DUBROVNIK, Croatia — The taxi driver picked us up at the Dubrovnik airport, spun us up and around a mountainside road, and stopped in front of a gray bunker, announcing “Here you are: Villa Dubrovnik.”
Nothing around the bunker looked anything like the boutique hotel that we had understood to be convenient to the dock where in a day we were scheduled to embark on a cruise ship through the Adriatic Sea. All it had was a door.
Inside the door were elevator buttons, all going down. So down we went . . . to discover one of the sleekest, most ultra modern hotels in all of Croatia, it seems. Villa Dubrovnik is built on the edge of one of the many mountains here. The lobby is one floor down and the rooms are several more floors farther down into the cliff. As you go deeper into the side of the mountain, the luxurious spa and the glass-walled rooms, the two restaurants, the pool, and finally the beach, reveal themselves one by one, and each is more sleek and contemporary in decor than the last.
Our room, with a floor-to-ceiling glass window looking out on the Adriatic and Lokrum Island across the way, was a lovely ode to using a view to every advantage. Even the bathrooms had one all-glass wall, the better to keep looking out to sea as you wash up.
In Dubrovnik’s Old Town, which is a 15-minute walk from Villa Dubrovnik or a free 10-minute boat ride, all the inns and hotels are reached by way of many old stone steps (which can be a challenge when one is dragging a suitcase). They are charmingly old Croatia, once you reach them, but Villa Dubrovnik — all its rooms, the restaurants, the beach, the suites with their private al fresco Jacuzzis and the pool, is an easy elevator ride up or down.
The hotel, one of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World,” is surrounded by pine, orange, and lemon trees, and bougainvillea and oleander flowers. All are perched on the side of the mountain, so that as you dine alfresco in one of the hotel’s two restaurants, your view is of flowers, the sea, and in the distance, Dubrovnik town.
We tried the hotel spa’s “Diamond Bed” treatment, a 30-minute strangely relaxing sense experience using color, sound, lights, and scent.
Rooms are $286.40 per night, more for a deluxe suite with Jacuzzi tub on the deck and free room service.