Review: Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel

For those who have been following along on the recent adventures around here, this serves as a bit of an intermission between our quick trip to London for the One Direction concert and a fun fare we’d booked between Dubai and Austin.

I’m trying to be more purposeful in my travel lately, or to at least spend less of my time in dumpy airport hotels. As we needed to be in the Middle East just over a week after leaving London, I figured staying in that hemisphere made the most sense, and decided to try and explore a new destination or two.

My husband was able to join the trip at the last minute, so Ben graciously flew my niece home so that we could spend some time in Europe. We’d considered several different destinations, but ultimately booked flights to Dubrovnik a few hours before departure. Neither of us had been to Croatia before, and as we anticipated only having 2-3 hours each day to sightsee (just because we’re traveling doesn’t mean we’re on vacation, after all), Dubrovnik seemed like a good destination.

Also, Starwood had opened a brand-new hotel a few weeks prior, and I was excited to check out the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera.

The best rate was €200, and as the Sheraton Dubrovnik is a Category 4 property, free night awards are 10,000 points per night. Given how I value my Starpoints, this is right at the cusp of whether I would typically pay for the stay or redeem points.

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However, Starwood gives the 5th night free on award redemptions, and staying five nights worked just fine with our schedule.

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Redeeming 40,000 points for a five night stay sounded better than spending ~$1200 to me, so I was happy with the redemption even though it wasn’t the best use of Starpoints ever (that came later in the week).

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel exterior

We took a taxi from the airport (which was a thankfully easy process — you just never know how that’s going to go in a new country), and were at the hotel after a quick 15-minute ride.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel exterior

I loved the look of this hotel. The general scheme was modern, but there were plenty of organic touches to soften the architectural elements. The lobby, for example, was open and spacious, and managed to look clean and modern without being overly stark.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel lobby

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel lobby

I’m also obsessed with those drum lights, which were hung throughout the hotel.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel lobby

In addition to the central seating areas, there were several “nooks” with seating around the main floor, along with some conference rooms and breakout areas.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel lobby

We were promptly greeted by two charming staff members, who were just outrageously excited to have guests. Our check-in was processed quickly, with the front desk agent confirming a complimentary Platinum upgrade to a Deluxe King room.

That doesn’t sound like a good upgrade for a Platinum (because it isn’t), though this hotel only has 11 suites, and only a handful of rooms with king beds. In fact, when I’d tried to apply Suite Night Awards the highest room category available was the Deluxe King, so Platinums should not plan on a suite at the Sheraton Dubrovnik.

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We were given the rundown of the other Platinum benefits, along with maps of the area and boat schedules (more on these later).  As was the case throughout the week, the staff members were enthusiastic, if a bit nervous, and super friendly.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel lobby

The hotel has three floors, and our assigned room was on the top floor. The elevators were just across from the check-in desk, and opened to a very cool atrium.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel atrium

The atrium provided a good amount of light, though the hallways had motion-triggered lighting. We were some of the only guests for the first few nights, which meant the hallways were generally dark until we walked up to them. A little creepy, but ultimately fine, and not something you’d even notice during times of higher occupancy.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel hallway

Not like anyone cares about hotel carpeting, but I thought this was perfectly chosen.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel hallway

The hallways were also lined with sketches and photographs of local buildings, which was a nice way to incorporate the history of the region with the new building.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel art

We were assigned room 326, which was at the end of one of the three hallways.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel hallway

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room

I find it very odd that the architectural schematics, replete with furniture placements, were used for the escape exit map. Just me?

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room

The room featured an entryway, with a wall of closets/storage on the right, and a bathroom on the left.

