A well-known focal point of social life in Opatija back in the day, Hotel Paris was in state of decay for the last decade. The place recently known as a disgrace to the otherwise gorgeous ambiance in the popular tourist destination on Kvarner is about to get a makeover.
The new owner of Hotel Paris is Zdravko Jokić from Osijek, an entrepreneur who has been doing business in Opatija for the last eighteen years. He’s planning to finish the renovating the main accommodation facilities and the reception desk before the summer season of 2018; once when the entire project is finished a year later, the 4-star hotel will dispose of 110 rooms with a total of 200 beds, a restaurant, a wine bar and a wine shop, a spa centre with a pool, and a two-storey garage with around 100 parking spots. The main entertainment facility in the hotel will be a new casino, as Jokić has been successfully running a casino business since 198, reports Novi list on October 3, 2017.
“I can say I own the longest-running business of automat clubs and casinos in Croatia. I’ve been working in Opatija for eighteen years, where I’m a restaurateur and owner of multiple casinos. When I first came to Opatija, I managed a casino in Hotel Adriatic, then an automat club in Hotel Palace. These days, I’m running a casino in Hotel Imperial and I own the wine bar Stephanie. However, I was only renting the space at all listed locations. After the Liburnia Riviera Hotel group broke off the lease contract for Imperial, where we managed to get a nice casino running along with the wine bar that’s been operating fantastically for four years, we didn’t have anywhere else to go. We had to think about where to head next after twenty years spent in Opatija, and we had to find a solution for a permanent location in a relatively short period of time. I saw Hotel Paris as a place that would fit the business I want to be doing. I’m aware it’s a major financial expense, but as any other businessman, I know every business is a risk. On the other hand, Opatija is a place with minimal risk when it comes to investing in tourism and hospitality, as the city gets tourists all year round”, said Josić.
The hotel has been closed for 15 years, and it’s in a state of complete decay. Jokić plans to renovate the place entirely and finish every last detail before the summer season of 2019. The new and improved Hotel Paris will be equipped with a state-of-the-art casino, where Jokić intends to organise poker tournaments. In Hotel Imperial, they’ve been successfuly running tournaments multiple times a year, getting 200-300 visitors from Croatia and Slovenia every single time. The new casino will thus continue the tradition, but in a larger and better-equipped facility.
“I travel around Croatia and the world all the time. I’d say Opatija is running behind to a certain extent, but no one can take away its position, infrastructure, and beauty. However, I’ve noticed it’s been catching up with other cities like Dubrovnik and Rovinj in the last year or two, so I believe we’ll reach the same level in a year or two from now. I think the main issue in Opatija is the lack of beach infrastructure. Lido and Angiolina [bathing resorts] have added to the offer in the city, but it’s crucial to renovate the Slatina beach as soon as possible. Tourists who come to Opatija often say it reminds them of Monte Carlo for its configuration and infrastructure, and after visiting and experiencing Monte Carlo on multiple occasion, I tend to share their opinion. I’m sure that, with a bit of added glamour and further investment into infrastructure, Opatija could become a little Monte Carlo in no time”, concluded the entrepreneur.
Translation of excerpts from Novi list.