The sunsets in Croatia are magical, the scenery is really quite superb and the relative ‘unspoiltness’ of the country is refreshing in these corporate times. There are corporate elements to Rovinj as with other destinations but to me they appear to be promoting the area and its natural beauty more than taking it way. After staying in the Hotel Albatross in Cavtat a few years previously and receiving Gluten free cakes, bread and specially cooked courses I was hoping the Istra would be very similar.
Overall we enjoyed our two weeks at the Hotel Istra but, there always is a but, the hotel is a series of contradictions. From the variety of Star ratings in the brochures, some say 3, some say 4, some say somewhere in between, to the quality of service and final impressions. There are lots of positives but every now and again a little negative would come and nip you on the toes just to keep you good.
The location is superb! Its just a 15 minute boat ride from Rovinj harbour which, I think adds an interesting twist to your holiday. My wife, who isn’t the best on boats, happily used the service without hesitation. The ride is very comfortable in the Maistra boat come mini ferry. The smaller boat can be challenging if it’s a bit choppy but on whole the experience is a BIG positive more than a negative. The hotel offers fantastic views of the Istrian peninsular and there are sea views in most if not all of the room, (I believe some views are obscured by trees). If you are facing back to Rovinj as we were you do not get the sun on your balcony which can be refreshing after a day in the sun but not so good if you are drying out wet gear. The pool side is all out sun, not good when you have been sitting in it all day… and yes it can get HOT! Personal choice really.
The rooms are cleaned daily and are spotless, the bathroom, overall size of rooms, bed comfort and mini bar are all to a good standard.
The food was good. With my gluten intolerance I managed to secure the services of the kind deputy Manager took me around each night explaining I couldn’t eat. This far outweighed what I could eat. However, the grilled fish and meat, veg, salad, rice, boiled potatoes and I when I was feeling brave I chanced the chips, were fine. After 2 weeks you can get a bit bored of it. Beggars can’t be choosers but I didn’t get any preferential treatment as with the Albatross. Breakfasts were a tad more difficult and fruit and bacon and eggs were the staple diet (I couldn’t bring myself to eat the boiled sprouts and cauliflower the morning) even though there was a good range of non GF on offer. It was a bit of a free for all at times. The posh Laterna restaurant on the island I have to say is poor. The food I received through the Hotel’s free voucher was not good. Admittedly I had to go Gluten Free and it was a free voucher… maybe if you paid to eat there things would hopefully improve. My wife’s food seemed nice though.
Hotel and staff
Half of the staff were great, positive and a joy to be around. However, some staff needed a bit of personality injecting into them (“Let me see your TICKETS!”). There was no shop on the island which meant you had to pick up supplies on your travels to the mainland. Another downside was the wasps around the restaurants on the island. They were unbearable and we stopped eating there after the 3rd or 4th day. I had an a major argument with the reception staff on the last day, they had overcharged me on the mini bar by a stack of money and wanted to charge me the full £75 day rate for the 5 hour room extension when I was quoted £15 the previous day! Its something you don’t need at the end of your holiday.
Early to rise regime to catch a decent sunbed, nice pool, entertainment at Captains bar mediocre (wonderful setting though!) excellent walks around the island. Lots of watersports to purchase, smashing rope slide for the kids, 2 table tennis tables, indoor wacky warehouse.
I could go on with my little contradicting anecdotes but I feel I am already boring you. It’s a good hotel, excellent location, quite good food, family friendly and worth the bargain price I paid for it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Istra is an island of its own, a traffic free oasis of sea and sun, wonderful beaches and secluded spots, a ten minute boat ride from Rovinj. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Istra Hotel Rovinj
- Hotel Istra Rovinj