Summer Sampler – The Pearl of the Adriatic Dubrovnik

My summer sojourn on the amazing SeaDream Yacht, if only the heat didn’t slow me down! I began my yacht odyssey in Dubrovnik, a destination our clients love and more importantly, we adore our VIP team here – Magic happens in Croatia!

So many reasons to visit Croatia and in particular, the southern city of Dubrovnik. It is the most visited city in the country. As one of the last remaining walled towns in the world, stroll the cobbled streets and walk through time. Dubrovnik’s weather and stunning views and an easy town to wander, make it an amazing destination. Oh, continue on for the best hotel notes.

Rooftop Prosciutto and Wine Bar Villa Dubrovnik Croatia

A city of red-tiled roof tops, beautiful architecture, stone walls, ancient churches, the city has regained its grandeur after the horrific Balkan war. A medieval town along the breathtaking Adriatic coast, the old stone fortress and defensive wall, very walkable limestone streets are a perfect combination of an old town in a fairy tale like picture book.

The size of Dubrovnik is ideal, small enough if you want to visit its beautiful old town in one day by just walking around. And large enough if you want more and like to be active. You can hike the Sdr hill – take the cable car one way up and then walk down to admire the stunning, bird’s eye view over the old town as well as the many islands dotting the crystal clear, azure Adriatic Sea. Active travelers will be entertained and challenged with kayaking, hiking, or cycling. One of my guides commanded: you must swim every day, the water is a tonic to youth – the purity has no comparisons.

Croatian writer Predrag Matvejević wrote:The Atlantic and the Pacific are seas of distance, the Mediterranean a sea of propinquity, the Adriatic a sea of intimacy. – Mediterranean: a cultural landscape.

swan dive into the Adriatic Sea from the cliff side beach club!

Cross the massive threshold through the wooden gates into the old town, to the main street, Stradun., known locally as Placa. One.three miles of stone walls built between the 11th and 13th centuries offer breathtaking views. The main square has a church or palace on almost every corner. Spectacular churches and palaces include St. Savior Church, Dubrovnik Cathedral and Rector’s Palace. My Jewish guide, former professor, noted that the Synagogue was closed today and there is a small Muslim Temple nearby. Fallen Catholic girls still shell out Euros for candles, just in case their parents and grandparents are in heaven. Do consider a late afternoon hike up the 175 steps to explore the Lovrijenac Fortress, built atop a 100-foot rock looking out toward Venice.

My favorite time of the day is late afternoon – the tourists take a break before dinner and the labyrinth of streets are quieter, the sun sparkles off the limestone buildings the street cafes are chic and inviting, a quiet place to contemplate life in an ancient walled town. Game of Thrones added a certain cachet – I didn’t engage, much was filmed here if you are an enthusiast.

Hotels – In my humble opinion, there is only one place to stay. Villa Dubrovnik – there aren’t many five-star properties, I feel the location and setting are perfect!

My summer trek, like many others wasn’t easy – a malfunctioning Air France jet delayed me in Paris, however, the captain said he would commandeer the next arriving jet and with some delay, we did depart CDG. Best act of macho aviation navigation I’ve ever witnessed!

My itin had a wee note: roof top Cocktail Bar at Villa Dubrovnik – I had a mission! Their Michelin restaurant, Pjerin, is multiple courses and is best saved for another evening! Drop bags and straight up to moon gaze, framed by Dubrovniks Old Town and the sea. Prosciutto and Wine Bar is stylishly adorned with comfy sofas under a canopied pagoda, champagne finally, after the globe hopping. It was my end of day perch during my all to brief visit.

A modernist gem of a hotel in the historic heart of the Adriatic. Set into the rocky cliffs on the most magical stretch of Dalmatian coast, Villa Dubrovnik is a stylish retreat for travelers in need of deluxe privacy and first-class hospitality. It’s not walking distance to Old Town, we have drivers, not to worry! The seaside setting is calm, quiet and exquisite.

The hotel’s pristine white architecture is a stunning contrast to the rocky landscape and sapphire Adriatic. Super yachts drift impressively on the immediate horizon, the island of Lokrum is the post card perfect backdrop. Afternoon soundtrack: splash of divers braving the rocky cliffs, motorboats puttering past, melting ice cubes crackling in fizzy drinks…endless summer from the rocky cliffs.

Vilal Dubrovnik, Croatia

The property’s clean, nautical lines evoke an understated refinement, and the modern decor is matched by an out-of-this-world Michelin gastronomic experience that revisits rich culinary traditions of the Mediterranean in a contemporary style.

Villa Dubrovnik

An infinity pool at the edge of the sea and a cliff side beach club dares guests to swan dive from the rocky perch. Me, under the big white umbrella, captivated for hours by the daunting divers and swimmers lazing and lapping about the pristine sea.

My coffee is always delivered, without the first bowl of coffee, I can barely utter a sentence let alone try to find the on button on those pod. machines – some love them, not I. Then amble up to the al fresco bar restaurant Giardino. The relaxing outdoor bistro is set against the historical parapet that overlooks Old City walls and island of Lokrum. Doze under the shade of maritime pines, it’s an ideal location for brunch or a late afternoon lunch serving fresh salads to fresh local sea food. Oh, great people watching as well.

