New Valamar Stari Grad Nature Resort to Reposition and Redevelop Hvar Tourism

Daniela Rogulj

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Helios Faros

Hotel company “Helios Faros” d.d. from Stari Grad on the island of Hvar launched a significant investment cycle in its facilities after a 2019 recapitalization by the new owners of “PBZ Croatia osiguranje” to manage mandatory pension funds and “Valamar Riviera” from Poreč, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

So far, more than HRK 91 million has been invested, which includes the renovation and launch of the first hotel under the new brand “Hvar (Places Hotel) by Valamar” in Stari Grad – Faros (formerly the hotel “Lavender”) and landscaping “Arcade Sunny Hotel by Valamar”.

A few days ago, the Supervisory Board gave the green light for additional investments of HRK 223.2 million, which is, of course, an excellent reason to talk to Vladimir Bunić, the director of the Stari Grad hotel.

Slobodna Dalmacija asked how tourists reacted to the novelties in their offer, as progress is more than evident.

“‘Places Hotel by Valamar’ has genuinely become a hotel chosen by guests looking for an easy beach holiday in attractive locations. They especially liked the design of the hotel and the excellent offer of the new restaurant and bar concept, with extended breakfast time and an all-day à la carte offer. In the 2021 season, we welcomed them with renovated accommodation facilities, renovated existing ones, and built a new restaurant with sunbathing areas.

Hotel ‘Arkada’ became part of the brand ‘Sunny by Valamar’ and welcomed guests with renovated rooms, restaurants, and exciting children’s facilities. This investment will contribute to repositioning the destination according to higher value-added services and further developing tourism in Stari Grad and Hvar.”

And what are the effects of those investments?

“Helios Faros” is a listed company, so we will be able to talk about the season’s results only after the quarterly financial report is published. Nevertheless, we are satisfied with the high level of guest satisfaction with the new hotel “Hvar Places by Valamar”, intended for guests seeking freedom of choice, modern design, and an authentic destination experience with full respect for nature and the environment. One of the most significant features is the offer that gives guests complete freedom to enjoy the restaurant offer in the rhythm that suits them best.”

Fantastic pool complex

“It is true; this complex is increasingly becoming the center of daily entertainment with live music and DJs, which continues after sunset. The hotel has 179 rooms that are a blend of Mediterranean tradition and modern design. All are equipped with extremely comfortable beds with top-quality mattresses. They also have a smart TV, super-fast Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and everything that a modern traveler needs to experience a dream vacation. The freedom of cashless payment with a bracelet and contactless check-in also contributes to maximum comfort.”

And now an investment of HRK 223.2 million?

“Let’s say that the investments are mostly related to constructing the first sustainable eco-resort in the “Valamar” portfolio on our coast, completing investments in “Hvar (Places Hotel) by Valamar”, constructing the “Aquamar” pool complex, and arranging the overall tourist zone. “Nature resort” is the new “Valamar” concept of a fully sustainable eco-resort positioned for family vacations. The resort’s construction will be achieved by respecting the highest standards of green building, which includes environmentally friendly materials with minimal impact on the environment, the use of renewable energy sources, and a high level of energy efficiency. Furthermore, the “Valamar nature resort” in Stari Grad is the first tourist project to use prefabricated buildings and modular construction designed according to “Valamar” accommodation quality standards.”

A concept inspired by nature and sustainable design

“Yes, the architecture of the resort fits into the natural environment of the island in the design of buildings, while the interior design is signed by local designers and artists using local traditions and materials. Furthermore, the felled trees will be used in landscaping, and each felled tree will be replaced with newly planted ones, while digitization will eliminate the use of paper throughout the hotel. In addition, great emphasis will be placed on the offer of local food and produce, so all interested producers and family farms who grow and produce organic indigenous island varieties and ensure they come directly from the field.”

When will the construction begin?

“The project will be implemented in two phases during 2022 and 2023, to realize the green initiatives in full potential and realize all aspects of sustainable development of the resort. We also plan to apply for green EU funds, and upon completion, the conditions for issuing green building certificates will be met. Bungalow-settlement “Trim”, although it retains its original architectural form, will experience major changes and improvements in the interior design in a new and modern “Valamar” brand focused on guests’ comfort.”


Helios Faros render

What about the staff?

“Caring for employees, their development and education, as well as the overall working conditions, is key to the long-term success of the company and ensuring a high level of quality and service we provide to our guests. As we have mentioned before, we intend to include as many staff from the local population as possible, in the spirit of the idea of doing business on and with the island.”

Very ambitious medium-term development plans

“We intend to put Stari Grad on the map of the most luxurious resorts in Croatia, as evidenced by the “Helios Faros” Business Development Plan, which assumes investments totaling about HRK 800 million in sustainable tourism of high added value. This will positively impact the economic growth of the city and the island and the opportunities for the further career development of our employees. Furthermore, by 2025, the reconstruction and construction of new hotel and resort capacities of 4* and 5* categories with a total of 700 accommodation units are planned, which speaks for itself about employment potentials for the inhabitants of the island of Hvar,” concluded Bunić.

You can watch the full video on HRT.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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