Locals react to news that Four Seasons is coming to Hvar.
Hvar is again at the centre of public attention. It has been announced that the island will be the location of the largest investment in Croatia’s tourism. The famous hotel chain Four Seasons will build a hotel at Brizenica Bay – a five-minute ride from Stari Grad. The hotel will consist of 120 magnificent rooms and 60 additional villas, and the entire world’s elite is expected to vacation there, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on April 6, 2016.
It has been said that the construction will cost hundred million euros. The residents of Hvar are not ridiculing this big announcement; they are excited and welcome the news about the first-class resort coming to their town, probably because the big guns stand behind it – the capitalists who would not allow to be discredited because they have announced a project that won’t be implemented.
Juraj Pavičić from Dol is sitting on the bench while an occasional tourist passes by – a backpacker with headphones or a young Korean who makes selfies, all the while the excavators keep creating new berths under the crane arching over the island’s bell towers. “A new hotel? Who would be against it? They will build it so that young people have a place to work”, said Pavičić. His friend Jeronim Alujević is thrilled. “Stari Grad needs more resources. We do not have a place to go out to dance and have a bit of fun. This is a somewhat lethargic area. We also need a real place for swimming, a nice beach. Everything will probably change with that new hotel. They will make everything this place needs and hire workers. It is nice to hear that, it is really nice”, this pensioner from Split said obviously very happy that something so grandiose and luxurious will be built on the island after such a long time.
Another resident, Pavo, did not want his real name published in the newspapers because he participated in selling the land. He believes that everything will go well. “These are big players and serious business people. I was involved in the land selling procedure for ten years. Until everything finally fell into place, they did not want to present the idea to the public. The only thing that remains to be done is to make a bypass road that will lead to the hotel and to the villas, but this will all go smoothly. The state will help as well”, Pave said.
Nikša Petrić believes that the hotel chain will contribute to the revival of Stari Grad and the entire island. Asked whether there are enough workers on the island for a hotel that big, he said “yes”. Aljoša Maričić from the town of Hvar is not of the same opinion. “We do not have enough people for a hotel like this one, and this is a big problem on Hvar, but they will come from other places, such as Slavonia, and all this will be important for the entire island. This was talked about for a long time and, obviously, the time has come to start the project. This is the real thing.”
Before the investors from Arqaam Capital bring the heavy machinery to Brizinica, where geometers have already measured the plot and cut down the bushes, there have been infrastructure works going on in Stari Grad. After the new seafront, which has turned Stari Grad into the place with fine nautical prospects, mostly thanks to father and son Maroević, the new eighty berths have emerged. And these berths bring guests. This is why it is not surprising that at the beginning of April this old city, which is 2400 years old, has already started to slowly take in the tourists.
Danijela Vlahović, the director of the Stari Grad Tourist Board, said: “Thanks to yachtsmen, the season is starting more and more early and ends later. There is no official data, but the estimates say that there are between 60,000 and 70,000 overnight stays at the harbour. The total number of beds at our disposal is 1,500, in the Helios Faros hotels”, she said.
“You know the story of the Helios Faros hotels, which ended up in bankruptcy after the transition. People who work in these hotels are, I would say, thanks to their enthusiasm, carrying the entire season on their own back and they are doing that very, very well, as the numbers show. I hope that the investments will be made in these hotels as well. As for the Four Seasons, we have all been waiting for this. It is something that both Stari Grad and the island of Hvar need. We did not have a green-field investment such as this one in a long, long time. The hotels in Hvar have been renovated before, but no one has built such a big structure from the ground up”, she explained.
Vlahović believes that the bypass road will also be ready in time. “It is not only a solution for the hotel and the villas but also for the three business zones where it would lead to”, she added. She pointed out that the big resort will not “swallow up” Stari Grad. “Stari Grad is small only in terms of population, but its area is very, very big. In addition, the Four Seasons will be built outside the town, which is the same logic followed by those who built Faros Helios. The guests will have a kind of their own oasis, but they will be only a five-minute drive away from to the old town”, Vlahović concluded. The location where the hotel will be built is a true heaven, right next to the coast, surrounded by pine trees and a nice beach.