The Grand Park Hotel in the Croatian harbor town of Rovinj makes the most of its spectacular setting. Rovinj sits on the coast of Istria, the arrowhead-shaped hump of land just south of Croatia’s border with Slovenia.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the hotel. Everything is facing the Adriatic. You see the panorama, the old town, the church, and trees and trees and trees,” says the property’s designer, Piero Lissoni. The soft-spoken, Milan-based maestro, an industry legend, is the artistic director for numerous Italian luxury brands, which call upon him and his firm to consider everything their name is on, from materials to party invites.
It’s the same at the Grand Park, which opened last year. Lissoni and his team conceived almost every aspect of the 209-room, six-story hotel, from the interior spaces and furnishings to the staff uniforms. A minimalist by temperament, he wanted nothing to distract from the turquoise water and the sunshine. “We’re trying to capture that outside light and bring it inside the entire hotel,” he says. He managed it by using great sheets of glass, natural woods, and polished concrete. And he provided contrast with dark tabletops and blackened ceilings. The effect is dramatic in an Antonioni movie kind of way.
There’s more than enough to do: three pools, a large spa, two restaurants. There are plenty of boats in the marina at the foot of the hotel and a park nearby for hiking and biking. An hour’s drive north, the hilltop village of Motovun is renowned for its black and white truffles.
At the heart of the hotel is a glass-walled lobby and adjoining terrace. For all the amenities available, sitting, sipping, and gazing might be the most enjoyable. “I first went to Rovigno just after Tito died, when it was still Yugoslavia,” says Lissoni, using the Italian name for Rovinj. “It has changed a lot—it’s almost like Portofino now.”
From $265; maistra.com.