The Imperial Dubrovnik

The Imperial Dubrovnik

When one thinks of the traditional family holiday, scenes of all singing, all dancing entertainment teams, manic kids clubs and over-crowded swimming pools come to mind; a daunting and rather scary prospect for any new parents who haven’t quite let go of their adult-centric past lives.

In this issue I go on a journey with Hilton to discover, together with my chirpy 11 month year old daughter and willing husband, the enchanting city of Dubrovnik and their baby and adult-friendly hotel, The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. This is a destination where couples can escape to for calm but adventure-filled precious family times away, before they have to give in to the imminent world of kids clubs that lies ahead.

The Croatian city of Dubrovnik is located in the region of Dalmatia on the Adriatic Sea and is not only one of the most prominent destinations in the Europe, but also a treasured member of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. George Bernard Shaw said of this city, “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik”, as well as, famously, describing it as “the pearl of the Adriatic”. Visitors of the majestic destination never fail to return with tales of unrivalled beauty and movie set magical adventures and the most aesthetically dazzling of Game of Thrones scenes were filmed within the Old Town walls. However, to truly understand what the hype is all about, you have to see it all with your own eyes.

Where to stay

The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik

Officially regarded as springboard of modern tourism in Dubrovnik, the landmark Hotel Imperial Dubrovnik was constructed in 1895. This magnificent hotel is located on the doorstep of Dubrovnik’s Old Town and only meters from the historic Pile Gate, so you can explore the fortified walls and all the treasures that lie within them with ease. Thanks to the hotels raised prime location, Hilton offer stunning views over the medieval Old Town and Adriatic Sea and accommodation that is just a short walk away from the exclusive Banje Beach. Dubrovnik Cilipi International Airport is only 14 miles away and so transfers are short, fuss-free and relatively inexpensive.

The hotel offers a perfect blend of late 19th century charm with the latest technology, mixing old-world warmth and heritage colours with cool wooden and marble décor.

From the moment you step foot in to the hotel, you are greeted with the utmost professionalism by staff. The superior training Hilton offers their staff is very apparent. Traveling with a baby can be a potentially stressful scenario and so it was incredibly settling to be welcomed with a smile, offered as much help as we required with luggage and a swift yet informative check-in process.

If the lobby area and staff aren’t impressive enough, the guest rooms themselves are truly spectacular. Our Executive Room was palatial with high ceilings, double aspect windows and possibly the largest double bed I have ever come across. My little princess had her own luxury wooden carved cot bed and ample room to play in this baby-friendly setting.   The bright and airy guest rooms offered picturesque views of the city and the azure Adriatic Sea and featured a romantic balcony, which served as a perfect retreat for my husband, together with a bottle of Croatian wine, when little one had retired for the evening.

The room featured Mediterranean decor and an impressively regal and spacious marble bathroom. Guests staying in an executive room or a suite can enjoy free high speed Wi-Fi, exclusive access to the Executive Lounge. Here, you can savour a breakfast and help yourself to complimentary drinks and canapés throughout the day.

The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik offers young families all the amenities required to ensure every comfort is right there on their doorstep; such a reassurance when away from home. The little tadpoles can let off some energy in the luxurious indoor pool with domed glass ceiling, whilst (if the little boss allows), precious adult time can be spent at the hotel Spa. Treat yourself to restoring massage treatments and/or training with a personal instructor. Enjoy total refreshment and relaxation performed with expertise. The health club’s prestigious and dedicated team has over 20 years of experience in providing skilled, professional VIP treatments with a personalized approach.

The hotel offers an excellent concierge service, providing guests with information on local amenities, day trips and tours. With so very many options available, and so many tour operators dotted throughout the city giving visitors the hard-sell, it’s great to hear non-pushy and unbiased advice.

