All posts by dulux

Advice on where to book your hotel in Dubrovnik: Old Town vs Lapad

Holidaymakers are starting to gather their ideas which destination to choose for the forthcoming 2015 holiday season. Croatia is continuing to rise in its popularity and Dubrovnik is a must see destination on holidaymakers’ lists. Looking at the hotel accommodation Dubrovnik is growing in its luxury accommodation segment offer. In my view in order to taste Dubrovnik in its most “organic” way then Adriatic Luxury Hotels is your best bet for the simple fact that both hotels Excelsior and GHV Argentina offers

Hotel Argentina
GHV Argentina

spectacular views over the Old City and the island of Lokrum. Many would go automatically for Excelsior,personally I would prefer Argentina because in my view it is more cosier. Both hotels are situated in Ploce area of Dubrovnik and are a pleasant walk to the Old City where all activity during the summer season takes place. You will not regret if you even pay a bit extra but then again if you are an early bird you are bound to find a really good bargain.

One thing you ought to bear in mind is that Dubrovnik is a small city and that the public bus service works well. On the other hand Dubrovnik Palace is situated in a very secluded spot of Lapad

Dubrovnik Palace
Dubrovnik Palace

peninsula. What is more bus no 4 will get you in less than 15 minutes to Pile Gate. Uvala Lapad promenade is just a 15 minutes stroll where all the restaurants and bars are situated. So if you book Dubrovnik Palace what you get are the best of the both worlds. You came to Dubrovnik to visit Old City, you are staying in a five star hotel that is positioned in the best part of Lapad peninsula. You will get a better bargain than at Excelsior or Argentina and you still profit from the spectacular views of St Andrews lighthouse and Elaphiti islands.

The author of this article is Srdj Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.

How to book an apartment in Dubrovnik Old City?

If you are decided to book an apartment inside the city walls then dubrovnik old city mapyou have decided to be the part of the local experience although you have to bear in mind that out of 4000 citizens who lived in the Old City before the war, there are only 1000 remaining. This means that your neighbor might easily be a fellow tourist like yourself. First and foremost it’s the timing of your holiday. The most ideal timing for families is the end of May because  the school holidays have started, the Old City is relatively busy during the day because of the tourists from cruisers but it is peaceful during the evening hours which is great because it allows you to dine quietly al fresco in one of many local restaurants with your family. The only drawback is that sea is still a bit chilly so swimming as option might be ruled out although the recent climate changes have warmed the sea quicker than before.
In my opinion early September is the best time to enjoy the Old City as there are less crowds in the city, there is plenty of sun, sea is excellent for swimming. Needless to say that price wise you can get a better deal. Couple of things to consider when booking your accommodation. The Old City is pedestrianized zone. There are two main entrance gates: The Pile Gate and The Ploce Gate. In 90% of the cases is that you will end up at the Pile Gate which is also considered to be the main entrance. Make sure your luggage suitcase has wheels. In my opinion any accommodation booked as you enter the main street Stradun and you go in the first and second street on the left around caffe bar Festival will suit you perfect, in other words beginning of Prijeko Street as you enter Stradun. Also anything north of Ulica od Puča my favourite corner being around St Rocco church, this is where you will find the best pizza in the town in pizzeria Mea Culpa. If you prefer lively yet placid atmosphere then I suggest anything around Bunićeva Poljana. For your sunbathing and swimming I suggest Lokrum, 15 minutes ride by boat from the Old City port. You can read my blog on the island. Enjoy!!!

The author of this article is Srđ Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.

From the island of Lokrum Dubrovnik, Croatia via Canary islands to Mexico with love.

