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Antiq Palace, Ljubljana

Naomi Bryant shares Slovenia's secret Antiq Palace, Ljubljana's 16th century palatial residence originally designed for nobility'

The Credentials:

Legend has it Ljubljana was first discovered by Jason (of the Golden Fleece fame of Greek mythology) while fleeing King Aetes with said fleece and his fellow Argonauts.

The exact translation of Ljubljana is ‘be loved’ and it’s true; I almost don’t want to share this for selfish reasons; Ljubljana and the Antiq Palace are both really unique and I felt like I was in on a well-kept secret during my stay. I’d like to enjoy them both for a few more years before the secret is shared…

A 16th century palatial residence originally designed for nobility, the Antiq Palace’s interior is enchanting – full of architectural details and frescoes. It is located on the Gosposka (the area’s most exclusive street) and within the gated old city walls, also home to the Slovenian Academy of Music and The Slovenian Philharmonic. It is a member of the Historic Hotels of Europe and Castle Hotels & Mansions.


The hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant due to its boutique size, but breakfast can be enjoyed in the historical garden or in front of the charming fireplace. I selected from a beautifully presented display of super-fresh options.


The hotel has just 18 unique suites/rooms. My room was elegant luxury at its best and one of the finest I’ve had the pleasure to inhabit – think king-sized bed, chaise longue, private terrace and double basin with courtyard and city view. Light, spacious and opulent – I didn’t want to leave.

Who Goes There?

Extended American families, diplomats, cultural and heritage travellers.

Out & About:

It’s hardly surprising that Ljubljana ranks highly on the chart of the world’s most honest cities and has been nominated for the Green City of Europe for 2015 award (previous winners include Stockholm and Copenhagen).

It offers the comforts of a capital with the unique qualities and warmth of a much smaller city. What’s more, due to the unique architectural designs of Joze Plecnik, the city has some of the 20th century’s most prominent works of art.

The central area is bustling with vibrant independent shops (including delicious delis and handmade chocolate shops), museums and galleries and effortlessly mixes historical heritage with contemporary style.

I’ve not previously heard much about Slovenian wine and I was interested to learn that Movia was awarded 44th out of 100 top wine producers worldwide. They have a wine bar and shop (with generous tasting samples) within the Ljubljana City Hall building and the main Movia estate on the Border with Italy dates back to 1700. I also enjoyed excellent dinners and service at both Julija restaurant and AS Gostilna.

A short but sharp stroll takes you to the elevated Ljubljana castle (a funicular connects the Old Town to the Castle every 10 minutes, but we initially couldn’t find the entrance so continued walking). The view from the outlook tower gives a stunning panoramic view of the skyline and the city’s beautiful surrounding area. We also visited the world’s oldest wooden wheel (5,200 years old). It was relatively recently discovered in the Ljubljana marshes and is currently making an appearance in the City Museum of Ljubljana. There is also a smaller exhibit in the Ljubljana Castle. Visit the Krizanke, originally a 13th century monastery and now an open-air theatre, popular for many festivals and concerts.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to dine in the nearby and highly recommended Michelin star restaurant, JB Restaurant (also featured in Pellegrino’s Top 100 World’s Best Restaurants). Another reason to return…

The Worst Thing:

Only that it may not appeal to everyone, such as stag groups and party animals, which is fortunate for everyone else!

The Best Thing:

I’m known to be fastidious, a perfectionist, a serial complainer, the list could go on. But I experienced the best firm massage I can recall in recent years. The therapist instinctively knew my needs without need for communication while the harmonics from the Academy of Music permeated the room through the open window.

I’ve stayed in numerous places of different styles but The Antiq Palace actually felt magical and is one of the few hotels I would rush to return to. The Slovenian people also showed great warmth and generosity.

The Details:

Rooms from €166 and suites from €208

The Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa, Gosposka ul 10, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia; www.antiqpalace.com; 386 8389 6700; sales@antiqpalace.com. The hotel offers an airport collection from Zagreb, Trieste and Vienna.