I am pretty sure the Hotel California does not exist. But, perhaps, the Eagles took a vacation in Dubrovnik and stayed at the Hotel Excelsior…
It’s a fantastic hotel and I am a super fan so highly encourage you to stay there. It’s not cheap but you will get used to that in Dubrovnik. It’s not Scandinavia – but it’s western Europe pricing in eastern Europe so you will hear people complaining.
There are lots of cheaper places you can go in the world so go there until you have the budget for Dubrovnik because staying at the Hotel Excelsior is really worth the price tag.
There is a beach along with a gorgeous indoor pool. A spa. Four different restaurants. A bar with a view – and live music on certain nights. A sumptuous breakfast, including great Croatian sparkling wine. The spectacular view while you are eating breakfast all part of your room rate. There are world class views from every level and the walk to the old town is under 10 minutes, maybe 15 in heels 🙂
You will need to pay attention though! Part of what makes the hotel so spectacular is that it is built into the side of a cliff. But that is also what makes it hard to leave… the exit varies depending on where you are trying to go and the signage is a bit confusing. Of course, if you use the elevators I am sure it is a lot more straightforward but there are old-fashioned grand staircases so I always use them to get extra exercise.
I got even more extra exercise as I kept going up and down staircases trying to figure out how to get to reception and out of the hotel! After a few false starts, I finally had success and spilled out into the warmth of a Mediterranean evening.
As usual, I was fighting jet lag so had a short nap upon arrival so that I wouldn’t fall asleep in my dinner. It proved to be a great plan as it meant I was still awake enough post-dinner to venture into the Old Town.
It is easy to be seduced to never leave the hotel but I did come to see Dubrovnik. If your travel plans mirror mine, I would highly recommend my itinerary, born of pure chance.
As usual, I had been working crazy hours so that I could escape from my regular mundane life so my research was pretty sketchy. But that can also work in one’s favour. You just have to be lucky enough to be heading for a destination that feels cinematic.
I was almost falling asleep on my feet but as long as I didn’t sit down I figured it should be safe to do a little exploring. I am so glad I did. It was my most magical night in Dubrovnik. I’m not sure if it was Monday night… or the end of the rain.
It’s worth it any night but that Monday was especially magical. There are two gates to the Old Town. From Hotel Excelsior you will walk through the Pile Gate. The other gate might be equally spectacular.
My journey involved crossing the drawbridge and then meandering through the old city walls like a denizen from Game of Thrones, finally emerging in the town square. You will feel like you have been transposed onto a film set.
What I hadn’t anticipated due to my lack of research is that the Old Town is lit up at night. The streets glow, the stones beneath your feet having been polished by over 500 years of scuffed leather.
The stained glass windows of the church will captivate you. The interplay of light and shadow on the ancient walls will toy with your senses. It’s not often you get to feel truly medieval – even if your modern footwear gives away your true genesis.
I didn’t want to fall and hit my head on the polished cobblestones because I was too tired to stand up so I had to reluctantly head back to the hotel. But I walked slowly, lapping up the atmosphere of this unique place.
I hadn’t yet learned its history but I knew it was the kind of place people would fight over. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to worry about the strife, just imagine it as the stones told their stories and I crossed the drawbridge back to the hotel. This time I paid close attention so that I would spend the night in my comfy bed, not curled up in a corner of the stairwell, unable to stay awake for another flight of stairs…