We have always had vacations on the French and Italian Rivieras, but now the Croatian Riviera is fast becoming the coastal vacation hotspot, with the magnificent city of Dubrovnik as its main attraction. Abounding with lush Mediterranean vegetation, a rich heritage and a medieval walled city, Dubrovnik has lots to offer, making it the perfect weekend break with so much to see and do.
Located in the southernmost belt of Croatia along the Adriatic coastline, Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most popular tourist destination. In 1979 Dubrovnik became a UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with its walled city regarded as one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world.
From the picturesque, vine-draped, sun-bleached terraces of the Villa Orsula Hotel, outstanding views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, the Adriatic Sea and Lokrum Island can be admired. Villa Orsula is an outstanding boutique hotel, providing a luxurious, intimate and cosy sanctuary to its discerning guests, with easy access to the eastern entrance of the Old Town.
Adila, the charismatic and superbly knowledgeable concierge, is on-call day and night to ensure that your stay is running smoothly, and can draw up a personal itinerary to ensure you visit all the places of interest in the vicinity. The service at Villa Orsula is impeccable, with nothing being too much trouble and staff genuinely interested in ensuring your stay is a truly memorable one.
Originally built in 1939 as a private residence, Villa Orsula has re-opened after a complete renovation in 2012. Built from white stone and taking inspiration from Mediterranean styled villas complete with arches and columns, its interiors have been sympathetically designed. With 11 rooms and two suites to choose from, each has been tastefully and understatedly decorated in neutral shades of taupe, brown and cream. Be sure to ask for a room with a quaint Romeo and Juliet balcony which offers a breath-taking Adriatic vista.
Throughout the public areas, walls are lined with modern works by artists Roberto Matta and Victor Vasarely, as well as huge canvases featuring the distinctive architecture of Dubrovnik Old Town and beautiful fresh floral arrangements adorning fireplaces and window ledges.
An immaculate and beautifully landscaped tiered garden leads down along a path to a small private sun deck, which is directly accessible to the sea. Towels and sun loungers are on hand to enjoy the solitude of this tranquil space and to admire the Villa from the water. Hotel facilities include a well-stocked library and access to both an indoor and outdoor pool and spa at the adjacent property, the Hotel Excelsior.
You will always remember your breakfasts at Villa Orsula, sitting on the terrace overlooking the sea and the Old Town and ordering from a delicious à la carte menu. And a special dining experience awaits at night at the hotel’s restaurant Victoria, where its Peruvian chef, Roberto Chavez, blends flavours from Peru and the Adriatic, creating a unique fusion menu. In addition, treats are supplied in each room, accompanied by an array of fresh local fruits and delicacies, including Arancini, a delicious local confection made from candied orange peel.
One of the great ways to enjoy Dubrovnik’s night life is to dine at the well known Restaurant 360°, so named because of its awesome vantage point adjacent to the port. This restaurant is very popular both due to its lively atmosphere and also its great cuisine, so you will likely have to make a reservation in advance. Particularly impressive is its wine list which carries over of 400 international labels.
To make your trip to Dubrovnik truly memorable you have to experience the beauty of some of the 13 picturesque islands of Dubrovnik County. The most enjoyable way is to charter a boat from a professional local company. Dubrovnik Boats offers a range of eight vessels to hire, either for a day or half-day. Our well-informed and highly skilled skipper, Mato, took us to the local islands of Kolocep, Lopud and Šipan, to soak up the local atmosphere, while enjoying the splendour of the coastline and diving into the emerald coloured sea for a swim.
With so much on offer in Dubrovnik and the surrounding area, a stay at Villa Orsula makes a fabulous destination for a weekend getaway. The best time to visit is between May and September although any time is a perfect time to stay at this magnificent hotel on the Croatian Riviera.
by Amanda Bernstein