Housed in a former royal villa, the Hotel Excelsior in Dubrovnik, Croatia boasts a panoramic view that overlooks the Adriatic Sea and the iconic Old City.
I feel like we’re living in a time where many hotels are trying to be beautiful or “Insta-worthy” in their own way... So if you’re a hotel, how do you stand out, make an impression, and keep guests coming back for more? The answer is easy, you delight them. You remember details, like their name, you go out of your way to make them feel special, and of course an incredible location and great design goes a long way. Hotel Excelsior is one of the few places which have absolutely delighted us and gave us a glamours experience to remember. It’s a place the checks off the important details but more importantly it’s a place we’ll remember, for years to come.
Now Dubrovnik, Croatia may not be a place you’d associate with a European Summer vacation — but it should be. It’s right on the Adriatic Sea (which has some of the clearest water in Europe), there is the most charming Old Town, with centuries old buildings and cobblestone streets, and a food and wine scene that is simply delicious. It’s a mix of old and new, with a variety of accommodations to choose from. But for us, you’ll most likely find us lounging on the waters edge at the glamorous Hotel Excelsior.
About the Neighborhood
The Hotel Excelsior could not be in a more stunning location. It’s dotted along the cliffside with direct views into the harbor and Old City. A ten-minute walk along a cobblestone streets will lead to the Old City gates and you can literally dive right into the Adriatic Sea from the hotel's deck. Restaurants and bars surround the hotel, but are hardly noticeable from the hotel itself. You’ll be surrounded by architecture from the Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic periods, that dot Dubrovnik's winding streets. Although modern places have adjusted themselves into these old buildings, you still get that feeling that you’re somewhere old and historic...just ignore the vendors selling sunglasses and Dubrovnik t-shirts. And when you think you’ve had enough sun, the most beautiful sunset will appear, begging you to stay out longer and just take it all in.
About the Hotel & Design
The Hotel Excelsior is housed in what used to be a royal villa in 1913 and although the hotel has totally been rebuilt, you can still find a few nooks that will make you feel like a 20th century royal. In fact celebrities and royalty have been staying at the hotel for over a century. From the Queen herself to Christopher Walken, so honestly, you never know who you’ll see in the elevator.
The designers who recently refurbished the hotel certainly did not forget about the views - from practically every corner! From many parts of the hotel, we could see right into the Old City, and from others, we had a stunning view of the Adriatic Sea. The lobby area is simply inviting. It has a cool tone aesthetic with modern couches facing floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water. While it has a glamorous feel, it is also distinctly romantic and comfortable.
About our Room
Our room was a little on the smaller side, but it was very comfortable and beautifully decorated. The design was exactly my taste, so I felt at home. Clean lines, solid, neutrally colored furniture and a minimalist aesthetic invited us to relax. I loved the details in the décor, like a spherical light fixture hanging above the desk, and abstract, avant-garde paintings on the walls. A cream-colored sofa sat next to the French doors leading out to the balcony, which overlooked the Sea!
Hotel Excelsior is romantic, but also practical. It is great for a couples' getaway but also conducive to kids. We had Axel with us (who was 6 months at the time) and they had a comfortable cot for him and had an indoor pool that he couldn't get enough of!
You’ll find a range of rooms, from standard to a Presidential Suite, and be sure to know that most rooms will look out to the sea….something that is a total must if you’re staying at this hotel!
Our favorite part about the hotel was the easy access to the ocean. The sun lounging area was built right into the cliffside and on the water's edge. I felt like a sixties era Bond girl lounging in the sun, just waiting for a speedboat to come pick me up. Just being under the sun in this magical setting, felt glamorous and was enough to make this one of our favorite hotels and eager to come back!
Dining at Excelsior
Whether you’re staying that hotel or just a passerby, making reservations at Prora Restaurant is a must. This seaside restaurant is right on the water's edge and feels as if it has been carved into the cliffside. We attempted to have dinner here one night, but unfortunately Axel had other plans...we ended up having our food delivered to our room - oh the joys of traveling with a child! Nevertheless, the food was delicious. Chef Petar Obad is a native of Croatia and elevates homemade, more traditional dishes. The menu is inspired by the Sea, and the oysters and scallops were our favorite starters.
Another night, we made reservations at Sensus Fine Dining Restaurant to try more Croatian food and wine. The setting is pretty chic with a huge terrace, surrounding the restaurant and overlooking the water, making it a great place to watch the sunset before or after dinner.
The menu offers an array of traditional Mediterranean dishes but with a unique interpretation derived from Chef Obad’s Croatian roots. Although the menu changes frequently with what’s in season, you can always expect a modern take on Mediterranean favorites. Over the course of our meal, our server delighted us with Croatian wine, giving us a glimpse into the winemaking world of Croatia. If you’re into wine (or at least trying different wines) this is a great place to wine taste and try some pretty exclusive wines.
Whether it was the clever architectural details or seeing hints of the hotels past, Hotel Excelsior is a beautiful hotel that really blends into their location. It’s a place that begs you to stay put, yet casually urges you to get out and explore, due to their close proximity to the Old Town. It’s a place that caters to kids, yet still gives the peace and quiet that couples crave. What I’m trying to say, is that Hotel Excelsior stands out and is reason enough to visit Dubrovnik :)
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