palace hvar

Palace Elisabeth Hvar

The island Hvar is an amazing place to experience. This Croatian island has several towns and villages crafted from stone while its meandering streets offer plenty to explore. There are several castles on the island, two of them are in the town Hvar. The one we were most keen to explore is now a Heritage hotel. The Palace Elizabeth Heritage Hotel has stories rich with historical accounts from archeological findings. The stories of Croatia on the small sunny Croatian island of Hvar are centered around this lavish luxury five-star hotel.

Palace Elizabeth Heritage Hotel

The first five-star hotel on the island Hvar has a welcoming pool and cozy area for relaxing within their courtyard walls for ultimate privacy. The open-air area extends to a terrace covered in couches surrounding a large old stone well. Under the well is where they put the gym and only a short walk up the outside stairs will lead to a terrace where couches are covered by canopies. This is also where guests will find the restaurant which serves pretty much anything anyone could want for breakfast and as much as you can eat served on delicate white china.

The palace was built as a residential complex for the Duke’s Palace bordering the largest main town square in Dalmatia. During Venetian rule different dukes would use the residence when they visited. After the fall of Venice, the palace was neglected then eventually demolished in the early 19th century. The Empress Elisabeth spa hotel was built to replace it. The Austrian nobility of the early 19th century helped initiate the tourism industry in this beautiful town of stone monuments. The rich history can be felt throughout the hotel.

Enter the hotel and first notice to the left the Mediterranean garden. Stairs dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries decorate the garden along with wild orange trees. Archeological excavations found orange seeds in the area so when the hotel took over they made sure to plant some in the same spot.  Two lions rest outside the entrance, the oldest lion is also the larger one, it was placed there by the Duke of Hvar, Francesco Giusti in 1462. The smaller lion was added in 1482.  The entrance of the hotel exposes the old stone bricks to maintain the integrity of the archeological site of the palace before it.

To the right of the entrance is the Loggia, the center of secular power. Most towns on the Adriatic coast have a town hall, a closed space where decisions were made. The first mention of the Loggia was in 1289, the new Loggia was built in the same place when renovations were completed between 1510 and 1514 during the time of Duke Viktor Diedo. Unfortunately, it was demolished during the Ottoman attacks in August 1571 then recreated to today’s appearance in the 17th century by Tripun Bokanić, a builder from the island Brač.

The Loggia has served as a courtroom, auction space and warehouse. Today the arched entrances and warm stone share the history of Hvar. On top of the arches are carved human heads which according to legend represent convicted leaders during the Hvar Rebellion along with mysterious four female characters. The last eastern arch depicts a young man thought to symbolize a new beginning. Above the entrance a bearded older man with a crown on his head and to the west an older man with a hat thought to symbolize departure. The clock tower known by the local name Leroj (clock) is adjacent to the Loggia. Its history goes back to the 15th century and later a bell was added with decorations of religious motifs.

The rooms selection includes balcony and non-balcony rooms, but only half the balcony rooms provide nice views. I was a bit disappointed that my room only had half a view of the sea and half of the back of someone’s apartment. Sure, if you like to people watch then seeing a half-naked man every morning having his coffee might be ok, but I would have preferred a view of anything else. The breakfast is fantastic, food was great, but service was first rate. I really enjoyed the employees working at the palace, they are friendly and nice to chat with.

The bar has a great selection of wines and fantastic cocktails. I was most impressed with the canopy covered terrace. The linen covered couches were fantastic comfortable for relaxing. Our ferry had to change us to a later time so we had to hang out for a few hours. Overall the hotel is a lovely place to stay. Make sure to bring some pretty clothes for taking pictures and check out their spa services if you have the time.

Read more about the Island Hvar on The Ultimate Guide to Hvar. Subscribe for more Croatian travel tips, have a lovely day.