Roxanich Wine & Heritage Hotel : Motovun : Istria

Roxanich Wine & Heritage Hotel : Motovun : Istria

Whenever we filled up the car in the garage in Motovun, we always used to say how beautiful the derelict building opposite, was. It was a huge structure, but had been clearly been abandoned some years ago. But was still an impressive structure. We imagined winning the lottery and buying it and redeveloping it and restoring it to what would have been its former glory.

And then one day, the diggers moved in and demolition started. Of course, I had to know who had bought it and what it was going to be, because someone, somewhere, had thwarted my plans!

However, I was delighted when I found out that it was actually being restored and would become the Roxanich Heritage and Wine Hotel. If you want to find out more about this amazing renovation and the thinking and concept behind it, it’s all on the official website. It opened in April of this year, and on one of our petrol fill-up  trips, I popped across the road, to see what I could find out. And, oh my word, it was absolutely astonishing – and bearing in mind I only saw the reception and bar area, it still was enough to make me realise that we had to stay here.

Fast forward to August and friends came to stay with us and we did indeed have a night with them, in Roxanich, and I think I am still reeling at how bold and inventive and unique this restoration is. Partly financed by the European Union – we are delighted to now be living in a country which still embraces this union – winemaker Mladen Rozanic has created something very, very special. As well as the hotel accommodation, a restaurant and a wine shop, Roxanich produces its own wines, stored safe and deep in the cellars, snugly fitting inside the landscape, under the hotel. Although definitely not cheap, as you would expect for something of this standard, it’s one of those places that you owe it to yourself to experience. Even if just once. From the moment you enter – and, if you arrive by car, there’s a bit of a James Bond car lift, to take you down into the car park – to the moment you leave, everything is just perfect. A real top notch hotel, which will only serve to increase to reputation of beautiful Motovun.

The reception area sets the tone for the rest of the hotel. The barrel vaulted ceiling, the white painted brickwork, the tiled floor, the exquisite furnishings – plus floor to ceiling glass doors, leading out to a huge terrace, overlooking an infinity pool and beyond, rolling vineyards, the River Mirna and the surrounding hills. But nothing really prepares you for the rooms. Although perhaps the golden lift should give you a clue…

Our room was a deluxe double room, designed for families – and I can honestly say I have never stayed in such an unusual, eye-popping room! But, let’s start with the bathroom. Large enough if you did book this as a family room, with a huge walk in shower – and decorated in a very elegant pale pink and powder blue colour scheme. Very pretty.

But the the room… Blimey, the room! This is the view from the calm and relaxing blue and pink bathroom, looking out onto a psychedelic scene.

But, don’t let this word put you off – because it works. It really does work. Bold and vibrant wallpaper. A four poster bed (padded, Chesterfield style leather), with a mirrored ceiling, with a bed on top, with a ladder to the side, really is the centrepiece. Something this spectacular really can’t be anything else!

We genuinely thought we’d either never sleep or have crazy dreams – but, the bed itself was so super-comfy that it was a dream sleep. Our room had views right across the Mirna Valley and if we squinted, we could also see Oprtalj, our nearest town, so how fabulous to have something so design-led, so close to home.

The rest of the hotel is just as jaw-dropping. We ate dinner on the terrace, which has panoramic, sweeping views across the valley. The views were delicious enough, but the food actually topped the views! No photos, unfortunately, as everything was tucked into immediately!

The attention to detail is carried through to every single public area. To get a feel for this uber-stylish hotel – and don’t forget, it’s located inland, at the foot of a hill, topped by a medieval town, so not in one of the snazzy Istrian coastal resorts – I snapped away. Hopefully, what I got will give a good indication of just how delicious Roxanich is…

Gold Metro Tiles. Can I just repeat? Gold. Metro.Tiles...

