You could feasibly spend your entire stay at Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik with eyes a-glue to the lobby view: behold the Old Town and the Adriatic. However, that would in fact be a great shame, given that there are plenty of other items worthy of prolonged admiration here: the rocky beach, the debonair staff in their ink-black uniforms and preppy polo shirts, and the hotel’s on-the-money mish-mash of old and new, which spans a historic villa, a modern Tower, concrete floors, pops of colour and aquatic-green and blue velvet furniture.
Double rooms from $358.26 (€323), excluding tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.40 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast (pick from Continental, American, buffet and à la carte options).
Architecturally speaking, this hotel has something of a split personality: there’s the handsome historic section, Villa Odak, which dates back to 1913, and the modern – but equally majestic – Tower.
At the hotel
Beach (rocky, not sandy); spa; hairdresser; fitness centre; gift shop; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, free WiFi, desk, air conditioning, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, black-out curtain, L’Occitane bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We love the Superior Rooms set in the historic Villa Odak, especially number 208, which has high ceilings, a ravishing terrace, an antique carpet and a bath tub with an overhead shower. This room is dangerously romantic (you might put a ring on it, if you haven’t already).
Rub your flippers together with glee, mermaids and mermen: not only does the hotel has a heated indoor pool, but the Adriatic is right on its doorstep (you'll need to walk down the coast a little if you want a sandy beach). Guests do get access to the hotel's rocky beach, which has daybeds and a delightful beach restaurant.
Even indecisive Smiths can expect to enjoy decision-making at Excelsior’s spa, which goes a little something like this: Jacuzzi whirlpool first, or begin with the steam- or Roman baths? Soak up the intense heat of the Finnish sauna, or succumb to a massage by an expert wielding Sisley products? There’s an air-conditioned gym too, but we really don’t expect you to use it.
Bring deck shoes, diamonds and an appetite for seafood.
The hotel has a hairdresser and an on-site gift shop, should you need your barnet beautifying or a little something for the folks back home...
Little Smiths are welcome (water-babies will love it here). Families can request interconnecting rooms and there are lifts, so no buggy-lugging is required. Extra beds for over-2s are €50 a night; babysitting is €20 an hour (book a day ahead).
Work out your favourite view and pick accordingly (tables outside win hands down, in our book).
Deck shoes and diamonds for Sensus; ‘kini and cover-ups (or the male equivalent) for Prora.
Fall hook, line and sinker for Excelsior’s three brilliant restaurants. Salin Restaurant serves breakfast on a dreamy terrace; landlubbers will also love elegant Sensus, where you can spy on the chefs in the open kitchen, or nab tables on the terrace and soak up the cityscapes. The clever chef hails from southern Croatia and knows his way around local ingredients: toothsome lobster comes with home-made pappardelle, baby tomatoes, olives and pepperoncini; sea scallops are served with Romesco pesto, courgette, spaghetti, white wine and a zingy pink-grapefruit sabayon. There’s also a beachside restaurant called Prora, which comes with knee-weakening views. Unless you’re cursed with a seafood allergy (poor thing), do not bypass the local oysters – they’re famous for good reason. The just-plucked-from-the-waves fish is another obvious highlight.
Laid-back Abakus Piano Bar is sitting pretty on the ground floor, with spectacular views: come for sunset and stay put until your thirst is quenched (or your shoulders shiver). Live music performances are hosted here throughout summer; resident DJs also take to the decks. Don’t miss the interesting Croatian wines, especially the moreish white. (Add light bites from the bar if you’re peckish.)
Sensus and Prora are open until 11pm; breakfast is served at Salin til 10.30am.
Rejoice, nocturnal nibblers: you can order treats to your room 24/7. The menu includes breakfast options, salads and other snacks.
We reckon Excelsior occupies the very best patch of Dubrovnik: right beside the water, with wonder-inspiring views of the Old Town. It’s a five-minute walk from Ploče Gate, the eastern entrance to Dubrovnik's Old Town.
