The Mediterranean has more than its fair share of beautiful coastlines, but few are as stupendously scenic as that of Croatia. Luxury hideaways are still relatively rare, but for our recent journey we constructed a memorable itinerary between Split and Dubrovnik, staying in comfort throughout. The scenic jewel of the Adriatic coast is the island of Korčula.
There we stayed in the Lešić Dimitri Palace, a five-room property centered on an 18th-century bishop’s palace. As well as stylish accommodations and panoramic views, the hotel has a superb restaurant, with a splendid seaside terrace. The staff arranged a visit to one of the island’s leading wineries — Vinarija Krajančić is among the best in the country, for that matter — and on our last evening we took a private sunset cruise through the Korčula archipelago aboard the hotel’s gorgeous wooden sailboat. It was difficult to imagine wanting to be anywhere else.
The impossibly picturesque city of Dubrovnik now suffers from a surfeit of admirers brought by the large cruise ships, and in summer they make the walled center insufferable. On our spring trip, however, we opted to stay at the glamorous 56-room Villa Dubrovnik, a 25-minute walk from the city center. (In the high season, a shuttle boat ferries passengers between the property and the old harbor.) The hotel opened in 1961 as a private retreat for the Yugoslav government and underwent major renovations from 2006 to 2010. Facing the forested island of Lokrum and the walled Old City, it offers spellbinding views, combined with a sophisticated Riviera sensibility.
Throughout the Croatia trip, we ate exceptionally well. Croatia has developed a world-class culinary scene, and chefs are now more daring, putting contemporary spins on traditional dishes and fully exploiting the rich variety of local Mediterranean ingredients. The Michelin Guide now reviews Croatian restaurants, and the country recently received its first Michelin stars (one each in Rovinj, Šibenik and Dubrovnik).
Every issue of The Hideaway Report includes a contrasting second story, and this one is no exception. The highlight of a 10-day trip to New Mexico proved to be Vermejo Park Ranch, situated near the border of Colorado. This property was purchased back in 1996 by Ted Turner and encompasses nearly 920 square miles. Casa Grande was built between 1907 and 1909 and is now resplendent after a four-year renovation. A 25,000-square-foot stone-faced mansion with seven bedrooms, it was formerly Turner’s private residence. The terrain ranges from serrated snowcapped mountains to open prairies and green meadows. The wildlife is just as varied, with wandering herds of elk, bighorn sheep and mule deer, as well as a large resident herd of bison. The freedom to roam a vast tract of Southwestern wilderness, before returning to a magnificent home with fine cuisine and every modern luxury, is a truly remarkable experience.