Hotel Review: Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel in Croatia
Croatia is famed for having some of the most dramatic scenery in Europe and none more so than along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The town of Dubrovnik with its famous fairytale walled city is located at the southernmost tip of Croatia and due to the mild climate is perfect for an out of season break.
A 10 minute drive from the town is the tranquil Babin kuk peninsula and against the craggy backdrop of Mount Srd and with views across the clear blue water to the forested Elaphiti islands it is the ideal location for your stay.
I stayed at the 4 star Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel, one of the flagship hotels of Valamar Riviera, the leading tourism company in Croatia, and a known quality brand with high standards of accommodation and service.
A multi award winning hotel, in 2016 it won world travel awards for Croatias leading hotel and Croatias leading business hotel and a certificate of excellence from Hotels.com and also has consistently high scores on online sites like expedia.com and booking.com.
So thats the credentials sorted out, looking good so far but what sets this hotel apart for me is that it is one of the few in the area that remains open all year round.
This means for people like me who prefer to travel out of season I get to take advantage of a top hotel with state of the art facilities with space to enjoy it.
With 401 stylish and modern rooms and suites, it has all the facilities you would expect including a gourmet restaurant, spa and wellness centre, gym suite, indoor and outdoor pools and that award winning business centre.
From the moment you are picked up from the airport the Croatian hospitality is in evidence and you are taken care of from the moment you arrive. The 30 minute drive takes you along the coastal road with mountains on one side and the Adriatic on the other.
As you descend down into the main town you get a glimpse of the old city with its huge medieval walls and soon the red roofed houses give way to pine and cypress tree lined roads and you are at the hotel, surrounded by lush subtropical gardens.
The whole atmosphere from the moment you enter is designed to relax you. As soon as you walk into the bright and glossy reception area you are greeted by a galleried space with white columns and polished wooden floors.
It reminded me of the old style hotels with their grand foyers except this was 21st century style with frosted glass panels in duck egg blue. All of the public areas are decorated in this clean light sleek style and softened with huge vases of plants and colourful modern art.
Tucked away beneath the gallery is the Orsula Lobby Bar, an intimate space with red and cream leather sofas and chairs, ideal for a morning coffee and a peruse of the small library or an evening cocktail before dinner while admiring the sepia nautical prints dotted about.
Dining here is relaxed and informal and if the weather is fine there is a large terrace with sea views. I enjoyed a supper of fish soup ( mussels, tuna and octopus ), sea bass with sweet potato and saffron sauce and finished up with a scrummy tiramisu.
There are several types of room, with either sea or garden views and I stayed in one of the 16 Junior Suites. The absolute first thing I do when staying in a hotel is throw back the curtains and check out my view. This did not disappoint as I had an amazing view from my balcony of the islands, and to the left the mountains dropping down to the sea.
The suite was on 2 levels, on the ground floor I had a lounge area with cream sofa and dark wood coffee table, desk and chair, LCD TV, mini bar and tea/coffee making facilities. There was a discreet double wardrobe, shelving and a full length mirror and a cloakroom with loo and basin.
Up my wood and chrome spiral staircase was a small landing leading to a swish bathroom with walk in shower and bath and a double bedroom with more wardrobes and storage and another TV, bathrobes, slippers and a hairdryer.
There was air conditioning and heating but I didn’t have to fiddle with them at all as the temperature was always exactly right.
Decorated throughout in a modern style in shades of cream and brown, this was a real treat of a suite and I loved my very comfortable bed with a mix of hard and soft pillows. It was spotless throughout and bonuses were the downstairs loo and free wifi (which is in all rooms).
The best part was sitting on my balcony with a coffee and watching the sun rise and set over the mountains and sea.
There are two Luxury Suites which have a separate lounge with cream sofas and chairs and a dining table seating 4. The suite is on one level and there is a long terrace with sunloungers accessed from the lounge and bedroom. It has all the amenities of the Junior Suites and the bonus of sea views from the living area and bedroom.
The Presidential Suite is more like an apartment, on the ground floor is the maple floored lounge and dining area for 6 and a desk area, all decorated in cream and dark wood. There are 2 sets of double doors leading to the terrace and a fully fitted kitchen with coffee maker, microwave, oven and fridge.
Upstairs are 2 bedrooms, one with doors leading onto a terrace with jacuzzi, loungers and that fab sea view. Both bedroooms are ensuite.
Treats for the tastebuds
There are two restaurants and the larger Lacroma Buffet Restaurant is used for show cooking and hosts breakfast and evening meals.
An extensive range of hot and cold foods are available for breakfast and the chefs can cook to order and also prepare vegetarian, gluten free or dairy free options.
I took a seat by the windows overlooking the terrace and tucked in to my favourite spread of rolls, cheeses, cold meats and jam with fresh coffee served at the table.
