Perched on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik’s Hotel Excelsior has for more than a century served as a luxury haven for well-heeled travelers—from Queen Elizabeth II to Elizabeth Taylor—who have come to explore the fabled walled town below. But with Dubrovnik’s popularity rising steadily over the last few years, thanks largely to increased cruise ship arrivals and heightened interest in Croatia’s food and wine scene (not to mention and a little show called “Game of Thrones), the time had come for the hotel to infuse its Old World sensibilities with some modern spirit. Following a seven-month overhaul of both its original section (set in a 1913 former villa) and newer Tower, the 158-room property re-opened this June in time for the summer season.
A team of Croatia-based architects and designers paid homage to the history of the hotel and its stunning setting, while also incorporating contemporary touches and technologies to create an overall atmosphere that’s both understated and inviting. Rooms in the Villa wing retain original architectural touches, while Tower accommodations offer streamlined sophistication; both come with custom-crafted furnishings, curated art work, and welcome updates like power showers and satellite TV. Sea views can be soaked up from most rooms, including the two-bedroom, two-bath Presidential Suite, set on the top floor of the Tower wing and featuring a separate living/dining area, whirlpool, and a balcony from which to enjoy the uninterrupted vistas.
Round out an Excelsior stay with a visit to the sleek spa—where you can settle into a swimming pool, whirlpools, a Finnish sauna, and Turkish and Roman baths—and drinks at the waterview Abacus Piano bar, lined with photos of illustrious former guests. Fresh seafood and modern Mediterranean flavors are showcased at the fine dining Sensus (also home to a notable wine cellar) and beachside Prora, boasting up-close photo ops of Lokrum Island and the UNESCO Old Town.