Lesic Dimitri Palace

Korcula, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Book from

Reviewed by Jane Foster
Six medieval stone buildings in Korcula’s glorious old town, stunningly converted to slick 21st-century residences (each sleeps 2-7)
In South Dalmatia, the fertile green island of Korcula is known for its emerald coastline and prolific vineyards. It’s also blessed with one of Croatia’s loveliest medieval towns, built on a tiny peninsular protected by Venetian fortifications. It was here, that Michael Unsworth and his Croatian-born wife Maša bought the 18th-century Bishop’s Palace and 5 adjoining tumbledown stone cottages to create a small luxury hotel.

It was a labour of love - 8 years in the making - but worth every penny of the huge investment. Croatian Zora Salopek-Baletic was employed specifically to preserve the beautiful medieval stonework. Alongside her, Thai architect Attayut Piravinich oversaw the interior design, opting for daring quirks. The end result is a fabulously stylish and playful 'apart-hotel' with 5 residences, which range from 1 to 3 bedrooms each. Each is named after, and inspired by, a region from Marco Polo’s historic journey along the Silk Routes. Some say Polo originated from Korcula, which was under the Republic of Venice at that time; whether that's true or not, there's no doubt that this palace is a fitting tribute to his wonderfully exotic life.

Highs

  • Unbeatable location at the heart of Korcula’s pedestrianised old town (a 'mini Dubrovnik')
  • Ultra-chic interior design - rare in Croatia - with some stunning bespoke pieces of art and furniture
  • Spoiling food and an exception wine list are on offer in the LD Restaurant, as are views across the Peljesac channel and the Korčula archipelago
  • The residences are truly palatial: all but one are over 100sq.m. and unlike most apartments, there's a concierge service on tap

Lows

  • Very expensive by Croatian standards, especially as you'll want to stay at least 3 nights to make it worth it - but it's a true one-off
  • There's no pool - but you can jump in a taxi-boat to pebbly beaches
  • Korcula’s tiny Old Town gets incredibly busy in high season
  • If you're driving, you have to park outside the Old Town, then carry your luggage about 100m to the residences (hotel staff will help if necessary)

Best time to go

For many people, the best periods to come are during the spring and autumn when Korcula’s Old Town is not too crowded, the sea warm enough to swim, and the weather sunny but not too hot. During the summer, Korcula is overrun with tourists and prices rise accordingly, while in the winter most tourist facilities close down completely.

Our top tips

Try scuba diving: the Dupin Dive Centre offer instruction and diving trips for all levels, with nearby sites including wrecks, rocky reefs and sea caverns.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 5 residences (sleeping 2-9)
  • Self-catering + restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 8 Dec 2016 - 31 Mar 2017
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Wine tastings
  • Tours and excursions
Room:

Rooms

There are 5 residences, each named after a region on Marco Polo's travels and done up in a suitably exotic style. Medieval stone lintels and wooden beamed ceilings are played off against slick modern furniture and the odd touch of kitsch-baroque. Daring features such as open-plan bedrooms with free-standing bathtubs add a unique edge. The result is stylish, eclectic, amusing, sensuous - and palatial in size.

Starting at the top, below a pitched roof dressed in white canvas, is Arabia (sleeps 2), a big open-plan residence where we were lucky enough to stay. The space was big and airy, with windows in 3 directions and a stylish living/dining area. We adored the large double bed and free-standing bathtub with its collection of lavish toiletries. Exploring the kitchen was a pleasure in itself, and the eye for detail was impeccable. We'd definitely recommend this one for couples after a honeymoon bolthole.

China (sleeps 4) is a soothing study in black, white and gold, plus it offers a big balcony with views across the sea to Pelješac peninsular. Second-floor Venice (sleeps 6) was our favourite of the larger residences. Its long white dining table with oversized chairs creates an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ atmosphere, while the small but ornately carved wooden balcony (the ‘birdcage’) is a lovely spot to perch with a glass of wine. On the ground floor are 2 residences (India and Ceylon) which we found a little dark, though with their stone floors, they would be lovely and cool in high summer.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

One of the luxuries of staying here is that you can mix and match self-catering with dining out, depending on how the spirit takes you!

But for breakfast, you won't need to lift a finger: it's served on the LD Restaurant’s terrace, with outdoor tables lining the seafront promenade. We felt a little exposed to passers-by, so you might prefer to have it brought to your residence instead. It's a decent spread - fresh croissants and platters of cold meats and cheeses - and for a small supplement you can get cooked options: perhaps poached eggs with Dalmatian pršut, or cinnamon French.

Fresh seafood features heavily on the lunch and dinner menus: we loved the sound of sea bass tartare and monkfish rolled in pršut with aromatic sage. Food is created by local chef Toni Erceg, who trained in Norway; he uses seasonal produce that showcases local ingredients. The LD Wine Bar offers a vast selection of Croatian wines, and you can do tastings here too. If you’re after something a little more romantic, ask the hotel to arrange private dining on one of the surrounding islands!

All residences have self-catering facilities - slick kitchens with a fridge, cooker, dishwasher, espresso coffee machine, and a kettle (a range of teas and coffee is provided). Guests can shop for provisions at the nearby Konzum supermarket, and buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the open-air market just outside the Old Town walls. Alternatively, the concierge can arrange for a professional chef to cook for visitors in their residence.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Oven
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Korcula’s pedestrianised Old Town. A cluster of stone houses built on a peninsular protected by medieval walls, it centres on a square with a fine Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral. Just off the square, the supposed old house of Marco Polo is the town’s most visited attraction
  • Take a taxi-boat to secluded pebble beaches on the nearby islets of Mljet, Badija (home to a 15th-century monastery), Vrnik (known for its stone quarries) and Stupe (dedicated to nudism!). But if that all sounds too much effort, there is a decent sandy beach 15 mins' walk away in Luka Korculanska Bay (also called Porto Pedoci or Kalac): its warm, shallow waters attract scores of families in summer
  • Sample local wines - ask the concierge to arrange a trip to Korcula’s top vineyards in the villages of Lumbarda and Smokvica (both noted for their whites) or to Pelješac peninsular (producing some of Croatia’s best reds)
  • Splash out on a private skippered sailing trip aboard one the hotel’s vessels - a slick modern motorboat or an elegant vintage sailing boat. Popular destinations include the islands of Lastovo, Mljet or Hvar
  • Get a massage in the LD Spa. All treatments are influenced by the Silk Road, Thailand and the Mediterranean; there's also a Brazilian therapist who specialises in Ayurveda treatments and runs yoga classes
  • The area is vibrant and exciting, with many more things to see and do - check out a few of our favourites on the destination guide

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Waterskiing
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Children are welcome, though there are no special facilities for kids. All residences are very spacious, so it's easy to fit a baby cot or rollaway bed in, and the kitchen units make things very easy for parents in terms of preparing child meals. Bear in mind there is no lift, so you'll be better off booking a lower-floor residence if you're bringing lots of child paraphernalia. Children aged 0-12 stay for free; there is a small charge for teenagers.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

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