The ultimate destination: Dubrovnik
Editor Olivia Gibson was excited to be travelling again and shares her experience of Dubrovnik.
After what felt like an eternity of not being able to travel due to restrictions, I was so excited to visit the Dubrovnik President Valamar Collection Hotel – especially after seeing images of the stunning property online. For the first time in three years, I packed my bags and headed to the airport!
Dubrovnik is a wonderful place to visit, evident even from thousands of feet up in the air. The crystal-clear waters, beautiful beaches and picturesque landscapes create the perfect backdrop for honeymoons – no wonder it's known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. After a short flight, we touched down and the real adventure began!
THE PERFECT SETTING
With a beachfront location and a showstopping backdrop of the Adriatic Sea, the five-star hotel offers some of the best views in Dubrovnik. From the moment I arrived, the staff were so welcoming and accommodating – nothing was too much trouble.
With 292 luxurious rooms, I couldn't wait to see where I would spend the next few nights and wasn't disappointed when I entered the spacious deluxe double room. The air-conditioned space featured double sinks, a waterfall shower, bath, seating area and a queen-sized bed. My favourite part of the room was the balcony, where I spent most of my time soaking up the sun on the loungers.
The hotel has everything needed for memorable holidays from restaurants, bars, pools, a spa area and a gym – there's something for everyone to enjoy. The well-maintained facilities were excellent, and I especially loved the outdoor pool area surrounded by sun loungers – the perfect location to relax your senses. The beach was located only a few metres from the property and was a wonderful place to relax. With a peaceful atmosphere, crystal-clear waters and the sound of crashing waves, what better location to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life?
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
As a massive food lover, I couldn't wait to try some local delicacies. The hotel is home to three restaurants; each offering something different to cater for all tastes. When we first arrived at the hotel, we had a welcoming meal in the Momenti Restaurant. Here I enjoyed a prawn and beetroot starter, seabass with potatoes and asparagus for main and a tasty chocolate cake for dessert. The food was incredible, especially the fluffy and dreamy potatoes!
Each morning I was greeted with a delicious sea of food, from cereals, pastries, granola and fresh fruit to a selection of hot food, including sausages, omelettes, bacon and hash browns. The buffet restaurant was superb, with a laid-back atmosphere and a variety of food on offer. Every night the chefs used fresh ingredients to create a fantastic selection of Mediterranean and international specialities that even the fussiest eaters would enjoy. One of my favourite meals from the restaurant was a spaghetti dish - the flavours were unbelievable and I wish I knew the recipe!
A highlight of my trip was sitting outside on the terrace during dinner, it had a romantic atmosphere and was the perfect location to watch the sun set. For those chilly evenings, guests can sit indoors while enjoying the stunning views thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows.
For more of a relaxed meal, the Miramare is a beachfront restaurant that offers panoramic views and a wide range of food. It was here where I enjoyed a chicken BLT, the best sandwich I'd ever eaten, and sipped on some cocktails. We had a farewell meal at the Momenti Restaurant on our last night at the hotel's sister property – Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel. After a short walk, we arrived at the sophisticated space and enjoyed a goose liver pate with puff pastry pears, followed by scallops and a hazelnut and chocolate cake to finish. Croatia is well known for its wine, so of course I had to try a few glasses. I couldn't fault the service, the staff were always very attentive, friendly and professional. My glass was never empty, and I felt thoroughly looked after.
TIME TO EXPLORE
What better way to explore Dubrovnik than on an electric tuktuk? The tour started at the portside market in Gruz Harbour where we got a chance to see the local area and fishermen. We had so much fun whizzing around the streets and enjoying the incredible views, especially from the Franjo Tuman Bridge. I loved visiting the top of Srd Mountain and seeing the beautiful islands off the coast. The guides were excellent and they shared so much history and knowledge.
The hotel is only a few minutes from the charming Old Town, which is enclosed by Medieval walls, and is a must-visit destination. Game of Thrones fans would recognise the spaces from the much-loved show as the town was a filming destination for some very iconic scenes. In the Old Town you'll find cobbled streets, bars, shops and restaurants, alongside many historical features and architecture. The town has survived many historical events, such as the 17th-century earthquake and The Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s.
REST AND RELAX
Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel is home to the Balance Mediterranean Spa by Valamar. Here we indulged in the facilties and treatment menu. I had a 35-minute de-stress massage. I was nervous at first as I'd never had a massage before, but the team were fantastic and put my mind to ease. My body felt amazing and it's fair to say I will be getting another one soon! I walked out of the room completely at peace and headed straight to the waterbeds in the relaxation room.
There are many other treatments guests can book, including facials, pedicures, manicures, body treatments and more. The facilities in the spa were great with a steam room and sauna, indoor pool and ladies-only The Afrodita Spa, which was for ladies only. Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel is perfect for those on a budget who still want to enjoy pure luxury. This four-spa hotel has many stylish rooms, a refurbished lobby and pool area.
FUN IN THE SUN
I highly recommend visiting the Coral Beach Club Dubrovnik for those staying in either hotel. With beach activities, excellent dining, entertainment, bars and spa elements, this popular space is not one to miss! The food here was fantastic and it's the ideal space to spend a few hours relaxing with a cocktail in hand.
THE FINAL VERDICT
I couldn't fault my stay at the Dubrovnik President Valamar Collection Hotel. If you're searching for the perfect honeymoon destination, look no further. The hotel provides the most romantic setting to relax and enjoy quality time with loved ones.
Dubrovnik President Valamar Collection Hotel, www.valamar.com/en/hotels-dubrovnik/valamar-dubrovnik-president-hotel
Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel, www.valamar.com/en/hotels-dubrovnik/valamar-lacroma-dubrovnik-hotel
Coral Beach Club Dubrovnik, https://coral-beach-club.com
Eco Tuk Tours Dubrovnik, www.ecotuktoursdu.hr