“A romantic seafront hotel and restaurant in a secluded bay, 20 minutes' walk along the coast from the gorgeous town of Hvar”
The hotel is built into a hillside, so the higher the room, the better your views. Rooms are spread between the main hotel and a lodge (which we're yet to see), 15m away, regardless of their location, design and layout are the same. Superior Exclusives, most of which are on the 3rd floor in the main hotel, have huge picture windows opening onto furnished balconies with long sea views - worth nabbing if there's one free (and you can afford it). In the main hotel, Superiors have a sea view and small balcony, while Standard rooms do not have a sea view (though some have side- or rear-facing balconies). We're yet to see the Economy rooms, but these lack balconies and overlook the street; perhaps only best if you're on a budget. In the Lodge (which we're also yet to visit), both the Standard and Superior rooms have a balcony with a partial sea view; Superiors are a little larger, but all Lodge rooms have a sofabed.
After the glazed reception area, the shiny lift and the carpeted corridors, the rooms themselves come as a pleasant surprise. Granted, they are not the height of chic, but they are cool, peaceful and spacious. You get tile floors, cream-coloured walls (and exposed stonework in some), earthy beige, lavender or sea blue fabrics, and simple modern wooden furniture. Comfortable beds are twins or kingsized double (basically twins pushed together); some rooms can take an extra bed, and a few rooms communicate to make family 'suites'. Bathrooms are marble, with shower (you might have to wait for hot water as the tank is small), a vast mirror above the hand basin, and a hairdryer. All rooms have air-con, satellite TV, minibar, phone and WiFi connection (extra charge).
Meals are served in the garden (although there are indoor tables if the weather turns), on a series of terraces looking over the sea. The setting is stunning and especially romantic at night, with tables discreetly placed amid lush plants and subtle lighting. You would never guess there are over 100 settings.
Spring 2011 saw the arrival of a new chef and new menu. For dinner you can expect a fine choice of Italian-style pasta dishes - we particularly enjoyed the green tagliatelle with scampi in a creamy sauce - along with Dalmatian seafood specialities such as škampi na buzaru (shrimps cooked in garlic, white wine and parsley) and crni rižot (risotto made with cuttlefish ink). There are a few Slavonian meat dishes, too (the owner is from this inland region) such as kulen (spicy salami with paprika).
The restaurant (Amo) hosts several special nights: pick from Star Night, when guests are treated to live piano music under the stars, Dalmatian Night, with a menu highlighting the region’s seafood specialities, plus a group singing klapa (Dalmatian plain song), and Wine Tasting night where you can enjoy local grapes with some heady jazz. The Podstine ‘Special Package’ includes a romantic dinner for 2 with a table down by the water’s edge, then transport to town for a night out.
At the bottom of the garden, overlooking the sea, there are 2 small wooden beach bars serving drinks the day through. However, they close quite early (11pm, even in high season) so as to keep the hotel peaceful for guests. In compensation, Podstine offers a minibus shuttle to Hvar Town for late-night drinking and dancing. And of course there are dozens of restaurants in Hvar, including the highly-regarded Macondo for fresh fish and Dalmatian seafood plus delicious homemade deserts, and the imaginative Luna for more unusual dishes such as fillet steak with truffle and mushroom cream sauce.
The breakfast buffet - fresh fruit juice, yoghurt, cereals, platters of cold ham and cheese, sausage and scrambled egg, oven-warm croissants, tea and coffee (instant) - is arranged indoors in the rather characterless dining room, though guests are welcome to take their plates onto the patio. Lunch is also served, though it tends to be quiet, as most guests are on the beach.
Children are welcome; they will love all the water activities. Cots and extra beds are available on request.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
We'd recommend the Superior Exclusive room in the main hotel as it is able to fit an additional bed and a baby cot.