Recently a client of ours insisted on booking Villa Victoria for the end of May 2015. As it may have been expected it was fully booked. My guess was that the views and the value for money price were determinants when it came for opting out to rent Villa Victoria. And there is one view in particular that intrigues the visitors of Dubrovnik, that of island of Lokrum. So you may wonder what onLokrum3 heck has this island to do with Canary islands and Mexico. Well the story starts in 1203 when the island of Lokrum became official domicile of Benedictine monks who cared for it until 1808 when they were forced off the island. As they were leaving Lokrum, they circled it and the curse on any future owner of the island. The Latin saying inscribed over the entrance to the abbey says: Small things create harmony, big things disharmony and this was the case for archduke Maximilian, the brother of the Austrian and Hungarian king Franz Joseph who acquired the island in 1859 and built himself a residence as an extension to the abbey with immaculately designed gardens. He brought on the island a family of peacocks from Canary islands. As he was declared the Emperor of maximilianMexico he met a tragic end being shot by Zapatta revolutionaries. In the meantime the island was inherited by his wife Charlotte who in the meantime was declared insane. Her brother Belgian king Leopold II ensured that Austrian princess Elizabeth gets the island after his nephew committed suicide.

In 1959 the island became natural reserve with a rare species of cactus trees, eucalyptuses, magnolias, agaves being plated there from Australia and South America.

What is interesting to note that no visitor is allowed to sleep on the island during the visiting season which lasts from April to November. The island is reachable in the 15 minutes ferry ride from Dubrovnik Old city port.

Croatian post war 1990’s baby boomers and how they shape Croatian outbound travel market?

 

Croatia is a country of approx. 4 million people, which generates a substantial part of its GDP through tourism. Croatian travel agencies are inundated with offers for business co-operation with destinations such as Maldives, India and Vietnam. In order toCroatian outbound travel understand Croatian outbound travel market one has to understand Croatian post war 1990’s baby boom generation. They are born during or straight after the war. Similar to millennials, they are digital generation and, as such, they have a huge influence on their parents and what is more they have a huge influence on their grandparents.

For the Croatian outbound luxury market, this means that if you have a luxury family villa in Costarica, in the terms of marketing content, you really ought to be targeting an affluent 25 years old young lady who is going to persuade her father, a successful businessman, to Croatian outbound travel costaricatake his family to Costarica. On the other hand if you want to sell senior cruises to Med, your marketing platform should definitely be mobile or tablet, since these young men and ladies were the ones who have persuaded their grandparents to purchase mobile phone and in particular tablets in the first place. They crave for adventure, but it must be safer adventure, as they have only heard of the war horrors but never experienced it. They strive for healthy lifestyle and align to brands with a purpose. They are interested in the term “different”, which could be culture, food, habits, societies, etc. Most of the time, these young people are extremely sophisticated, well affluent and educated. They are not burdened with the politics, so they cross Croatian outbound travel Costa mediterraneaborders easily. However, they are very patriotic as they show a great degree of respect towards their peers, especially as they have inherited moral obligation to represent their country in the best possible light wherever they go. Contrary to their parents who use e-mails and perhaps Facebook, Croatian boomers use heavily social media and are often different to their parents. This is where the element of “different” is highlighted. So, if parents use SMS, children use Viber. If parents use Viber, children will use What’s Up. For them, the image sharing and mobile platforms are essential tools when travelling, because when they come back home they want to show to their grandparents where they went and how people live elsewhere.

Understanding Croatian post war boomer will enable you to understand the patterns of Croatian outbound travel.

The author of this article is Srdj Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.

Dubrovnik as bachelor and hen parties destination!!! Why not???

Dubrovnik Croatia is considered to be one of the world’s hotspots for the weddings because of its unprecedented beauty. It is not by chance that American socialites Fabiola Beracasa chose Dubrovnik srđ portolan bachelor and hento “fortify”her love to her husband Jason Beckham. We at DLT have been thinking of starting a new trend, organising bachelor and hen parties in some of our summer residency houses, setting everything up from catering to DJ entertainment. The idea as such sound appealing because in the post season months weather permitting you can still enjoy Dubrovnik Riviera and have a bit of fun. The idea started rolling out as some of our international investment bankers clients were so amazed by Dubrovnik and its Riviera beauty that they enquired regarding a possibility to organize a bachelor’s party in the summer residence Srđ Portolan summer residencehouse in Konavle region of Dubrovnik Riviera. We are hoping to attract the right type of a client who will not solely indulge in large quantities of alcohol ( no one wants the remake of the Hangover film scenes ) but who would also appreciate the cultural aspects of the region and even the neighboring countries, going on the individually tailored tour from Dubrovnik to Montenegro.

