I woke up swathed in fresh cotton sheets after a long, blissful slumber, before walking to the patio doors of my suite and pulling them open. The sun greeted me with its inviting rays as I sat on the edge of my private pool and gazed at the calm blue sea beyond the palm trees in front of me.
This was my first morning at the inimitable TUI BLUE Jadran hotel in Croatia and the rest of my stay was just as magical.
Every aspect of this elegant hotel was truly charming, including the tastebud-tantalising Croatian cuisine, bend-over-backwards service, two mesmerising main swimming pools, exquisite views of the Mediterranean and serene spa with its skin-rejuvenating treatments. As glorious as these all were, it was the unique mergence of traditional charm with modern technology that really impressed my tech-loving self.
Guests staying in the Hotel Jadran’s 116 rooms, 12 junior suites and 11 swim-up suites can make use of the handy TUI BLUE app to request a variety of services – perfect if you don’t like talking to people. It can be used to check the daily activity list, ask for an extra pillow, book a table for dinner, check the weather or even nab a coveted place at an alfresco exercise class.
After an interesting tour of the hotel on my first day, I discovered that the construction of the property began in 1948 and was designed by one of President Tito’s favourite architects, Branko Bon. The start of the tumultuous Yugoslav war saw the building used as a place of much needed sanctuary for refugees, before being put under monument protection by the government for being the first hotel on the Croatian coast.
Since its luxurious renovation and re-opening in June 2017, the hotel’s picturesque location between the Mediterranean sea and lofty Biokovo mountains brings a variety of visitors from all across Europe and beyond – and I could see why.
My days were spend partaking in various activities – some relaxing and some slightly more adventurous. Ever get that impulsive urge to go zip lining down really high pine tree-covered mountains after your morning swim? All you have to do is book via the trusty TUI BLUE app from the comfort of your (very safe) bed. I personally didn’t fancy such a hair-raising escapade, being the big scardypants that I am, but my fellow guests who did all returned beaming with the kind of joyful exhilaration that gives you a pesky case of FOMO.
I did however, thoroughly enjoy the BLUEf!t (gotta love that sprightly exclamation mark) wellbeing programme offered by the hotel and quite happily took part in an energetic personal training session in the open air.
Admittedly, I preferred the leisurely paddle boarding session in the sea after the class, although I adapted the activity slightly to suit my shamelessly lazy disposition by paddling whilst seated.
TUI BLUE Jadran’s spa was a welcoming haven when seeking solace from the scorching Croatian sun. I would regularly nip in to boost my circulation with a revitalising ice fountain shower before sweating out those toxins in the fragrant steam room. A relaxation area was close by for those in need of an essential snooze.
An army jeep adventure excursion arranged by the hotel was another one of my highlights, and involved being driven in an original military jeep up winding roads boasting breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. We also stopped off at various historical points along the way, such as an ancient spring, a quaint church and a traditional Croatian home filled with ornate antiques.
Whilst the range of activities and excursions on offer were so impressive, it was the food served in the three minimalist, yet eclectically-designed restaurants that really gave me the urge to Instagram the hell out of everything. Having been to the Croatian island of Hvar once before and falling in love with the cuisine, I was brimming with anticipation before I tried the food offered by the hotel. Inspired by local influences, TUI BLUE Jadran’s chefs prepared exquisite dishes using locally-sourced ingredients and oodles of talent. Vegans, those on a low joy (sorry, carb) diet and gluten free folks are all taken care of and served a plethora of enticing culinary options.
Every morning I feasted on the breakfast buffet of my dreams, which featured an alluring array of fresh cheeses, cold meats, egg dishes, fresh fruits, pastries, jams and over 80 different types of freshly-baked breads. I’ve always tried to avoid bread due to pesky bloating issues, but after seeing Hotel Jadran’s vast and tempting selection, it was impossible to resist. I am only made of flesh and bone after all…
I grazed on fresh salad and seared tuna for lunch in an outdoor dining space surrounded by pine trees and sashayed into the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, where I gorged on perfectly-cooked steak and drank velvety hot chocolate.
On my last day, I took part in an open fire cooking class with the hotel’s head chef, read one of the many novels adorning the chic shelves in the lobby and swam in the sun-kissed infinity pool overlooking the sea.
Prying myself away was a chore, yet booking another holiday in this enchanting home away from home will most certainly be an easy pleasure…
TUI offers seven night holidays to Croatia from Gatwick, Manchester and Bristol staying at the 5T TUI BLUE Jadran on a half-board basis from £670 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing on the 1st October 2018 and transfers. To find out more about this holiday or to book go to TUI.co.uk, visit your local TUI holiday store or download the app.