Winner of the Luxury Hotels award for Croatia’s leading boutique hotel for numerous years, The Vestibul Palace is set in Split Old Town (which is listed as a UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site) in the heart of the Dicolethian’s Palace and beside the ancient Roman Vestibule walls.
Modern but retaining original features, the hotel was created by merging three palaces from three periods: Romantic, Gothic and Renaissance. The furniture is hand-made and light pours in through the glass ceiling of the lobby.
This intimate boutique hotel offers seven boutique rooms, two of which are suites.
Breakfast and dinner are both enjoyed while encompassed by the exposed stone from the third and 16th centuries and you can really feel the history from past periods.
Breakfast offered a selection of high quality items with eggs made to order. For dinner we indulged in an impressive four-course meal (€59). A delectable smoked sea bass salad, a smooth pumpkin soup and a flavoursome scampi soup. The tuna steak and polenta with tomato reduction was hearty and satisfying, and the apple strudel was warming and spiced like a Christmas dessert.
Our standard room felt cavernous – it was cosy but lacking in natural light and space. However, it contained all the modern trimmings and furnishings to make it comfortable, including dark chocolate and fruit treats.
A group of Dalmatian singers performed klapa music (a form of traditional a cappella singing) at regular intervals throughout the day right outside our window (targeting cruise ship tourists), making a lie in or daytime power nap impossible. It was beautiful and unique when hearing it for the first time, but thereafter had the reverse effect – leaving us feeling antagonised. At one point my jet-lagged friend phoned reception and begged ‘please make them stop’, and helpfully the wonderful receptionist immediately produced earplugs and an Audrey Hepburn-style sleep mask.
Who Goes There?
Honeymooners, Americans, Brits and international history enthusiasts and culture vultures.
Out & About:
Split is a lively town with a quarter of a million citizens. It offers great transport connections to the rest of Croatia and its islands offer a perfect two-night break en route.
Visit the Cathedral of Saint Duje and climb to its bell tower for a fantastic panoramic view of the Old Town (the stairs are steep and open, so those with a fear of heights or wearing a short dress, like me, should be cautious).
Pass by the Zenta (tennis centre) where Goran Ivanisevic trained and then walk a further five minutes to the tranquil Obojena beach.
Marjan is a hill on the peninsula of Split and is covered by a dense Mediterranean pine forest, making it a unique sight. We stopped for refreshments and a rest at café Vidilica and admired the view. We also enjoyed a great dinner at Bajamonti, followed by drinks in the buzzy Zinfandel wine bar.
The Worst Thing:
The size of the room.
The Best Thing:
The history and location of the hotel.