When checking in to the new Palazzo Rainis, you might wonder: Is this Croatia or is it Italy? In a way, it’s both. By Stefanie Waldek
Opening to guests on March 25, the boutique hotel is located in the historic Croatian seaside city of Novigrad, but it’s housed in a new building designed in the style of neo-Renaissance Venetian palazzos. That’s because the property’s original owner, Giovanni Rainis was, perhaps unsurprisingly, from Venice. At the turn of the 20th century, he built his own villa on this site in the same style, though that building no longer exists. But thanks to Croatian architecture studio Atellior, the villa has been reconstructed, expanded, and converted into a luxe boutique hotel.
Have a look inside the new palace hotel in Croatia
There are two wings of the palace hotel in Croatia, one with classical architecture and one with modern architecture, allowing for a total of 16 guest rooms that range from standard doubles in the modern annexe overlooking the pool to the grand Bel Etage suite with sea views. Each of the rooms is the perfect blend of old-school Italian luxury and new-age Italian modernity — think: traditional herringbone parquet floors and plush velvet seating in the bedrooms and bold, Kelly-green bathrooms with black-and-white geometric tile floors.
In terms of the public areas, there’s a restaurant by chef Tom Gretić called Chemistry and a bar called Potions that specialises in Croatian and Istrian wines and spirits — both names nod to Rainis’ 63-year career as a pharmacist in Novigrad. There’s also a spa with a sauna, steam room, gym, and outdoor pool.
The hotel is set along the Novigrad Marina, just a 15-minute walk from the red-roofed buildings of the old town and Rainis Beach, where the hotel has sunbeds and a drink station. Novigrad itself is a small city in the region of Istria, located on the northern coast of Croatia, which is known for its historic fishing villages and seafood. As a sleepier seaside destination, it’s a perfect juxtaposition to bustling Dubrovnik, a far more popular (and therefore crowded) Croatian hot spot — visit both on your next trip to the Dalmatian Coast.
The Palazzo Rainis, a Small Luxury Hotels property, is now open for bookings, with rooms from USD 310 (INR 23,603) per night.