5 Boutique Croatian Hotels

From hillside resorts to massive seaside villas to yachting excursions, apparently you can put a price on privacy.

By Kristin Vuković 20/04/2023

It’s no secret the crowded Croatian coast is having a moment. But with more than 1,000 islands to discover, it doesn’t have to be elbow-to-elbow in Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Whether you’re a history buff looking to explore the ancient land where East meets West, an epicure hungry for a taste of sea-to-table splendor, or a water-sport savant ready to get wet and wild on the Adriatic’s azure waters, these new bespoke properties are off the beaten path.


The Captain and the Princess

A room at Villa Sea Princess Nika
The bedrooms at Villa Sea Princess Nika are royal.Courtesy of Losinj Hotels

The island of Lošinj in Kvarner Bay in northern Croatia is a centuries-old wellness destination. Now, two new luxury villas affiliated with and serviced by five-star Boutique Hotel Alhambra have opened there.

Tucked away among Aleppo pines in tranquil Čikat Bay, once the playground of archdukes, aristocrats, and emperors, the villas—dubbed Villa Sea Princess Nika and Captain’s Villa Rouge—debuted in May 2022.

Villa Sea Princess Nika has all the comforts of home (if your home is a French château) with stunning bay views.Courtesy of Losinj Hotels

Captain’s Villa Rouge is a seven-suite villa designed by renowned Viennese architect Friedrich Sigmund and built in 1892. It has been impeccably restored, featuring a wraparound terrace shaded by lemon trees, replete with an inviting garden and a pool. Indulge in a chef-prepared epicurean feast, cooked before your eyes in the outdoor kitchen, or have a meal in the villa’s glass-walled dining room with vistas of emerald pines and the turquoise Adriatic Sea.

Captain’s Villa Rouge in Croatia.
Captain’s Villa Rouge is a seven-suite private playground.Courtesy of Losinj Hotels

Opening this June, Villa Sea Princess Nika is also a seven-suite villa with a classical style nestled in a pine forest with stunning views of Čikat Bay. The villa features a rustic French-house-inspired kitchen, two wood-burning fireplaces, a private gym, a private spa with a sauna and steam room, and a nine-seat home cinema. If you ever desire to leave your villa, Alhambra’s Michelin-starred Alfred Keller restaurant ensures you’ll be satiated in addition to well-rested.

Rates start from $19,092 at Captain’s Villa Rouge and Villa Sea Princess Nika. But spring for a full buyout with a personal butler, a private chef, and a round-trip private transfer, with rates from $22,048.

Party Time

A room at Zori Timeless Hotel.
Started as a restaurant, Zori is now a lush resort.Courtesy of Zori Timeless Hotel

Zori Timeless Hotel, opening this month, is an epicurean paradise situated on the island of St. Klement (Palmižana), a few minutes off the Hvar Island coast, offering four luxurious residences: Infinity, Cloud, Eternity, and Horizon.

The third-generation, chef-run culinary escape is helmed by the Tomlinović family, who took over management of the Zori family restaurant in 2006. Over the last decade, Zori Restaurant has become a popular destination for foodies and Bacchus devotees—and now, surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty, you can imbibe and stay the night.

A bedroom at Zori Timeless Hotel
You’ll need a crash pad after chowing down at the chef-run resort.

With the support and guidance of owner and chef Iva Tomlinović, the talented chef Siniša Jevrosimov cooks à la carte for guests in the VIP zone within the restaurant, utilizing the freshest organic produce in creative ways, featuring exotic international dishes and reinterpretations of traditional Mediterranean dishes (watch out for a new signature dessert this season that contains figs, almonds, and lavender).

Natural materials such as stone and wood blend into the island setting and exude minimalistic elegance, and spacious terraces, hammocks, swimming pools, and Jacuzzis overlook Vinogradišće Bay, one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean.

Daily rates range from $1,166 to $2,591.

