Lapadska obala 37; Dubrovnik, Croatia
Driving into a city for the first time can be quite a daunting task. But finding the Hotel Lapad beside Gruž harbour was remarkably easy. After crossing the Dubrovnik Bridge we simply followed the road around the bay till we reached the hotel’s car park beside the main building. From then on the car was dumped until we left. It was a stress free way to arrive at a hotel in a thriving city and in some ways it felt more like arriving at a seaside resort than a major European city.
Dubrovnik old town can be a bit mad, so having a base in a quiet area beside the bay provides relief from the bustle of the old town. It’s not too far to walk to catch a bus into town and there are bars and restaurants nearby if you don’t feel like making the trip into the historic centre. There’s a great little wine shop very close to the hotel for picking up a bottle to enjoy on your balcony… if you have one.
The Hotel Lapad looks like one of those grand hotels from another era, its lovely Victorian façade lending it a style that is befitting of the halcyon days of travel. Inside, an old sweeping, stone staircase is brought up to date with some contemporary touches and art work. This blend of old and new is carried throughout the hotel.
Staff all look prim and proper in immaculate matching uniforms and are professionally courteous. In every way the Hotel Lapad looks and plays the part of a grand old dame, albeit one wearing the latest glad-rags. Maybe it was after the casual and sincere friendliness of Hotel Podstine on Hvar, but we felt that the air of grandness could occasionally slip into something that felt more like aloofness.
The rooms are of a good size and are stylishly modern with soothing scenes of lapping waves above the bed, big flat screen TVs and a cool bathroom with glass walls which we loved. There’s air conditioning, wi-fi, a hairdryer in the bathroom, mini bar and a safe. The contemporary, comfortable style suited us. Our room also had a tiny balcony which we both could just about squeeze into to enjoy a local wine with (side) views of the bay. Not all rooms have a balcony.
The most popular attraction at the Hotel Lapad seems to be the swimming pool in front of the hotel. Although the hotel has an olde world ambience, it also bizarrely has the air of a beach resort hotel about it. Some people would arrive at breakfast in outfits that seemed more appropriate to a holiday in the sun than a stay in a city centre hotel. That freaked me a bit. It gave the Hotel Lapad a bit of a split personality. But the swimming pool area was perpetually packed so obviously many guests look for and enjoy the beach resort element.
The dining room is large and it has to be as it can be extremely busy in the morning. We only ate breakfast there so can only comment on that. There was an excellent selection that was kept well stocked. The only criticism is the hot options were more like the lukewarm options.
The hotel also has an attractive bar with an open air terrace overlooking the pool. When we were there most people chose to sit on the terrace, possibly because the music in the bar drove them outside.
Ultimately, the Hotel Lapad is an exquisite looking and professionally run hotel which deservedly earns it good customer reviews. It’s in a good location that offers the best of Dubrovnik’s worlds (it’s a 10 minute walk to the regular bus service into the old town and reception staff can sell you tickets. Incidentally, the return bus drops you off right outside the hotel).
Hotel Lapad, Lapadska obala 37; Dubrovnik; tel: +3385 20 455 555; double rooms with breakfast cost from around €109 in low season to €240 in high season
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+