Hidden House

Stari Grad, Hvar, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Book from Book from £89 per night

Boho-chic B&B in historic Stari Grad; also available as a self-catering house rental for 10
On the blissfully quiet side of Hvar, the ancient town of Stari Grad centres on a pretty fishing harbour, filled with painted wooden boats. And just one block back from the water's edge, in a traditionally cobbled alley, you'll find this stylish and intimate B&B. Its English hosts, cocktail guru Chris and interior designer Amanda, have a well-established background in hospitality, with former ventures including Blanch House in Brighton and Hidden Bar on Ibiza.

When they purchased this 300-year-old narrow Dalmatian townhouse in 2004, it was semi-derelict. Over a decade of hard work and loving restoration later, it finally grew ready for them to welcome guests. You enter into an open-plan living space, with a slick black kitchen, long wooden dining table, and smart black Chesterfield sofas. Shelves are stacked with books, there's an excellent sound system and 3 splendid cats laze about, adding to the truly homely atmosphere. Upstairs, the 4 guest bedrooms are small but charming, with quirky decor and snazzy bathrooms. Rent the whole house (sleeping 10 in total), and you'll also have the top-floor master bedroom plus a small roof terrace with sensational views.

Highs

  • Just 4 cosy bedrooms plus one large suite, each with eclectic decor, combining antiques and retro design pieces
  • Stari Grad itself - unspoilt and peaceful, with excellent restaurants
  • Chris and Amanda create an unconventional atmosphere that's informal but intimate, refined but fun
  • Fantastic value, and rates include a generous breakfast: fruit, croissants and more
  • Tons to do on Hvar - hiking, cycling, sea swimming and wine tasting

Lows

  • Full pre-payment prior to stay, by Bank Transfer; no credit cards accepted
  • Ensuite bathrooms in the 4 guest rooms have super showers, but no tubs
  • Not for those who want anonymity
  • No outdoor space (unless you rent the owner's suite or the whole house)
  • If you want glitzy nightlife, you'll have to drive over to Hvar Town (20 mins)

Best time to go

If you want an active holiday, hiking and cycling, come in spring or autumn, when the weather should be pleasantly warm and sunny, and all the main attractions open, but without the crowds. The sea is ideal for swimming from June through September. The best months for open-air cultural events are July and August, but this is peak season in Dalmatia, so it does get hot and crowded too.

Our top tips

Stari Grad (meaning Old Town) was first settled by the Ancient Greeks in 384BC. They started cultivating the fertile Stari Grad Plain, dividing it into rectangular plots bordered by dry stone walls. These 'land parcels' remain beautifully preserved and are still used for growing olives and grapes, and Stari Grad Plain is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, it's not easy to decipher - ask about guided tours at the Tourist Office.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
  • Boutique B&B
  • 5
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • Closed: 22 Oct 2018 - 30 Apr 2019
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Open-plan living space (kitchen, dining area, lounge)
Room:

Rooms

The cosy rooms - Adria, Marie, Lina and Silvija - are individually styled, but all have wooden floors, exposed stonewalls, and old-fashioned windows with wooden shutters. You'll find lots of mirrors and an eclectic mix of contemporary art and exotic memorabilia - model elephants, Oriental slippers, that sort of thing. Refreshingly, there are no TVs or DVD players. Bathrooms are extravagantly tiled and have walk-in rain showers, Duravit fittings, fluffy towels and L’Occitane toiletries.

We slept soundly in Lina in a super-comfy kingsize bed, with a goosedown duvet, plump feather pillows, and vintage Deco lighting. We also peeped into Silvija: gorgeous, combining silver wallpaper ('Woods' by Michael Clark, 1959) with floral bed covers.

If you rent the whole house you get use of Chris and Amanda's top-floor bedroom, with its Oriental rugs, white leather sofa and a big-screen projector for film nights. There's an Italian slipper tub in the ensuite bathroom. Steep wooden steps lead up to a small roof terrace with a barbecue and potted herbs, plus dreamy views over the terracotta rooftops. The suite is also available to rent on its own on select weeks of the year - an ideal option if you're after a romantic getaway for two.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The ground-floor living area has a slick kitchen (with tea and coffee to help yourself to) and a long dining table for communal breakfasts. If you stay on a B&B basis, you'll be treated to a generous spread of seasonal fruit, cereals, croissants and pastries, fresh bread and a selection of jams. There's also an espresso machine for proper coffee. If you rent the whole house, the kitchen is yours to self-cater; there are grocery shops nearby.

Hvar Town dominates the travel press, but its restaurants tend to be crowded and over-priced; in contrast, low-profile Stari Grad has several outstanding eateries, with less razzle-dazzle. Jurin Podrum does a creative take on traditional Dalmatian cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh seafood, plus excellent steaks and colourful salads - Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson ate here in 1936. Nearby Konoba Pharia serves traditional local specialities, such as roast lamb and grilled tuna, plus local wine by the carafe, in a centuries-old stone courtyard.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Swim and sunbathe at the town beach, a 10-minute walk from the harbour
  • Lunch at a waterfront restaurant then explore Stari Grad's car-free cobbled alleys, stopping at the 16th-century Tvrdalj (aka Hektorovic House) and Stari Grad Museum, exhibiting finds dating back to the arrival of the Greeks in 384BC
  • Hike to the top of Purkin Kuk hill (signed footpath leading out from town) for fantastic views down onto Stari Grad Plain
  • Hire bicycles and pedal over to the seaside town of Jelsa (10km), calling at Bastijana for wine tasting en route. On the way back, stop for a swim in one of several idyllic coves between Jelsa and Vrboska; Amanda can advise
  • Charter a motorboat or sailing boat (skipper required for those with no sailing experience) and spend a day exploring the Dalmatian islands, jumping on and off board to swim in the turquoise sea
  • Spend a day in Hvar Town (22km / 20-minute drive): there's a 16th-century cathedral, 17th-century municipal theatre, 2 monasteries and a hilltop castle, plus great waterside bars and restaurants

