Hotels in Croatia – Lux Stays & Affordable Gems
Arts & Culture
Tourism in Croatia has exploded over the last 10 years. After spending two weeks there, it’s easy to see why. Between its rich history, medieval architecture, opportunities for adventure and stunning coastline, Croatia has something for everyone. Compared to other European destinations, it also offers good value for your money. The extensive range of hotels in Croatia provides a chance to immerse yourself in everything from lavish old-world splendor to simple yet cozy inns. Here are some hotel recommendations that work for a variety of budgets.
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Esplanade Zagreb Hotel
Dating back to 1925, this hotel property in Croatia has beautifully designed rooms blended with the delicate combination of Art Deco heritage and contemporary touches.
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An under-the-radar find for romance and spa time, on the quiet north coast of Hvar.
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Where elegance meets nature, creating the perfect harmony of luxury living.
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Esplanade Zagreb Hotel – The Esplanade was built across from Zagreb’s railway station in 1925 to accommodate wealthy passengers traveling on the Orient Express. Today it stands as a cultural icon in the region, exuding timeless elegance and reminiscent of a more refined era. Just stepping into the magnificent lobby, grand ballroom and 1925 Bar alone will make you feel as though you’ve gone back in time. Thanks to their 5-star service, guests over the decades have included diplomats, world leaders and celebrities like David Beckham and U2. Want to live like a celebrity for a few days? Book your stay here.
Canopy by Hilton Zagreb – This boutique hotel offers a memorable experience at a more affordable price point. Built in Zagreb’s first chocolate factory (which is why you get a piece of chocolate when you check in), it’s folklore décor is a nod to two famous Croatians- Nikola Tesla (you’ve likely heard of him) and Slavoljub Penkala (he invented the ballpoint pen). The first-floor restaurant serves an extensive breakfast buffet and the lively bar is a great place to relax in the evening. One of its most useful features is a Transfer Lounge with access to showers, changing facilities and lockers in case you arrive early or have a flight beyond check-out times. Located in Lower Town, it is a 20-minute walk to central Ban Jelacic Square. From there you have easy access to popular attractions like The Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb Cathedral, Tkalciceva Street and The Museum of Chocolate.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Villa Verde –Plitvice National Park gets very crowded, so a pro tip is to arrive early before the tour busses. (Park opens at 7a and busses show up mid-morning.) Located just 5 minutes away from entrance 1, Villa Verde is an outstanding and affordable option. The inn is located in a tranquil country setting, run by a lovely local couple who are happy to share their expertise about everything from local restaurants to the best walking routes in the park. Rooms have en-suite bathrooms, are spacious but simple, and extremely clean with luxurious bedding. For an extra 12 euros, they will prepare a robust homemade breakfast, which was ready and waiting for me at my requested time of 6:30a. After staying in busy Zagreb, sleeping in this peaceful setting was an ideal way to recharge before hitting the park.
Hotel Bastion – This gorgeous hotel is a member of the Relais & Chateaux family, a brand known for preserving local heritage. Fittingly, the hotel is built on the remains of a medieval fortress and is just steps away from two of Zadar’s most famous attractions- the renowned Sea Organ and the mesmerizing Greetings to the Sun. With only 28 rooms, you feel as if you are visiting a luxurious manor instead of a hotel. The elegant rooms range from standard doubles to suites, and are well-appointed with rich fabrics and large bathrooms. For foodies, the Michelin-rated on-site Kastel restaurant serves inspired local cuisine, with terrace views that overlook the stunning harbor.
Apartment Donat Zadar – Just looking for a place to lay your head? Apartment Donat is a simple, no-frills option. It is also centrally located since Old Town Zadar is quite small- you can literally see it in a day. There are six units in a steep three floor walk-up (not recommended if you have mobility issues), all infused with rustic charm. Limited amenities include a kitchenette, flat screen TV and free WiFi. The apartments are small (especially the bathrooms) but you can’t beat the price. The local couple who run it are happy to share restaurant recommendations and may be able to offer parking since it is not a given.
Maslina Resort –Maslina Resort stands out from typical hotels in Croatia thanks to its focus on nature, wellness and luxury. Situated 30 minutes from busy Hvar port, Maslina offers more of a wellness experience which starts the minute you enter the property. Designed in minimalistic style, it was built using natural materials like bamboo, wood & stone to blend seamlessly into the environment. Rooms have panoramic or sea views, and there are three on-site villas which are perfect for families. An extensive list of wellness treatments are available at the Pharomatiq Spa, while The Playroom offers many activities for kids (climbing wall included!). Finally, be sure to grab one of the resort's distinctive wooden bikes and ride to nearby Stari Grad, where you can visit historic Tvadlj Castle and peruse specialty shops for souvenirs.
Riva Marina – Party people and social butterflies alike will appreciate this mid-range option. Centrally located on the busy Riva in Hvar port, Riva Marina is literally steps from the ferry port, with many shops and restaurants within walking distance. Surprisingly, the rooms are actually quiet, although a bit on the small side (suites are larger). The outdoor restaurant/lounge is exceptional for yacht & people watching, and breakfast is included with your stay. Riva Marina does not have a spa, but you can take a short walk across the harbor to Riva’s sister property, Adriana Hvar Hotel, to access their spa and/or private beach club. Pro tip- visit Adriana’s Top Bar at sunset for specialty cocktails, light bites and the best panoramic views of the harbor.
Need to Know
This small sampling is a great representation of hotels in Croatia. Depending on trip length, you may want to take a high/low approach that lets you save in some cities and splurge in others. If you have a larger group (6-10 people) another option is chartering your own sailboat. Croatia is the #1 country in the world for sailboat rentals. Chartering your own vessel allows you complete control over destinations you want to visit (especially helpful for island hopping) at a similar price point to staying in 4-5 star hotels. If you are planning to visit Croatia, please reach out- I'd love to customize a trip that's perfect for you.
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