Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Excelsior Hotel and Spa

23 Nov 2009 by Mark Caswell

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The 158-room Excelsior is one of Dubrovnik’s most iconic hotels. Built in 1913 as the Villa Odak, it became the Excelsior in 1963 with the addition of a new seven-floor building – the modern glass and steel structure caused quite a stir among locals at the time, being located close to the city’s Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site. After being bought by Adriatic Luxury Hotels, a complete renovation took place in 2007-08. The décor is a combination of traditional and contemporary, with great sea views from most of the rooms and public areas. Like many hotels in Dubrovnik, the layout is topsy-turvy – reception is on the third floor as you go in, with a grand central staircase spiralling downwards. The Piano bar at ground level is considered to be the heart of the hotel, with lots of seating and a huge terrace overlooking the water. The lift system can be confusing as they don’t go to all levels – to reach my room on the fourth floor, I had to descend from reception to ground, then go back up in another lift. The old Villa Odak section has 63 rooms.

WHERE IS IT? It’s located on the coastal road Frana Supila, a five-minute walk from the Old Town.

ROOM FACILITIES Rooms are spacious and there are a range of categories. Classic rooms come with or without balconies, and the suites are Junior, Ambassador and Presidential. All but 25 have sea views, and nearly all have a separate bath and shower. Décor is stylish and uncluttered, with standard amenities including free wifi, robes, slippers, a safe, a minibar and a flatscreen TV.

My Junior suite had a hallway area with a wardrobe and full-length mirror. The bedroom was straight ahead and had a rich brown colour palette, pale walls and dark wood furniture. Patio doors led to a balcony with two sunbeds, where you could enjoy the view of Lokrum island in front and the Old Town to the right. There was a large comfortable bed, another wardrobe, a minibar, and a workdesk with a pale brown suede chair. I had to plug out the floor lamp next to it to plug in my laptop, but there were further sockets by the bed. The room was too warm and the air conditioning could supposedly be adjusted via a panel in the wall, but it wouldn’t work and I had to call the front desk for them to change it.

To the right of the bedroom was a living room. It was situated in a corner of the building so had floor-to-ceiling views in two directions. There was a sofa, two bucket-shaped armchairs and a coffee table on a chocolate brown rug, as well as another flatscreen TV and minibar, and a desk. Some abstract prints by Croatian artists were on the walls. The windows had both drapes and curtains but the room was not very well soundproofed – I could hear noise even with the TV on.

The grey marble bathroom was very sleek, with double sinks, a bath and a walk-in rainshower. A large window taking up most of the wall by the bath looked straight on to the Old Town but there was no blind, which I found quite disconcerting. Toiletries were by L’Occitane, and there was a guest toilet next to the bathroom.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The smart décor, free wifi and fantastic views.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Apart from the Piano bar, there is Salin, the main restaurant, which is on the lower ground floor and serves a buffet breakfast and à la carte lunch and dinner. It is bright and airy with some pretty chandeliers, an outdoor terrace overlooking the sea, and a private dining section. Satu is a 20-seat sushi eatery next to the Piano bar – it’s a warm and friendly spot and serves an excellent beef teriyaki.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are a range of well-equipped meeting spaces. Lavandula, the largest, is on the ground floor and has sea views. It can hold 450 people theatre-style and divides into three, with a small terrace suitable for smoking breaks. The 150-capacity Laurea is on the lower ground floor. It splits in two and has a 230 sqm exhibition area with floor-to-ceiling windows. There is also a TV lounge next to the Piano bar that can be used for small informal meetings. For special occasions, the 210-capacity Palm Garden can be transformed with lights and torches for gala dinners.

LEISURE FACILITIES Two floors below ground is a gym with Vision Fitness equipment. It looks down on to a 25m pool, from where there is direct access to the beach (though, as with many Dubrovnik hotels, this is more a stone platform with sunbeds and steps down to the sea). The spa is next to the pool and has five treatment rooms. There is also a hairdresser, a Finnish sauna, two spa baths, and Turkish and Roman baths.

VERDICT A stylish and well located hotel. The excellent leisure and event facilities make it a good option for meeting and incentive groups.

PRICE A midweek stay in December started from €106 for a Classic room.

CONTACT Frana Supila 12; tel + 385 20 353 353;

Michelle Mannion

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