Gold Metro Tiles. Can I just repeat? Gold. Metro.Tiles…

The Cigar Room

The Cigar Room

The Wine Room

The Wine Room

The Bar

The Bar

Communal Relaxing Area

Communal Relaxing Area

Where we live is quite rural. We get to our house by driving up a big hill, with a winding road and some quite hairpin bends. Sometimes, we can feel as if we are quite remote and far away from places which are super-stylish. No longer! Now that we can be at Roxanich in under 20 minutes, we feel so privileged that this is literally on our Istrian doorstep.

 

 

Petit Sant Miquel : Calonge : Mallorca

Petit Sant Miquel : Calonge : Mallorca

Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

After spending time on the western side of Mallorca, we decided to explore the eastern side of the island and found a gem of a hotel, called Petit Sant Miquel in the very pretty and very traditional village of Calonge. Renovated and opened in August 2018 by a Mallorcan couple, it is the epitome of relaxation in contemporary and very stylish surroundings. We stayed right at the beginning of the season, which for us was fabulous, as it meant that we literally had this small, but  perfectly formed, boutique hotel almost to ourselves.

Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

The interior of the hotel is spotlessly clean and well thought out, design wise. Furnishings and accessories are subtle and stylish, in the colour tones we love – blues, greys and whites with natural touches. The ever-present Spanish floor tiles are much in evidence and as ever, just very beautiful. We stayed two nights and chose to have breakfast outside, in the internal courtyard, because the weather was gorgeous – just like the courtyard, in fact. As with the interior, the exterior just oozes calmness and effortless style. The owners certainly have good eyes for design detail. Marble topped tables, olive trees, lanterns, candles, palette planters and well thought out lighting all create an environment where it’s impossible not to feel completely chilled out. Breakfast is simple but again, well thought out – there are the usual cold cured meats and cheeses and breads and pastries and juices but these are all of a very high standard. We didn’t check, but wouldn’t be surprised if everything was sourced locally. Eggs, to your taste, can also be prepared – always a nice touch.

Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

The hotel also operates an Honesty Bar, with very reasonably priced wines and beers and snacks – and the lit up courtyard is a perfect place to enjoy a drink at the end of the night.

Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

So, to our room. Well, it’s no surprise it was rather gorgeous. Not huge in size, but the space had clearly been really well considered. With a big double bed, a very sizeable (and very pretty vintage vanilla coloured) wardroble and a table and chair, it had everything you would need for a short stay. The toilet and walk in shower were housed in separate areas within the room, divided by opaque glass – the rainhead shower was powerful and the cubicle was spacious. This gets a big tick from me, as there’s nothing worse bathroom-wise, than a cramped shower area. But the best thing of all – always a bonus if you want a relaxing experience – was the free standing bath. Utter luxury, especially when travelling…

Petit Sant Miquel, Mallorca

We also had a tiny little balcony (although still with two sun chairs and a table) overlooking the courtyard – and it did look as if all rooms overlooking this area had a balcony too.

But perhaps our favourite part of Petit Sant Miquel, and what originally caught our eye online when we were booking, was the rooftop terrace, with views overlooking the rooftops of Calonge, the mountains and the shimmering sea. We spent quite a lot of time on this balcony and because no-one else was using it at the same time, we had it all to ourselves. That meant no fighting over the great big sunbed, with billowing side panels. And it also meant that we had the gorgeous plunge pool to ourselves. It was absolute heaven, soaking up the sun, with a cold bottle of dry Spanish white wine…

The hotel is located in a sleepy (at least when we were there in mid-May) village, although it does benefit from two superb restaurants. Restaurant Bona Taula is a traditional Mallorcan restaurant, specialising in meat and fish. The menu never changes – it doesn’t have to as it is excellent. We had a tapas style meal of whitebait, padron peppers, cheese and potatoes, followed by the most delicious Creme Catalan I’ve ever tasted.

