Luxury Dubrovnik Tourism in the Corona Era: The View from Rixos Premium

Total Croatia News

July 25, 2020 – Rixos Premium Dubrovnik has reopened after a 20 million euro upgrade, the perfect viewpoint to explore luxury Dubrovnik tourism in the corona era. 

Stone and the waves.

The perfect end to the longest day. 


The lapping of the waves against the rocks below, as majestic Mount Srdj oversaw all. I had made it. 

It was always going to be an ambitious itinerary. Leaving Varazdin in the morning, destination Zagreb for two meetings. then continuing the journey to get the kids on the 16:30 catamaran to Jelsa, two more meetings, then on to Dubrovnik, a destination that I was very keen to visit this summer to see how the Pearl of the Adriatic looked during the corona era. 

I need not have worried. My final destination, having crossed most of Croatia in a day, was the luxury Rixos Premium Dubrovnik, who had invited me to stay to sample life in peak season Dubrovnik during the corona era. 

I could not have hoped for a better host. 


Arriving exhausted and famished at 22:40, I enquired about the remote possibility of a restaurant being open, to be greeted with a smile and escort to the beach bar where the kitchen had closed but they would find something for me to eat. As I waited for the lamb chops by the sea with the first beer of the day, I lost myself in the gentle breeze, the stone walls, those addictive waves. Paradise.

The view promised to be special in the morning if the evening vista was anything to go by, and so it proved. 


Late to bed, early to rise, for I had a 07:55 appointment at the old harbour for a guided tour of Lokrum, that enchanted island which is the perfect summer escape from the crowds in an average Dubrovnik summer. 

(Video of boat departure to the island of Lokrum from the old harbour in Dubrovnik Old Town, the perfect activity after breakfast)

This was far from an average Dubrovnik summer, I mused, as I wandered into the old town to experience a side of Dubrovnik that I – and most tourists – had not seen before. A city at the height of summer which was owned by the locals, whose daily habits – grocery shopping, morning coffee – were what caught the eye, rather than a mass of tourists. 


But all that was to come later, for first I bade temporary farewell to my delightful room and VERY comfy bed, before heading down to breakfast. 


The layout of the room was like none I had seen in my limited experience in luxury hotels, and it had the effect of turning it into a four-room affair. Firstly the desk at the head of the bed, then the welcoming double bed with television perched at the end. After that, two armchairs to admire the terrace and the view. And beyond that, the very spacious terrace itself, complete with table to sit and sun loungers to lounge. All that would have to wait, for first we had to ensure enough time for the most important meal of the day before my Lokrum tour – breakfast. 


I was curious to see how hotels would handle the buffet breakfast in the corona era with all social distancing requirements, and the Rixos Premium solution was genius indeed. Having ordered a coffee and orange juice, before settling on the eggs benedict, I was somewhat surprised to see the waitress return with a platter of food, then plates of food, then more plates. Meet the socially distanced buffet breakfast, Rixos style. 


Not that it was crowded. Not only was occupancy understandably down from the peak season highs of previous mid-Julys, but the overriding first impression one gets at Rixos Premium is one of space. The hotel is massive, the main reception rooms both spacious and green. The hotel only reopened on June 16 after a 20 million euro renovation, a renovation which lasted a little more than eight months in total, contains the ”signature” of the famous hotel interior designer Ina Rinderknecht – the winner of numerous awards for luxury hotels she designed in Europe, in London, Zurich, Basel, and Dublin, as well as across the Atlantic over in California.

And the subtle details of Dubrovnik are everywhere… 


From the famous Dubrovnik rozeta in some table designs… 


To its picturesque arches… 


To the enticing photos of the old town and the treasures that await in this tastefully arranged photo collection on the walk through the corridor to the beach bar. 


Space everywhere. Even if the hotel had been completely full, I doubt that social distancing would be a challenge. 


Breakfast and the subsequent tour of the hotel with General Manager Ayhan Basci on the second morning was a fascinating affair. 

These are unprecedented times for the hospitality industry, and I was curious to see how the Rixos management was handling the crisis. My. Basci has kindly agreed to a full interview with TCN on that and Dubrovnik tourism, which we will publish shortly, but I was impressed that no staff have been laid off, despite the reduced guest traffic. 


And the tour showed that this was more than just a posh hotel, one whose space has been put to maximum use for the multiple purposes of its guests, with great diversity, with everything a short walk away. 


This sense of diversity was perhaps best illustrated as we headed towards the beach bar. But first, we went to the left and the indoor pool, situated next to a fully stocked gym. 


Then a door to the right, into a world of aromatic silence, where one could choose from no less than 110 types of tea as one entered the wellness zone. 


A zone which housed an enviable selection of sauna options. I have my eye next time on the Turkish bath to start… 


… then the Igloo to cool offf… 


… ending with a light sleep and complete detox in the salt room. 

 And then, through another door from that feeling of complete zen, another Rixos world and experience. The beach bar area and outdoor pool, a totally chilled zone, but from a different aspect than the saunas.  109827493_10158934958644073_9026343891423299409_o.jpg

A zone where your aspiring DJs were rehearsing their tunes. 


A beach bar area with the one thing that was omnipresent at Rixos – space. 


It was space which was put to good use, with little extras for the family that you do not find in every hotel – a dedicated billiards room, for example. 


As with the kids activities, so too with the adults. Looking to sneak away to catch your favourite sports game? Head to the Sports Bar. 


Or if you are looking to hold a business meeting, catch up with friends over a Turkish coffee (the owners are Turkish, so they know a thing or two about coffee), or just chill and enjoy the greenery all around, the Libertas Lobby and Terrace Bar is a popular spot. 


Want to put your name on some prime dry-aged steaks for your next visit? Reserve your piece here. 


Or head on out to the Umi Teppanyaki Japanese restaurant out on the terrace and watch your chef rustle up some of Japan’s very finest before your very eyes. 


Perhaps you can catch sight from your terrace over morning coffee of your chef picking the herbs for your lunch from the Chef’s Garden.


In a meeting with Mayor of Dubrovnik Mato Frankovic on the second day, the mayor told me that although the tourist numbers were obviously well down on previous years, the one encouraging factor was the number of luxury guests who were taking this unique opportunity to enjoy Dubrovnik without the crowds, spending accordingly. 


Dubrovnik in peak season has not been this incredible in the 18 years I have lived in Croatia, and it arguably will never be again. So I advise you to take the unique opportunity that is the present situation, and carpe diem. 

Stone and waves. Without the crowds. 


And the view is just a small part of the Rixos luxury on offer. 

To learn more about Rixos Premium Dubrovnik, visit the official website.  

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

Paul Bradbury was an invited guest of Rixos Premium Dubrovnik in July 2020.


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