“A small, friendly, family-run hotel with bohemian décor, in a peaceful village between the sea and mountains”
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.
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.
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.
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