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…
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.