Dear blog and social media readers we would like to hear your ideas as well, how would you imagine your bachelor or hen night party. Perhaps you are put in charge of organizing someone’s party and right now you have come across this post. The idea of Croatia and especially Dubrovnik as bachelor or hen night party host is attractive because it combines culture,nature and fun. All you need to do is to sort out your getting to Dubrovnik transport issue and we would take care of the rest.

The author of this article is Srdj Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.

Say Yes I do in luxury style in Dubrovnik Croatia !!!

The September’s issue of the world’s most prestigious fashion magazine Vogue covered Dubrovnik wedding of the year, when American socialites Fabiola Beracasa and Jason Beckman said Yes I do in the luxurious settings of Sponza Palace. Thousand of brides to

wedding fabiola beracasa
Dubrovnik 2014 Wedding of the Year

be are thinking of this dream wedding that has taken place in Dubrovnik, Croatia and has given golden PR opportunity to the Old City of Dubrovnik as an ideal wedding location.

So how do I go about having similar type of wedding Fabiola Beracasa and Jason Beckam had is the question posed by the brides to be? Depending on the type of wedding and if we are talking medium size wedding of up to 100 guests and if you want to make it special then we at Dubrovnik Luxury Travel have a solution for you as we are co-operating with the best wedding agency in the town the name of which I will conceal ( trick of the trade ) and the best luxury chain of hotels: Adriatic Luxury Hotels ( you got to have a freebe tip ). However if you want your Dubrovnik luxury wedding locationwedding to be top private affair in the top private location overlooking the Old Town and the island of love: Lokrum, then we have something for you that will suit your needs and put a great smile on your partner’s face. So do not worry, if you want church wedding, civil partnership wedding, Jewish wedding, Indian wedding and in the style of Robbie Williams lyrics in his song Rock DJ instead of singing Can I kick it, Yes I Can, we at Dubrovnik Luxury Travel sing it, Can we kick it, Yes we Can!!!

Does Dubrovnik lack in high quality summer season event offer?

Srđ Portolan believes that Dubrovnik has a solid combination of cultural and entertainment activities during the summer season. Srđ continues to state that Dubrovnik Summer Festival, in itself is an srđ portolanestablished cultural brand which enables visitors to taste the unique experiences of the Old City summer open scene theatre combining Shakespeare and Držić ( Dubrovnik born renaissance writer of  black comedies ) or it is a chance to hear the echoing of Ivo Vojnovich’s famous Dubrovnik Trilogy ( pre-second war established writer ) who has so well described the fall of  the 19th century Dubrovnik Republic. Srđ Portolan believes that staging Dubrovnik born and bred writers and classical composers, Srđ gives an example of Luka Sorkočević, is one of the best way to promote local heritage in particular that of the Old City. However Srđ Portolan admits that perhaps Dubrovnik Summer Festival lacks modern day cutting edge touch and in this recession hit times visitors to Dubrovnik and the natives need a beauty to their eyes. Srđ Portolan elaborates that perhaps Miss Dubrovnik Summer Festival ought to be a regular feature. I laughed at first but then when I googled Miss America srđ portolan dubrovnik summer festival2014 I realized that Srđ was right and that his idea was not at all loony. Miss America is USA  and even world’s biggest non-profit organization sponsoring the education of women between the age of 17 and 24. Miss America 2014 winner Kira Kazantsev will opt out to become a law graduate. Srđ Portolan suggested that perhaps with the existing ACMT or the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology already in Dubrovnik and perhaps if the winner of such manifestation can get scholarship for ACMT that would be an excellent way of demonstrating where a cultural manifestation with the elements of beauty can have entertainment factors and be beneficial for the local community. The biggest sponsor of Dubrovnik  Summer Festival is VIP, Croatian telecoms company. Srđ Portolan believes that perhaps Dubrovnik Summer Festival ought to incorporate fashion show elements. Srđ believes that perhaps summer edition of CRO A PORTER could be an excellent opportunity to launch young Croatian fashion designers that would have an excellent channel of marketing, direct one where the visitors, the tourists can purchase their garments directly. Such manifestation would draw a larger number of competing sponsors and would raise not only the profile of Dubrovnik but Croatia on the whole. Srđ Portolan is of the opinion manifestations that bear the local character such as Dubrovnik’s famous “ each part of the town has its street party” type are important not only as the entertainment to the visiting tourists but also to the locals as well as they are integral way of maintaining local tradition. So next time when you are in Dubrovnik and you see posters advertising “Gruška Noć” or “Noć Uvale” rest assured that it is a party night ( noć ) to be remembered for.