Shooting Star

The pool at Hotel Superstar.
You’ll live like a superstar while staying at this resort just minutes from Dubrovnik.Marko Todorovic

Opened in July 2022, Hotel Supetar is a 16-room luxury boutique hotel is housed in an original 1920s three-story private villa built on the remains of the ancient settlement of Epidaurum, just minutes away from the attractions of Dubrovnik.

Cavtat, a historic seaside town in southern Dalmatia, lies on the remains of a prehistoric Illyrian settlement that became a Roman colony around the 1st century BC. The ruins show all the characteristics of an organized and planned ancient city, with urban planning modeled after Rome. You can tour the nearby Konavle Museum to learn more about the area’s history and have the opportunity to view artifacts unearthed on the site.

Back at home, Hotel Supetar’s wine bar features the finest selection of Croatian wines with an emphasis on Malvasija Dubrovačka, the local indigenous white wine grape from the Konavle region.

The exterior of Hotel Superstar
The resort offers glasses of local wines and barrels of history.Marko Todorovic

Meanwhile, the restaurant serves up seasonal Mediterranean fare with a focus on fresh, local ingredients, including oranges from the hotel’s garden (try the swordfish carpaccio marinated in an emulsion of orange and lime). End the day lounging on wicker chairs sprinkled among citrus trees or cooling down with a dip in the infinity pool.

Rooms range from $400 to $600 per night.

Yacht Rock

The grounds of Stanzia Baracija
Stanzia Baracija offers absolute privacy.Courtesy of Stanzia Baracija

Situated on an inland hillside in the village of Krasica near Istria’s medieval town of Grožnjan, Stanzia Baracija is a 15-to-20-minute drive from the sea, but you won’t even miss the ocean views here. This buyout estate is fully staffed to accommodate your every need, including a new spa opening in June.

But if you really start missing the sea, the villa still has you covered. Impossible to pronounce, AIAXAIA is the estate’s new 171-foot luxury yacht ready to take you island-hopping along the Croatian coastline. You can create a truly bespoke holiday, taking in the best of Croatia’s green and blue. (Baracija can also arrange a shorter custom yacht excursion on a different vessel for a day or two.)

Opened in May 2022 by the Croatian-American Penavić family, the luxurious oasis is surrounded by organic vineyards and olive groves on more than five acres amid rolling green hills, with a five-bedroom main house and three-bedroom guest house that can host up to 16 people.

A room at Stanzia Baracija.
The estate can host up to 16 fun friends.Courtesy of Stanzia Baracija

The two houses blend elements of tradition and modernity and are connected by sprawling outdoor spaces, including an orchard and landscaped gardens with Mediterranean plants. A heated infinity pool with hydromassage, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, a built-in wooden grill on a summer terrace with seating for 20 people, and a private cinema are perfect for relaxing days and nights.

You can also partake in activities nearby, including wine tastings at the family’s Clai Winery, horseback riding, truffle hunting, and fishing. Don’t miss a meal at the newly opened Restaurant Stara Škola (“Old School”), housed in a renovated old elementary school nearby that is introducing diners to local ingredients used in innovative ways.

Prices range from $28,189 to $53,125 per week. Add on a yacht adventure during the high season and you’ll need to drop another $117,545.

Villa Nai 3.3

The grounds of Villa Nai 3.3
Croatian architect Nikola Bašić designed the one-of-a-kind structure.Courtesy of Villa Nai 3.3 

Surrounded by a 500-year-old olive grove, Villa Nai 3.3 is located in northern Dalmatia on Dugi Otok (“Long Island”).

Opened in summer 2021, eight deluxe accommodations (five rooms and three suites) and private outdoor terraces are carved into a hillside, with panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea or sweeping olive grove vistas. Renowned architect Nikola Bašić anchored the boutique hotel, oil mill, and tasting room inside a century-old organic olive grove. The grounds feature two seawater pools (a smaller indoor Jacuzzi pool and a 75-foot-long outdoor swimming pool) and a spa that offers signature revitalizing treatments with products made from Nai 3.3 olives and olive oil that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

A pool at Villa Nai 3.3
Villa Nai 3.3 offers lots of ways to make a splash.Courtesy of Villa Nai 3.3 

The property’s two restaurants ensure you never have to leave the island: Grotta 11,000 serves fresh, local meals made on an open fire, just as they were prepared on the island 11,000 years ago, and 3.3 offers modern Mediterranean cuisine in a fine-dining setting, with signature cocktails and Croatian wine labels produced exclusively for Villa Nai.

