Our Travel Correspondent Yashmin Ismail checks in at Hotel Monte Mulini, sister hotel to Croatia’s new Design star, the Lone.
Built in 2009, it is the first of its kind to bring five stars to Istria. The sister hotel of the new-build Hotel Lone (next door), has 113 rooms, all with undisturbed sea views.
Walking into the lobby I am struck by the supersized landscape view of the sea, which sets the tranquil scene for the rest of my stay. The dramatic uninterrupted glass wall exposes three levels – both restaurants below – to the Adriatic blues. The hotel has rather a regal feel to it, largely due to the colour palette.
Burnished gold shades, creamy white, rich purples and shades of aubergine are used throughout. Sensual fabrics and textures: velvet sofas, silk drapes and bespoke furniture, create an ambience of warm, soothing luxury, which is only accentuated by the original Croatian artwork, especially commissioned for the hotel.
Part of the Leading Hotels of The World (LHW), this is a more intimate set-up than its sister. The rooms are more modest than the Lone, with a slightly dated feel, but the views are even more spectacular than its sibling’s. My room overlooks the stunningly elegant pool complex, which spreads out to the sea and surrounding forest.
Breakfast was made to order on the terrace, and was delicious in every sense, with silver service and great care and attention to detail, topped off by those incredible views.
After taking a dip in the outdoor pool, I decided to jump on board the HMS Mulini for a tour of the local islands. Reminiscent of a pirate ship, I had the opportunity to take the wheel – for a bit.
Following an afternoon of adventures out at sea, I was keen to check out the hotel’s relaxation station… The Art Wellness Spa is an opulent sanctuary arranged over three levels; a more intimate oasis than its neighbour, yet with a more palatial feel. The interiors are inspired by the elements, in wood, stone, water, gold. The three-story haven houses a Mediterranean garden, floating room, baths and a gym.
Connected via a corridor of wellness, the sibling spas combine to create one of the largest oases in Croatia, at a colossal 2500 square metres.
The hotel is also home to the renowned Wine Vault, one of Croatia’s top fine dining restaurants, serving French delicacies with a Croatian touch. Curated by world-class chef Tomislav Gretic (of Asia De Cuba, Dubai), the food is as delectable as the surroundings.
Entry into the cellar restaurant is through a wrought iron gate. It has vaulted ceilings, terracotta brickwork and hanging candelabra. Stone floors enhance the cellar feel, but are counterbalanced by the exposed brickwork and soft furnishings.
Croatia’s leading sommelier Emil Perdec (two-time winner of the prestigious Trophee Ruinart in France), presides over the extensive wine cellar, which houses over 600 select Croatian and international wines. I had the collaborative tasting menu, with matching wines.
After mentioning my penchant for filet mignon with pan-seared fois gras, the chef created his take: an argentine fillet stake with a twist, where fois gras meets crème brulee. I suggested it should be their signature dish. This place serves innovative cuisine with an opulent ambience, in the thick of nature.
For a cosier feel away from the corporate chaos, Monte Mulini is the best pick on the bay.
|Hotel Monte Mulini room rates start at €276 including breakfast and VAT. www.montemulinihotel.com
Places worth a visit:
For more info on local tours visit: www.atlas.hr
Written by Yashmin Ismail