La Villa

Lopud Island, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Book from Eur71

Reviewed by Jane Foster
A homely, 16th-century seaside villa on a tiny car-free island, an hour's ferry ride from the walled city of Dubrovnik
Scattered in turquoise seas off Dubrovnik, Lopud is one of the largest of the gorgeous, green Elafiti islands. The only settlement unfolds as you enter a deep bay, guarded by a small Gothic-Renaissance chapel. With just 220 inhabitants and no cars, this village of stone cottages, towering palm trees and an abandoned Franciscan monastery was once a summer bolthole for Dubrovnik aristocrats.

Today, it appeals to young professionals who want a back-to-nature escape among some of the loveliest seascapes in the world. And where better than this 16th-century stone villa, set in smart gardens right by the sea? Above the ground-floor lounge, with its library and internet corner, are 8 spacious, white-washed rooms, stylishly furnished with wicker chaise-longues and splashes of colour from Indian cotton bedcovers and brightly mosaic'd bathrooms. From the seafront, a path leads across the island through herb-scented Mediterranean vegetation to one of Croatia’s rare sand beaches set in a blissful bay. Hosts Dobrila and Mischel are warm and friendly and will help you arrange anything from bike hire to sea kayaking; their new speedboat, skippered by Mischel (who is also a keen diver) will whisk you in minutes to Sunj beach, Sipan island or the sea-washed lighthouse on St. Andrija.

Highs

  • Lopud is a beautiful, tranquil and car-free island with some of Croatia's loveliest sandy beaches, including Sunj, a 20-minute walk from the hotel
  • Great food in the restaurant, and its outdoor terrace has fantastic views
  • Lovely laid-back staff
  • Stunning walks all over the island, perfect for exploring
  • Splendid Dubrovnik is just an hour by ferry - perfect for a day of culture

Lows

  • If you’re after the full range of creature comforts, this one isn’t for you
  • A large hotel at the far end of the bay spoils the view somewhat, and they sometimes play loud music at night
  • The island has little by way of nightlife or shopping - which, some would say, is ideal
  • Croatia is expensive and you may find the transfers, food and drink a little pricey

Best time to go

For a peaceful break, visit May-June or September-October, when it's pleasantly warm and sunny but not too crowded. Note that Dalmatia gets dreadfully busy through high season (July-August). That said, if you go between mid-July and late-August you’ll catch the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

Our top tips

We loved picnic-ing in the 16th-century Renaissance gardens of Trsteno Arboretum, 24 km northwest of Dubrovnik

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 8
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Dec 2015 - 31 Mar 2016
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Excursions
Room:

Rooms

All 8 rooms are light, spacious, and cool throughout the summer thanks to the old building’s thick stone walls (with a bit of help from the A/C). Set against whitewashed walls are boldly coloured bedspreads, cushions and curtains, which give each room its name. Furnishings are tasteful and minimalist (Ikea-fans will recognise some pieces...), with large comfy beds, sinuous wicker chaises-longues and Indian cotton fabrics. There's a minibar, safe and hairdryer, but you won't find telephone or television - after all, you're here to escape the turmoil of modern life. Rooms are technically categorised as standard and superior (4 or each), but they are all different and full of character, the only real difference is the amount of space (both indoors and out) and quality of the views you get.

Our favourite rooms are Blue and Green, both of which are on the first floor with sea views, plus Blue has the added luxury of a private terrace. Pink and Lilac also look onto the water, and are located on the second floor, but they lack the better views as the windows are rather high. Red, Yellow and Navy Blue all look onto the back garden, making them slightly more peaceful and maybe a little cooler as they do not catch the evening sun. Orange has a small private terrace in the garden.

Families with little ones should opt for Blue, Green, Orange and Red - the superior rooms - as they are more spacious. Green has an additional sofabed which would suit a couple with a child, while Blue and Lilac are ideal for larger families as they have a separate little room with 2 single beds for 2 children.

Vivid bathrooms are decorated from floor to ceiling with tiny Italian mosaic tiles, broken up by a big mirror and cool bowl-shaped basins. They all have showers, apart from Red, which has a large built-in bathtub.