Dubrovnik airport is a half-hour drive away. Let Smith24 know if you’d like help with flights and hotel transfers (they’re €45 each way, in a car). EasyJet flies to Dubrovnik from major cities in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Flights across the Pacific arrive via Dubai (or Charles de Gaulle airport) and Frankfurt.
Smith24 can sort your car hire from Dubrovnik airport. Free parking is available at the hotel; plenty of parking spaces await. If you're travelling through Croatia, Split is a three-hour drive away.
Jadrolinija (www.jadrolinija.hr) runs ferries daily between Italy (Bari) and Dubrovnik, from May to October.
Worth getting out of bed for
Start with what’s just beyond your bedroom: splash in the sea and top up your tan on Excelsior’s rocky beach. Visit the spa for some Sisley-product pampering before hitting the beachside restaurant. Toast the sunset with ice-cold drinks at the bar; you might get to watch a band play or a DJ work the decks. The hotel can arrange guided Old Town tours, which last two hours and end on a high with wine or cocktails at the top of Srđ Hill (accessed by a cable car), while enjoying Dubrovnik’s panoramas. Join a tour that takes in the neighbouring wine region and oyster farms, where you can taste some succulent bivalves (they’re something of a local headliner). Spend a cultured afternoon ticking off the city’s museums and galleries. Set off on a day trip to the neighbouring islands, or make a beeline for beautiful Banje Beach.
Aim for the stars (of the Michelin variety) at Vapor (+385 20 330 000), the pearl in the crown of the elegant Hotel Bellevue. Croatian produce stars bold dishes that look to the Med; the decor is as stylish as the dishes. Friendly Pantarul (+385 20 333 486 ) at 1 Kralja Tomislava serves unpretentious food that puts a spotlight on local fish, meat, game and produce; expect to be bowled over by the delicious home-made bread and pasta, charming waiters and highly gluggable Croatian wines. Nautika (+385 20 442 526) has swoony views, thanks to its prime perch at the very edge of the sea at Pile, by the western entrance to Dubrovnik's Old City. Highlights include lobster from Vis and other Adriatic seafood; this romantic restaurant is housed in the former Dubrovnik School of Maritime Studies, which has welcomed seafarers since 1881.
Get a taste for Dubrovnik’s relaxed nightlife at the exemplary, cliff-hugging Café Buza at 9 Crijevićeva. Pleasingly, it’s accessed through a sneaky little hole in the wall, marked with a wooden ‘cold drinks’ sign; in a city that doesn’t stint on sunset spots, it’s one of the best options. Villa Orsula, just next door, has a lovely garden terrace bar that serves Peruvian food.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic hotel in Croatia and unpacked their deck shoes and white wine, a full account of their coastal city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik...
You know you’re doing things right when two of the world’s most demanding Lizzies – Queen Elizabeth II and Elizabeth Taylor, to be precise – count among your distinguished guests. Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik knows a thing or two about flawless hospitality, having welcomed queens, movie stars and other discerning globe-trotters to its prime Dubrovnik perch since 1913. Sorry to disappoint any foot-stamping divas reading this, but there’s absolutely nothing about Excelsior that will prompt an impassioned temper tantrum (other than check-out, natch). The hotel occupies a palatial patch of the city, spying on the glittering Adriatic and the mediaeval, walled Old Town; staff mind their Ps, Qs and a few other consonants, rattling around the hotel efficiently in their sleek black uniforms (or preppy polos on its beach); there’s a spoiling spa, a clutch of seafood-focused restaurants and rooms styled with citrus-bright hits of colour, striking artworks and velvet furniture in aquatic hues of green and blue. Old-fashioned types can bed down in historic Villa Odak; modern lovers will be bowled over by the sleek, contemporary Tower...
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik’s Guestbook below.