As Scotland decides on the referendum about its fate, we have asked Srđ Portolan what impact this may have on the tourism industry in Croatia ?

 

Srđ Portolan answers that there is no place for politics in any business and that the referendum on the Scottish independence is no exemption. Srđ Portolan, privately has a degree of sympathy towards those Scots who are in favour of the yes vote because he himself is a patriot and he has been involved in the creation of the Croatian state.srđ portolan scotland New countries such as Scotland believes Srđ Portolan if it happens should maintain neutrality. Dubrovnik had excellent charter and regular flights with Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, Portolan believes that new Scottish State if it happens could trigger a new wave of referendums across Europe. First on the map may be Catalonia and South Tyrol whose independences could possibly have dual consequences. New Scottish state must apply to join the European Union although Portolan sees no reason why they should do so as they hold large reserves of British oil and gas. However, the disappearance of the Great Britain as it once were, would mean possible uncertain political power future of that country which might turn the rest of the British economy towards the recession in which case people would travel less. The European travel sector becomes more competitive than ever Srđ Portolan continues as Spain are Greece have recorded substantial increases in the revenues generated according to Croatian daily newspapers Slobodna Dalmacija whereas Croatia’s growth has been minor, that of 1.9%. Srđ Portolan sees this twofold opportunity because if Scotland goes its own way and Catalonia follows, this may shift the attention of investors towards Catalonia itself and elsewhere, Croatia included. Independent Catalonia may stand the srđ portolan croatialittle chance of entering EU because of the Spanish vetto. In a strange way if one takes this angle of analysis the Scottish vote of independence is important for the future of Europe, possible new economic crisis would make citizens of Europe more cautious when it comes to travelling abroad on holidays which might have serious effect on the recovery of the Croatian economy as it is closely linked to the tourism industry. Although Srđ Portolan is very optimistic when it comes to Dubrovnik and its Old City. Srđ states that crisis or not this would not stop rich clients from travelling and as Dubrovnik is orientated towards the luxury segment of the market, it is safe for now. Furthermore, Portolan concludes that Dubrovnik as an international tourist destination brand should be looking more in the direction of the Far East and both Americas,as new markets, especially the Latin one which is reinstated by the fact that his companies had a 50% increase of enquiries from countries such as Mexico and Brazil.

 

We have asked Srđ Portolan why is Dubrovnik so specific as a destination?