Features include:

  • Terrace
  • Safe box
  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar
  • Hairdryer

Eating

Breakfast is served in the front garden at a long table beneath a vine-covered terrace overlooking the sea. The pace is leisurely, with guests welcome from 8.30 to 10.30am. If everyone arrives at the same time, they share the same table, which makes for a friendly atmosphere. Expect fruit juice, yoghurt and muesli, platters of cheese and salami, eggs, bread and butter and a selection of jams, marmalade, honey and nutella, plus tea or coffee.

La Villa's restaurant uses home grown vegetables and herbs from the garden. Expect fresh roast vegetable alongside, huge, grilled fish - fresh from the sea, lobster spaghetti, seafood risotto and steak, served with platters of local meats and cheeses. The terrace is an ideal dinner spot as you can overlook the bay, glass of Croatian wine in hand, and watch as the sun dips over the horizon.

Lopud also has some half-dozen eateries to choose from. If you plan a lazy day bathing on Sunj, there’s a rustic beach bar doing sandwiches and barbecued snacks for lunch. If you decide to go out for dinner, the most memorable venue is Peggy's, up on a hill above the harbour, with a fine view of the floodlit church belltower over Lopud’s terracotta rooftops. Take an outdoor table and watch the owner-chef prepare freshly caught fish on the open fire, then round off with a shot of homemade rakija (a potent Croatian spirit). Down on the seafront, Obala is slightly more formal, with a waterside terrace and occasional live Dalmatian music.

Features include:

  • Restaurant
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Communal dining
  • Minibar
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Following a signed footpath, walk 20 minutes across the island, passing through dense, herb-scented vegetation, to arrive at Sunj beach (pronounced Shunj), a 500m stretch of fine sand in a sheltered horseshoe bay with warm shallow water, sun beds and umbrellas for hire, and a ‘clothing optional’ approach

  • Explore the ruins of medieval churches and the 15th century Franciscan monastery with its cloister and defensive walls

  • Try snorkelling in some of the island’s secluded rocky coves to discover the Adriatic’s fascinating underwater life; or Mischel can arrange guided diving excursions with a centre in Dubrovnik (as a trained instructor, he knows his stuff)

  • Pop across to neighbouring Sipan, rent a bike and cycle the length of the island (5km) from Sipanska Luka to Sudjuradj, passing through Sipansko Polje, a fertile interior valley planted with olive trees and grape vines

  • Go sea kayaking, taking part on an organised tour around the Elafiti islands

  • Play tennis on nearby courts, floodlit at night

  • Book the villa's 6.4-metre speedboat and whizz round to Sunj beach, across to Sipan island, or down to Dubrovnik or Ston; it seats 6, so perfect if you come as a family or can find another couple to share the cost with

  • Or rent a sailing boat and explore the surrounding islands; Kolocep and Sipan are just a couple of miles away, easily manageable in a day-trip

  • Don't miss the island of Mljet, about 5 nautical miles further west: its western third is a national park with dense pine forests and two interconnecting lakes, one with an island

  • Allow at least one day to explore the beautiful medieval walled city of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO world heritage site and undoubtedly Croatia’s most fashionable destination: walk a circuit of the city walls, check out the City Museum inside the 15th-century Bishop’s Palace and see the latest photography exhibition at War Photo Ltd gallery

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Kids activities nearby
  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • History religious
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis

Kids

La Villa is ideal for children; the beach is just a few steps away from your doorstep. Babies and children in baby cots and extra beds are charged a supplement - see Rates.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Blue and Lilac are ideal for larger families as they have a separate bedroom with 2 single beds for children. Green has an additional sofabed which would suit a couple with a child. All rooms can fit a babycot.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request.

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

Kids Activities on site:


  • There's a beach right on your doorstep

Kids Activities nearby:


  • Day trips to other islands from Lopud (such as Kolocep and Sipan)
  • The popular beach, Sunj, is a short trip away

Kid Friendly: Lilac Room

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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