Even though the room wasn’t that large (it was large enough for Europe, of course), the furnishings were thoughtful, and the space didn’t feel crowded.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room

The bed was outrageously comfy, and had outlets by both nightstands, which I always appreciate.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room

Across from the bed was a desk unit that ran nearly the length of the room, and contained the minibar and more local art.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room

And yes, I had to fix that frame after spending about three minutes in the room.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room

To the right of the bed was a small seating area with funky chairs and a side table.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room

Even though I’d chosen breakfast as my Platinum benefit, the hotel had provided fruit and nuts as a welcome amenity as well:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel welcome amenity

Just off the bedroom was a spacious balcony, with two side chairs and a table, as well as a lounge chair and ottoman.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room balcony

The views of the mountains and resort were lovely:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room resort view

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room resort view

But the view of the harbor stole the show:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel deluxe room sea view

While we didn’t partake of anything from the minibar, the prices seemed reasonable enough (1 Kuna = ~14¢):

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel minibar rates

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel minibar

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel minibar

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel minibar

Given that we might have been the first guests in this room, the bathroom was of course immaculate.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel bathroom

The layout was fine, though I almost wished for a combined tub and shower setup. The shower was tiny, and like all the European showers I’ve encountered, leaked water everywhere.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel bathroom

The bath took up a significant amount of space, but we never used it. I know families appreciate having tubs, so this isn’t an actual complaint, just my personal preference.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel bathroom

The most incongruous aspect was actually the Sheraton Shine bath amenities. I have nothing against them, but I’m strongly conditioned to associate the “Shine” brand with mediocre airport hotels, so it was surprising to see them at a nicer property. Many of the higher-end Sheratons have upgraded or proprietary amenities (the Sheraton Edinburgh offers Molton Brown, for example), but the spa at the Sheraton Dubrovnik was also “Shine” branded, so it might just be me. They of course worked just fine!

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel bathroom

Overall we enjoyed the room, and the extra space on the balcony meant we weren’t too crowded. I generally make an effort to secure a suite when we’re traveling together, as we tend to keep pretty different schedules, so this was a bit of an adjustment, especially for five nights.

It was a bit problematic when we both had conference calls, or when one of us was up typing when the other was sleeping, and reinforced my desire to book suites in future, but it worked out okay.

Sheraton Dubrovnik breakfast

The Sheraton has one main restaurant, which is just off the lobby on the main level.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel lobby

The space is large and impeccably-styled, and features an outdoor seating area as well.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel restaurant

Can we just talk about these chairs for a second? The mixture of styles and colors was so thoughtfully done, and the variety helped the space feel fresh and fun without looking cluttered. The mid-century-inspired legs were swoon-worthy as well.

Also, those lights again!

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel restaurant

As an SPG Platinum, I was able to select breakfast as my amenity for the stay. This entitled us to the full buffet, and we were never even brought a check.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

The buffet itself can best be described as comprehensive. The quality was good, but the selection was particularly impressive — even on the days where the hotel was nearly empty.

The waitstaff was happy to deliver both drip and specialty coffees, though there were also machines on hand (though the coffee they produced wasn’t great):

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

And then several varieties of fresh juice:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

Rustic breads along with pastries:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

Both whole and cut fruit:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

Nine different options for yogurt:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

Along with cereals, dried fruits, and nuts:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

Soft and hard cheeses, along with assorted cold cuts:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

And all the salad fixings you’d expect:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

And that’s not to mention the hot items:

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel breakfast

There was also a chef preparing fresh eggs and crepes to order, but he was super attentive, which is just not helpful if you’re a shy person trying to take stealthy photos.

Even on days with larger crowds the staff was still attentive and helpful, which I always appreciate. I hate having to wait endlessly for a second cup of coffee at a buffet.

Sheraton Dubrovnik bar

In addition to the main restaurant, the hotel also features two bars, though only one of them was open when we were there.

