“A small, friendly, family-run hotel with bohemian décor, in a peaceful village between the sea and mountains”
Today, the interior exudes a cosy, arty-intellectual ambiance, with 10 rooms decorated in natural muted colours and furnished with antiques. A leafy courtyard patio opens onto a small raised garden planted with rosemary and lavender, and backed by woodland. Informal, serene and wonderfully off the beaten track, the hotel is small enough for the owners to be able to give their guests personalised service and advice about this underrated corner of Croatia.
- Lying between the coast and the mountains, it makes an ideal base for hiking, paragliding, mountain biking, sailing and scuba diving
- Tasteful, rustic-chic interiors create a laidback, arty atmosphere, with occasional yoga, sculpture and writing courses
- Charming and helpful Croatian-German owners, Gordan and Anne-Kathrin, who give their guests individual attention
- Superb breakfasts in the leafy courtyard, and delicious vegetarian dinners too
- The nearest beaches are in Crikvenica (6km away), and there are no good restaurants within walking distance, meaning you really need to hire a car
- No pool, but there are plans to build one in the future
- No twin bedded rooms, so not great for friends sharing
- Carnivores may be disappointed, the hotel's menus are entirely vegetarian
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant + bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
The 10 double rooms - 6 in the main building and 4 in the stone cottage - are named after local herbs and flowers and decorated in muted tones of the plant’s colour. The look is rustic-chic, with wooden floors and exposed stonework alongside some lovely decorative touches. Expect a double bed with a wrought iron bedstead, antique wooden bedside tables and wardrobes, big comfy armchairs and a small desk. Fine attention is paid to detail: the wall-mounted plasma TV, for example, is cleverly hidden by a big bold oil painting, which can be lifted off if you want to see the screen. Most rooms open directly onto a bathroom, with a mosaic-tile bath and an old stone sink.
The biggest and most expensive rooms are Lavender and Violet (both in the main building). Lovely Lavender extends over two levels with a living room downstairs, an open-plan bedroom-cum-bathroom in the attic space (a clawfoot tub sits below white painted beams), and a pretty roof terrace. Violet has a lofty, wooden beamed ceiling, a white-iron four-poster, a big open fireplace with two vivid purple armchairs and a covered balcony.
We stayed in pastel Rosemary, a standard double, and it was lovely to wake up and wander straight out onto the 'balatura' (original balcony, running along the front of the building). Of the other standard rooms, we liked the pretty hues and covered balcony of Olive, and the fresh yellows and clawfoot tub of Lemon. Two of the smallest rooms, Sage and Laurel, are situated at the back and very peaceful - a great hideaway for artists on a longer stay.
- Central heating
- Extra beds
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
Eating at Balatura is a joy, especially for vegetarians (the menu is entirely meat-free). Guests can choose between sitting at a long communal table in the open-plan kitchen with a big old fireplace, or at separate small tables outside in the leafy back courtyard, looking onto the garden.
Dinner is usually a fixed menu of 3 or 4 vegetarian courses which changes daily, depending on what the chef finds at the local market and what's in season in the garden. Springtime might prompt a starter of eggs and asparagus cream with caramelized wild asparagus. A main of homemade pasta with red cabbage and barbecued celery, followed by a pudding of strawberry strudel with a touch of lavender. All washed down with delicious Vrbnicka Zlahtina (a highly-esteemed white wine from the nearby island of Krk).
Breakfast is a leisurely affair, with a colourful and beautifully arranged buffet spread - lots of fresh fruit, muesli, nuts, local yoghurt, cheeses and freshly baked bread. Tea or coffee is served at your table, and eggs are cooked to order (scrambled, fried or boiled).
The kitchen remains open all day for drinks and snacks, which most people enjoy outdoors in the courtyard garden. Think homemade seasonal fruit juices such as elderberry or nettle, local herbal teas (rosehip is a favourite), a fine selection of Croatian wines, plus platters of cheese, olives and anchovies, and salads.
- Organic produce
- Vegetarian menu
- Relax on local beaches - try Crikvenica ‘town beach’, a long stretch of sand-and-gravel complete with umbrellas and sun beds, or follow the seaside path northwest to Kacjak peninsular or southeast to Selce, for a meandering shoreline with secluded pebble coves, some nudist-friendly
- Hike the mountains of Gorski Kotar behind Tribalj, where clearly marked paths connect a series of 6 belvederes, affording superb views out to sea and down onto the islands of Krk and Cres. In the winter, you can ski
- Take an organised day trip by boat, departing from Crikvenica harbour, to the island of Krk, noted for its long sand beach in Baška and highly regarded wine cellars in Vrbnik
- Experience scuba diving with Oxygene Croatia based in Crikvenica, a full PADI and BSAC centre offering instruction and diving trips for all levels, with nearby sites including wrecks, caverns and abundant underwater life
- Paraglide from the mountainous ridge (770m) behind Tribalj - Gordan is an enthusiastic member of the local paragliding club and can help arrange the flight although you'll need to bring your own paraglider
- Hire a sailing boat and skipper for a day and explore the area’s beaches in the best way possible, from the sea
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Creative writing
- Mountain biking
- Private guided tours
- Scuba diving
- Scuba diving courses
Gordan and Anne-Kathrin welcome children of all ages - they have 5 of their own! - and baby cots and extra beds can be provided, plus there is 1 highchair.
Family friendly accommodation:
Thyme and Rosemary are the ones best suited to an extra bed, though Violet can fit one, too. Lavender is split over 2 floors and has 2 steep stone staircases, so isn't suitable for a young child. Most other rooms can fit a baby cot.
Baby cots and high chairs are available.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Hotel Balatura is located in the village of Tribalj, in the Vinodol valley, 6km inland from Crikvenica, which lies on the coast 30km southeast of Rijeka in Croatia’s Kvarner region.
Ideally, fly to Rijeka Airport (in Omišalj on the island of Krk, which is joined to the mainland by a bridge). Alternatively, you can fly to Trieste in Italy (120km) - but make sure your car hire company allows you to cross into Croatia; or into Zagreb Pleso Airport (200km) and drive the rest of the way. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.
From the Airport
From Rijeka, hire a car and drive 24km down the coast to Crikvenica and then inland to Tribalj; or take a taxi.
If arriving from Central Europe, take an international train to Zagreb then change at the Glavni Kolodvor (Central Station) and take a brzi (fast) train to Rijeka. From here you can take a taxi.
If you plan to stay at Balatura for several days a car is recommended; see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Croatia
- Rijeka / Krk 20.0 km RJK
- Trieste 120.0 km TRS
- Beach 6.0 km
- Shops 6.0 km
- Restaurant 6.0 km