Isn’t this the smartest kind of camouflage? You’d be hard pressed to spot the deluxe new Grand Park Hotel on a visit to Istria, the pretty heart-shaped peninsula in Northern Croatia. Local architect firm 3LHD crafted the property’s long flat levels to slot straight into the area’s natural cedar and cypress forests. Not that woodland is your sole view. While passersby may have to squint to pick out the hillside hotel, reclining at the infinity pool affords guests undisturbed views across the sparkling water to Ronvinj Old Town, a higgledy-piggledy mass of quaint red-roofed buildings topped with the towering spire of the St. Euphemia church. It is quite the picture postcard.
Back at the hotel, airy spaces are neutral in tone, crafted from timber to echo the surrounding area, and flecked with statement-making furnishings. Wander sleek corridors adorned with modern art as you locate yours among the 209 rooms, and then rest up on the large private balconies. If you can tear yourself away from the room, make time to sample the wares of the six dining spots located onsite. You may like to start at sunset on the terrace of the fifth floor lobby, where the selection of champagnes is the country’s largest and then watch night fall across the marina from Cap Aureo, which serves modern fine cuisine.
With your appetite whetted, arrange a trip to discover the area’s celebrated culinary gems. Forage for truffles with professional hunters and their hounds, sip the latest vintage at local wineries and craft your own olive oil — Istria has long been named the world’s best producer of virgin oil.
Of course, if these excursions leave you weary, a fanciful way to try the oil is in a massage at the spa where saunas, steam rooms, plunge pools and an ice fountain also promise to fully restore. www.maistra.com