Croatia’s most impressive spas make good use of their location, providing either panoramic views of the Adriatic or facials with essential Mediterranean oils and herbs. Many are set in hotels, where a state-of-the-art wellness zone is a prerequisite for any new or recently converted four or five star hotel. Sit back and relax while reading our guide to the best spas and wellness retreats in Croatia.
The Wellness area at the Falkensteiner Spa & Hotel Iadera fills a vast area just over 6,000 square metres in space, partly outdoor and partly panoramic. The Acquapura Spa features a Thalasso pool, a Turkish hammam, a private suite for two, and a pool of desalinated seawater. To wind down between sessions in the brine steam bath or infinity pool, a series of relaxation rooms are equipped with waterbeds, swings and floor-to-ceiling windows giving out onto the wide blue of the Adriatic.
Floor-to-ceiling Adriatic views are the USP of the Hotel Bellevue, built into a sheer side of cliff just outside of Dubrovnik. Its extensive spa and wellness area enjoys the same panoramic vistas, providing high-quality facials for men and women, professional scrubs and holistic treatments; as well as a steam room, Finnish sauna and jacuzzi. The massage menu features hot-stone, fine-spine and anti-stress options for pregnant women.
Backdropped by pine forest and fronted by its own private beach, with stunning views of the Adriatic beyond, the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace has set its spa centre, the Energy Clinic, on the tenth floor for maximal panoramic effect. Two open-air infinity freshwater pools gaze out over the Elafiti Islands while inside, a VIP treatment room, with a jacuzzi, caters to couples. Contemporary cardio equipment facilitates the fitness studio and two jacuzzis complement the steam room and Finnish sauna.
Combining storied elegance with 21st-century amenities, Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik offers treatment packages such as After Plane Spa Comfort and the 100-minute Aroma Cocoon. Fitting for a revered establishment that once accommodated Elizabeth Taylor, there’s a Roman bath to accompany the Finnish sauna, freshwater pool and two jacuzzis. Heated deckchairs add that special touch in the relaxation zone.
Five-star Hotel Monte Mulini has a wellness centre to match its fabulous furnishings and bay-side setting. Luxurious facial treatments such as Deep Cleansing Ocean, with an algae and tea tree mask, and the Golden Luxury Face that regenerates the skin with flakes of 24-carat colloidal gold. Couples are assured intimacy in the Serail Bath, where skin is cleansed with sea-salt and essential oils in a steam sauna. Guests at the neighbouring and equally impressive Hotel Lone are granted access to its saunas, panoramic pool, hydro-massage beds, and chairs in the Sunken Rooms.
A 15-minute boat ride from town, the Island Hotel Istra Rovinj is tranquillity itself. Occupying its own island, this complex of pools and tennis courts features a vast wellness centre divided into zones. The one for face and body treatments contains a stand-up solarium and a Queen’s Bath with hydro-massage jets, aromatherapy and scented candles. Here, massages use Mediterranean herbs, whose aromas also fill the Finnish saunas in the Zen Spa Zone. You can book a personal trainer in the Activ Spa Zone, with its heated pool and Mediterranean Garden for post-treatment relaxation.
Croatia’s best-known thermal resort, Istarske Toplice sits beside an 85-metre high rock whose spring provides the mineral waters used in the complex’s hydrotherapy and thermotherapy treatments. Curative muds are used for the treatments and massages provided by an experienced team of experts. A fitness centre, pools and aroma-steam saunas are further attractions, complemented by the rural setting in the rolling hills of Istria.
Describing itself as a ‘sports and wellness oasis’, the Valamar Diamant Hotel is just that – a huge expanse of pools, whirlpools, spas and saunas just outside Poreč. In the wellness zone you’ll find geysers, waterfalls and counter-current swimming in the warm-water pool, Finnish-crystal saunas, aromatherapy, facials and treatments, including body wraps and massages. To hand are a large outdoor pool with water jets, a tennis centre with 18 courts, plus a diving school.
Inspired by the Mediterranean sea that stretches out from a beachfront location on the Babin Kuk headland outside Dubrovnik, the spa at the Valamar Dubrovnik President features a garden with jacuzzi, infrared sauna, Turkish bath and beauty zone where Man Marine, molten-chocolate and ayurvedic treatments are offered. There’s also ultrasound therapy, hot-stone massages and waxing. All this is complemented by two pools and three beaches.
The Valamar Koralj Romantic Hotel on Krk is all about couples. Think candlelit dinners, four-poster beds and open-air jacuzzis. Massage treatments à deux are imbued with aromatic oils or fragrant candles, the seawater pool is heated and there’s an infrared sauna to complement the Finnish one and steam bath. Afterwards, you can relax on the panoramic sundeck by the pool or skip down a narrow path to Dražica Beach with its sunloungers. Nearby Tomaževo, accessed by canoe, provides secluded nudist bathing.
The underrated town of Rabac on the lesser-visited east coast of Istria has been crying out for a quality hotel with all the trimmings. Such is the Valamar Sanfior, with far more beauty treatments than most. Exotic options include Thai massage with hot herbs, another with gold, and a Cleopatra treatment with milk and honey. In the same complex, the spa centre comprises an infrared sauna, a Turkish bath and a Finnish sauna. An outdoor pool gazes out over the Kvarner Bay, and the heated indoor one also enjoys sea views. The adjoining beach benefits from natural shade from the nearby pine trees.