Share a Bedroom with a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Hotel Peristil in Split

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It is a strange thing being a tourism blogger living in a tourism country. 

The perspective is different.

What tourists see as a once in a lifetime experience are everyday experiences to the local resident. I first fully appreciated the difference over three years after I started the Total Hvar website in 2011. Several years later, I was invited by Karin Mimica of Gastronaut to join her foodie media club for a three-day tour of my adopted island. It was quite a trip, and this was only the first day. My perspective of Hvar changed forever that day, and I like to think it made me a more effective travel writer, as I had seen my island through tourist eyes. 


I have always had the same strange feeling about Diocletian’s Palace in Split. For years, I didn’t even know that it was a UNESCO World Heritage Site, such was the level of tourism promotion in the city a decade ago. In truth, especially in the evening in winter, I found the palace a little intimidating. There were few bars, everything was dark, and there were some parts best avoided. 

The transformation in the last ten years has been a joy to watch, and today, Diocletian’s Palace is one of the coolest places to hang out on the Croatian coast.  


For years, I walked around the palace going about my business, sharing those historic alleys with an ever-increasing throng of tourists learning more about this Roman Emperor’s incredible retirement home. I smiled often as I overheard a not-uncommon question at the end of a tour of Diocletian’s Palace:

“But where is the actual palace? Can we visit that now?”


Thousands of years of history which you take totally for granted as a local, for it is with you every day. It was only when I finally did my own guided walking tour of the palace that I saw the destination – like Hvar before it – through tourist eyes. 

And then, last autumn, I had a rather pleasant – and very private – rendezvous with 1,700 years of history in the most unlikely of places – my hotel bedroom.  


My normal Split pad was unavailable, and so I decided to check out a small hotel which had mildly fascinated me for years, but which I had never visited – Hotel Peristil. Just 12 rooms in all, the hotel is perched on one of the original outer walls of the original palace. 

When I entered the room, something quite spectacular awaited. Although I had reserved a single, it seemed that I would be sharing my room after all – with an original Roman outer wall from Diocletian’s Palace, which sat majestically near a delightful side room just off the bedroom.  


Here I was, just metres from every attraction in the palace, the ferry, the riva and the green market, so close to all the tourist throngs, and yet a world away. 

Rather than dive into my laptop as I planned, I decided to take a break and savour the moment with a glass of wine (ok, three) sat in my temporary living room next to 1700 years of history. A very private moment of contemplation, as life in Split continued around me. 

It is moments like that which – for me at least – make the greatest memories in travel.

Some time later, the bottle empty, I returned to work, but the memory of that private audience with history remains one my highlights of 2020.

You can learn more about Hotel Peristil here. 

For the latest news from Split, follow the dedicated TCN section


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