Palmizana

Sv. Klement island, nr Hvar, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Book from Book from £105 per night

Bohemian retreat nestled in lush botanical gardens on a tiny island in the Adriatic Sea (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

  • Two excellent restaurants 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-rooms TVs or phones
  • The carefully designed buildings blend harmoniously with the environment and most have terraces overlooking the ocean
  • Just a 5-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 summer - expect plenty of daytrippers, music and yachts
  • Logistics: water taxis and only 1 cash machine on the island
  • 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
World Favourite Family Hideaway

    Best rooms for families

    Book Villa Giorgia if you're coming on a group family break - it sleeps up to 14 in 5 double bedrooms. Villas have basic kitchenettes and sleep 4-6, and Bungalows sleep a maximum of 4 (that's with the children on a sofabed in the lounge). White Villa is not suitable for children under 12. We recommend Orange Villa, Blue Bungalow, Yellow Bungalow, Pink Bungalow or Violet Bungalow for families with toddlers.

    Parents 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.
  • Toys
  • Baby cots
  • Baby baths
  • Potty

Some equipment may need to be requested in advance

Babysitting can be arranged if requested in advance

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

  • Quiet beach just steps away
  • Gardens to play in (but watch out for steps)
  • Sailboats, kayaks and motorboats for hire
  • Watersports: kayaking, diving, snorkelling, windsurfing
  • 2 children's playgrounds

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 16
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 24 Feb 2018 - 30 Mar 2018
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Babysitting
  • Creche / Kids Club
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • 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 Suite in Villa Giorgia , an old Italian villa - each it has its own small terrace and 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. Some rooms have air-conditioning, but all have a fan and a small fridge. There’s also the Romina building, which comprises 2 separate suites, but bear in mind that the soundproofing is not great between them.

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's 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; Dagmar also likes to be in charge of grilling fish, scampi and meats on the enormous outdoor grill.

Breakfast is served on Menghello's's romantic terrace. 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 choseToto’s as it lies directly on the beach on the south side of the island (just outside the resort), and serves simple tasty seafood snacks - squid and scampi kebabs, small fried fish - plus pizza.

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's 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 Berza (local seafood stew) and a grilled seafood platter.

Guests staying for a full week will be glad to hear that there are a couple of other restaurants and beach bars on this tiny island. Many people make also take a 5-minute water taxi over to Hvar Town, where our favourite spots were Fig Cafe and Black Pepper.

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

  • Watersports available here include kayaking, windsurfing, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. The water is ideal with excellent visibility, a stunning variety of fish, coral reefs and shipwrecks. Palmizana can arrange diving trips

  • Hvar Town (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. On Sunday mornings, Palmizana restaurant hosts classical music recitals (July-August only)

  • There is a small gallery displaying locally found amphorae and stocking deliciously scented Aromatica natural cosmetics

  • Upon request, in mid-season (May and October), Palmizana can arrange 1-week learning packages such as Dalmatian cooking, jewellery workshops, and yoga and meditation

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

  • When in season, pheasant hunting can be arranged

Activities on site or nearby include:

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

Best Time to go

Because the island is so popular in July and August, when hordes of Italian tourists flock to the Croatian coast, the best time to visit is May-June or September-October, when you’ll have more of the island to yourself and the temperatures are milder, but the sea is still warm enough to swim in.

Our Top Tips

If you plan to explore the nearby coves and bays, ask to about hiring a small motor boat on the day you arrive, otherwise you may find that they are fully booked.
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 19 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

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,

We stayed in Romina 2, which has a shared glass brick wall with another apartment, and we could hear most things that went on there, as well as being aware of lights being turned on and off in their bathroom. Also, in peak season Laganini bar in the main Palmizana bay was very loud, with music playing into the evening. Despite these minor annoyances however, we really enjoyed our stay. The Meneghello resort is wonderfully laid back and the island is beautiful. It's an easy walk along pine-shaded paths to quieter bays, and I'd recommend that to anyone who wants to get away from the bustle of the main bay. Dionis and the Fisherman's House restaurants, at Vlaka, are both wonderful and well worth the visit. It's also very much advised to hire a boat or a kayak (depending on your preference!) to potter around the coast of the island, going from bay to bay at your leisure. We tried both, and enjoyed both trips.

9/10,

We really enjoyed our stay at Palmizana, the staff were all so friendly and helpful and the island itself was beautiful. The breakfasts were amazing; croissants, fresh fruit, orange juice, bread and a choice of something cooked too, all served on the terrace overlooking the bay. Would highly recommend renting a small boat to explore all the different bays on the island and walking around the island and seeing it in full. A great range of restaurants too!

10/10,

The family and their staff were fantastic. Great service in a perfect location. We had fantastic holiday.

10/10,

Hotel advising of the more private, secluded and beautiful bays to sunbathe and swim with a clear map and providing beach towels and beach mattresses. So helpful. So many lovely seafront restaurants nearby - great quality food, hard to choose but if budget allows, definitely try Zori and Laganini. Delicious!

8/10,

Fabulous place for our family over this May half term. Our two boys (6 and 3) absolutely loved the freedom of staying on a car free island including being able to pop down to the beach themselves. We loved the beauty of the island and the excellent restaurant. Thank you to all the incredibly friendly and helpful staff for making this a truly magic holiday. We will be back!

10/10,

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Rates for Palmizana