools. I stayed in a Panoramic Room with the king-sized bed facing the wide terrace overlooking the Adriatic. Wall to ceiling glass doors mean all is light and airy – you’ve heard of infinity pools, but with the sea view, these are infinity rooms.
Muted beige rugs cover the wooden floors and here’s a large desk behind the bed, supported by a chunk of white Brac Island stone. The designer wardrobe is like a triptych altar screen, which can fold in on itself if desired. It contains a fridge, kettle and even shoe racks. Soft drinks and water from the minibar are complimentary and the only thing missing is a Nespresso machine.
Sophisticated electronic panels control all the lights and air con and there’s a large TV on the wall and a miniature Marshall Amp to plug in your sounds. The bathrooms contain double sinks, a large bathtub and separate rain shower. Robes and slippers are provided. Unusually, there’s a separate toilet with its own washbasin and mirror, with terracotta floor tiles.
The main restaurant opens out onto the pool terrace with a long bar running alongside. Dine inside or out, depending on the season and the menu is contemporary Mediterranean.
Chef Massimo Cvek is from Istria and chooses high quality local ingredients to create pictures on a plate. There’s an all-day poolside menu but at mealtimes, choose a la carte or go for the chef’s tasting options. A wide selection of wines and spirits, includes local options, as well as classic and craft cocktails.
Down the hill, close to the sea is A•Bay, an open-air beachside hangout, great for watching the sunsets while sipping signature cocktails or champagne. It also serves Mediterranean tapas and small seafood plates.
Inside the main building, the Library offers a fine selection of international authors and several languages, the Library’s vast book collection highlights the rich cultural and historical heritage of Hvar and Dalmatia. The Boardroom is a multimedia room that can be used as a conference room, meeting room and cinema with settings for up to 20, 25 or 40 people.
In the heart of the resort are two heated pools – the expansive family pool area is great for soaking up the sun with a shallow zone for children. Next to it is an infinity pool, opening out to stunning views of the bay. By the sea are sunbeds next to a small pebble beach and a ladder leads into the sea for a quick dip. A short walk away is the sandy beach surrounded by dense fine forest and a private sunbathing area.
The Pharomatiq Spa sits among native pines, medicinal herbs, and olive trees. It contains treatment rooms, a modern fitness centre, hair salon and thermal wet areas with indoor and outdoor relaxation areas. It offers a variety of massage techniques, Sound Therapy, Vibrational Healing, herbal tonics, and therapeutic-grade essential oils. Mindful Movement Classes include various forms of Yoga, Meditation, and Fitness classes. I particularly enjoyed the Yoga and Sound Healing.
20 minutes’ walk is the UNESCO listed Stari Grad, the ancient capital, great for trying local cuisine or boutique shopping. Hvar town, with its 16th century fortress, is 15 minutes’ drive away. The region is ideal for trekking, with many hiking paths connecting the southern and northern part of the island through olive trees, lavender fields, and vineyards. Local wine producers offer tastings.
Boat excursions to the nearby islands, snorkelling, paddle boarding, windsurfing and kitesurfing are some of the most popular water activities on the Adriatic Coast. Also popular is the nearby Grapčeva Cave, which abounds in stalactites and stalagmites and is home to prehistoric paintings dating back to 4,000 BC.
The Maslina Resort website calls what they offer “Mindful Luxury” and they’re not far wrong. As a member of Relais and Chateau, they certainly know what they’re doing.
The rooms are spacious and airy plus the views over the bay are stunning. The food is inventive, local wines surprising and cocktails inventive. Best of all, although you’re on Hvar, all is peace and quiet.
Tell Me More About the Maslina Resort in Hvar, Croatia
Maslina Resort Uvala Maslinica 0, 21460 Stari Grad Croatia.
T: +38 521888700 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prices start from £270 per night for a Bay Room based on two adults sharing including breakfast.
Split International Airport has regular direct flights from the UK and the hotel offers a private speedboat service taking around an hour.