WHAT’S IT LIKE? One of several upscale properties in Dubrovnik owned by Adriatic Luxury Hotels (ALH), Dubrovnik Palace is the group’s most obvious conference offering – it is a vast hotel with more than 3,000 sqm of meeting and banqueting space and extensive leisure facilities. But don’t expect a soulless complex – there are 1,500 pieces of art on display, much of it by Croatian artists, and everywhere you look are views of the Adriatic sea and Elaphiti Islands, especially from the Sunset lobby bar, straight ahead of you as you enter. The 308-room hotel was originally built in the 1970s but was damaged during the war of the early nineties, to be reopened by ALH as a five-star property in 2004. It has ten floors – what you think is the ground floor when you go in is actually the ninth – and is airy and bright.
WHERE IS IT? The hotel is situated on Lapad bay, a ten-minute drive from Dubrovnik’s Old Town and 22km from the airport.
ROOM FACILITIES Rooms are located on the first to ninth floors and there are several categories, from entry-level Classic rooms to a range of suites. All rooms have balconies and sea views and are decorated in neutral tones with plenty of maple wood (the idea is not to deflect attention away from the fantastic views, I was told). They come with free wifi, safes, flatscreen TVs and L’Occitane toiletries (the highest-level suites have Lanvin products).
I was staying in an Executive suite on the sixth floor. It was spacious and had a hallway and guest bathroom as you went in, leading to a living room with a dining table and chairs, a pale fabric sofa and armchair with a coffee table, a TV, DVD player and minibar, electronic blinds and a patio door leading to a big balcony, which stretched the length of the living room and bedroom and had sunbeds and chairs. A sliding door to the right led to the bedroom, which had a large bed with a white duvet, another TV on a workdesk (though between the TV and the big lamp placed on it there wasn’t much space for working), and European plug sockets (I got an adapter from reception, but bring your own as they didn’t have many). To the left of here was the bathroom. It had an oversized bath with a showerhead above and a freestanding basin on a wooden table. Robes and slippers were provided, as was turn-down and 24-hour room service.
The room was air conditioned but I had problems with the unit during my stay. In the morning it started dripping on to the carpet – I put towels down and called for someone to look at it, and we arranged for it to be fixed while I was out during the day. When I came home that evening it was still leaking, so I called someone a second time and they fixed it.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The amount of space, the free wifi and the wonderful view.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are a wide range of options. The main restaurant, Elaphiti, is on the seventh floor and is open for a buffet breakfast from 6am to 10am (there was a good choice of hot and cold food, including eggs cooked to order) and a buffet dinner from 6.30pm to 10pm. It’s a big, bright space with floor-to-ceiling views on to the water. Also on this floor is Luna, a small fine-dining restaurant with a terrace and sea views, open for dinner 6.30pm-midnight. Tavern Maslina is a more relaxed eatery on the first floor, open from noon to midnight and with indoor and outdoor seating. I had some excellent fish here. Satu sushi bar on the tenth floor is open 6pm-midnight (closed on Mondays), and Ponta beach restaurant serves snacks and drinks from noon to 6pm in summer. There’s also the Sunset lounge in the lobby, open 7am to midnight with live music in the evenings and stunning views, and a pool bar open in summer from 10am to midnight. Orlandinjo nightclub is a smart spot on the seventh floor with a lowered dancefloor and booth seating, open 10pm to 4am.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are two conference halls – the largest, Mare, on the tenth floor, has three sections and a pre-function area and can accommodate 750 people theatre-style. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer sea views and if you step out on to the outdoor terrace, you can even smell it. Dubrava, on the ninth floor, holds 260 delegates and doesn’t have natural daylight, but like Mare is equipped with the latest technology.
There are two meeting rooms with a reception area on the third floor, and plenty of choices for events. One option is to combine the nightclub with Lenga restaurant and terrace on the seventh floor, starting with cocktails on the terrace, a gala dinner in the restaurant and dancing in the club. But the most spectacular setting for a party is on the VIP beach, Vala Club. Overlooked by a cliff, it’s an intimate spot that can be dressed up to host gatherings of up to 350 people – an A-list Hollywood star recently held his birthday party here. There is a business centre on the tenth floor.
LEISURE FACILITIES A long gym on the tenth floor has Technogym equipment, free weights and sea views through floor-to-ceiling windows. There is a spa with six treatment rooms, saunas, a spa bath, an 18-metre indoor pool, a hairdresser and a nail bar. The hotel also has two beaches (one for VIP guests), three outdoor pools and a diving centre with a range of courses available (good for incentive groups). There’s also an outdoor tennis court, jogging paths, table tennis and billiards, as well as an art gallery and shops.
VERDICT The excellent meeting, leisure and dining facilities make this hotel a great choice for corporate groups. The views are outstanding
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in December started from €155 for a Classic room, with breakfast included.
CONTACT Dubrovnik Palace, Masarykov put 20; tel +385 20 430 000; dubrovnikpalace.hr