Villa Dubrovnik closed at end of summer for a top to bottom refurnishing, but already has bookings for most of June 2024…don’t tarry!

Oh, Highly Recommend, Villa Dubrovnik!

SeaDream. Let the Surf be Your Soundtrack.

SeaDream Yachting. If you dream of broad expanses of open ocean, but the idea of pulsating discos, searching for your dining table amid hundreds /thousands of diners or following a crowd of travelers snaking beyond a guide with an elevated orange flag…dream no more.

Our clients are not cruisers, my usual retort: my peeps don’t mingle, we usually charter private yachts all over the world for our sea loving clients.

I’ve reserved the Lindblad National Geographic exploration ships and sailed from Papeete to the Marquesas, which was a marvelous adventure with a small group of like-minded travelers. One of my younger clients treats his parents to these explorations.

A random introduction by one of my respected travel colleagues led to a very fascinating connection to SeaDream yachting.

A small family-owned firm, SeaDream Yacht Club has a unique approach to cruising. Small is Small with their twin cruising yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II, offering style and refinement for a maximum guest list of 112 guests with a crew of 95!

Fully inclusive, passengers enjoy pampering by a polished crew, dine on locally inspired gastronomy served on deck or in an elegant dining salon; my friend who enjoyed an excursion, mentioned he dined al fresco the entire Journey! Also included-in-the-rate is wine, Champagne, and cocktails. Cheers!

Slow down, savor a slower pace and let the surf be your soundtrack.

Onboard attire suggestion, summer elegant casual. One of the most exciting extras that appeals to me is an option to sleep under a canopy of stars on a deck in a Balinese Dream Bed. Slumber Under the Stars, with full service, count me in!

Balinese Dream Bed

SeaDream cruises include these enticing areas: spring in the Caribbean, and summer in the Mediterranean and Baltic. One advantage of this style of cruising, the yachts are not massive sea ships who can only dock at major ports with other immense ships. These programs incorporate small, hidden-ports and crew-led activities, all included in the pricing. No gratuity expected, fully inclusive is fully inclusive!

My itinerary…when you read of my 70-day Journeys, this is how it originates and flourishes… I consulted with my amazing yacht broker to select my summer Yacht destination. A week of cruising includes a spin of the globe, if I’m here, where can else can I explore? Start in Dubrovnik translates to arrive several days early check into the best five-star hotel, Villa Dubrovnik, where our clients stay, explore with our guides and then board SeaDream.

My first port is near Montenegro, of course I will enjoy a day at One & Only Montenegro, a favorite brand in our repertoire – this is work, after all! 

An overnight crossing to the boot of Italy, docking in Otranto. I’ve visited the enchanting hill towns along this attractive coast. Lecce is 25 mins. away, car & driver to the luxurious five star La Fiermontina for lunch in their curated gardens. The owners also have a glammy apartment in Paris, on my list and a new Ocean property on the coast of Morocco, just north of Casablanca…do you see a pattern here? One week yacht adventure expands to discover remarkable properties.

Amalfi coast will be overrun with summer travelers, a private speed 38-foot sea craft to cruise to visit the Queen of Capri, the Blue Grotto and a divine lunch at a private beach club, my day ticket with our enchanting Italian team.

Another Capri day trip to the oh so very new Hotel La Palma, an Oetker Collection addition to their already loaded five-star roster!  Located mere steps from the famous Piazzetta, Hotel La Palma will offer a rooftop restaurant and bar, its own beach club, a pool deck,. Excited about the sneak peek!

Taormina, a trifecta excursion – Belmond has two luxurious hotels, clients love Grand Hotel Timeo, the first grand hotel to open in Taormina, celebrating its 150 year birthday!  And its sister property on the beach Villa Sant’ Andrea. At Grand Timeo, our favorite suites have terraces that overlook Mt Etna. Our clients flock to both iconic properties for the fabled Belmond luxury experiences. Sicilian Bliss on a romantic shoreline.

Late afternoon visit to the White Lotus film spot, the San Domenico Palace, Taormina, Four Seasons. A fourteenth century convent perched atop a rocky height for lunch and back on board SeaDream …#itswork

The Eternal city is my final port- I love to visit my friends at Hotel Eden & Hotel de Russie for a few nights. What is better than a personal Grazie for the recent VIP care of our Clients? La dolce vita!

Oh, add on Paris, perque no? Dear Christophe, whose real title is Le Meurice Deputy General Manager, but to me, he is the infamous Paris Black Book advisor, will always find a petite suite for me, do you recall my photos of the Madame Pompadour suite?  Several thousand feet of comfort to rest from my excursions! Once my clients see the photos, emails rain in, can we stay in that suite next visit? Oui!  Sadly, August restaurant closings means no Bistro Benoit or Jean Imbert at Plaza Athenee.

Yachting, not Cruising, Sea diary in summer! Or how to design a weeks Travel in Two Weeks!