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Hidden House is peaceful, romantic and discreetly sophisticated, making it ideal for couples. Children are welcome, but there are no facilities for them. If you rented the whole house you would have use of a roof terrace.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Lina and Silvija can each fit a baby cot and Sivija has a Scandinavian daybed, which can be made up for a child. A high chair is available for breakfast.

Kid Friendly: Local beach

Location

Hidden House is in the centre of Stari Grad, one block from the harbour, on the north shore of Hvar in Dalmatia. It's 10km from Jelsa and 20 minutes' drive from Hvar Town.

By Air:
Fly to Split (40km away), then catch a seaplane flight to Jelsa with European Coastal Airlines. Alternatively, from Split airport, hire a car or taxi to the port.

By Sea:
From Split, Jadrolinija operates regular ferries (7 daily in summer, journey time 2 hrs) to Stari Grad. In high season there are also near-daily connections to Stari Grad from Pescara and Ancona in Italy.

When you arrive on the island, the owners will meet you in either Stari Grad or Jelsa and lead you to the property so that you don’t have problems finding it first time. You can park for free near the property (on-road).

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

Airports:

  • Split 40.0 km SPL

Other:

  • Beach 2.0 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 13 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Our stay at Hidden House was amazing, everything you could wish for in a unique B&B. The decor and rooms are absolutely beautiful with every little detail considered. Chris’ hosting whilst we were there was fabulous and we loved every recommendation made, particularly hiring a boat to paradise! Amanda was very attentive with all the booking arrangements also. What a place! I would recommend to anyone visiting Hvar for a truly inspiring stay in Stari Grad.

10/10,

We loved our stay at Hidden House. Chris and Amanda are fabulous hosts. We were made to feel so at home, nothing was too much trouble. Would throughly recommend a stay in this beautiful quirky hidden little gem.

10/10,

Chris was a very attentive host; recommending and booking various activities for us. The boat hire was the best - relaxing, with the clearest turquoise sea ever and lots of little coves to explore. Stari Grad is more chilled and much less busy than Hvar Town - a beautiful little oasis of calm and charm.

8/10,

Amanda and Chris are wonderful hosts, helpful and amiable. They make you feel welcome in their home. I would definitely recommend this place to a friend interested in visiting the island of Hvar.

10/10,

All our expectations were excceeded! A fabulous place to stay in one of the most beautiful places. Hidden House is located in the wonderful tiny streets just a few metres from the harbour. The ancient stone streets are just wide enough for a table and chairs to be placed outside restaurants, everyone says hello and makes you feel really at home. An extremely comfortable house and Chris and Amanda also make you feel really at home. They are both very interesting people who have done so much in their lives and this is reflected in the style and interior of the property. Chats over breakfast were something to look forward to every morning. Would not hesitate to recommend staying here!

10/10,

Staying at Hidden House was a real highlight of our holiday to Croatia, largely due to the fun & warm atmosphere created by our hosts Chris and Amanda. Anything we needed be it recommendations, beach mats, cool boxes they supplied, making life so easy for us! Also breakfast was a lovely way to start the day. Also have to mention the beautiful comfortable room and bathroom - I highly recommend staying here as it is a very special place.

10/10,

Chris and Amanda are lovely people and were perfect hosts throughout our stay.

10/10,

Staff are incredibly helpful and friendly. Offer as much advice as you need regarding local activities and recommendations. Great atmosphere and lovely house.

9/10,

We had a wonderful time. This was our first visit to Croatia and we totally fell in love with Stari Grad and Hidden House. We will be back if only just to sample Chris's amazing cocktails!

9/10,

What a fantastic little place down one of the beautiful cobbled back streets in the centre of Stari Grad, hosted by the wonderful Chris and Amanda. We were very kindly upgraded to a bigger room (Silvya) for most of our 9 night stay, which was a gorgeous room with plenty of space and a lovely walk in bathroom with spacious shower. The last few nights were in room Marie which was just as beautiful, just a little smaller. There is a lounge on the ground floor that guests are invited to use to listen to music or watch a DVD. Breakfast every morning was a spread of fresh bread & pastries, cereals, fruit and freshly squeezed orange juice along with use of the coffee machine and any tea you could want. Chris had an abundance of recommendations for local restaurants & bars, hire companies for boats & cycles and many more things including wine tasting in the next town of Jelsa. It feels like a home away from home having most things you might need to make your holiday just right (beach towels, cool box and ice blocks for boat trips, use of the kitchen refrigerator, sea shoes and snorkels). It really is a special little place made even more special by the warmth and kindness of Chris and Amanda. We love to travel and see new places but Hidden House is definitely somewhere we will be returning to.

10/10,

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