Opatija is located on the north eastern side of the Istrian peninsula, on the Adriatic coast. Opatija was the most fashionable seaside resort during the Austro-Hungarian Empire and many fine hotels, residences and houses were built there during that period. European royalty also stayed there then, as did famous celebrities such as the dancer Isadora Duncan, and composers Mahler, Puccini and Lehar. These elaborate and ornate buildings still stand today, many hotels, but many still private residences behind huge walls and gates. Opatija has a very different feel to the coastal towns on the western side of the peninsula – there is a real air of wealth and opulence and grandeur here, and we were lucky enough to stay in one such hotel.
Admittedly, when we stayed at Hotel Bristol, it was mid-December, and so not height of the summer season – BUT, Opatija was still busy, and clearly not reliant just on summer tourism, therefore making the cost of our stay even more incredible. We booked the day before we stayed, via Booking.com, having already seen the exterior of the hotel on a previous visit to the town. The cost of a double suite, with private bathroom, bathroom and sea view was just €61 – with breakfast included, so booking it was a no-brainer. There is a small car-park on site (with CCTV), for an additional €12 per night, which we decided to opt for too. However, there is also a public car park, very close to the hotel and certainly when we’ve visited Opatija previously on a Sunday, this car park has been free. Do double check, but if you stay on a Sunday, potentially free overnight parking too.
The hotel is stunning. It is large, but because corridors are wide and ceilings are high, it doesn’t feel oppresive. Huge windows let the light flood in, and marble floors add to the feeling of space and light. Reception (to the rear) is expansive, with a lovely bar area to the front – there is also a spa which we’ll check out next time as we didn’t think to pack our cossies 🙂 As we stayed in December, we also had the benefit of a huge Christmas tree…
Our room was indeed, opulent. A huge bed, floor to ceiling windows and gorgeous drapes, leading out onto a cutesy wrought iron balcony with spotlessly clean white rattan chairs and a table. The en-suite bathroom was also very sizeable with a walk-in shower – and very stylish fittings. Our room was high up on the fourth floor, so we had an amazing sea view and caught the sunset and sunrise.
We even had the privilege of seeing Santa, on a Harley, driving past the hotel…
Breakfast the next morning was probably one of the best we’ve had recently on our travels. The dining room is beautiful – high ceilings, intricates coving and cornices, chandeliers (originals, not tacky reproductions), white linen tablecloths and napkins. And the choice of food was just incredible – breads, meats, cheeses, eggs, salads, pastries, cereals, fruits, smoothies. And the absolute icing on the cake which we spotted as we were leaving – fizz! Yes, fizz at breakfast 😉
Opatija is approximately 12km from the major city of Rijeka (with airport) and once we move to The House, approx 40 minutes drive away. We think this very elegant resort, with real throw-backs to the Austro-Hungarian empire, will become a regular destination for weekends away.
Hotel Bristol, Ulica Maršala Tita 108, 51410 Opatija, Croatia