Prices range from $11,633 to $19,074 per day for a full buyout with breakfast.


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Timeless Glamour & Music Aboard The Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Lose yourself in a luxury journey, aboard an Art Deco train from Paris

By Belinda Aucott 03/11/2023

Watching the unseen corners of Europe unfold gently outside your train, window can be thirsty work, right? That’s why Belmond Hotels is once again staging a culinary train journey from Paris to Venice, aboard the glittering Art Deco carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient Express.

To celebrate diversity and inclusion in the LBTQ+ community, another unforgettable train ride is slated for 2 November.

On the journey, ample servings of decadent cuisine will be served and live entertainment will play looooong into the night. Trans-DJ Honey Dijon and Dresden’s Purple Disco Machine are both part of the disco-house line-up.

Passengers are encouraged to dress in black-tie or cocktail attire, before they head to the bar and dining carriages to enjoy their night, where they are promised ‘unapologetic extravagance’,.

Negronis, martinis, spritzes and sours will all be on offer as the sunlight fades.

So-hot-right-now French chef Jean Imbert is also in the kitchen rattling the pans for guests.

Imber puts a garden-green-goodness twist on Gallic traditions. He regularly cooks for the who’s-who. Imbert recently co-created a food concept for Dior in Paris, worked with Pharrell Williams to present a dinner in Miami, and he’s even been invited to Cheval Blanc St-Barth to cater luxe LVMH-owned property.

The young chef is vowing to create no less than ‘culinary perfection’ in motion with his own passion for fresh seasonal produce. There’ll be plenty of Beluga caviar, seared scallops, and lobster vol-au-vents.

“I want to create beautiful moments which complement the train, which is the true star,” says Imbert of his hands-on approach to delectable pastries and twists on elegant Euro classics.

“Its unique legacy is something we take pride in respecting, while evolving a new sense of style and purpose that will captivate a new generation.”

Check the timetable for the itinerary of lush inclusions here.

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Gentlemanly Restraint 

Art and science collide in the the newly released BR03A watch collection by Bell & Ross.

By Belinda Aucott 02/11/2023

In keeping with the brand’s design salute to aviation and military equipment, the pared-back face of the Bell & Ross BR03 Automatic takes its cue from the instrumentation in cockpits. It’s unabashedly minimal and confidently masculine style is set to make it a future classic.

Faithful to the codes that underpin the brand’s identity, the new utilitarian offerings sit within a smaller 41-mm case (a slight departure from the original at 42 mm Diver, Chrono or GMT.) and has a reduced lug width and slimmer hands. The changes extend to the watch movement, which has been updated with a BR-CAL.302 calibre. The watch is waterproof to 300 metres and offers a power reserve of 54 hours.

While the new collection offers an elegant sufficiency of colourways, from a stealthy black to more decorative bronze face with a tan strap, each is a faithful rendition of the stylish “rounded square, four-screw” motif that is Bell & Ross’s calling card.



For extra slickness, the all-black Phantom and Nightlum models have a stealthy, secret-agent appeal, offering up a new take on masculine restraint.

Yet even the more decorative styles, like the black face with contrasting army-green band, feel eminently versatile and easy to wear. The 60’s simplicity and legibility of the face is what makes it so distinctive and functional.

For example, the BR 03-92 Nightlum, with its black matte case and dial, and bright green indices and hands, offers a great contrast during the day and emits useful luminosity at night.

A watch that begs to be read, the the BR03-A stands up to scrutiny, and looks just as good next to a crisp, white cuff as it does at the end of a matte, black wetsuit.