The Langusto a la carte restaurant is a tastefully decorated space seating 68 inside and 30 on the adjoining terrace, with its views over the gardens to the Adriatic.
Croatian cuisine has a touch of the Med about it, lots of locally caught seafood and the signature dish here is spiny lobster which are kept in tanks along the walls.
I opted for gravilax to start, for my main course a succulent monkfish with tomato and anise confit, pea and mint puree and a plate of fresh fruit to finish. The accompanying wine was a peachy white Posip, one of several excellent Croatian varieties. Service was attentive but not intrusive and the food was presented well with good portion sizes.
Room service is available from 7am – 12pm and in the warmer months the Onofrio Pool Bar serves drinks and light snacks.
Ragusa Spa wellness centre
Finnish, soft and infra red saunas, a steam room, jacuzzi, relaxation rooms (one with water beds), the Afrodita women only spa and a fully equipped gym suite AND both indoor and outdoor pools are waiting for you to immerse yourself in the joy of unwinding!
With 10 treatment rooms for massage, body and facial treatments and the largest selection of spa treatments in Dubrovnik you could happily spend all day being exfoliated, wrapped, waxed, scrubbed and massaged.
Will you choose the Hot Chocolate Massage or a Fruity Body Buff? Or even a Cleopatra bath with milk and honey, a thermal mud wrap or being massaged with warm volcanic stones?
I opted for the Aroma Massage with various balms and oils and after a chill out with some strawberry and vanilla tea and candied fruit from the vitality zone was taken through for my all over massage.
With tinkly music playing softly and the tension in my shoulders and back being gently massaged away, my mind drifted off and the only sensations were being soothed and pampered into oblivion!
I left smelling pleasantly nutty (from the almond oil I presume!) and wafted back to my room. The spa has its own lift entrance so that you do not have to go through the hotel, a nice bonus.
If you prefer a more private experience then you can reserve the Executive Spa Zone which has a steam room, jacuzzi, Finnish sauna and massage and relaxation area.
This incorporates the largest hotel conference hall in Croatia with a capacity of 1200 and has 7 additional meeting rooms and the largest MICE facilities in the area. So whether you need space for a meeting, conference, event or exhibition the hotel can cater for your needs with this state of the art centre.
Whatever you fancy doing, whether it is a walk along Dubrovnik’s city walls, a cable car ride to the top of a mountain, a boat trip to the Elafiti islands with their sandy beaches or a day trip to the neighbouring country of Montenegro, it can all be organised for you here.
In a nutshell
A lot of thought has been put into the Valamar Lacroma Hotel, from the surrounding sub tropical gardens and terraces looking out to sea to the public areas, facilities and rooms which are all light, spacious and spotless.
Add to this the state of the art spa centre, friendly and efficient staff and excellent food and you have all the ingredients for a top quality relaxing break.
There are 3 main beaches on the peninsula, all within a short walking distance. The largest is the Copocabana with a volleyball court, watersports centre and beach bars. The newly renovated Cava beach has sunloungers, umbrellas and showers and the Coral Beach club serving food and drinks.
The nearest beach is just below the Valamar Dubrovnik President hotel (more of that in a minute) and has a watersports and diving centre, sunloungers and umbrellas and mooring for boats. It also has access to the Hotel Presidents Beach Bistro restaurant, with its nautical vibe and billowing white curtains draped from the rafters like sails.
All beaches are clean with paved sunbathing areas and pebbles leading down to the clear blue sea.
Address: Ul. Iva Dulčića 34, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Phone: +385 52 465 000
The Valamar Dubrovnik President
This newly renovated 5 star hotel is another award winner, the most recent being the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award 2016. It has an enviable beachfront position and all of the 292 rooms and suites have uninterrupted sea views over the lush terraced gardens.
Facilities are similar to the Lacroma with buffet show cooking and a la carte restaurants, spa and wellness centre, (treatments include a Marine Body Glow and Indian Massage), a gym suite, indoor and outdoor pools. It is open from March to November and in high season there is a childrens club and entertainment.
There are 5 Superior Suites with both bedroom and lounge opening onto a terrace with jacuzzi and a Presidential Suite which has a large lounge and dining area for 8 and a bedroom with ensuite and walk in robe. Both these rooms open out onto a spacious terrace with jacuzzi, rattan sofas, table and chairs and sunloungers.
The sea view is stunning but for me I cannot decide which is the deal breaker. The fully equipped kitchen with separate entrance for staff to prepare your food, or the enclosed reception area with armchairs for your guests – Ms Tidy will see you now!
For more information on Valamar hotels and resorts, visit valamar.com.
I flew with Croatia Airlines – for more information, visit croatiaairlines.com.