Grand Park Hotel Rovinj is impressive on every level. It has a commanding position on the harbour at Rovinj, backed by a luscious green forest and each room has impressive city or sea views that are to die for. You can lie in bed and watch the old town changing throughout the day from dawn to dusk.
Grand Park Hotel Rovinj
The five-star plus hotel opened in April 2019 and is a sparkling addition to the hotel scene, not just in Istria but for the whole of Croatia. Part of the Maistra Collection, the rooms are modern, white and simple in design. The bathrooms feature travertine tiles from top to bottom, large free-standing bath, a shower you can run around in and Molton Brown amenities. The big beds and super comfy pillows offer uninterrupted views (you could stay all day). Every part of the hotel has been designed to make the most of the views from reception to restaurants, including the spa and wellness centre on the top two floors.
What’s for dinner?
It’s a large hotel with seven bars and restaurants. Breakfast on the terrace is a must with fabulous Bircher Muesli, local breads and cooked-to-order options. I loved the avocado on toast with poached egg and a splash of hollandaise. Do not leave without trying the tasting menu at Cap Aureo Signature Restaurant and for a super fish supper there’s Baratisda on the marina.
Albaro Wellness & Spa at Grand Park Hotel Rovinj
Albaro Wellness & Spa at Grand Park Hotel Rovinj has left a lasting impression on me. The build of the spa is beautiful. Travertine tiles dominate the look which creates a calming muted honeyed-yellow tone throughout. I loved the fine vertical glass walls which lead you through to the treatment rooms and thermal suite. Two saunas and two steam rooms complete with experience showers and plunge pool will satisfy your needs for hot and cold contrasting temperatures. I particularly liked the use of local essential oils including mastica in the sauna.
The treatment rooms are spacious with many featuring a large shower. Most importantly there are lots and lots of loungers to relax pre and post treatment. Hurrah! This is my biggest complaint in most spas. And the story continues outside in a garden spa with relax beds looking to the trees where you can cocoon yourself enjoying the after effects of a fabulous treatment, listening to the gentle sound of bird song. It was heaven.
Head to the top floor for more great views or take a dip in the large indoor/outdoor swimming pool, more loungers and an outdoor pool and a well-appointed gym make this an impressive space. Featuring 3,500 sqm of spa and wellness space, Albaro Wellness & Spa is a large spa and really delivers, both with hard ware and on the treatment and wellness offering.
The spa concept
Based on in-depth research by Wellness Consultant Gregory Ugrin (from Illyria Wellness) the spa brings together local history, herbalism and folklore to create an imaginative, authentic and deeply connected treatment menu. Drawing inspiration from the sea and sail, the local story of Rovinj truly sings. Expect a journey through Istrian wellness traditions. From the use of hemp in treatments (also used in making sails and ropes) you will find a therapy based on the traditional wooden boats from Rovinj Harbour. These batana boats inspired the Batana Bodywork Therapy which begins with a shot of local hemp Rakija. You are then taken on a dream like journey with oils and wooden oars where the therapist offers a series of well executed body work manoeuvres across the body to create wave-like motions. I honestly felt I was drifting on the ocean. It features a Batana Balm made from hempseed oil, beeswax, and fragrant lavender, locally made, this is a great medium for massage. Unfortunately, the water bed got too hot, which detracted a bit, but it was an excellent treatment sequence I would definitely have again.
Pelinkovac Rakija Ritual
The absinthe ritual begins with a shot of local Istrian Absinthe – Pelinkovac. Potent and heady, it is based on aniseed and fennel which has been used for centuries as an ancient Istrian healing remedy. Light touch, gentle movements, and butterfly effects are combined to mimic the moves of the green absinthe fairy (well- it certainly felt that way). Thoroughly relaxed, the treatment concludes with a natural, locally made body scrub of sugar and fennel. It concludes with Pelinkovac tea tasting in the lounge.
This was a new one for me. I love to swim so jumped at the chance to try out the monofin training, complete with mermaid (or in my case Merman) fish tail. It takes a little practice getting used to the motion and unique movement required for swimming with a mono fin. It’s quite different from standard flippers. The movement comes from the hips, not so much the kicking of the legs, within a few minutes I got the knack and was hooked. You could also liken it to swimming like a dolphin. Great fun for kids and even more beneficial for adults as it helps release an inner playfulness. Great for selfies and social media (naturally) but a top wellness movement experience. After this intro, I had the chance to try out my skills in the ocean and like a duck to water, recreated a scene from the Little Mermaid (well in my head anyway).
For anyone familiar with mindfulness (and the benefits and challenges it presents) you will love Muse. It measures the wavelength activity of the brain whilst meditating. Muse’s brain-sensing technology is used for research in hospitals and universities worldwide, including NASA, The Mayo Clinic, MIT, and UCLA.
Focusing on the breath, it creates sounds to track and guide your mindful practice. I was a little sceptical at first, but found it interesting, enlightening and can see it being a useful tool for people who can’t meditate on their own.
The brands at Grand Park Hotel Rovinj
The best bits
Trying local fish including Adriatic Seabream, Hake and Sea Bass.
The Batana Bodywork Therapy
Relaxing post treatment in the garden listening to birdsong.
Morning exercise with the personal trainer using the Technogym Kinesis Wall
Mermaid University (naturally)
Trying my first Omorovicza facial
Room to improve
The kettle in my room didn’t work – and wasn’t fixed when I asked
Green juice! Not one an option for this in sight. A bit of a let down.
Aqua treatment bed temperature. This was out of kilter and over-heated disrupting what was a great treatment.