Srđ Portolan has been in the foreground of Dubrovnik newest era of its tourism prosperity since 1995 and Srđ has talked about Intercon travel agency humble beginnings on numerous occasions in the aftermath of the 1991-1995 war conflict. Srđ Portolan openly admits that he was learning the ropes of the trade as he went along and Srdj Portolan is a firm believer of the philosophy that a human being is learning all the time and that in this process of life cycle one is bound to make mistakes and regrettable decisions. Perhaps Srdj Portolan view of Dubrovnik as top destination is a biased one. But then again I would not blame him as he grew up in the part of Dubrovnik overlooking the Old City and the island of Lokrum which are great inspirations for any native of Dubrovnik. Srđ Portolan evokes the time when August 25 would mark the end not only of Dubrovnik Summer Festival but would also bring the ring of the school bell closer to home. Srdj adds that this would shorten the time spent on his favourite St Jacobs beach where he and his mates spent srđ portolan st jacobsdays on end playing two of their classy games: card game “tresheta” and the water sports game called “picigin”. Srđ Portolan believes that tourists can learn a lot about Croatian cultural legacy by visiting Dubrovnik and in particular Dubrovnik Old city. Srđ Portolan, has been an award winning manager on a number of times ( according to Croatian Institute of Business intelligence and poslovni.hr ). Srđ is right in his statement that a simple game of picigin which consists of keeping the small palmed size plastic ball up in the air the longer the better as one displays acrobatic skills of a ball saviour while the players’ feet are deeply buried in shallows of the sea water, is on the par with the top team building exercises that ever it were. Portolan adds the aim is to do your up most best for the people in your circle. One should even argue that the game of picigin resembles to Google +, the only srđ portolan piciginphotos you were sharing with your picigin circle friends were that of famous football players once the World Cup was in the headlines. What is more, the architectural beauty of the Old City was born out from the philosophy of common good and freedom in all its forms and shapes. The freedom of movement was well respected during the years of Dubrovnik republic and although Bing search engine may have come handy to find the services of such and such merchant at the end everyone knew their place as far as business and social connotation and etiquette was concerned. The last two survived the modern age as you do not need facebook, twitter to find your friend sipping his favorite coffee in the coffee shop where he has been surrounded by his inner circle of friends. Srdj Portolan remembers Dubrovnik Old City bloggers who were back in the mid-eighties strolling Stradun and literally shouting resourceful information about happenings at the time. The late Tomo Separevic was true Dubrovnik’s “origino” which translates as someone with bundles of personality. Despite the fact that he was shouting the news about the current political situation ( political blogging ) he observed the golden etiquette rule of Stradun walking. You never run on Stradun and you never shout after someone. It is not by chance that Srđ Portolan having visited so many destinations recalls the old Dubrovnik adage:

“Go everywhere but always come home !”

We have asked Srđ Portolan what is so special about Split as Croatia’s emerging new destination?

Srđ Portolan smiled at me as I posed  this question to him but Srđ did not hide the fact that there is a great friendship between the natives of Dubrovnik and Split. Portolan adds that the element of friendly srđ portolan splitrivalry brings actually people together. They both live in what is known as Croatian province of Dalmatia, Dubrovnik celebrates its patron saint; St Blaise, Split on the other hand celebrates St Domnius. Both cities have churches devoted to their patron saints. Split’s Old City is not as stunning as that of Dubrovnik but in a sense it is much cosier and it does have this element of Roman past as Diocletianus palace is a well preserved monument. Srđ Portolan continues to add that in a same way as Dubrovnik has its Srđ hill, after which he and many Dubrovnik natives were named, Split does have its Marjan hill, which is covered in dense pine tree forest and it is ideal for running and cycling activities. Srđ Portolan tells me that names like his and that of Blaise which in Croatian translates as Vlaho are unique to Dubrovnik in a same way as the name of St Domnius or Duje in Croatian and that of Lovro are typical Split males names. Unfortunately this falls short of the EU Commission policy on gender equality,Srdj Portolan says jokingly, but it is a reminder of Croatia’s patrimony legacy.
Srdj Portolan says that the reason why is Split becoming more appealing to tourists is  because of its cultural, natural beauties and the entertainment factors. We have explained the cultural factors, Split’s Old City Peristil and Diocletianus Palace. Split is also known srđ portolan old city splitas a hub city for visiting Croatian islands of Ciovo, Brac, Hvar and Vis. In our previous blogs we have sung praises to Hvar’s beauty and rich night life and Vis’ Blue Cave phenomenon, undoubtedly the best diving spot in the whole of the Adriatic. Srđ Portolan further adds that Split is in within easy reach of the natural parks of Krka and Plitvice and if you are after adrenaline rush you can always raft down river Cetina.Split has also hosted a second year in a row Urban House music festival. For the lovers of luxury accommodation and all those yachting tourism enthusiasts Split does have two luxury five star hotels Le Meridien Lav and  Marjansrđ portolan marjan hill with their own small marinas where you can moor your “pet”. Last but not the least if you want your son to become the next Marin Cilic, the winner of the US Open 2014, just send him to Split. It is here that he moved from his home town of Medjugorje and Split is a home town to almost all Croatian world recognised tennis stars, Goran Ivanisevic, Mario Ancic,Iva Majoli,Mirjana Lucic just to name the few concludes Srđ Portolan.