Palace Elisabeth, Hvar, Croatia's First Five-Star Hotel, is Open

Just off the coast of Croatia within the Adriatic Sea, there is a island of Hvar. Having a population of just under 12,000 people, Hvar is better known for its centuries-old cathedrals (especially the Hvar Cathedral), turquoise blue water, lavender fields and red-roofed buildings.

Despite the superyachts that fill the marina, world-class wine and fresh, seaside fare, Hvar recently opened its first five-star hotel: Palace Elisabeth. The hotel can be found in a building dating back to the 13th century and has distinct Austrian and Venetian architectural details. (The town wouldn’t look out of place in Bet on Thrones.) In 1899 it had been rebuilt as Spa Hotel Empress Elisabeth, now the new hotel’s name honors the legacy from the Austrian Empress Sisi (Elisabeth). It’s a historical landmark, and though it’s been modernly updated, you'll feel the history at every turn. There's truly no better location – it's in the heart of the city right near city hall and directly overlooks the primary square and also the marina. Ideal for sightseeing, your accommodation is steps away from a public theatre (the oldest in Europe) and St Stephens Church.

Suite at Palace Elisabeth

With 45 rooms and suites, the hotel is an intimate, luxury experience that ignites all senses as soon as you step in. The Austrian design, from the lobby towards the rooms, includes a dark-yet-neutral color scheme with opulent chandeliers, crown moldings, intricate rugs and juxtaposed with modern-style furniture and bright flower arrangements. Rooms and suites are awash inside a grey hue with white walls, printed carpets and furniture with bright pops of color, as well as suite guests have private terraces overlooking the marina.

The entire experience makes you seem like, well, royalty – and also the spa is no exception. There are three massage rooms; a Turkish sauna; sundeck; outdoor terrace (with treatment areas if you prefer the sound of nature to music); a spa bar and an indoor pool with a connected deck, which overlooks the marina.

Spa pool

For breakfast, lunch and dinner, go to the hotel’s only restaurant, San Marco, which serves Mediterranean cuisine and creatively plated dishes with local produce.

For more details, visit

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