Oh dear, joidevivre, what a shame you did not enjoy your stay at House Samardzic & what a shame you feel TripAdvisor reviewers have let you down. My experience is much more positive as my friend & I spent 2 nights with Verica & her family in Sept & thoroughly enjoyed our stay in her impeccable home. She is apologetic about her lack of English, but I did not find her difficult to understand & her English is certainly 100% better than my Croatian! I'm not sure what you mean about staying in the village of Mukinje next time, as their house IS in Mukinje & the pizzeria is only a couple of hundred metres away. Yes, the village is short on amenities, but isn't that part of the charm? We walked to the park through the upper part of the village & the forest; guess it took 20 mins or so, but it isn't a difficult walk. If you did your research on the Plitvice Lakes National Park you would have been aware that it is very much "out in the sticks" & no matter where you choose to stay there will not be lots of amenities. Visitors do need to be aware that the only ATM locally is in the Bellevue Hotel (according to our hostess) so it pays to have your cash beforehand. It also pays to go to the Information Centre before going into the Park for maps of the numerous trails & advice on what to see, especially if you have only a limited time.
Getting back to the guesthouse, it's spotlessly clean, the breakfast is excellent & it's a relaxing peaceful place to stay. We were exhausted when we arrived by bus at 4.00pm as we had left Budapest at 7.00 that morning, but Verica brought us coffee & shortbread out in the garden & we soon revived.
House Samardzic has my recommendation, but make sure you do your homework first so you are not disappointed to find yourself out in the country with limited amenities.
Incidentally, while we were waiting for the bus to Zadar next morning an interesting character called Zac turned up with his white minivan, offering us a quicker trip with him for a similar price. While some of the people waiting at the bus stop obviously though it might be a rip off we went along for the ride - no problems, he's a very good driver, entertaining as well - if you are concerned he'll show you his ID - definitely faster & better than going by bus.
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