September 12, 2020 – Continuing the TCN tour of the Elaphiti Islands near Dubrovnik, a slice of heaven on Sipan – Hotel Bozica in Sudjuradj.
I had forgotten how addictive the feeling was. A feeling so strong that it renders you literally immobile.
The perfect waterfront terrace in Dalmatia, watching the waves gently lapping against the rocks under the gaze of yet another azure sky.
That tricky moment after a sumptuous lunch of fresh healthy products and – in this case at least – some quite sublime desserts.
If you don’t move now, then the danger is you will succumb to that inertia and still be in the same position hours later.
The terrace at Hotel Bozica in Sudjuradj on Sipan is one such terrace where you may succumb to that addictive feeling. You have been warned.
As I wrote previously, the Elaphiti islands of Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan are ones I have somehow not managed to visit during all my wanderings in Croatia with TCN. That all changed this summer, as I finally discovered what I had been missing all this time. I have been missing a lot. The perfect introduction was the island of Kolocep, aka Kalamota, the closest of the three to Dubrovnik (read more in Arise Kalamota! Kolocep, 30 Mins from Dubrovnik But a World Away). This was followed by a visit to Lopud under the expert guidance of Kresimir Macan, who managed to show more of the island in 24 hours than most people discover in a week (Lopud: Carless, Timeless, Carefree Dalmatian Sunset Heaven).
Kalamota had charmed me with its simplicity (we have no need for music, for our music comes from the sea and the trees), Lopud by its heritage and relative sophistication, and I was curious to see what Sipan, the largest of the three islands had to offer by comparison.
A short speedboat transfer from Lopud to our first stop on Sipan, Hotel Bozica in Sudjuradj, had me smiling as I heard its history.
It never ceases to amaze me as I travel the Croatian coast and islands just how many of its finest tourism businesses are the result of a private dream and initiative. Doing business in Croatia at the best of times is a challenge, but to do attempt a major building project on an island – with all those additional challenges – is another class of achievement altogether.
And here, as we approached Hotel Bozica’s jetty, was another fine example.
The Kristic family is from the island and had a dream to build a quality hotel in Sudjuradj. The year was 1987, and a rocky waterfront plot was purchased with a phenomenal view out to the open sea, and a short walk from the historic village and its impressive palaces. The Homeland War delayed the start of construction until 2000, and Hotel Bozica, the first hotel in Sudjuradj, opened in 2006.
It is a divine spot.
And a lot more accessible than it might appear at first glance. As the official hotel promo video below shows, the transfer time from Dubrovnik Airport is under one hour – 45 minutes by transfer to a spot on the mainland close to Sipan, then a few minutes by speedboat directly to the hotel and your first welcome drink on that unforgettable terrace. Why fight with the crowds in the city when you can have such a seamless arrival experience in Paradise?
And if – as you should – you plan a trip into Dubrovnik, a short walk down to the village will bring you to the Postira ferry from Jadrolinija, which has faithfully transported passengers between Dubrovnik and the Elaphiti islands for more than half a century. The journey takes just over an hour and is one of the most picturesque you will experience.
We only stayed for (an extended – thanks to that terrace) lunch, but if you are planning an overnight stay or two, there are worse views to wake up to than this one.
Given its isolated location, Hotel Bozica effectively has its own private beach, which is only used by hotel guests. And it will not be long before you are taking a dip – that water is hard to resist!
One of the things I appreciated most on my two visits to the Elaphiti Islands was that sense of detachment from the madness of 2020 which follows us everywhere. The Elaphiti are timeless, idyllic havens of natural beauty and relaxed living. There are no cars even on Kolocep or Lopud, and very few on Sipan, which exist mostly to connect the two main settlements.
A world away from the realities and worries of life. A perfect place for yoga, a massage, or healthy activities such as kayaking or cycling, all of which can be arranged at the hotel.
As a parent of two teenage kids, one feature I liked was the compromise between this escapist lifestyle and the realities of modern family life. You can only keep the kids occupied with beach and swimming and natural beauty for so long these days.
Playstation may not be the first choice of holiday activity for parents planning a holiday to a Dalmatian island, but having the option on occasion is a nice backup – especially if you end of being seduced by the terrace and the view. A mutli-purpose living room with small library and computer games was perfectly quiet when we entered, with two very engaged youngsters enjoying a break from the beach in their own way while their parents relaxed outside.
One thing which surprised me on Sipan was the expansive fertile field which dominates the centre of the island along the road from Sudjuradj and Sipanska Luka. A fertile plain similar to the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Stari Grad Plain, on Hvar.
Fresh, local, seasonal produce. Dalmatia at its finest.
The hotel grows much of its own food, and it works with local fishermen to source the finest and freshest seafood to complement the healthy vegetables from the local fields. A winning combination. And when you add that terrace…
Fresh seafood delivered by the best local fishermen certainly sounded tempting, and it was in my plan as we sat down for lunch. A shared mixed platter to start would be a nice combination, and I was warned to make sure I kept enough room for dessert, as there were some rather special offerings in the kitchen.
The mixed platter was outstanding, a lot more than I had bargained for, and I decided to forego the fish to keep enough room for the celebrated desserts.
(Photo credit – Taliah Bradbury)
It proved to be a wise move – wow!
Desserts with a view! That feeling of terrace inertia was setting in again.
The desserts, of course, were not all for me, but we all sampled a little of each. From left to right – apple pie, chocolate cake, carrot cake (the star performer), cheesecake, and vanilla ice cream.
On a gorgeous terrace with a perfect view overlooking the water in Dalmatia. I was finding it difficult to move…
Others in the group were a little more active. What better way to chill after lunch than a dip in the pool next to the restaurant?
It was time to take our leave and discover a little more of Sipan, starting with the village of Sudjuradj a short walk away.
A spectacular protected bay.
The Elaphiti islands blew me away for the richness of their historic buildings, the legacy of the glory days of shipbuilding in the Dubrovnik Republic, when the islands were much more inhabited with wealthy sea captains as property owners and a thriving shipbuilding industry. And nowhere was the opulence of those former times in greater evidence than in the palaces in Sudjuradj.
But that is a story for the next installment in this series of Elaphite delights.
For now, let us reflect and celebrate one more realised private dream on a Croatian island – magical Hotel Bozica and THAT terrace. As close to Dalmatian perfection as one can find.
Just make sure you plan to allocate a few hours to your visit, as it is really hard to leave.
For more information on Hotel Bozica, visit the official website.