Bellevue Hotel, Dubrovnik

LOCATION: The Bellevue is about a kilometre up the hill from the Old Town’s Pile Gate, perched on a cliff above the gorgeous Miramare Bay. Close by are the city’s marina and the area of Lapad, where you’ll find a number of beaches, restaurants and walking tracks.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: I received a pleasant greeting in the airy lobby, where I’m pretty sure everyone’s first impression is swayed by the glorious vista looking out onto the bay. The hotel’s understated frontage gives little indication of the treats below, which include a spa, private beach and the well-regarded Vapor restaurant, one of the best in town.

THE FACTS: All of the hotel’s stylish rooms have a sea view and the vast majority have balconies. Quarters are not spectacular, but they’re a good size and the beds are large and comfy – you might perhaps find something more opulent in Dubrovnik, but you’d struggle to find a better view from your room. The service is friendly, professional and unpretentious. The hotel also contains a Turkish sauna, gym and an indoor pool, while the spa contains a VIP treatment room for two with a Jacuzzi. In addition to Vapor, guests can order a small bite or a cocktail at the Spice Lounge, the hotel’s main bar, or dine at Nevara, a beach restaurant which serves a-la-carte Mediterranean cuisine. The beach itself is pebbly (there aren’t many sandy ones in Croatia) but it’s safe, secluded and quiet. Technically it’s open to the public but you won’t find crowds of tourists here. It’s a great spot in which to lie in the sun doing nothing. The Bellevue is part of the Adriatic Luxury Hotels group which operates a number of hotels and villas in Dubrovnik, including the Excelsior on the other side of the Old Town.

WOW: Grab a drink and soak up the sights, either from your balcony or from a sun-bed by the beach – sunseekers and water babies in front of you, local kids throwing themselves off the rocks to the right, more craggy coastline to the left and yachts idling across the sea ahead. Guests willing to splurge can book out the entire left wing of the fifth floor, which includes the Lovor presidential suite and two additional rooms.

A GOOD BASE FOR: The beach and facilities at the Bellevue make it ideal for a longer stay in Dubrovnik. The hotel is far enough away from the frenetic activity of the Old Town to allow you to really unwind, with enough to keep you occupied during your stay. It’s a short walk down to the Old Town which can make the uphill return a little strenuous, but local buses are frequent or the hotel can arrange a driver – it’s actually quite nice to be able to escape the busier areas of the city. If you’d like to dine away from the hotel but remain nearby, Otto Taverna on Ulica Nikole Tesla by the marina is an excellent restaurant far from the hordes in the Old Town. In a city dominated by seafood and pizza it’s a great choice for a more varied dining experience, but as a popular joint it’s best to book, especially in high season.

HOW MUCH: Room prices at Hotel Bellevue start from €102 per night in low season, rising to €261 per night during the busy summer months.

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