And the second restaurant we tried, and thoroughly loved, was Pizzeria Nou which served amazing pizzas. We ate outside in the vine and honeysuckle and wisteria covered courtyard which was just so pretty. Great food, excellent wine and wonderful service. Both restaurants are highly recommended.

We definitely think we found a bit of a gem when we discovered Petit Sant Miquel, and although we definitely preferred the west side of Mallorca to the east, next time we visit, we will be making a return to this lovely boutique hotel. (This is NOT a sponsored or paid for post. Simply our experience of our visit).

 

Best Western Plus Net Tower : Padova : Veneto : Italy

Best Western Plus Net Tower : Padova : Veneto : Italy

We often drive around the outskirts of Padova (Padua) when we travel back to Istria from Italy. We’ve always found it – even with Google Maps – quite a perplexing city to get out of. It’s not a big city, but the outskirts are a bit on the confusing side, so we generally use the big red tower as a marker. We’ve never really looked that closely at this tower, because it didn’t seem as if was of any relevance. Until very recently…

We’d booked tickets to see Massive Attack and they were playing at a sports arena on the outskirts of the city. Too far to walk to, we didn’t want to negotiate public transport or book taxis and we definitely didn’t want to drive, so accommodation in the centre – about 5kms away – wasn’t really an option. However, a quick search of hotels near the Kioene Arena included the red tower, above. Turns out it’s a Best Western hotel – the Plus Net Tower Hotel. We usually avoid chain hotels if we can. Not that we’ve anything against them – it’s just that there’s always so much other choice. But, this hotel was a 6 minute walk from the Arena, and reviews were really, really good so we booked a superior king room for € 89.25. To be honest, we weren’t expecting too much – so were absolutely delighted when we arrived and realised what we’d actually booked.

Parking is often an issue when staying somewhere – it’s pretty rare to find free on-site parking, and so we often have to do street parking or a car park. This isn’t a problem, as we do expect to pay if we are using our car and want to park it up somewhere – but, being able to do it for free, and not having to fight for a space, is a definite bonus. As well as lots of space at the front and to the sides of the hotel, there is also an undergound car park. All free for users of the hotel. We’ve definitely noted this, as we drive back to England fairly regularly and always seem to return – usually via Padova – with a haul of goodies, meaning safe parking is sometimes a real consideration for us.

Check-in at The Best Western Plus Net Tower Hotel, Padova

The hotel entrance is very stylish – spacious, with big, soft loungy sofas and cool lighting. I’m not sure how long this hotel has actually been open, but the interior is absolutely pristine. No suitcase scuff marks on the walls. Door handles and light switches were positively sparkling. All very impressive so far.

Room 507 – one of the superior king rooms – was quite beautiful, with caramel and cream interiors. The corner room was huge, with floor to ceiling windows on two sides, so it was light and airy. The bed was very big and super comfy, and additional bedding was stored in a cupboard. For anyone wanting to work when staying, there was a very cool desk, with an additional table and designer chairs. The bathroom was large and exceptionally clean, with a separate walk in shower.

We chose to eat in the hotel restaurant as there wasn’t anything else nearby, so we were taking our chances. However, this was in Italy where food is king. We’ve stayed in hotels in the UK, which were much more expensive than this one, and had food which could best be described as bland. This food was excellent and of a really high standard, with great choice. Not too much choice, which might have suggested that a lot of dishes were possibly frozen. Just enough to know that everything on the menu was fresh. A big basket of warm, freshly made bread was delivered to the table with oils, for us to snack on as we perused the menus. Always a good sign for me when a restaurant has the uber stylish Dag-Style menu covers…

Pumpkin Risotto and Three Cheese Macaroni, with a crisp bottle of Pinot Grigio went down very well. Incredibly tasty and just the right size portions. And for just under 40 euros, an excellent meal.

So, there you have it. A night in a chain hotel – great value for money, extremely comfortable, well designed rooms, an excellent restaurant and superb location for the Kioene Arena, where we had a date with Massive Attack…