That’s a claim not many watch collections can make. 

Explore the collection.

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First Drive: The Porsche 911 S/T Is a Feral Beast That Handles the Road Like an Olympic Bobsledder

The commemorative model borrows underpinnings from the GT3 RS and includes a 518 hp engine.

By Basem Wasef 23/10/2023

The soul of any sports car comes down to the alchemy of its tuning—how the engine, suspension, and chassis blend into a chorus of sensations. The secret sauce of the new Porsche 911 S/T, developed as a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the brand’s flagship model, is more potent than most; in fact, it makes a serious case for being the most driver-focused 911 of all time.

Sharing the S/T designation with the homologation special from the 1960s, the (mostly) innocuously styled commemorative model borrows underpinnings from the more visually extroverted GT3 RS. Yet what the S/T, starting at $290,000, lacks in fender cutouts and massive spoilers it makes up for in directness: a flat-six power plant that revs to 9,000 rpm, a motorsport-derived double-wishbone suspension, and a manual gearbox. It’s a delightfully feral combination.

Rossen Gargolov

Whereas the automatic-transmission GT3 RS is ruthlessly configured for maximum downforce and minimum lap times, the S/T is dialed in for the road—particularly the Southern Italian ones on which we’re testing the car, which happen to be the very same used by product manager Uwe Braun, Andreas Preuninger, head of Porsche’s GT line, and racing legend Walter Röhrl to finalize its calibration. The car reacts to throttle pressure with eerie deftness, spinning its 518 hp engine with thrilling immediacy, thanks to shorter gear ratios.

The steering response is similarly transparent, as direct as an unfiltered Marlboro, and the body follows with the agility of an Olympic bobsledder. Some of that purity of feeling is the result of addition through subtraction: Power-sapping elements including a hydraulic clutch and rear-axle steering were ditched, which also enabled the battery to be downsized for even more weight savings. The final result, with its carbon-fiber body panels, thinner glass, magnesium wheels, and reduced sound deadening, is the lightest 992-series variant on record, with roughly the same mass as the esteemed 911 R from 2016.

Driver engagement is further bolstered by the astounding crispness of the short-throw gearbox. The S/T fits hand in glove with narrow twisties and epic sweepers, or really any stretch that rewards mechanical grip and the ability to juke through hairpin corners. The cabin experience is slightly less raucous than the 911 R, but more raw than the wingless 911 GT3 Touring, with an intrusive clatter at idle due to the single-mass flywheel and featherlight clutch. Porsche cognoscenti will no doubt view the disturbance in the same way that hardcore Ducatisti revere the tambourine-like rattle of a traditional dry clutch: as an analog badge of honor.

The main bragging right, though, may just be owning one. In a nod to the year the 911 debuted, only 1,963 examples of the S/T will be built. Considering the seven-year-old 911 R started life at$295,000 and has since fetched upwards of $790,000, this new lightweight could bring proportionately heavy returns—if you can be pried from behind the wheel long enough to sell it, that is.

Images by Rossen Gargolov

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From Electric Surfboards to Biodegradable Golf Balls: 8 Eco-Conscious Yacht Toys for Green and Clean Fun

Just add water and forget the eco-guilt.

By Gemma Harris 18/10/2023

Without toys, yachts would be kind of sedentary. There’s nothing wrong with an alfresco meal, sunsets on the flybridge and daily massages. But toys add zest to life on board, while creating a deeper connection with the water. These days, there are a growing number of options for eco-friendly gadgets and equipment that deliver a greener way to play. These eight toys range from do-it-yourself-propulsion (waterborne fitness bikes) to electric foiling boards, from kayaks made of 100 percent recycled plastics to non-toxic, biodegradable golf balls with fish food inside. Your on-water adrenaline rushes don’t always have to be about noise and gas fumes. They can be fun, silent, and eco-conscious.

