Hotel Balatura

“ A charmingly rustic farmhouse hotel nestled in a calm mountain spot just 6km from the sea. ”

Review by Poppy Empson, published 17th April 2017.

A charmingly rustic farmhouse hotel nestled in a calm mountain spot just 6km from the sea. Interiors feature alluring stone walls, iron beds, wooden floors, and lime painted shutters. Delicious vegetarian cuisine and a literary ethos give a pleasingly different flavour.

Hotel Balatura is a delightful find with just 10 rooms in its renovated farmhouse that has been open for 9 years. It is run by a German-Croat family who decamped here for a better quality of life. A feat they have wholeheartedly achieved. Every guest receives a warm welcome from the lovely staff and pointers on where to go or what to do, depending on your time of arrival.

All architecture and design was done in keeping with traditional Croatian buildings from the pale lime green shutters and door frames (originally popular as the colour of the ships from which the wood was stolen by locals!) to the way the stones are laid together to make the walls. Inside, each of the 10 rooms is individually themed and decorated; the Olive room walls live up to the promise of the name. Stone walls, a stone basin, fab power shower and a luxuriously deep bath in a terracotta stone ensuite - simple and very rustique but with all the mod cons. If you remove one of the paintings from the wall you’ll find a sneakily hidden TV - not that you’ll need it! Next, step out onto a beautiful private terrace overlooking the quaint courtyard and chillax with your other half in hammocks. No sharing necessary - there’s one each! Very slight downside was the lack of AC, but the rooms were cool enough with all the stone.

Activities at the hotel are not aplenty once you have browsed the bulging bookshelves or attended one of the literary events organised by Anne-Kathrin (hotel owner) as part of the hotel’s status as a literary hotel. She convenes poets, writers and musicians from all across Croatia and former Yugoslav nations to foment discussion and instigate the creation of new art. But, this calm and quiet is not a problem, for the hotel is 6km from the beach town of Crikvenica and 20 km east of Rijeka. Great for a quick day trip or a dip in the sea. But beware, Crikvenica turns into a youth hotspot at night. Luckily Anne-Kathrin is more than happy to point you in any direction - she is a veritable fountain of information about Kvarner and surrounding Istria! Definitely worth asking which beaches and towns you need to see. This hotel, whilst only 20km from Rijeka Airport, definitely necessitates car hire for getting around.

Food wise, the hotel is strictly vegetarian to reflect the life the family lead at home. Whilst this might seem daunting at first, the menu (which is set and changed daily with one option for starter, main course and pudding) is utterly delicious for next to nothing. Start with homemade breads teamed with locally bottled olive oils and balsamic vinegar, accompanied by a personalised recommendation from wines of nearby Istria and Krk island (a crisp Istrian Malvazija on a summer’s eve is divine). To start, a soup of Mediterranean veg chock full of chick peas and sage that leave anyone wanting more. More bread. Next, polenta balls surrounded by a pool of tangy tomato relish and other veggies. To finish, a classic Croat cheesecake. The food is ambrosial, but it tastes that much better enjoyed on the peaceful terrace in the centre of the hotel’s outdoor courtyard, amongst other hotel guests. The only sounds around are hotel guests chatting and the crickets beyond the fence.

After a good night’s sleep in the cozily cool wrought iron four-posters, arise and be treated to more homemade bread, a selection of Croatian cheeses, freshly squeezed OJ, slabs of tomato and freshly brewed coffee… All served by one of Anne’s delightful sons.

All in all, a highly recommended hotel at an extremely competitive rate.

The Hotel Guru verdict

4 out of 5

Private balconies have hammocks for chilling

5 out of 5

Family run, charming and helpful staff

5 out of 5

tastefully restored in traditional Croatian style

Food and drink
5 out of 5

Inventive daily changing vegetarian menu

Value for money
5 out of 5

With rooms from just €80 B&B it's excellent value

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