Soncna Hisa

Banovci, Maribor & East, Slovenia Book from Eur135

Reviewed by Liz Simpson
A seriously hip hotel, a tranquil rural setting and 5 stunning rooms
It's rare to find such a beautifully designed, contemporary hotel in such an untouristy part of Europe. But here you have it. Soncna Hiša is a real find: swish rooms, excellent service and a wellness centre, bang in the middle of an agricultural region near the Hungarian border. And the hotel itself is buried in a unremarkable village - incongruous, to say the least.

But get your head around the location and you'll love it. Just 2 hours east of Ljubljana, this is a gorgeous place to chill out for a few days, whether you're after a spa weekend or a romantic getaway with your partner. The 5 luxury rooms are super cool, with sumptuous beds, fat candles, thick robes and mosaicked shower rooms. The garden is small but tranquil, and you can lounge in the outdoor Jacuzzi, heat up in the saunas or treat yourself to a range of wonderful massages. Families will love the toddlers' play area in the garden. To stay here is to unwind and trust us, you won't want to leave. But tear yourself away and try light Sipon wines in the vineyards, go kayaking down the River Mura, or bicycle through the rolling plains of pretty Prlekija.

Highs

  • Owner Aleš and manager Urska are great: welcoming, funny and keen to ensure you have a good time
  • Ultra-stylish throughout with parquet flooring, chrome and leather chairs, big vases full of lilies and pussy willow, and contemporary art on the walls
  • Large skylights let the sun stream through the building, hence the hotel's name: The Sun House
  • Healthy breakfasts served in the sunny dining room; have an early morning Jacuzzi, then wrap up in your robe and eat on the outdoor terrace
  • The chance to explore the relatively unknown eastern side of Slovenia

Lows

  • It's pretty remote and you will definitely need a car while you're here
  • The nearest restaurant is 2km away so you'll need to drive for dinner
  • There's no pool in the wellness centre
  • With revealing shower rooms and only double beds, friends travelling together may prefer separate rooms
  • Be aware that there are 2 hotels named Soncna Hiša in Slovenia, so if you're doing web research aim for the one in Banovci - then book through us for a free bottle of sparkling wine!

Best time to go

The climate is continental with warm summers (75-80F) and cold winters. The heaviest rainfall is in April and November though sudden rainstorms can occur throughout the year. The hotel is open all year.

Our top tips

We'd suggest a day in the spa, or generally relaxing around the hotel, and a day sightseeing. The hotel organises bespoke day trips so you can get to know this lovely, relatively unexplored, part of Slovenia.

Great for...

Family
Spa
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ cold meals and snacks on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 5 Luxury Rooms are all fabulous: sleek, contemporary and minimalist, but with plenty of fun detail. Parquet flooring runs throughout, the soundproofing is very good and big windows keep them light and sunny.

We stayed in Natura. Decorated in shades of chocolate, cream and bronze, it was a cool room with lots of lovely detail: miniature plants in brass pots, fat candles on a copper bowl, an orchid in a gold vase, a beautifully presented fruit plate. The focal point was the kingsize bed, with a graphic art wall behind which featured dashes of olive and brown, bringing to mind a birch forest. Low down and comfy, we slept very well.

A plump chocolate sofa was great for lounging on and watching the plasma satellite TV; there were also chrome and cream plastic seats should you prefer to sit upright. Dark-wood furniture provided heaps of storage space and French doors led to a mini balcony with views over the open fields (and the car park if you looked down).

The bathroom was around the corner; double sinks and a long mirror on one side, a shower and toilet the other, each enclosed in a glass cubicle. The walls were mosaicked - bronze, purple and mother of pearl; the shower floor pebbled. Again, the little details were great (swanky toiletries, towelling robes and slippers, a hairdryer) but some people won't like the fact that the long mirror reflects all the action into the bedroom, or that if you forget to put the blinds down, you can be seen from the carpark!

The other rooms are similar in layout, but very distinct in detail. The most popular is Limegrass, which is über trendy with gleaming white walls and fittings, and a funky green spray of grass on the graphic wall. Stork is decked out for families with sunny orange décor, lots of thoughtful details (changing mat, nappy bin, toys, a cot, baby monitors etc) and an adorable mural on the wall.

Manhattan was designed by the architect and is very Noo Yawk, with a mural of the skyline, a loft-style design, cream and chrome fittings, and graceful arched lamps. This room looks over the cornfield at the back, as does Sea Memories. This final room is a medley of reds, bringing sea corals and urchins to mind.