A game of golf isn’t just for land. Guests can play their best handicap from the deck with Albus Golf’s eco-friendly golf balls. The ecological and biodegradable golf balls are 100 percent safe for marine flora and fauna, and manufactured with non-contaminating materials. The balls will biodegrade within 48 hours after hitting the ocean and release the fish food contained in their core. For a complete golfing experience, add a floating FunAir green. From $3100 (FunAir Yacht Golf) and $315 a box (golf balls). funair.com

Fliteboard Series 2.0

The future of surf is electric, and Fliteboard offers an emissions-free and environmentally friendly electric hydrofoil. Flying over the water has never been as efficient and low impact, using new technologies with less than 750 watts of electric power. This second series boasts various performance factors for all riding styles. It also features an increased trigger range from 20 to 40 degrees for more precision and control. Fliteboard designed this series for every possible foiling ability, from newbies to wave-carvers. From $22,000. fliteboard.com

Manta 5 Hydrofoiler XE-1

Hailing from New Zealand and using America’s Cup technology, Manta 5 offers the first hydrofoil bike. The Hydrofoiler XE-1 replicates the cycling experience on the water. Powered by fitness-level pedaling and assisted by the onboard battery, top speeds can reach up to 19 km per hour. The two hydrofoils are carbon fibre, and the frame is aircraft-grade aluminium. The onboard Garmin computer will relay all the stats. The effortless gliding sensation will accompany you through a workout, exploration or just circling the boat. From $950. manta5.com

Mo-Jet’s Jet Board

Imagine five toys in one: The Mo Jet delivers just that. From jet surfing, bodyboarding, and e-foiling to scooter diving. This versatile, German-built toy is perfect for those who cannot decide. The Mo-jet uses a cool modular system allowing you to switch between activities. Whether you want to stand, be dragged around or dive, you can have it all. It even has a life-saving module and a 2.8m rescue electric surfboard. Made from environmentally friendly and recyclable polyethene, it also ticks the eco-conscious boxes. Complete with an 11kW electric water jet, it charges in 75 mins, offering up to 30 mins of fun. Adrenaline junkies will also not be disappointed, since speed surges from 0 to 27 knots in 3 seconds. From $18,000. mo-jet.com

Silent Yachts Tender ST400

Driven by innovation and solar energy, Silent Yachts recently launched its first electric tender, the ST400. The 13-footer has clean-cut lines and is built with either an electric jet drive or a conventional electric outboard engine. The ST400 reaches speeds above 20 knots. From $110,000. silent-yachts.com

Osiris Outdoor ‘Reprisal’ Kayak

Kayaks are ideal for preserving and protecting nature, but they’re usually manufactured with materials that will last decades longer than we will and therefore not too eco-friendly. Founded by US outdoor enthusiasts, Osiris Outdoor has created a new type of personal boat. “The Reprisal” kayak is manufactured in the US entirely from recycled plastics (around 27 kgs) that are purchased from recycling facilities. The sustainable manufacturing process isn’t its only selling point; the lightweight Reprisals have spacious storage compartments, rod holders and a watertight hatch for gadgets. Complete with a matte-black finish for a stylish look. From $1100. osirisoutdoor.com

The Fanatic Ray Eco SUP Paddleboard

Declared as the most sustainable SUP, the Ray Eco is the brainchild of the Zero Emissions Project and BoardLab, supported by Fanatic. Glass and carbon fibre have been replaced with sustainable Kiri tree wood. And you can forget toxic varnishes and resins; organic linseed oil has been used to seal the board and maintain its durability. This fast, light, and stable board is truly one of a kind, not available off the rack. This craftsman’s love for detail and preservation is another first-class quality of the board. From $10,000 boardlab.de

Northern Light Composite X Clean Sailors EcoOptimist

One of the most popular, single-handed dinghies in sailing’s history, the tiny Optimist has undergone a sustainable revival. Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors have teamed up to launch the first sustainable and recyclable Optimist. Using natural fibres and eco-sustainable resins, The EcoOptimist supports a new circular economy in yachting. OneSail also produces the sail with a low-carbon-footprint manufacturing process. From $6000. ecooptisailing.com

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The 50 Best Cocktail Bars in the World, According to a New Ranking

The World’s 50 Best organisation gave the Spanish bar Sips top honours during an awards ceremony in Singapore.