Where to dine

Porat Restaurant

Breakfast at the Hotel Imperial Dubrovnik is taken in the main ‘Porat’ restaurant which offers both inside and outside seating on a sun-filled secluded terrace. Every taste is catered for, with a plethora of Continental, British and American fare available. Kids are sure to be delighted with the American Pancakes, whilst there are more sensible fruits and cereals offered, together with a hearty Full English for the Brits. An extensive Room Service menu is also available should you wish to dine out on your scenic balcony or in room.

By night, The Porat Restaurant and Terrace comes alive with exquisite food and hospitality until 11pm. Savour delicious Mediterranean cuisine with a contemporary twist from the seasonally inspired menu, developed by their Executive Chef, Serdal Altun. All the dishes are created using ingredients sourced from the very best local produce and the menus are complemented by a specially selected list of Croatian and international wines.

We joined the fun of the Friday speciality night which offered a delicious BBQ beneath the stars, however there is also unlimited Mediterranean fare available on Mondays and on Wednesdays they offer a Dalmatian cuisine buffet.

After dinner, as our little holiday maker snoozed in her buggy, we were lucky enough to enjoy cocktails in the sophisticated surroundings of The Lounge Bar (especially the dedicated Pommery Champagne Bar!) or the Lobby Bar out on the Terrace.

Nautika Restaurant

If on occasion you want to venture further afield, then only a hop skip and a jump away from the hotel is the Nautika Restaurant, housed in the former Dubrovnik School of Maritime Studies. This must-visit restaurant lies on the very edge of the sea at Pile, alongside the western entrance to Dubrovnik’s Old City. From its unique terraces, diners can enjoy a truly one of a kind view of the Adriatic and the fortresses of Lovrijenac and Bokar. The restaurant’s chef, Mario Bunda, leads a team whose varied offerings include lobster from the Dalmatian island of Vis and delicacies from the local waters of the Adriatic.

Panorama Restaurant & Bar

Reachable by cable car, and located on the celebrated hill of Srđ, Panorama Restaurant & Bar is the ultimate spot for rich Mediterranean cuisine at an altitude that offers a spectacular view of the Old City, the island of Lokrum, the bay of Lapad and the Elaphite Islands.

Where to visit

Despite the perceived huge amount of steps, it’s actually very easy to walk in and around Dubrovnik’s Old Town with a pram and even easier to navigate around it. There are several routes that can be taken that are sloped and its compact size ensures that you can get from one gate to another in no time at all and. However, with so many fascinating sites to see and explore, the Old Town will keep you occupied for a number of days.

Must-see attractions include the Dubrovnik Old Town Walls, originally constructed in the 10th century and fortified considerably in 1453 and Pile Gate, the traditional entrance to the Old Town containing a statue of St Blaise, Dubrovnik’s patron saint.

The magnificent cathedral in Dubrovnik dates from 1673 and designed by Roman architect Andrea Buffalini to replace the original 12th century cathedral which was destroyed by the earthquake. The cathedral includes an Assumption Of Our Lady/The Virgin painting/polyptych that has been assumed to have been painted by Titian and the Treasury of the cathedral is home to the skull of St Blaise which has been encased in a jewel-encrusted crown.

The Old Town Harbour is lined with picturesque dining and drinking spots and plays host to traditional and modern seafaring vessels, including a magnificent replica of a traditional Karaka ship from the era of the Republic of Dubrovnik.

The top of any bucket-list for Dubrovnik must be a ride on the Dubrovnik Cable Car. It is one of Dubrovnik’s famed attractions used to be its cable car – built in 1969 – which rose up to the top of Mount Srd above the city, giving visitors a chance to take in some (even more) spectacular views of the Old Town and the shoreline. As well as the Panorama Restaurant and Bar, Museum of the Croatian War of Independence can also be found in this must-visit location.

Rooms at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik start from €119 (£104) per night based on two adults and a child sharing. Visit Phone 08705 909 090. Book direct for the best rates and join Hilton HHonors for access to special deals and free WiFi –

Photography of Dubrovnik courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board.


Image credit:  (c) 2016 Hilton Hotels & Resorts