Palmizana

Sv. Klement island, nr Hvar, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Book from Book from £108 per night

Bohemian retreat nestled in lush botanical gardens on a tiny island in the Adriatic Sea (approximately 10 minutes by boat from Hvar)
This is art and nature in perfect harmony, an Arcadian idyll on a Dalmatian island. Professor Eugenio Meneghello bought a 300-hectare wilderness in 1906, complete with 2 pebble beaches, and planted it with pines, palms, exotic shrubs and aromatic herbs like rosemary and lavender. One century and 3 generations later, his family are the pioneers of eco-tourism in Croatia. His granddaughter-in-law Dagmar and her 3 children still tend their forefather’s ‘Garden of Eden’, but have turned it into an exclusive hideaway with a cluster of villas and bungalows and 2 restaurants, all built of local stone.

Interiors have been painted deep, vibrant colours and are decorated with unusual driftwood sculptures and contemporary artwork. The result is a discreet yet spiritual escape from the modern world. Popular with flora loving families and hippies at heart, it’s a great place to while away the days eating fresh seafood, swimming in the bay, exploring by kayak and diving nearby shipwrecks.

Highs

  • The two excellent restaurants, Meneghello and Toto's, which are surrounded by fragrant plants, crystal-clear water and almost constant sunshine
  • A haven of flora and fauna - the island is car-free, there's limited WiFi, and no in-room TVs or phones
  • The carefully designed buildings blend harmoniously with the environment and most have terraces overlooking the ocean
  • Just a 10-minute water taxi from Hvar Town's cultural monuments and hip eateries
  • The laid-back and friendly vibe: we were taken, by jeep, to our villa and then ordered to relax and not to worry about checking in

Lows

  • Hvar Town, and to a lesser extent this end of Sveti Klement Island, heave with tourists during July and August
  • Logistics: water taxis and only 1 cash machine on the island
  • No WiFi in rooms, only in the main restaurant Meneghello
  • This is a rustic, bohemian retreat - those seeking luxury may be happier elsewhere
  • The abundant wildlife can sometimes include mosquitoes at night and wasps at breakfast
  • Kitchenettes are little more than a fridge and kettle - fine for snacks and drinks but not enough for meals

Best time to go

The island can get very crowded in July and August, so we think the best time to visit is May-June or September-October, when you’ll have more of the island to yourself; the temperatures are milder but the sea is still warm enough for swimming.

Our top tips

If you plan to explore the nearby coves and bays, ask about hiring a small motor boat on the day you arrive, otherwise you may find that they are fully booked. You can also reach the other bays by foot - it takes approximately 45 minutes to cross the island.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 16
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 17 Dec 2018 - 29 Mar 2019
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

Palmizana offers various individually designed stone bungalows and villas, with interiors that are either whitewashed or painted in vibrant colours. Some have exposed stonework and cool tile floors; all are furnished in a Mediterranean style and accented with Croatian art. There are also 3 Double Rooms and a 2-bedroom Suite in Villa Giorgia , each with their own small terrace and a private entrance.

The bungalows (sleeps 2-4) are mostly 2-room buildings with 1 bedroom and a living room with a sofabed (making an additional bedroom). Our favourite, the Green Bungalow, is a studio space with steps leading up to a mezzanine level with a small porthole window. We stayed in the Violet Bungalow, which felt very private. All rooms are air conditioned and have small fridges. There are also the Romina Bungalows, which can be rented as one unit to large families or groups of friends.

The villas (sleeps 4-6) all have basic kitchenettes for coffee and snacks: fridges, kettles and basic crockery. The 2-bedroom White Villa quickly established itself as one of our favourites: lying directly on the beach with a private path leading down to the shore, it has an enormous terrace overlooking the bay.

The most luxurious is probably Villa Palmizana, which has an octagonal living room and an outdoor terrace decorated with colourful mosaics inspired by Austrian architect Hundertwasser. We also liked the slightly more modern Turquoise Villa: it’s glass doors that open onto a stone terrace overlooking the ocean. Each building is set amid the pinewoods and exotic planting, and has a secluded terrace for sitting out and dining.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Internet access

Eating

Dagmar Meneghello personally oversees the 2 restaurants in the resort: Menghello and Toto's. Both have huge terraces overlooking the ocean and serve a variety of seafood, grilled meat and fresh vegetables from the island’s garden. Much of it is cooked over an outdoor open-fire oven.

Breakfast is served on Menghello's romantic terrace from 8:00 until 10:30 am (or later on request). Expect fresh fruit, croissants, bread and jams, plus eggs and pancakes cooked to order. Lunch, which tends to be peaceful, is served at both restaurants. We picked Toto’s as it lies directly on the beach on the south side of the island (just outside the resort), and serves fresh fish and seafood. We chose bruschetta and octopus salad; other specialities included monkfish in white wine sauce, bulgur with shrimps, and tuna sashimi.