The piano bar is located on the main level, just across from the restaurant.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel piano bar

This was another gorgeous space. Truly, full marks to the designers and stylists at this property.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel piano bar

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel piano bar

The bar had several comfortable seating areas, with a variety of spaces.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel piano bar

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel piano bar

There was also a large outdoor terrace, with expansive seating and great views of the resort and mountains.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel piano bar

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel piano bar

The bartenders were adorable, and far too accommodating. They were excited to practice their English (but weren’t annoyingly chatty), and were tickled to discover that Americans like their iced coffees without ice cream. Despite concerns it would be horrible, they were happy to attempt iced lattes, and didn’t even mind my taking drinks upstairs, which was sweet.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel iced coffee

Sheraton Dubrovnik Pools & Spa

The lobby is centered on a grand staircase, with windows looking out over the resort.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel lobby

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel staircase

At the base of the staircase is the entrance to the spa and gym, along with the indoor pool.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel spa entrance

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel indoor pool

There’s an outdoor pool as well, with very comfy lounge chairs.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel pool deck

As there were so few guests when we were staying there were obviously plenty of chairs. I’m not sure how this would work during peak season, though perhaps there are plans to add additional chairs (and pool staff) as needed.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel pool deck

The pool and grounds were nicely illuminated at night, which is almost impossible to photograph, but made for a nice environment.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel pool deck

Exploring the Dubrovnik Riviera

Just beyond the pool is the eponymous riviera. I’m not sure if this is an actual thing, or a brilliant piece of marketing by the various hotels and restaurants, but it’s a lovely area.

The Sheraton is on one end of a large bay, and there are a few other hotels (and dozens of restaurants) all within walking distance.

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Dubrovnik Riviera

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Dubrovnik Riviera

The beach was rocky (as is common near calm seas like this), with a lovely promenade lined with bars and restaurants.

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Dubrovnik Riviera

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Dubrovnik Riviera

This was actually the highlight of the location for me. Being able to walk to so many different restaurants meant we never got bored, and not having to deal with Dubrovnik proper was a huge plus.

Transportation from the Sheraton Dubrovnik

The Sheraton Dubrovnik is situated about halfway between the airport and the old city, which is either a huge plus or a major negative, depending on who you are.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel location

For us, this was perfect. We spent about three hours one afternoon in the Old City, which was about two hours and forty-five minutes more than I needed to realize it was not for me, sorry. But it was only a 10-15 minute drive or boat ride, so if we’d wanted to spend more time over there it would have still been convenient.

The hotel staff was great about arranging transportation as needed. In addition to the boats, which came about every hour (though I think they run more often during Summer), a fleet of hotel cars were available for about the same price as a taxi.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel staff

Given that the hotel cars were much nicer, and could be charged to the room (thus earning points!), we didn’t really use taxis at all.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel car

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel car

The boat was particularly convenient, as it ran from the marina just in front of the hotel. The views on the way to and from Dubrovnik were amazing, and being dropped off in the old harbor was incredibly convenient.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel marina

Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Grand Opening

As I mentioned when I shared my initial impressions of the hotel, the Grand Opening party took place while we were there.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Grand Opening reception

This was a huge event, with an impressive guest list. The Croatian Prime Minister was in attendance, along with many other VIPs.

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Sheraton Dubrovnik Grand Opening reception

In addition to making dinner arrangements for hotel guests at other local restaurants (and picking up the bill for everyone), the GM welcomed all the guests to join in the party upon their return. Such a nice contrast from hotels that tend to inconvenience their guests in favor of events!

The night culminated in a firework display on the nearby pier. We’ve all seen fireworks, so these aren’t that exciting, but they definitely get bonus points for proximity and enthusiasm. 😉

Bottom line

Our time at the Sheraton Dubrovnik was delightful, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return. I am curious as to how the staff handles the influx of guests during peak season, but they have several months to get things dialed in prior to then.

I wish the property had more suites, and others will wish it was closer to the city. Neither of these were deal-breakers though, and I think this is a great use of SPG points. Anywhere else in Europe this hotel would be at least a Category 5, so don’t let the lower category turn you off of what is truly a lovely property.

Has anyone else been here yet? Any plans to visit this property or Dubrovnik in general?

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Comments

  1. Brilliantly detailed review!

    I personally loved Croatia when we visited and spent a week in Split and the surrounding area/islands. Interesting and pleasant to see that a chain hotel has made the effort with the decor to keep it looking ‘Croatian’ and authentic.

