Riva Yacht Harbour Hotel

Hvar, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Book from

Reviewed by Jane Foster
Dalmatian stone building hosting a slick, architect-designed hotel overlooking the palm-lined harbour in elegant Hvar Town
Known for its Venetian-era stone buildings, Hvar Town has become a favourite among travellers in search of culture, glamour and back-to-nature beauty. Reopened in 2006 after total renovation, Riva Yacht Harbour Hotel occupies an old stone building on Hvar’s seafront promenade. But unlike its traditional Dalmatian exterior, interiors are unashamedly sexy and cosmopolitan. The minimalist look, in calming charcoal and creams, is played off against risqué design elements: bathrooms with a large picture window look directly onto the bed; a black-and-white portrait of a movie icon covers an entire wall.

Appealing to open-minded 30-somethings with money to spare, the Riva’s glorious open-air terrace overlooks the sleek yachts that frequent the harbourfront. Here, the chichi BB Club has firmly established itself as the place to be for sundowner cocktails, while Roots Restaurant serves innovative Mediterranean cuisine. Add bathing on the scattered Pakleni islets, scuba diving, sea kayaking and vineyard visits, and your holiday is made.

Highs

  • Carefully renovated traditional building concealing chic modern design - aimed at “the young, or young-at-heart”
  • Chic rooms enlivened by vibrant red poufs and scatter cushions
  • The island’s unspoilt nature and secluded pebble beaches, perfect for bathing
  • Hvar Town’s glamorous, cosmopolitan nightlife
  • Friendly, helpful staff and a very efficient concierge

Lows

  • Expensive by Croatian standards
  • Funky modern interior is international urban rather than typically Dalmatian
  • Bedrooms are small (most are 16-18 sq.m); and voyeuristic bathrooms may trouble prudish guests
  • Some complain about the late-night noise from nearby bars
  • No pool but you're not far from the beach
  • Hvar Town is now outrageously trendy and heaving with tourists in July-August

Best time to go

Try to visit in May-Jun or Sep-Oct for sunny weather and warm sea. High-season, Jul-Aug, is hot and chaotic throughout Dalmatia, though if it’s a glamorous nightlife you’re looking for, this could be the right time for you.

Our top tips

Unless you're planning to be part of the nightly party scene, pack earplugs!

Great for...

Beach
City Style
Foodie
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Design Hotel
  • 54
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 10 Dec 2016 - 16 May 2017
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

The Riva offers 46 Superior Rooms, 7 Junior Suites and 1 Riva Marina Suite. Rooms are not large but are well kitted out, ingeniously designed (bedside tables can be recessed for additional space) and comfy. The best are those with a sea view (found in all categories) - unless you object to late-night noise, in which case you should ask for a city view room at the back of the building.

Rooms are decorated with contemporary flair in charcoal, grey and cream, with splashes of vibrant red in sculpted poufs, scatter cushions and feature walls. Expect cubist sofas, glass-top coffee tables and a large black-and-white photo of a movie icon (such as Bridget Bardot, James Dean, Anita Ekberg or Audrey Hepburn) above the bed. The connecting corridors and landings are minimalist white, but discreetly animated with larger-than-life charcoal line-drawings of nudes.

For most visitors, the most amusing feature is the bathroom - the shower cubicle or bath is visible from the bed through a large glass window. It's very sexy, but be warned, the trendy sinks can splash water about. You do get a separate toilet with its own basin, for privacy when it really matters.

All rooms have queensize beds and rain showers; most of the Superior Rooms have also have a bathtub and some have balconies. Junior Suites have a sitting area and a balcony, and most have bathtubs as well as showers. The Riva Marina Suite has a separate living room, shower and bathtub, 2 small balconies and a private terrace overlooking the yacht harbour. As you'd expect, rooms have excellent amenities: flatscreen TV, electronic keys, free WiFi, DVD player, safe and minibar, fan and heating, hairdryer and bathrobes.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

One of the Riva’s top draws is its delightful open-air terrace overlooking the harbour, furnished with brightly coloured cubist sofas and potted olive trees. Here on sunny days, Roots Restaurant serves an excellent buffet breakfast with lots of fresh, cold and hot choices (a lot better than some of the other Suncani hotels). In winter, a cooked-to-order breakfast is served in the dining room. Roots is now in partnership with the Japanese brand Sora, so you may expect delicately flavoured tofu and tempura on the menu.

Roots also serves lunch and dinner on the terrace. Expect starters such as rižot od plodova mora (seafood risotto with fresh herbs) and domaca tjestenina s tartufima (homemade pasta with white truffles), and main courses including jastog na brudet (lobster stew served with tagliatelli) and peceni govedji file s tartufima (fillet steak with truffles). Dishes aren't cheap but ours could not be faulted for taste, presentation or freshness. Dishes use predominantly local ingredients supplied by Suncani Hvar’s ‘Best of Hvar Club’, a kind of upmarket island co-operative founded by the hotel chain.

Adjoining Roots, the BB Club is a funky ground-floor bar, focusing on a long, green, back-lit glass counter. In common with the guest rooms, the walls bear larger-than-life black-and-white photos of cult movie stars such as James Dean and Audrey Hepburn. The BB Club terrace, with an after-dark DJ (daily 9pm-2am), is one of Hvar’s hippest venues for fine wines, cigar selection and cocktails - try the BB Sunset (vodka, cherry liquor, cantaloupe liquor and fresh orange juice). It also serves light meals such as Caesar salad and salmon wraps. During the winter, the BB Club caters predominantly for locals, serving a reduced-rate, set-menu lunch.

If you want to venture out, you could do a lot worse than pop across to Gariful, which serves fresh fish, scampi and crabs (you can pick your poor victim from an ice tray), as well as the usual meats and salads, plus an excellent list of white wines.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit Hvar Town’s 16th-century cathedral overlooking a magnificent piazza (the largest in Dalmatia), the arsenal and 17th-century municipal theatre (temporarily closed for restoration), two monasteries and hilltop castle

  • In summer, attend a Hvar Summer Festival open-air performance – we recommend the classical music concerts in the cloisters of the Franciscan Monastery

  • Beyond Hvar Town’s medieval fortifications, the island fades away into a haze of silvery-purple lavender fields and the carefully tended vineyards that produce Hvar’s velvety red wines

  • For beaches and bathing areas, the best-equipped is the Bonj 1930’s colonnade in front of Hotel Amfora, offering sun beds, private cabanas and massage

  • Or, for a true back-to-nature experience, take a taxi-boat to the nearby Pakleni islets, and find your own secluded pebble cove (nudist-friendly)

  • Indulge in some pampering at the Sensori Spa in the nearby Hotel Adriana. On offer are 7 types of massage, beauty treatments, yoga, meditation and Pilates. There’s also a whirlpool, steam room and salt-water rooftop pool

  • Try scuba diving. Hvar’s sea is ideal – excellent visibility, a stunning variety of fish, coral reefs, plus ancient shipwrecks and amphorae on the sea bed

  • Dalmatia is a sailor’s paradise. Charter a sailing boat or a motorboat for a half-day or full-day exploring the coast and islands - skippers are available for those with no sailing experience

  • Take up the challenge of sea kayaking round the nearby Pakleni islets

  • The island of Hvar produces some of Croatia’s best wines. Visit local vineyards in Jelsa and Sveti Nedjelja for wine tasting

  • Explore the island by participating in adventure sports – hiking, mountain biking or free climbing

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Children under 14 are free of charge when sharing parents' room; cots are free. Children are welcome but the Riva is aimed primarily at young couples and has no special amenities for children although they do provide cots.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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