In the evening, both restaurants start buzzing as visitors with yachts (who keep their boats at the nearby ACI marina, or anchor in the bay) begin arriving for dinner. This time Menghello is the main attraction. Its deep fuchsia walls are hung with playful modern art, and fresh colour is added by enormous terracotta pots of blue and pink hydrangeas. We enjoyed a dinner of tomato and basil bruschetta, prosciutto, cheese and figs to start. Mains were seafood Buzara (local seafood stew) and a grilled seafood platter.

All guests have tables reserved at the main restaurant, but if you're staying for a full week you may wish to try some of the other restaurants and beach bars on this tiny island. Many people may choose to take a 10-minute water taxi over to Hvar Town, where our favourite spots were Fig Cafe and Black Pepper. Remember to let the hotel know if you decide to eat elsewhere so that they can cancel your reservation.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The Palmizana beaches are lovely, but be sure to check out alternative bathing venues on the other Pakleni islets. For those who want an all-over tan, Jerolim or Stipanska are devoted to nudism

  • Dalmatia is a sailor’s paradise. Charter a sailing boat or a motorboat for a day exploring the coast and islands - skippers are available for those with no sailing experience. The islands are surrounded by numerous coves that act as safe harbours for boats

  • The water is ideal for snorkelling or diving, with excellent visibility, a stunning variety of fish, coral reefs and shipwrecks. Palmizana can recommend agencies offering diving trips

  • Hvar Town (approximately 10 minutes by water taxi) includes a 16th-century cathedral overlooking a magnificent piazza (the largest in Dalmatia), an arsenal, a 17th-century municipal theatre (the oldest public theatre in Europe), 2 monasteries and a hilltop castle

  • Be sure to stroll around the gardens, taking in the sheer variety of flora

  • Dagmar is a keen patron of the arts, and hosts exhibitions of up-and-coming Croatian painters and sculptors.

  • Explore the small gallery, which displays locally found amphorae, and don't miss Tarin's Palm, a funky pop-up shop selling souvenirs in the middle of the botanical garden.

  • Attend a Hvar Summer Festival open-air performance - we recommend the classical music concerts in the cloisters of the Franciscan monastery

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Kayaking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
    • Traditional cultures

Kids

Children are welcome and it's a great place for them: the shallow pebbly beach on the doorstep is ideal for youngsters and they will love the tortoises and peacocks on land. As the island is car-free, they can run around and explore freely. It's great for extended family breaks, too.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

If you're travelling on a group family break opt for the bungalows or villas located next to each other. Villas have basic kitchenettes and sleep 4-6, and Bungalows sleep a maximum of 4 (that's with children on an extra bed in the lounge). White Villa is not suitable for children under 12 since it's a split-level villa with an open staircase. We recommend Villa Palmizana, Villa Turquoise, Yellow Bungalow, Pink Bungalow and Violet Bungalow for families with toddlers.

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged if requested in advance

Baby equipment:

  • Toys
  • Baby cots
  • Baby baths
  • Potty

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

Children's meals:

The 2 restaurants (on-site and nearby) serve up kid-friendly food - pancakes, steak, fish, barbecues, ice cream, kebabs - and can provide half-sized portions.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Beach just steps away
  • Gardens to play in

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Sailboats, kayaks and motorboats for hire
  • Watersports: kayaking, diving, snorkelling, sailing
  • 2 children's playgrounds

Families Should Know:

There are some steps in the gardens and various spiky plants and cacti. There are only 2 shops on the island, selling basics, so bring anything you think you won't be able to get hold of (e.g. high-factor suncream). Bring sea-shoes for the kids, as there’s lots of pesky sea urchins at the beach.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour+, depending on ferry schedules
  • Emergency room: 15 minutes by boat (Hvar)
  • Hospital: 45 minutes-2 hours, depending on ferry schedules
Kid Friendly:

Location

Palmizana is on the tiny island of Sveti Klement, one of the Pakleni otoci (Resin islands) that make up the Hvar archipelago. The island is only reachable by water taxi or yacht. Staff at the hotel can help you organise transfers and also buy tickets for you in Hvar if necessary.

By Air:
It is easiest to fly into Split (40km), situated on the mainland.

From the Airport
Take the airport bus to the city centre, then catch a boat to the island of Hvar Town; from here the resort will collect you and take you to the island (Sveti Klement). Alternatively, there is a small port 500m from the airport, where you can be picked up by an exclusive (and hugely expensive) taxi boat service that brings you directly to Palmizana.

