The lowdown Radisson Blu Resort & Spa at Dubrovnik Sun Gardens is much more than a hotel. Perched above the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea, it has a village-like vibe, with a world class spa, private beach and enough restaurants that you’re tempted to never leave. Of course, it would be a shame not to make the most of its amazing location and discover what else Croatia has to offer: the hotel is a short and scenic drive from the historic city of Dubrovnik, and only a 15-minute boat ride separates the hotel’s very own marina from the idyllic beaches of the Elaphite islands.
The rooms Spacious and modern, with décor that is fittingly reminiscent of a seascape: all aquamarine shades and frosted glass. Every room has a large balcony, complete with sun-loungers and panoramic sea views. The bathrooms are equally spacious and stylishly fitted out with a glass walled rain shower and oversized bath. The piece de resistance? A sheer glass wall between the bedroom and bathroom, meaning that you can watch the evening sun set over the Adriatic from the luxury of your giant tub.
Wining and dining They say you should breakfast like a king and that’s easily done here - the buffet in the Origano restaurant serves a huge variety of pastries, cereals, cold meats, cheeses, fresh fruits and of course a mean cooked breakfast. Once you’ve loaded your plate, head to the terrace to enjoy spectacular sea views with your brekkie. At lunchtime there are heaps of restaurants and cafes you could eat in, but nothing beats an alfresco bite at the poolside Lemonia grill. Go for the scrummy Cajun chicken and avocado wrap or the slightly naughtier cheeseburger with skinny fries - you ARE on holiday after all! Come evening you’ll be spoilt for choice again, but follow your craving and you won’t be disappointed. Carnivorous appetites will be satiated at the Butcher’s Grill - the steaks and lamb chops deserve particular mention; or for something lighter, check out the Fish Market, where the fresh selection of seafood is immense. Opt for local oysters or the delicious seafood risotto. Finally, for a seriously memorable experience, try the elegant Tartufo restaurant. Divine dishes such as truffle lobster are served alongside bespoke cocktails created especially for you by the wonderfully charismatic host (who brings his entire drinks trolley to you - now that’s service). Save room for their impressive trio of deserts: chocolate truffles, brandy snap basket of berries and an exquisite ‘olive oil’ chocolate mousse. Sit outside on the terrace, with the sound of the waves crashing nearby, to make the evening even more memorable. And don’t worry about getting cold: once the temperature drops you’ll be brought cosy blankets to snuggle up with, while you continue to exhaust the wine list under the stars.
What to do The beauty of this hotel is if you don’t feel like leaving the resort, there’ll be no danger of you getting bored. It’s worth spending a day in the spa, the largest on the Dalmatian coast. Chic and seriously impressive, with a hammam, thalassotherapy spa bath, hydrotherapy pool, lagoon pool with waterfall salt sauna, steam room and icy plunge pool you really could while away an entire day in this tranquil haven. Indulge in a signature Anne Semonin bespoke full body massage or simply lay out on the spa’s sun terrace with a fresh juice or herbal tea.
For anyone who thinks a holiday isn’t a holiday unless you’re lying on a sunbed with a pina colada in hand (erm, me), you’ll be perfectly accommodated here. There are three outdoor freshwater swimming pools to choose from, as well as a private pebble beach with the clearest shallow waters.
For fitness freaks there’s an immense fitness centre, featuring its own rock climbing wall, squash courts, tennis courts and with a selection of fitness classes on offer, including an excellent yogalates. If you’re not particularly sporty, but fancy burning off those poolside cocktails, hit the impressively well-equipped hotel gym, where the treadmills have an unhindered view over the pool and sea. Never has a workout felt so luxurious.
For more adventurous sorts, there is SO much to do beyond the hotel. Go on a guided tour of Dubrovnik and take in its beautifully entwined narrow streets, vine-covered stone buildings and ancient churches, then do as the locals do and sit on the steps drinking coffee and eating pistachio gelato. For the most breathtaking views of the entire town and the sea you must take a walk round the city walls. Don’t let the steep steps put you off - the views from the top are totally awe-inspiring. A great way to end a morning of sightseeing is to grab a table outside at the port-front Arsenal restaurant. A real treat for seafood lovers, Arsenal serves the most mouth-watering selection of traditional Croatian delicacies. Must-tries include the octopus salad, grilled squid with garlic and the sensational macaroni cake, a traditional desert made from pasta, chocolate and cinammon. Unusual? Yes, but ridiculously moreish.
The details British Airways offer seven nights at the 5* Radisson Blu Resort in Dubrovnik from £465 per person, based on two people sharing. Price includes return British Airways flights from Gatwick and accommodation only, for travel in January, 2012. Visit ba.com/dubrovnik or call 0844 4930758
For more information on Dubrovnik Sun Gardens, visit radissonblu.com/resort-dubrovnik and dubrovniksungardens.com, or call 00 385 20 361 500
By Sarah Statman