Over the years Croatia has become very popular. Here Shirl talks about her recent experience at staying in the sleek and contemporary retreat.
The last time we visited Croatia it wasn’t even Croatia! It was 1989 and it was still part of what was Yugoslavia. We stayed in Rovinj not far from the Italian border and the things I most remember are the beautiful coastline, the pretty town and harbour, the intense humidity, the fabulous and cheap (very Italian influenced) food, the most impressive thunderstorm I’ve ever witnessed, the galloping inflation (prices rose daily), how basic our 4* hotel was, and the dourness of the local population.
So, 30+ years later we are back in Croatia and whilst some things have changed, some have stayed the same. But first, why are we here in Croatia anyway? Well, the founder of To Work and Play, the multi talented Natalie, is my niece and in 2 weeks time she’s getting married to the lovely Tom. It was therefore decreed (by Natalie) that there wouldn’t be one hen-do, there would be a whole series of hen-do’s.
Hen Do Episode 1 (The Active One) was in London and involved family and friends making chocolate (not a huge success in 30 degree heat), drinks, a private dining experience, and then yet more drinks. This proved merely to be the warm-up act for…… Hen Do Episode 2 (The Rowdy One), which transferred us 3 weeks later to 3 rented apartments in Dubrovnik, in the aforementioned Croatia. This had some of the same participants; bride, mother of…, auntie of… (me), plus a few more same/different friends, a scary total of 14 women and an awful lot of alcohol. Much merriment ensued, but first rule of hen-do is what happens on hen-do stays on hen-do!!
After 3 raucous, fun-filled, hysterically funny days and nights everyone staggered off to get flights home, apart from the bride-to-be, her mum and Auntie Shirl (me again). Now we were each joined by our other halves who had flown out for… Hen Do Episode 3 (The Sophisticated One).
Natty had decided that for Hen Do Episode 3 we should stay around Dubrovnik and that it should involve a stylish, quality hotel, and after much research had chosen Hotel Kompas on the Lapad peninsula just a couple of miles outside the city walls. Well, Natty chose good! A short Uber ride from the Hen Do Episode 2 apartments brought us to our uber-modern home for the next 4 days. We were impressed from the get-go by the impressive reception area which also provided a tantalising glimpse of the sea. Things got even better when we discovered that we’d all been upgraded to adjoining sea-view rooms, and then better again when Natty and Tom received a bottle of fizz from the hotel to celebrate their forthcoming nuptials.
However, the hotel would have been impressive enough without these extras. It is a super white, minimalist hotel with fascinating modern art-work throughout, fabulous lighting, spacious bedrooms, a tasteful restaurant and generous pool area. In addition, on the beach, is an area laid out with sun beds, exclusively for Hotel Kompas guests. Over the course of the 4 days we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel and the standard was very good. Between us we also utilised the extensive gym (well, Tom the bridegroom-to-be did), the rooftop bar (fabulous for watching the sunsets), and we worked our way through most of the cocktail menu.
Whilst we all took the opportunity to laze around the pool and on the beach (with waiter service) to top up our tans, two of us walked into the city itself, around the city walls, and then walked back to the hotel in 30+ degrees of heat. Exhausting, but well worth the effort.
So, what’s changed over the last 30+ years and what’s stayed the same? The beautiful coastline, pretty town/city (albeit a different one) and the humidity are the same. What’s different is the food (many more influences now available), the prices (now stable), the people (generally very smiley and helpful) and the standard of the hotels. No-one could possibly accuse Hotel Kompas of being basic. We had a wonderful time and all agreed we would recommend this hotel for anyone looking to visit Croatia.
For more information or to book visit the Hotel Kompas website here.
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Images © To Work or Play & Hotel Kompas