By Sea:
The most convenient port of arrival is Hvar Town, served by both a Jadrolinija ferry and a catamaran from Split each afternoon through summer. Palmizana will collect you by speedboat from Hvar Town.

By Car:
Cars are not pemitted on the island but if you need one to explore other parts of Croatia, see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you once your booking is confirmed through i-escape.com.

Airports:

  • Split 40.0 km SPU

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 17 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

We had the most amazing stay at Palmizana, the location, staff, rooms and food were all excellent. The staff were so friendly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble. The location was perfect, set in the pine and cactus trees just a stones throw from the most beautiful beaches and great restaurants. We will definitely be returning next year. Thank you for an amazing stay!

10/10,

Palmizana is as beautiful as it looks. We were very well looked after, and we rate room, food and service as excellent. There are however, problems about noise and the large numbers of people swarming into Palmizana bay from Hvar daily. The Meneghello estate itself remains a lovely oasis from all this, but the noise still intrudes. There are good footpaths to quieter more isolated bays, but even these bays are not always quiet. One day we were shocked to find an entire flotilla of partying yachts, complete with booming sound system, in one of our favourite bays. We strongly recommend booking late or early in the season (we were there in the first week of September)

10/10,

The Meneghellos were lovely and the island obviously beautiful, but honestly it was a shock to high heaven when we arrived in the Marina and realised this was as booming mini resort and not a peaceful nature reserved as we had been lead to expect. We readjusted expectations and had a lovely time, the staff were wonderful and helpful, clearly apologetic about the raving bay but trying to do their best around it. Still a lovely holiday but everyone we met there had the same shock.

7/10,

Beautiful setting, with wonderful atmosphere. Very friendly and attentive staff. Excellent dining and excursion options. Easy access to Hvar Town, yet very secluded feel on the island.

10/10,

Palmizana was an amazing place to stay, would go back any time if we could. It is rustic (e.g. variable hot water for the shower at times...!), but on such a tiny island, that has to be expected and didn't diminish from the experience. In September, the weather was perfect to enjoy the beach and sea all day, there felt little need to go anywhere else.

10/10,

We loved our room Georgia but it was dark and we would have liked to be closer to the sea and not in the woods. Romina and her staff are excellent and very professional. Be aware there are lots of mosquitoes.

9/10,

Palmizana is a wonderful place and we were very well looked after by Romina and her team. It is busy and hot during the daytime in mid summer, but rooms are cool, spacious and uniquely furnished. You can walk or rent a small boat to escape the crowds to the beautiful adjacent bays during the daytime (most of of the crowds depart in the evening) or visit the 3 beach restaurants / lounges and join in. Great food and very welcoming people. Best spot in Hvar.

9/10,

We stayed in mid July and I think if we had gone outside peak season it would have had a very different feel. For us the resort was spoilt by flotillas of people getting drunk in the lounge bar across the bay. From 11am til 7pm there was loud music which was most intrusive. The Meneghellos were very sympathetic about it, but totally powerless to rectify the situation which clearly went against everything they were trying to achieve. The villa, surroundings (including peacocks), on site restaurant and staff were all excellent. Transport arrangements/ requests were all efficiently dealt with. Toto's beach bar also owned by the Meneghellos had a nice relaxed feel and reasonable food. We tried Zori's but found it disappointing. To sum up, paradise almost found. Choose the right time to go.

8/10,

We loved the hotel from the word go. Our somewhat complicated transfer arrangements worked like clockwork. Our studio (Red Villa) was perfect. Spacious, stylish, quirkily furnished, large comfortable bed, air-conditioning and TWO huge terraces (one shaded) complete with sea view, shrubs and peacocks. The water pressure was...er.. variable but that was to be expected. The staff were uniformly charming and very efficient. The food was delicious and very reasonable for the quality. The restaurant has an amazing view and a great feel about it. We didn't want to go anywhere else. The island is popular with excursions from Hvar and gets crowded at times but there are hidden, stony paths all over the island that lead to hidden beaches (some sandy but take jellies) which are empty. Be warned, the paths are rough and the undergrowth is prickly. Sturdy shoes and trousers are advised!

10/10,

The most relaxing place I have ever stayed! The most friendly and helpful people I have ever met on holiday, nothing was too much trouble, always smiling. The island itself is stunning, peaceful and unspoilt yet at the same time it offers enough choice and atmosphere to satisfy a range of people and moods. We felt honoured to be staying on the island. I thought I wanted a boat trip around the Croatian islands, but with in minutes of arriving for our weeks stay I knew we had made the right choice, I just wished we could have stayed longer. The only small recommendation would be to remove the bath from the bathroom in order to have a more efficient shower.

10/10,

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