Hotel Balatura

Tribalj, Kvarner Gulf, Istria & Kvarner, Croatia Book from Book from £61 per night

A small, friendly, family-run hotel with bohemian décor, in a peaceful village between the sea and mountains
In the sleepy Kvarner village of Tribalj, backed by the karst hills of the Vinodol valley, and 6km inland from the seaside resort of Crikvenica, lies Balatura. The 300-year-old traditional stone farmhouse has belonged to the Godec family for several generations, but it was only in 2008 that it opened as a hotel, after 2 years of careful renovations with the help of conservation specialists.

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.

Highs

  • 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

Lows

  • 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

For many people, the best periods to come are during shoulder season (May-June or September-October) when the coastal resorts are not too crowded, the sea warm enough to swim, and the weather ideal for hiking. During high-season (July-August), Crikvenica is very hot and overrun with tourists, while in low season (November-April) most local tourist facilities are closed, though skiing is possible in the mountains of Gorski Kotar.

Our top tips

Stay at least 4 full days, to have time to explore both the coast and the mountains. Pack your bathing suit, hiking boots, sun cream, books, and casual clothes.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity: Cres

Activities

  • 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
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Paragliding
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Swimming
  • Yoga

Kids

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 equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs are available.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly: Baska © Zavijavah

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

We really enjoyed our stay in Hotel Balatura. Especially the silence in the Hotel was amazing and relaxing. Such a nice and calming atmosphere. The food is outstanding! Only the mosquitos were a bit disturbing to me. But it seems like I'm a magnet to them!

10/10,

Anne-Kathrin at Hotel Balatura was incredibly hospitable - we arrived very, very late at night after a long drive from Zadar and she had arranged food for us - we were expecting something quite simple but got an amazing 3-course meal with wonderful service. We did not get to stay very long, as we were on our way to Italy, but our room was bright and cheery and the breakfast was superb. I wish we had more time to spend at this lovely guesthouse. It was beautiful and they went out of their way to make us comfortable and happily fed.

10/10,

My sister, brother in law and myself had a wonderful time at Balatura; the hotel is amazing. The rooms are very pretty and cozy; the staff and the host very friendly and the breakfast is great and healthy! All in all, the overall experience was above my expectations and I look forward to going back! Also, the host recommended us to have lunch at a wonderful restaurant in town: Burin. Highly recommended!

10/10,

The beauty of the place is as much the people who run it but the building is very attractive and with the enclosed courtyard, a lovely place to have breakfast. Our room was a comfortable size and having a balcony was a plus, especially as the room with its small stone windows was a little dark. This was the main drawback. The four days we were there the temperature was unseasonably high with night time temperatures remaining around 30C. The breeze that was there did not penetrate the room but we were provided with a fan. The breakfasts were really enjoyable social occasions. Dinner too. As someone who likes vegetarian food this is a pleasure.
Service is what makes the hotel really special; all of the family were so nice, so cheerful and so willing to help. I am gluten and lactose sensitive. Mention it once and immediately they will do everything to try and make sure there are suitable ingredients available. And if you need any advice about the best places to go and what to see, both Goran and Katia are there to help and the advice was always good. In fact, the family made one feel more like family or friends of the family, not as simple hotel guests. To me the price was very reasonable. The dinner price is on the higher end compared with other restaurants but not excessive. I would certainly like to be able to return sometime in the next few years. Other tips: Volosko is a must place to visit. The fish restaurants are good. We enjoyed a simple meal at the Ribarnica Volosko. The Nada at Vrbnik was excellent too, a more upper class place. Book in advance with Goran's help and try the scampi when in season, fantastic! And make sure you try the wine. We enjoyed the Barrique Zlahtina, which has a hint of unique dark bitterness behind the sweet smooth white wine, very interesting.

9/10,

A serene and delightfully decorated B&B. We had a great visit there, but the food was awful.

8/10,

The Rooms and the breakfast were both perfect. Also the very nice service and the wonderful place. We would recomend to everyone who likes a chilled atmosphere, nice people, good food and a quiet place.

10/10,

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Rates for Hotel Balatura