Winner of the illustrious 2013 World Travel Award for ‘Croatia’s leading hotel’, the Valamar Lacroma is set on the Badin Kuk peninsula, surrounded by forests of pine trees.
The expansive hotel has a resort feel and offers 385 rooms and 16 suites, a number of bars, conference facilities and the intimate and delightful Ragusa spa where I experienced a wonderful early morning oil massage.
There is a choice of two restaurants – the Lacroma, with the atmosphere of a chaotic Vegas buffet, and the fine dining Langusto.
Options at the Lacroma were plentiful and offered variety to suit all palates (from stodgy macaroni cheese to finest smoked salmon) but I was put off by the conveyer belt style in which options made their appearance.
The Langusto was empty during our visit but we enjoyed a bottle of Posip Cara, 2011 with a 14.5% alcohol content (lovely taste although lacking in acidity due to the high sun, little-rain region of Cara on the Island of Korcula where Posip grapes are from). The sea bass, calamari and swiss chard, and ricotta cake with berries were simply divine.
The room served as a good base to sleep but felt slightly pedestrian, lacking individuality; I could have been in a large chain hotel anywhere in the world. However, a large fruit basket and the robe and slippers appearing on the second night were a nice touch.
Who Goes There?
A group of 500 international construction project managers were attending an awards conference during our visit. Other guests included couples and groups of friends from England, South Africa and Germany in the over 45 category – Brian Ferry’s complimentary performance in Dubrovnik town proved a hit.
Out & About:
Dubrovnik experienced its golden era during the 15th and 16th centuries until an earthquake struck in 1667, from which it never fully recovered. However, Dubrovnik has recently fast become top of the list for many affluent travellers and its overwhelming enchantment is the reason. The city boasts 17 monasteries and churches and one of Europe’s oldest synagogues in addition to exceptional works of art and architecture.
Walk the two kilometres of ancient city walls and enjoy the beyond-stunning contrast of the spirited and bustling old city below, the terracotta roof tops and the captivating and tranquil views of the surrounding crystal Adriatic sea.
Take a boat trip or kayak to the island of Lokrum for fantastic photo opportunities and to take a swim. We did the latter through a local group of six charming and gallant friends who started the company, Sea Kayaking Tours, a few years ago. They carried and stored our bulky luggage and even offered changing facilities and endless bottles of water.
Take the cable car up Srd mountain for an amazing panoramic view, then get lost in the old town. My favorite museum was the Rupe and I avoided the cramped restaurants around the harbor area preferring to opt for the smaller restaurants within the town walls. If feeling adventurous, walk all the way to the ruined hotel Belvedere and explore the hidden beach down under the cliff.
The Worst Thing:
The Wi-Fi in the room was very temperamental although it worked in the rest of the hotel. Also, the location felt too far from the old town (a 20-minute bus journey away).
It took two days before I found the constant outdated music that played during dining endearing – think Billy Joel and Roxette.
The Best Thing:
The facilities were good for business travellers or families who want the ease of having everything in the same place. Plus, staff were wonderful and cheerful.