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.
Captain’s Villa Rouge and Villa Sea Princess Nika
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 — are the villas Sea Princess Nika and Captain’s Villa Rouge.
Captain’s Villa Rouge is a seven-suite villa designed by renowned Viennese architect Friedrich Sigmund and built in 1892. Opened in May 2022, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 water 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.
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 (plus 13 percent VAT and a 40 percent charter fee.)
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.
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.