    Only minor comment is that the currency is in ‘Kuna’ and not ‘Kruna’

  2. So, as a Croatian, I am very happy to see that you had a good time there. I guess you did not fly with Croatia Airlines
    because that would kill the experience. Just one note, Croatian currency is Kuna, not Kruna (that´s Czech Republic). Kuna actually means marten, and if you have any coins still with you, you can see it there. 🙂

    And for the Riviera, it is an actual thing, places like this are found in more or less any Croatian coastal place.

  3. Sorry, this hotel really looks boring. I have to say the Hilton Imperial is THE hotel to stay in Dubrovnik.

  4. @ Thomas — Hah! We did have a flight on Croatia Airlines, but it was only a short one from Munich. Way better than regional Alitalia flights, so no complaints here!

  5. @ Kevin — If you want to be right in the center of Dubrovnik then yes, the Hilton is probably a better location. But for relaxing, enjoying nature and the smaller villages, etc., this was perfect. Food was amazing in the surrounding villages as well, and much less costly than the touristy Dubrovnik restaurants.

  6. What a detailed review!!! Thank you. I’m actually going to Dubrovnik next June and haven’t sorted out accommodation yet. I was considering the old town and it is interesting to read your views! I think I might need to do some research before booking any accommodation but the Sheraton is a strong contender after reading this.

    Thanks

  7. We stayed at the Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik in September. It had almost the same look as the Sheraton (very modern) but maybe bigger, and it’s the other side of the old city, walking distance to town. I felt like I was staying in a cruise ship with bigger windows, both because it looked like a cruise ship on the rocks and because they were big on buffets with ridiculous amounts of food. The views were better than what you’ve pictured for the Sheraton, and prices were probably similar. You’re right about Dubrovnik – we had a delightful walk early on the walls, but otherwise the town is just silly with tourists. I imagine it might be better in the off season, but with less opportunity to swim in the beautiful ocean.

  8. Great review! I love hotels with a modern interior but the exterior of that hotel doesn’t exactly have a European style to it. It stands out as a rather ugly building in an otherwise beautiful coastline. They could’ve atleastef tried to blend the color scheme with the red roof tops of the other buildings.

  9. @ Tj — Thanks! I actually felt the curve of the building and the color of the materials tied in nicely with the mountains. It’s hard to tell from the pictures (the one from the harbor is the best example), but the overall effect was very unobtrusive.

  10. I agree with TJ – I can’t believe these hotels spend so much money on designing their interiors but show no respect for the city they are leeching off of. I like the hotel and all but at least make some effort to blend in.

    And, I’m sorry Tiffany but I disagree about the hotel being unobtrusive. It sticks out like a sore thumb.

    http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/116215489.jpg

    Even a simple orange tiled roof would have done the trick.

  11. I might be the only one obsessed with that exterior and the way they played with the balcony outlines. Cubist on one side, an Escher drawing on the other. I find it really interesting. Like you, I liked those drum lights. Loved those bar stools. But can we talk about those amazing tripod floor lamps? Wow, I would love to own them. Thanks for a great review.

  12. Thomas already said it, but this whole section of the Croatian coast has been called the _______ Riviera for years. I recall my parents discussing it as a vacation option back before the collapse of Yugoslavia, when it was a destination for party apparatchik.

  13. Comprehensive review, Tiffany. Thank you.

    Would have appreciated a photo of the gym, though.

    Thanks again!

  14. Using the hotel car and charging it to your room doesn’t/shouldn’t earn you Starpoints.

    Valet & chauffeur services (except for UBER of course) are considered ineligble charges to earn Starpoints on.

  15. This looks like a great hotel! This is now only a category 2, BUT they are blocking all of July and August.

  16. Thank you for your review. I have found it very useful as I am planning our stay this Summer. BTY currently a night at a regular room is 4,000.

  17. Lucky — what do you get as an SPG Gold? is there a sheraton club lounge to go to? if not, would breakfast be complimentary?

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