To be honest, reviewing Hotel Skalinada is our hardest review to date. Not because Hotel Skalinada wasn’t good or didn’t meet our needs. It’s because finding words to review this place is nearly impossible. Just thinking about our experience at Hotel Skalinada brings tears to my eyes. Hands down, without a shadow of a doubt, Hotel Skalinada is the best place we’ve ever stayed.
And before you ask, we do not say that lightly. We’ve been traveling on and off for over five years now, have been to 25+ countries across five different continents, and have had our fair share of hotels, BnBs, and villa stays. And yet when we think of all our travels, our stay at Hotel Skalinada takes the cake for the best accommodation we’ve been in. And to be fair, the word accommodation doesn’t even fit. Hotel Skalinada has been the best experience we’ve had for accommodation.
THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT HOTEL SKALINADA FROM SABINA AND TONCI
Guest Return Rate:
Over breakfast, we talked with Sabina about the amazing feeling Hotel Skalinada gives. Humbly, Sabina informed us that they do their best to make each stay perfect and that sixty percent of their guests return after staying with them. 30% of their guests come back every year, and the other 30% of their returning guests do so about every other year. With that return rate, you know they’re doing something right!
Killer Beach Bar Madness:
We visited Hotel Skalinada in the shoulder season, (which we completely recommend), and found out that during the high season, the hotel has a beach bar at the bottom of the property. The beach bar is run by Sabina and Tonci’s daughter, who’s left to run the bar because she understands the interests and vibes the beach bar should portray. (Talk about attention to detail…having people work in the part that best suits them!)
High Season vs. Shoulder Season:
A stay during high season versus the shoulder season can be as different as black is from white. Visiting during the high season (mid-June to mid-September) means that you’ll be sharing the hotel and the grounds with a full booking of other guests. The beach will be full of other travelers, the restaurant will still offer amazing food, but maybe not so much a family style feel, and the staff will be working long hard days to meet the needs of the guests.
A stay in the shoulder season (May to mid-June and mid-September to the end of October) means that you’ll share the grounds with only a couple other guests. You’ll get a relax and calm feeling across the staff, the beach will be nearly empty, and you’ll enjoy long conversations with Sabina and Tonci without them needed to be here or there.
We visited early June before things got super busy, however, we’re sure a stay in the high season would be lovely too, although a completely different feel than the shoulder season.
Personal Stories Matter:
Sabina and Tonci really care about each individual staying at their place. They want to know who their guests are, they notice things like if you don’t like something to drink, or if you prefer a different seating arrangement than what is set. And, they go above and beyond making guests feel welcomed – when they found out it was our first time to Croatia, the staff came out and played us live traditional Croatian music to welcome us to their country. You can tell each guest is more than just a number whom they wish has the best stay they can.
HOTEL SKALINADA FIRST CLASS RESTAURANT
Fresh Garden Produce:
Just a few meters away from the restaurant is the garden where the produce for each meal comes from. For breakfast, you’ll find loads of fruit from the different fruit trees across the grounds, and the smell walking throughout the hotel is amazing thanks to all the lavender plants along the walkways! You’ll even see vineyards right next to Hotel Skalinada from which Tonci’s friend makes the wine served at dinner – and it’s delicious! And man.. don’t even get us started with the oil! Even the table oil is to die for and made freshly right next door!
40+ Years of Perfection:
For over 40 years, Tonci and Sabina have been preparing first class meals. And the food they serve really shows how they’ve perfected it. Throughout our stay, we kept saying how each dish would typically be well over 100 USD anywhere else. The meals we were served during our stay were hands down some of the best food we’ve ever had. You have to try their octopus… not typically something we would recommend, but Tonci knows what he’s doing!
Before Hotel Skalinada became what it is today, Tonci used to go out in the morning and catch the fish before preparing the dishes of the day. However, now that he is kept busy with the guests coming in and out of the hotel, they have hired someone else to catch their fish. They kept their fishing tradition within the family though, and hired their brother to fish for them! When you know where the best fish are, and who you can count on you stick to it! We love that everything within the hotel comes from family lines.
Fresh Isn’t Best, It’s the Only Way:
We’ve heard countless times that fresh fish is the best fish. And while that’s definitely true, Sabina ensures that they take that to the next level and say that fresh is the only way to go. The fish served at Hotel Skalinada is as fresh as can be. If a guest requests a certain fish, but they can’t catch it that morning, they will not serve that fish at all. Sabina even told us she doesn’t even eat fish anywhere else because she knows they serve the best fish out of anywhere they’ve been.
WHICH HOTEL SKALINADA ACCOMMODATION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Hotel Skalinada is has grown into more than just a hotel. They have hotel rooms as well as guesthouses on the property. Which one you stay in depends on what type of accommodation you’re looking for. Here’s an idea of what Hotel Skalinada offers.