Features include:

  • Terrace
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Tv
  • Satellite tv
  • Radio
  • Internet access
  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Fan
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Bathrobes
  • Toiletries
  • Hairdryer

Eating

Served in a sunny, glass-walled dining room, we were delighted to find a big breakfast buffet spread, with options ranging from super healthy (cereals, nuts, organic fresh fruit salad) to the decadent (cheeses, salamis, pasta salads and desserts). Fruit juice was freshly squeezed and a coffee machine piped out delicious fresh brews.

If you're staying put for the day, there are various snacks on offer from the bar - Caprese, Caesar or buckwheat salads and a more hearty spread of tuna, sausages, minced lard, cucumbers and homemade breads (yes, all together!). If you're going biking or walking, you might want to take a picnic lunch - ask in advance.

Cold dinners can be arranged on request, but usually guests dine out. The hotel can book you a table at a local restaurant; Zorko, Tramšek and Rajh are all within an easy drive (or taxi ride). We visited the latter and dined heartily on a shared ham and mushroom plate, beef goulash and buckwheat pancakes with raspberry jam. Our waitress was charming, and the restaurant itself lovely - big leather booths, smart white table linens and a vast array of glasswear (we went with the suggested wines to accompany each course; all excellent).

Features include:

  • Room service
  • Bar
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Food and wine
  • Cold meals and snacks (on request)
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Indulge yourself at the in-house wellness centre. There's a whole host of treatments to try out, 2 types of sauna (Finnish and bio-herbal), an outdoor Jacuzzi and various loungers to stretch out on and doze. The room is tranquil, both in décor and atmosphere, and robes, slippers, drinks and towels are provided (be warned though, the Ayurvedic hot-oil massage is a naked one, something we weren't expecting!)

  • Take a thermal spa; the region is famous for its natural hot springs, and the nearest one is in the village

  • Read a book on the outdoor terrace, have a coffee and chat to other guests in the lounge, or retreat to your suite to watch TV

  • Explore the region; although this side of Slovenia is less well known and not as spectacular as the Soca Valley, there's still plenty to do. Go for a picnic on Love Island, visit the local vineyards for some wine tasting (the local Sipon grape is wonderful), or go to a stables and see the beautiful palomino Lipizzan horses. Reception can organise bespoke day trips with excellent guides, as well as golf, fishing and hot-air balloon rides

  • Borrow a bike and explore independently. You can pedal right to the river and take the traditional cable ferry over to Love Island, or go kayaking and rafting down the rapids

  • Go hiking; the flat plains offer excellent walking by the river, through forests, and via the small but picturesque villages of the Prlekija region

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Kids activities nearby
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Food and wine
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Rafting
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome and there's a sweet toddlers' area in the garden with a blackboard and chalks, toys and plastic chairs. The staff are keen to help you and your children feel at home (feel free to contact them in advance if you have any requirements - they'll bend over backwards to help) and their personal attention turns a trip into a holiday to remember.

We'd say it's best suited to 0-6 year olds.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Stork is kitted out for little ones with a cot, play mat and various toys and baby equipment and you can add a cot or use the sofa bed (for kids aged 4-12). Other rooms can fit a cot and rollaway bed; Manhattan can fit 2 rollaway beds

Babysitting:

There's no formal babysitting available, but English-speaking staff will look after your kids when you need.

Baby listening:

Baby listening/monitors are available on request. They work everywhere in the hotel.

Baby equipment:


  • 2 cots

  • Baby bedding

  • High chair

  • Baby bath plus bath products

  • Night light

  • Bottle warming

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

Children's meals:

Breakfast is the only meal served here, though bar snacks are available through the day from the bar. You can order takeaways and picnic lunches and dine out nearby - ask the staff to recommend the best eateries for kids. If you need to make/heat up baby food, you can use their microwave and blender.

Kids Activities on site:


  • Garden for running around in

  • Board games and toys including teddies and crayons

  • Farm animals nearby

Kids Activities nearby:


  • Playground in the next village

  • Spa and outdoor pool walking distance from the hotel

  • Walking, picnicking, horse petting and plenty of family-friendly day trips to be had

Families Should Know:

You can buy specialist baby items in the nearest town (10 miles away) and staff can help shop for you in advance if necessary.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1.5 hours
  • Hospital: 15 minutes
  • Doctor: 15 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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