We loved Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik. From the minute we steped foot in the hotel, we fell in love with the never-ending views of the ocean and the old city! We were instantly upgraded because of our reservation with Mr&Mrs Smith, our rooms were clean, the location was close enough to walk to the old city, the service and staff were very professional and friendly. The outdoor saltwater ocean 'pool' was stunning and the spa was so relaxing after a day of active touring. Thank you for making our trip so memorable, we will definitely be back!
BySue ann, BlackSmith
Stayed on 10 Aug 2019
The room, the ambience, the staff, the service, the space, the view and the location.
Stayed on 5 Apr 2019
We loved every single minute at this hotel. The service was exceptional — they wait on you hand and foot. Every inch of the hotel was spotless and very well-equipped to suit anyone's needs. The food was outstanding at all of the restaurants and we had the opportunity to try out the finest Croatian cuisine. We got upgraded, free of charge, to a suite in the attached villa. The views out to the sea and the Old Town really took our breath away.; It was, quite simply, a stay we will never forget!
Dont expect to be disappointed — this hotel will NOT let you down!
Stayed on 28 Mar 2019
Amazing location a few minutes walk from the old town. It was lovely to be able to leave the crowds and have a beautiful view of the town and the sea. Service was excellent and gave us a lovely welcome surprise for my husbands 30th. The Smith extra of airport transfers is a brilliant extra! Spa and pool area lovely and peaceful although we were off season in late October.
Any nightlife in October, but we liked the quietness!
Stayed on 23 Oct 2018
We loved the decor in this superb hotel. We were in the Tower block, which sounds awful – but isn't! Maybe the hotel should think about renaming it? Our room was beautifully decorated, very modern and stylish, with a view over the Piano Bar outside space towards the old town walls. The bed was enormous, very comfortable with comfortable pillows too. The indoor pool and spa area is excellent and we loved the large sundeck with access into the sea. The staff are very helpful with moving sun loungers and parasols. We ate lunch out on the sundeck and, as with the Sensus restaurant where we ate twice, the food is gorgeous.
Any noise! Despite overlooking the outside Piano Bar – albeit from three floors up – we never heard any noise either from there or from neighbouring rooms. Don't expect to see any litter, beggars or bad behaviour either. We found the locals very polite.
Stayed on 7 Oct 2018
We loved everything about the hotel. Our room was spectacular with lots of attention to detail and a view that warmed our hearts.
Stayed on 29 Sep 2018
The hotel was beautifully appointed throughout and the views were just stunning. On arrival we were informed that our room had been upgraded to a suite which was such a lovely start to our holiday. The staff, to a person, were warm, friendly and attentive – and nothing was too much trouble for any of them. Nautika restaurant was fabulous – make sure you book and do try the His & Her gin cocktails! Equally the Panorama restaurant affords breathtaking views across the entire city and beyond – again booking is advisable.
A wild nightlife scene – music was played at both restaurants, but it was muted and appropriate to the overall ambience – which suited us perfectly.
Stayed on 12 Jun 2018
Stunning views! Location was superb, about a 10 minute walk to the Old Town. Very pleased we didn't stay within city walls, it was nice to escape fellow tourists and return to the calm of the hotel. Lovely outdoor lounging/bar area. Staff were excellent and always greeted us by name. Buza Bar for the views, Gradska Kavana Arsenal Taverna on the waterfront, Segreto Pasta Grill Gelato shop by Pile Gate.
A small, boutique hotel it is not but the location makes up for that.
Stayed on 8 Apr 2018
The warm welcome – the hotel staff were so friendly, we felt genuinely valued. Our room was lovely, the view amazing, the spa relaxing, the food at Sensus restaurant delicious, the breakfast fantastic (sparkling wine on the buffet in particular). It was the best hotel experience we've ever had. Dubravka restaurant and bar, just outside the city walls, was perfect for a glass or two of wine in the sun. Arsenal restaurant (run by the same group) just outside St Blaise's Church was also excellent, with very knowledgeable and friendly staff.
Dubrovnik, or the hotel, to be super busy in March. That's actually a positive, if you want to avoid hordes of tourists spoiling your camera shots!