Visiting hotel enterprise Jadranka Hotels on Lošinj in a posh car turned out to be the right move; insight into exclusive future of the enterprise, touring the island, a splendid ride, fine food and heart-warming hospitality
Rolls-Royce factory called again, only this time offering touring Croatia in their wheels, not on Pelješac as last year, but on a different location. A tough decision. Where to take such classy car fitted only in scenery of natural beauties of Croatia still lacking contents furnishing supreme service. This motif took us to the island of Lošinj, a destination famous for natural beauties, also a promising prime luxury site on the Adriatic. We headed towards Čikat bay and Jadranka Hotels Company having under its umbrella as of last year renovated five star hotel Bellevue, one of the best first-class hotels in Croatia. Just the tip of the iceberg in the new tourism related chain wave on Lošinj – reconstructed exclusive villa Hortensia and boutique hotel Alhambra with villa Augusta. Tourism company Jadranka has never been so much involved in elite tourism, even though the number of overnight stays in their hotels and camps on Lošinj and Cres climbs over a million. Courageous and powerful step up competing with world superior resorts required significant amount of means invested by new enterprise owners planning on investing additional 200 million Euros in the Tourism Renaissance Era. This year the hotel investment value reached over 30 million Euros, a funding equal to annual ACI income. Striking fact is financing of the tourism enterprise respects environment and relies on existing Lošinj status in the world of tourism, which is rather grand.
Tourism has always been flourishing on Lošinj. First origins lead to sailing ships and seafarers, followed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Mild Mediterranean climate, high number of sunshine hours brought reputation of therapeutic island to Lošinj. Mali and Veli Lošinj developed into the oldest and the most notable tourism destination on the Adriatic, first as a favourite winter therapeutic resorts of Austro-Hungarian aristocracy, and then as summer paradise for well-off citizens. The contemporary boutique hotel Alhambra plays important role. A design by Alfred Keller, a renowned Vienna architect, intended for Gabriele Kersten, born as baroness Gregory, back in 1912 served as an example of deluxe and highly equipped hotel at that time providing guests cosy accommodation throughout the entire year. Keller’s project included a bathing spot underneath the hotel, containing arched changing cabins, in winter time serving as shelters for ‘warm sunbaths’. Time passed, owners changed, hotel Alhambra in a hundred years of existence never changed its name, a rarity in the history of hotels. Today Alhambra, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World Group, shall grow into the most brilliant accommodation site on Lošinj, even Croatia, attracting sophisticated clientele accustomed to top personalized service and elegant comfort. Hotel shall contain 36 first-class rooms and 16 suites. Villa Augusta also belongs to the hotel. It was built in 1908 under the name St.Josefsvilla in secession style. The new name Augusta ‘Divine’ certainly matches its facade adorned in ornaments, details and filigree balcony fences with landscaping garden in front. A site where spirit of time perfectly blends with modern cosiness and nonpareil service.
During our visit hotel works were in crescendo phase, and yet villa Hortensia was about to welcome its first guests. It cherishes whole house rental philosophy, furnishes seven suites and one room and symbolizes a matching rival to the distinguished Adriatic villa Sheherezada in Dubrovnik. This splendid villa represents Austro-Hungarian features, surrounded by a mesmerizing garden and outside pool with warm sea water, sundeck and a private beach; guests have a butler and a chef at their disposal. The villa space is open, ethereal and luminous. One of the leading architects in charge of the illumination, Dean Skira, designed a special luminance system adjusted to every corner of this lavish edifice. We were pleased with our accommodation at hotel Bellevue, an experience worth spending a week on Mali Lošinj, and apart from the emphasized luxury we were impressed by heart-warming hospitality. Any time you can turn to their kind staff always eagerly fulfilling your wishes. The admirable hospitality definitely surpasses luxury, a rather tough competition. Complete hotel renovation furnishes classy carefully chosen details including elegant spa clinic with adjacent spa garden, modern relax and fitness zone, spacious indoor and outdoor pool with sea water. The hotel provides new generation of spa services created according to suggestions of doctors, nutritionists and kinesiologists. We were focused more on gastronomy and Jadranka has set new standards in this field. We visited restaurants Borik and Lanterna and confirmed elite tourism is paired up with elite gastro offer. The concept of the offer is still in progress, though looks promising; oil and lamb originate from Cres, well known for these products, so the road took us to Cres and its olive groves (400 hectares under olive trees!), a scene of sheep roaming around fields, grazing freely. At the hotel we enquired about Cres oil, but since the last year’s crop was bad they ran out of it. A rare sincere answer testifying of quality of the served product. Such philosophy refers to organic vegetables grown solely for hotel needs and fresh fish as a natural thing.
Even though Lošinj has just begun with the gastro tale, the starting position looks promising with domineering quality local ingredients including Istrian boškarin (beef) and Dalmatian prosciutto. The tale keeps looking more impressive. Golf fans are familiar with Ernie Els, a designer of the future golf court developed on Matalda area on the south cape of the island Cres near village Punta Križa. This project shall certainly attract elite world enthusiasts of the white sport. Jadranka also plans investing in health tourism, reflecting the spirit of the past when Lošinj enjoyed name of a distinguished winter resort and therapeutic destination. Cres and Lošinj are abundant in various herbal species, some say even more than the British islands, but let ‘s leave this fact to the biologists. Nevertheless, a notable impact on economical health of the island people shall derive from the planned extended airport runaway local community shall also take part in. Pampering relaxation and traffic jam do not go together, so Lošinj Hotels & Villas provide avio-taxi services to their clientele. Aircraft Beechcraft King Air C90B is at disposal to those willing to reach their destination directly from their doorstep, it can seat six passengers, and flights are organized from domestic and foreign airports. Important reconstruction of the local airport and runaway extension to 2000 meters enables landing of numerous passenger aircrafts and launches Lošinj to another dimension where investment in new marina on Mali Lošinj intended for mega yachts has been announced.
Čikat bay offers possibility of anchoring and exploring the lagoon with a view to the church dedicated to Lošinj seafarers – the so called Anunciajata protecting generations of Lošinj people – only this time in a different manner. We finished the route under impression the local people known for maritime affairs and shipbuilding have a bright and colourful future ahead.