Staying at the actual “hotel” means that your room will be like any other hotel room. You’ll have a private bathroom, a large room with a dresser, bed, and wardrobe, and have a small fridge. Some rooms even come with balconies overlooking the Adriatic Sea! And, the hotel room on the far left facing the sea even has a sea view from the shower!
The rooms are right above the restaurant, so staying in the hotel, you’ll hear some noises come from downstairs. However, staying in the hotel also means breakfast and dinner are included. And man, we’d choose this over and over again. The breakfast is just what you need to start your day, and the dinner is to die for – as you can tell from what we wrote above! 😉
The guesthouses on the property are really like renting a private home. They’re multi-story houses with private decks, great bedroom views, and a full kitchen and living room downstairs. These houses are tucked up on the hillside behind the hotel, so you won’t hear the noise from the restaurant as much.
Although each guesthouse comes complete with a fully functioning kitchen, you can still opt to stay with dinner included. Something we highly recommend, as the food and the restaurant atmosphere are not to be missed! With multiple bedrooms, the guesthouses at Hotel Skalinada are a great choice for groups of people traveling together!
HOTEL SKALINADA GROUNDS
With traditional Dalmatian décor and an amazing view, the restaurant was one of our favorite places to be. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, with a huge deck overlooking the sea. The chairs are comfy, and the table décor sets the mood perfectly for each meal.
Just to the left of the hotel (looking at the sea), there’s a garden where the produce for each meal is being grown. Walking through the garden is going to look different throughout the different seasons, but one thing’s for sure, it’s so nice to know that the produce served is coming fresh from the Hotel Skalinada grounds.
The Beach Access:
A stay on Hvar isn’t complete without beach access. At Hotel Skalinada walking from the rooms to the beach takes no more than two minutes. The best part is that you won’t hear all the craziness from Hvar, but instead enjoy some relaxation since Hotel Skalinada is located outside the city. With a couple different coves and crystal clear waters, the beach at Hotel Skalinada is perfect!
The Private Grounds:
The landscaping at Hotel Skalinada takes a traditional Dalmatian approach tying in lots of flowers and trees, art pieces made from wood, and great lounge areas both near the sea and in the shade. There’s plenty of space to sit back and relax, taking in the beauty around. Tonci does a wonderful job up-keeping the grounds, and like we said above, the lavender and fresh flowers throughout the outdoors makes the hotel grounds smell lovely.
The Beach Bar:
During the high season, Hotel Skalinada offers a beach bar to the hotel guests. The beach bar wasn’t actually opened when we went, however, the décor that we could see, and the stories we’ve heard make it seem perfect. If you couldn’t tell from the name, the bar is located right on the beach. It’s at the very end of the hotel grounds, making it dangerously easy access while soaking in the sun!
BOOKING THE BEST PLACE TO STAY ON HVAR
While you can use the booking.com website to book your stay at Hotel Skalinada, we would actually recommend going straight through their website below, as the booking.com website doesn’t give the half board option for your stay, and is quite a bit more expensive than booking through their website.
Through the Hotel Skalinada Website:
We recommend booking straight through the Hotel Skalinada website, as this gives you the half board options for staying. And like we said above, tends to be cheaper than booking.com. When booking, keep in mind you’re also paying for a meal that should cost double what the stay is by itself!
GETTING TO HOTEL SKALINADA
To get to Hotel Skalinada you will have to take a ferry from mainland Croatia over to Hvar. You can either ferry into the north of Hvar to Stari Grad from Split, or to the south of Hvar from Drevnik to Sucuraj. Ferrying into the south, you will have quite the drive up to Hotel Skalinada in Zavala, however, this ferry is cheaper and shorter than the ferry from Split.
To get to Hotel Skalinada, you will have to rent a car. Luckily, renting a car in Croatia is relatively inexpensive, especially when traveling outside the high season. Do be careful as the roads are small, and there are a lot of sharp corners going up and down the cliff side to the hotel.
READ MORE : Renting a Car in Croatia
Recommended Gear for Hotel Skalinada
The photos and videos in this post were shot using this camera, and mostly using this lens. We recommend bringing some sort of waterproof camera with you, as the Adriatic Sea water is so clear. We use an old version of the GoPro, however, definitely recommend upgrading to this one here.
We always recommend packing light when traveling and absolutely love this carry-on size bag. We use our packs every day and love, love, love them! And, if you have space, this water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours – such a nice treat to have on those hot beach days!
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*Although we stayed as guests at Hotel Skalinada, all opinions are 100% our own, and we know they treat all their guests as they treated us. We met a couple that has been returning to Hotel Skalinada twice a year for the past five years because their experience is so great every. single. time.
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