The Best Hotels in Istria, Croatia

The fishing port of Rovinj on the Istria peninsula
The fishing port of Rovinj on the Istria peninsula | © Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Laura Hampson
13 January 2021

Located in the northwest corner of Croatia, just south of Italy’s Trieste, Istria is the Adriatic Sea’s largest peninsula, where a long history of Italian and Austrian rule has left its mark. Although its coastal resorts are popular, Istria is equally charming inland, with hilltop villages such as medieval Motovun and baroque-style Buje. Here’s our pick of where to stay in the region.

Hotel Lone

Luxury
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Courtesy of Hotel Lone Rovinj / Expedia

Reminiscent of an art museum, Hotel Lone is the first and only Croatian member of the prestigious Design Hotels group. The ancient woodlands that surround the Istrian hotel inspire the beige stone lobby and the rooms here are minimalist, with floating bedside tables. When you need to cool off, make a beeline to the free-form outdoor seawater pool.

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Grand Park Hotel

Spa Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
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Courtesy of Grand Park Hotel Rovinj / Expedia

With Rovinj’s majestic old town as its backdrop, Grand Park Hotel makes the most of its seaside vistas. Each of the 209 stylish rooms and suites offer ample space – a travel journal and polaroid camera is supplied to record your new memories. The hotel lies equidistant from the pebbly Mulini Beach and Rovinj’s pretty fishing harbour, but you’ll have to drag yourself away from the impressive rooftop spa – including a 50-metre indoor-outdoor pool.

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Hotel Adriatic

Hotel
Map View
Hotel Adriatic
Courtesy of Hotel Adriatic / Hotels.com

In the heart of pretty Rovinj lies Hotel Adriatic – the town’s oldest hotel. The building dates to 1892 and the hotel received a slick refurb in 2015. Now, each of the 14 rooms and four suites boasts gloriously high ceilings, with most walls painted white. Some rooms have in-room tubs, meaning there’s only a few steps to your plush bed for a snooze after a long soak.

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Kempinski Palace Portoroz

Casino Hotel, Chain Hotel, Love Hotel, Spa Hotel
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Kempinski Palace Portoroz
Courtesy of Kempinski Palace Portorož / Expedia

The grand dame of the popular Istrian resort town of Portorož, Kempinski Palace Portoroz has a prime position with views over the Adriatic. When you’re not sunning yourself on the hotel’s private beach, or indulging in a Himalayan salt massage at the spa, be tempted by the tasting menu of Slovenian delights at the hotel’s opulent restaurant, Sophia. When you can’t eat another bite, wander up to your room and take in the sunset from your private balcony.

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San Canzian Village & Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Luxury, Spa Hotel
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Courtesy of San Canzian Village & Hotel / Expedia | Courtesy of San Canzian Village & Hotel / Expedia

In a quaint, rural setting, just down the road from the hilltop village of Buje, San Canzian Village & Hotel offers a welcome oasis among olive groves. The cluster of terracotta-hued buildings that sit among rolling hills is designed to look like a traditional Istrian village, but rooms are fit with unique mod cons too, like local craft beer in the fridge and some even have private plunge pools.

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Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa

Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
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Courtesy of Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa / Expedia | Courtesy of Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa / Expedia

On the shores of the Opatija Riviera, overlooking the Kvarner islands, Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa is a welcome dose of luxury. Behind its modern facade, there are just eight rooms and six suites, each with marble bathrooms, large windows and balconies for taking in the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Breakfast here, including Istrian sausage, trout caviar, truffle cheese and olive tapenade, should not be missed.

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Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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Courtesy of Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico / Expedia

Set along a quiet lane in Rovinj’s pedestrian-only old town, Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico is removed enough from the tourist hubbub to feel private yet makes the perfect base for exploring. The white-washed townhouse boasts just seven rooms, each with a rustic-contemporary vibe – exposed stone walls contrast the deep green velvet furnishings and gold-plated fixtures. When parched, head to the lounge bar for your pick of Croatian, Slovenian and Italian wines.

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The Melegran

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
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Courtesy of The Melegran / Expedia

In the heart of Rovinj’s old town, down one of its charming cobblestone lanes, The Melegran hides a vibrant haven behind its stone wall facade. Rooms across the four floors are individually designed – each with colourful wallpaper, textured bedheads and fun gadgets like an Olivetti typewriter. If you can, opt for the two-bed Luxe Suite in a neighbouring building for a kitchenette and private terrace overlooking the orange rooftops.

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La Loggia Diffused Hotel

Hotel
Map View
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Courtesy of La Loggia Diffused Hotel / Expedia

In the pastel-hued hilltop town of Labin, La Loggia Hotel is a stylish bar with rooms. Set just on the main square, when you’re not sipping on one of its signature cocktails or listening to the live music (local guitar, piano and jazz players appear each weekend), the rooms offer marble-clad bathrooms, brass fixtures and glorious forest and sea views.

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  • San Servolo Resort & Beer Spa

    Resort, Spa Hotel, Hotel
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    Courtesy of San Servolo Resort & Beer Spa / Expedia | Courtesy of San Servolo Resort & Beer Spa / Expedia

    If beer is your drink of choice, the San Servolo Resort & Beer Spa (set on the site of the San Servolo craft brewery) should be added to your bucket list ASAP. Croatia’s first and only beer spa, book in for the full experience with two deep tubs filled with beer hops. If you fancy a beer while in the bath, all you need to do is fill your pint from the in-room taps. Top off the experience with a dip in the spa’s (water-filled) pool and relax in the Finnish and Turkish saunas.

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    Boutique Hotel Valsabbion

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Hotel Valsabbion / Expedia

    In a quiet part of Pula, perched above the beautiful Pješčana Uvala beach, Boutique Hotel Valsabbion is a sleek, family-run hotel. Each of the 11 rooms have large windows making the most of its views – but book the penthouse, if you can, for a private pool set under a retractable roof. Sandra, one half of the pair of sisters who run the hotel, is a licensed dermatologist and offers treatments at the ground floor medical spa, for those inclined.

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    Palazzo Angelica

    Hotel, Villa
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    Courtesy of Palazzo Angelica Adults Only / Expedia

    It’s hard to find a more picturesque idyll than adults-only Palazzo Angelica. Set in the hilltop town of Oprtalj, with sprawling views across lush pine forests, this pink-hued Italian-style villa houses just six sun-soaked rooms. With four-poster beds, the rooms are deeply romantic but reserve room five if you can – it’s balcony paints a wonderful view of the old town. A dip in the outdoor pool is best for when you want to take in the pine-filled views, and there’s a small spa in the basement to completely unwind.

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    Draga di Lovrana

    Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Hotel Draga di Lovrana / Expedia
    Set amid lush hills in the Učka Nature Park, this hotel overlooks the popular Medveja Beach and the islands of Krk and Cres. Upstairs, you’ll find air-conditioned rooms with queen-sized beds. Alternatively, book one of the apartments with a full kitchen and fireplace, especially good for larger groups. The restaurant serves up gastronomic delights, artfully displayed by well-known Croatian chef Zdravko Tomšić. Opt for the tasting menu to experience the full works.
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    Meneghetti

    Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Meneghetti Wine Hotel and Winery / Expedia
    Spread among vineyards and olive groves, this luxurious wine hotel and restaurant is heaven for foodies. Meneghetti is not only known for its rustic aesthetic, mixed with modern amenities and elegant decoration, but for the views it offers. Don’t miss the chance to sample some exceptional Mediterranean creations and top off your gastronomic experience with a glass of Meneghetti wine.

    This is an updated version of an article originally written by Maria Menegaki.

    These recommendations were updated on January 13, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.