Istria Design Villa

Zamask, Istria & Kvarner, Croatia Book from Book from £441 per night

Contemporary villa with minimalist interiors, a dreamy infinity pool and spectacular views over inland Istria (sleeps 2-7)
On a hillside, in the sleepy rural hamlet of Zamask (population 19), stands this slick luxury villa, designed by Pula-based studio Fabrika. This was once the border between Venetian and Austro-Hungarian territories: a customs house stood here, and some of its original stonework has been incorporated into the new building. Ideal for guests who want total privacy, the villa sits in 5 hectares of private land (including 300 olive trees) and turns its back on the hamlet, while the front facade, almost totally glass, looks down onto the River Mirna valley - so while you can see out for miles, no one else can see in.

Wrapped in concrete, glass and oak, the sleek minimalist interiors are tastefully furnished with modern Danish design pieces. Upstairs are 3 ensuite bedrooms with breathtaking views; down below, the open-plan living space houses a sleek kitchen, 3-sided fireplace and big L-shaped sofa for lazy evenings. And if you're feeling really lazy, the villa manager can deliver food supplies or even homemade meals for you, so you can just stay put, hidden from the world, for days on end.

Highs

  • Slick contemporary design, with high-quality materials and careful attention to detail
  • The heavenly infinity pool; we relaxed by it for hours rather than heading to crowded beaches on the coast
  • Good value for a larger family, multi-generational holiday or a group of friends (and rates include daily cleaning!)
  • Istria is a haven for foodies, with delicious local seasonal produce, and quality wines and olive oil
  • Bikes to borrow: explore undulating green hills and freshwater lakes

Lows

  • No twin bedrooms and no bathtubs, though the walk-in rain showers are super
  • Remote - the nearest shops and restaurants are 9km away in Motovun, so stock up on groceries on your way here
  • And if you want glitzy nightlife, you'll have to drive over to Rovinj, Poreč or Novigrad on the coast
  • Note the 7-night minimum stay during summer months (Saturday changeovers)
  • Be aware you'll have to pay a security deposit in Cash on arrival

Best time to go

Thanks to its isolated rural location, the villa makes a wonderful escape at any time of year - views over the valley are dramatic in all weather conditions. If you want to enjoy the pool and late-night suppers below the stars, come in summer. For an active holiday, spring and autumn are better. Autumn is also the ideal season for gourmets, as Istria hosts various food festivals and the grape and olive harvests are in full swing.

Our top tips

Inland Istria is famed for its pungent truffles, found in the oak forests of the River Mirna valley - it was here that restaurateur Giancarlo Zigante found a truffle weighing 1.31kg in 1999, thus earning a place in the Guinness Book of Records (since usurped). Every autumn, local towns and villages, including Livade, Motovun and Buzet, host truffle festivals, where you can sample Istrian specialities, based on truffles.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Villa
  • 3 bedrooms
  • Self-catering; meals on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
  • English-speaking caretaker
Room:

Rooms

There are 3 double bedrooms on the 1st floor, each with a picture window giving fantastic views down onto the hills. You'll find oak wood floors, earthy coloured fabrics, built-in wardrobes with mirrored doors, wall-mounted TVs, designer armchairs and rough concrete ceilings. Spacious ensuite bathrooms have walk-in rain showers, a hoard of fluffy towels, slippers, Hydro Spa toiletries, even candles.

The master bedroom is a little larger than the others, and has the added luxury of a private covered terrace with table and chairs, and picture windows looking across the valley. In bedrooms 2 and 3, the beds are positioned so you literally awake with the valley at your feet.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbecue
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Satellite TV
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

On the ground floor, the open-plan living space includes a slick kitchen area, with a free-standing counter and espresso coffee machine. It's a joy to cook here, looking out to mesmerising views over the surrounding countryside as you toil; diners have the same dramatic vista from the long wooden table (seating 8). Sliding glass doors open onto a terrace shaded by awnings, where another table awaits for alfresco meals. The grounds include a barbecue, and a vegetable garden and orchard - you're welcome to pick fresh produce for cooking.

The nearest shops are in Motovun, 9km away. On request, the villa manager can deliver freshly-baked bread and free-range eggs each morning, as well as homemade local dishes for lunches and dinners (pasta with truffles, local chicken with wild asparagus, that sort of thing). Or you can book a gourmet chef.

For eating out, in nearby Livade (9km), upmarket Zigante specialises in truffle dishes - we loved their divine homemade tagliatelli with butter, sliced white truffle and parmesan. In Beram, Vela Vrata is a rustic tavern serving traditional local dishes, while in Čerovlje, Peron Dva does Istrian food with a contemporary twist.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
  • Basic supplies
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Try truffle hunting with the villa manager and his dogs - white truffles in autumn only, black truffles all year
  • Go wine tasting at Benvenuti winery in Kaldir, near Motovun - we were impressed by their white Malvazija, several excellent blended reds, and a sweet desert wine
  • Visit the medieval fortified hill-town of Grožnjan, declared a Town of Artists in 1965; you'll find lots of small galleries and ateliers
  • Borrow bikes to explore the surrounding hills, or cycle a stretch of the Parenzana, a disused railway line, which originally ran from Poreč to Trieste
  • Don't miss the lovely seaside town of Rovinj (50km), with its highly-regarded seafood restaurants, pebble beaches and romantic cocktail bars
  • Children will love Istralandia aqua park, between Nov Vas and Novigrad

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Cycling
    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Truffle hunting
    • Wine tasting

Kids

Ideal for families, especially those with older kids or babes in arms. Kids will love the spacious garden and heated pool, as well as local hiking and cycling trips, and a possible visit to the seaside. The kitchen is well-equipped for self-catering.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

An extra bed and baby cot are available to borrow (max occupancy 7), and can be set up in any of the bedrooms

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot
  • High chair

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

Kids Activities on site:

Heated pool and bikes to borrow

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Hill towns
  • Istralandia Aquapark (20 minutes drive)
  • Beaches at Porec and Novigrad (20 minutes drive)

Families Should Know:

The pool is not fenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes (Pula)
  • Shops: 15 minutes' drive
  • Emergency medical care: 16km (Pazin)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Istria Design Villa is set in the tiny hillside hamlet of Zamask, overlooking the River Mirna valley in inland Istria, Croatia. It's 9km from Motovun and 15km from Pazin.

By Air:
Fly into Pula (48km), Rijeka (55km) or Ljubljana (160km); click on the links below for a list of airlines. Hire a car from the airport to drive to Zamask.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Croatia

Airports:

  • Pula 48.0 km PUY
  • Rijeka 55.0 km RJK

Other:

  • Beach 35.0 km
  • Shops 9.0 km
  • Restaurant 9.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

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

Perfect, ideal, dream home set up for a family vacation. Lots of room for everyone yet all activities (football game, tv, pool) are within eye/earshot so you feel close. Ever changing landscape, not to mention the 60 million dollar view. The house is furnished in style, quality and thoughtfulness. Elisa the hostess is ever beaming and accommodating. You must have a gourmet dinner at home prepared by private chef Annamaria. It appears secluded but activities are never far away. Rovinj and Pula an hour away, everything else 30 mins or so. The food in Istria is most unexpectedly amazing from truffles and pasta to eye popping seafood, beef carpaccio to Michelin standard meals and so accessibly priced. Needless to say olive oil is outstanding and wine is very good. We could spend time with the family by hanging at the villa one day and exploring the next and had a balanced relaxing yet interesting holiday. Then again.... I never wanted to leave that villa vista.

10/10,

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