Amphora: Largest Hotel in Split Days Away from Opening Doors?

Daniela Rogulj

September 24, 2019 – The Amphora will be Split’s largest hotel.

The peak season is long gone, which has been confirmed by the comfortable drop in temperature and September showers. However, the summer came and went without one of the biggest hotel projects in Dalmatia – the Amphora hotel on Znjan, owned by Split entrepreneur Zvonko Kotarac. 

This top-category hotel has been announced as the largest hotel in Split, which means it is one of the largest hotels in Dalmatia. Although it was originally planned to open this Easter, its doors are still closed. 

Slobodna Dalmacija writes that anyone who has walked past the hotel in recent days would say that it is in the final stages of completion, meaning it should fully open in a matter of days. There is still a fence in front of the entrance, but some of the windows on the terraces have been cleared. Slobodna Dalmacija called Zvonko Kotarac to see if the hotel was nearly ready to receive its first guests, though he neither confirmed nor denied the question.

The first project for this accommodation dates back to 2004, and according to the plans back then, the facility should have been much smaller. Three buildings were planned, each with a basement, ground floor, semi-basement, two floors, and a superstructure, and the construction line would coincide with the slope of the terrain. In this way, it would unobtrusively blend in with the view of the coast, in the area of Znjan, which has been devastated by inadequate construction. The designer then was Ante Kuzmanic, but as the architect once said to Slobodna, there was a dispute with the investor and he left the project. 

The plans for the hotel were then changed at the request of the investors. The architects then created a new draft and the detailed plan for the area was changed, that is, the city councilors raised their hands three times – in 2008, 2011 and 2016. From the initial 7,100 square meters, the hotel has grown to 17,500 square meters. So, in just over ten years, while we awaited its construction, the hotel grew 10,000 square meters and became the largest in Split!

The project was also changed to be more cost-effective to build. It was once accepted as two six-story buildings by the City, and in 2016, at the request of Kotarac’s Dal-Koning Company, the City Council changed it to an eight-story building. Some city councilors have warned, such as architect Danira Matosic, that such a large object would disrupt the city’s view from the sea, but that did not stop the required number of hands to adopt another DPU change.

Recall, a construction inspection in April this year found that, above all, excavators were digging more than was approved in the building permit, so the City approved its modification under the Emil Sverka project, and the works were completed.

Furthermore, the project envisaged that the Amphora’s 11 floors would be heated and cooled by the sea, for which pipes would be installed 200 meters from the beach for the disabled, located next to the hotel. Design engineer Davor Lucin said that only near the pipe will the temperature be warmer or colder by three to five degrees. Senka Mrkonjic, president of the Association of Persons with Disabilities, commented that it was extremely inappropriate that no one had discussed this with them.

TCN wrote back in February that with 600 beds available, the Amphora will significantly improve the tourist image of the city – and it will also change the image of Žnjan.

The building will consist of two parts; the Amphora Resort is the main facility on nine floors with 207 accommodation units, 30 to 70 square meters in size, while the Amphora Residence will include 30 high-class apartments between 40 to 100 square meters. The buildings will be connected by a walkway.

Unlike the latest trends in buildings with fully enclosed facades, as many as three-quarters of all rooms will have a balcony overlooking the coast, the sea, and the central Dalmatian islands. The total investment is more than 26 million euro.

The main building and public spaces were designed by Emil Sverko, rooms by designer Patricia Sabljic, and the restaurants and Sky bar by architect Ante Vrban. Neno Kezic authored the residential part.

The hotel is called “Amphora” because Zvonko Kotarac owns a family collection of amphorae, one of the most complete in the area, which is substantially preserved and aged between 1800 and 2500 years. Thirty listed and conservation-protected amphorae will be permanently exhibited at the hotel. As a national cultural asset, it will be accessible to the public in the lobby of the hotel.

The Amphora will offer a congress hall with 500 seats, a wellness center of 2000 square meters, four types of saunas with an open view, three swimming pools, two of which will have a sea view and one that will be a winter pool with a glass wall, and two restaurants and three bars next to the spectacular Sky Bar, in an area of 800 square meters for 500 guests at the top of the building.

The Amphora said they would accommodate a very diverse clientele, from business people to families, mainly from the UK and Scandinavian countries. The hotel also said they’d hire 80 permanent staff and 40 seasonal workers back in February. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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