Do you know about the oldest hotel in Split?
To be honest, neither did we – but that was only until we met Mirjana Svagusa, Manager of Hotel Slavija, the oldest hotel in Split.
While keeping track of the rich history inside of Diocletian’s Palace is no simple task, there is no feeling as rewarding as acquiring new knowledge – especially when you’re able to relay that specific piece of information to the world.
With that said, we were hungry to learn more about the history of Hotel Slavija. How many stories do those ancient walls hold?
Lucky for us, Mirjana Svagusha was here to tell us everything we were eager to learn about the oldest hotel in Split.
Hi, Mirjana! First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with Total Split. You can imagine how excited we are to share this piece of history with the world.
Without further ado, we would love to know more about Hotel Slavija.
What can you tell us?
Hi Daniela, thank you! We are excited to share our special story with you all.
Hotel Slavija is the oldest hotel within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace that has stayed continuously opened – representing one of the most significant works of late antiquity architecture. The hotel is located in the private, southern area of the Diocletian’s Palace, above part of the western spa, where you can still find the ancient walls in several places today.
In recent history, the building can be traced from the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century when a Renaissance-Baroque palace complex was erected above the 4th-century spas of Diocletian. This then became Hotel Slavija at the start of the 20th century.
The hotel has hosted some of the most famous writers, politicians, and actors, and there is a rumor that Tito even stayed at Slavija on his casual trips to Split.
How has the hotel changed over the years? What pieces of history are etched into the hotel’s walls today?
The first significant renovation of the hotel happened in 1926 when two new floors were added to the building – giving the hotel 35 luxuriously equipped rooms. The modern design of the hotel was attractive to Split residents, and a novelty for the City of Split came in the form of central heating and water pipes in rooms. Floors were connected with an elevator, and on the fifth floor, a terrace was built for guests to enjoy the scenery of Split.
The building of Hotel Slavija is considered national cultural heritage and is protected by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia. The hotel’s position within Diocletian’s Palace also offers it UNESCO protection as an international cultural monument.
A late-Renaissance staircase adorns the hotel entrance with carvings of vines, grapes, flowers and angels holding horns, while rooms above the entrance have Renaissance balconies.
The hotel has 25 rooms on four floors, and the floors are connected by an elevator and staircase, enabling each guest to discover a new piece of Split’s history with each step – such as the antique or medieval remains on the walls.
Even more incredible is that along with the ideal location and historical heritage, the hotel’s distinctiveness also comes from the rooms with small Renaissance balconies and spacious terraces. Our rooms with terraces are especially impressive to guests, particularly in the summertime when the city is crowded and the charm of Split is obscured. Accommodation in these rooms enables the guest to experience a different Split, in a more intimate and romantic way. There are two terrace rooms on each floor, tucked in the space between city streets and old roofs and squares. These boast a stunning view of Marjan Hill, Jupiter’s Temple, Saint Duje bell tower…it’s picture perfect.
One thing that particularly stands out to us is that the hotel is actually located above the spas of Diocletian’s Palace. And even more interesting to us is that Slavija’s restaurant is actually located within the spas? Talk about a historical dinner! What more can you tell us?
It’s no surprise that the hotel acts as a sort of museum of local history, and an unusually cool offer of our hotel is that our restaurant is, in fact, located in the spas of Diocletian’s Palace.
The ground floor of the hotel is the restaurant which actually leans against the Palace basement and protects the antique imperial spa. This gives guests an unusual privilege to dine amongst the antique and medieval walls. (When Game of Thrones was filming in Split, in the substructures of the palace, we, together with our guests, had the privilege to watch the movie set from our restaurant area through the window that connects the substructures of the palace and our restaurant).
The name of the restaurant is “Para (di) Šoto”. On the one hand, this refers to the historical location of the spa (para means “steam”), and on the other hand, it pays tribute to “paradižot,” a traditional cake protected by the Ministry of Tourism as part of Croatian indigenous cuisine. The opening of the Para di Šoto restaurant gave the hotel a lot of additional options, from a la carte service to weddings and catering or private dinners on the hotel terrace.
Guests are delighted to find that breakfast is served in Diocletian’s spa, which has preserved its antiquity despite the modern decorations. The crowds of tourists that pour into Diocletian’s Palace can be observed by our guests through large windows without being disturbed – a local look into the bustling life on the Split streets.
What can you tell us about Hotel Slavija today – what are some of your favorite offers?
While there are a plenty of perks to Slavija, we try to make sure we listen to our guests and are the most people friendly we can be. We offer a range of unique activities from cooking lessons to yoga mornings and even in-house walking tours of the hotel.
We want to make sure everyone feels right at home, even though they’re breathing in some of the richest histories in the Dalmatian capital.
Thank you, Mirjana and Hotel Slavija! You can find more information on the hotel here.