Hidden House

Stari Grad, Hvar, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Book from

Reviewed by Jane Foster
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.


  • Just 4 cosy bedrooms 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 smoothies, homemade croissants and more
  • Tons to do on Hvar - hiking, cycling, sea swimming and wine tasting


  • Full pre-payment prior to stay, by Bank Transfer; no credit cards accepted
  • Ensuite bathrooms have super showers, but no tubs
  • Not for those who want anonymity
  • No outdoor space (unless you rent 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...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 4
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2016 - 31 Mar 2017
  • 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)


The 4 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. Extravagantly tiled bathrooms have walk-in rain showers, Duravit fittings, fluffy towels and Aromatherapy Associates 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.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


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 smoothies, seasonal fruit, cereals, oven-warm homemade croissants, 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


  • 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


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: Lina

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