By Tori Latham 18/10/2023

If you’re looking for the best bar in the world, you better head to Barcelona.
Sips, from the industry luminaries Simone Caporale and Marc Álvarez, was named the No. 1 bar on the planet in the latest World’s 50 Best Bars ranking. The organisation held its annual awards ceremony on Tuesday in Singapore, the first time it hosted the gathering in Asia. Sips, which only opened two years ago, moved up to the top spot from No. 3 last year.
“Sips was destined for greatness even before it rocketed into the list at No. 37 just a few short months after opening in 2021,” William Drew, the director of content for 50 Best, said in a statement.
“The bar seamlessly translates contemporary innovation and technical precision into a playful cocktail programme, accompanied by the warmest hospitality, making it a worthy winner of The World’s Best Bar 2023 title.”
Coming in second was North America’s best bar: New York City’s Double Chicken Please. The top five was rounded out by Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy, Barcelona’s Paradiso (last year’s No. 1), and London’s Connaught Bar. The highest new entry was Seoul’s Zest at No. 18, while the highest climber was Oslo’s Himkok, which moved up to No. 10 from No. 43 last year.
Barcelona may be home to two of the top five bars, but London has cemented its status as the cocktail capital of the world: The English city had five bars make the list, more than any other town represented. Along with Connaught Bar in the top five, Tayēr + Elementary came in at No. 8, and Satan’s Whiskers (No. 28), A Bar With Shapes for a Name (No. 35), and Scarfes Bar (No. 41) all made the grade too.
The United States similarly had a good showing this year. New York City, in particular, is home to a number of the best bars: Overstory (No. 17) and Katana Kitten (No. 27) joined Double Chicken Please on the list.
Elsewhere, Miami’s Café La Trova hit No. 24 and New Orleans’s Jewel of the South snuck in at No. 49, bringing the Big Easy back to the ranking for the first time since 2014.
To celebrate their accomplishments, all of this year’s winners deserve a drink—made by somebody else at least just this once.
Check out the full list of the 50 best bars in the world below.
1. Sips, Barcelona
2. Double Chicken Please, New York
3. Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City
4. Paradiso, Barcelona
5. Connaught Bar, London
6. Little Red Door, Paris
7. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City
8. Tayēr + Elementary, London
9. Alquímico, Cartagena
10. Himkok, Oslo
11. Tres Monos, Buenos Aires
12. Line, Athens
13. BKK Social Club, Bangkok
14. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
15. Maybe Sammy, Sydney
16. Salmon Guru, Madrid
17. Overstory, New York
18. Zest, Seoul
19. Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar, Bangkok
20. Coa, Hong Kong
21. Drink Kong, Rome
22. Hanky Panky, Mexico City
23. Caretaker’s Cottage, Melbourne
24. Café La Trova, Miami
25. Baba au Rum, Athens
26. CoChinChina, Buenos Aires
27. Katana Kitten, New York
28. Satan’s Whiskers, London
29. Wax On, Berlin
30. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires
31. Röda Huset, Stockholm
32. Sago House, Singapore
33. Freni e Frizioni, Rome
34. Argo, Hong Kong
35. A Bar With Shapes for a Name, London
36. The SG Club, Tokyo
37. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo
38. The Cambridge Public House, Paris
39. Panda & Sons, Edinburgh
40. Mimi Kakushi, Dubai
41. Scarfes Bar, London
42. 1930, Milan
43. Carnaval, Lima
44. L’Antiquario, Naples
45. Baltra Bar, Mexico City
46. Locale Firenze, Florence
47. The Clumsies, Athens
48. Atlas, Singapore
49. Jewel of the South, New Orleans
50. Galaxy Bar, Dubai

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