Nebesa

near Kobarid, Soca Valley, Slovenia Book from Eur216

Reviewed by Liz Simpson
10/10 for staggering views, this mountain retreat offers 4 chic chalets to cosy up in with your partner
Given its location - perched high on a mountain, above the clouds and overlooking everyone else - Nebesa (meaning 'Heaven') is the perfect name for this hotel. You really feel like God of all you survey - and the weather plays itself out in extremes: glorious sunshine one day, magnificent storms the next. To the east are snow-capped mountains; to the west, endless valleys trailing down to the Adriatic Sea. The nearest neighbours are 1km down a steep winding road, and the silence is absolute.

Owners Katja and Bojan stumbled across the flat plateau whilst out for a hike one day; within hours they’d decided to build their home there. This then expanded into an idea for a simple retreat - they didn’t want anything high maintenance; the USP was to be the glorious landscape and relaxed ambiance. The result was 4 wooden ski-style chalets, each sleeping 2 guests, and a L-shaped main building housing a dining room and wellness centre. Glass-walled fronts mean the views are ever present and wild red deer wander through the surrounding meadows. It’s heady stuff.

Highs

  • A perfect place to hole up with a partner and escape the world for a bit. With so few guests, during our 2015 revisit we often had communal areas to ourselves
  • The longer you stay, the cheaper it gets (see Rates)
  • The help-yourself attitude: wine, beers, cheeses, fruit, juices - and it’s all included in your B&B price
  • Owners Katja and Bojan are lovely: welcoming, funny and genuinely concerned that you have the best time possible
  • You’re a short drive from Hisa Franko - arguably the best restaurant in Slovenia

Lows

  • The isolation - you'll need a car to get around and the local town is pretty desolate
  • No restaurant: breakfast and snacks are supplied but dinner will involve you getting in supplies or driving/taxiing 15 minutes to a restaurant
  • You’re at the mercy of the weather; if it rains for days you may feel cooped up and frustrated
  • The chalets are slightly spartan and lack homely warmth, although this is deliberate to keep your focus on the simple pleasures of the great outdoors

Best time to go

The climate is continental with warm summers (75-80F) and cold winters - some of Slovenia's alpine resorts are ski destinations in winter. The heaviest rainfall is in June and September/October, though sudden rainstorms can occur throughout the year, especially up here.

Our top tips

Stay at least 2 nights in order to really unwind and fully appreciate the glorious setting. The longer you stay, the cheaper the rates become, and the Soca Valley offers a whole host of watersports and hiking to keep you amused.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Chalets
  • 4 chalets
  • Breakfast only (+ drive to restaurants)
  • Not suitable
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Sauna
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

Four identical chalets line the mountain, their entirely glass fronts maximising the epic views. Better still, each has a private terrace (with wooden table and chairs) perfect for gazing at the scenery over a cup of tea or, as we did, huddling down to admire a magnificent storm.

Inside, the large open-plan living room and kitchen occupy the ground floor (along with the bathroom). Wander upstairs and you’re in the mezzanine attic bedroom. A low double bed maximises the space beneath the eaved ceilings, and a firm mattress holds 2 single duvets - great if you’re always arguing about who steals the bedclothes. Bathrooms are small but perfectly formed: shiny chrome finishes, toiletries, a big heated towel rail and a spacious shower.

Overall, the décor is quite stark, but the feel is clean and minimalist. Contemporary chrome lamps and a small copper bowl provide the only homely touches; we felt it would be nice to add a couple of pictures or the odd piece of decorative art. However, we give it full marks for welcoming extras: waffle bathrobes and full-length mohair robes for winter, bright-red Crocs to wander about in, chocolates to snaffle, and a bowl of dried apple slices (delicious).

Features include:

  • Terrace
  • Wifi internet
  • Phone
  • Tv
  • Cd player
  • Dvd player
  • Wifi internet
  • Safe box
  • Central heating
  • Terrace
  • Bathrobes
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Honesty bar

Eating

Unusually, Nebesa has no restaurant; instead Katja and Bojan provide a variety of food for you to help yourselves to at any time.

In the main building, the communal kitchen adjoins a sociable dining area and terrace. Below this is a cold room filled with treats. Locally cured salamis and prosciutto, traditional hard cheeses and crackers are nice for lunch. There are big urns of local wines to wash it down (we preferred the whites); if you’d like something more upmarket, a selection of excellent wines are available on an honesty-bar basis (sold at cost price).

In your chalet, a breakfast of yoghurt, juice, UHT milk, processed cheese and fresh cherries waits in your fridge - perfect for lazy mornings. Muesli, teas and coffees are in the cupboard; wander over to the main building for bread and jams, too.

In the evenings, you’re on your own. Self-cater in your well-equipped chalet (pots, pans, knives, sieves, a grater, a hob, etc) using produce bought from the supermarket in Kobarid (15 minutes’ drive) or dine out. We had an unbelievably good meal at the famous Hiša Franko, run by Katja and Bojan's daughter; local produce cooked in a theatrical way - think dry ice swirling around a martini glass filled with tomato jelly and fresh octopus, or wild herb and flower salad with blueberries and an egg yolk.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar
  • Coffee tea making
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hike up the mountain and along the path at the top for fab views of Slovenia on one side and Italy on the other. For something easier, drive to Kobarid and try the loop walk that winds above the Soca river

  • Unwind in the wellness centre: bliss out in the classic Finnish sauna, the bio sauna with aromatherapy or the infra sauna with chromotherapy. There's also a small gym for yoga, pilates, and aerobics.

  • Nebesa has mountain bikes to borrow, hope on an explore the surrounding area - if your lungs can handle the hills!

  • Take advantage of the Soca's activities (Katja and Bojan will happily advise): take a pony trek through the mountains, go white-water rafting or canoeing along the turquoise Soca river, try your hand at fly fishing, or paraglide over it all

  • In winter, the mountains offer excellent skiing and in rainy weather there’s a dairy farm (30 minutes away), where you can see cows being milked and cheese being made; educational stuff (although sensitive stomachs should avoid the tasting session!)

  • Visit the excellent Kobarid Museum, which presents the events of WWI that took place on the surrounding Isonzo Front

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • History religious
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Museum
  • Rafting
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife

Kids

This is an adults-only hotel, with the focus on the tranquility of the natural surroundings. However if you choose to hire out the whole of Nebesa, children can be accommodated.

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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