A remodelled 1960s stay that’s ditched retro vibes for modern minimalism, Hotel Kompas, a stroll from Lapad Bay beach not far from Dubrovnik’s terracotta-topped old town, is a wallet-friendly pad from the same stable as Smith-approved Hotel Bellevue and Hotel Excelsior, with balconied rooms and suites – topped by a sea-facing bar, and tailed by a pine-shaded pool and restaurant terraces. Dine on seasonal Mediterranean fare at Sphere restaurant or, when you fancy a change of scene, head out to the esplanade lined with bars and restaurants.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £79.78 (€93), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-in.
Rates include buffet breakfast.
With all room types, ensuites have either a walk-in shower or bath tub, so if you have a strong preference, add a request when booking. The playful textile motifs in all rooms are by artist Saša Šekoranja, who’s also responsible for the pendant-light installation straddling floors five and six.
The hotel closes annually from November to February, reopening in March.
At the hotel
Pools, spa, gym, bars, restaurant, boutique, beach loungers and parasols; currency exchange, laundry and dry cleaning (extra cost). In rooms: free WiFi, tea- and coffee-making kit, minibar and Biobaza bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Sleek monochrome interiors vary little in kit, differentiated by size and views only. Premium Rooms have the most generous footprint, some with a corner position affording two balconies. Executive Suites come with a separate living room and sofa bed. All rooms have balconies, but opt for a Superior Room to secure a sea view.
Indoors, there’s a modest, freshwater pool with stepped entry and a stone-clad wall that adds cave-like calm. The hotel’s main sun terrace has a large, freshwater pool to one side, leaving plenty of room for ranks of sunloungers and parasols. A broadly countered bar serves drinks and ice-cream, poolside.
The hotel spa is a serene sanctuary in neutral hues of treatment rooms, a Finnish sauna and steam room, and a gym with weights and cardio machines – all neighbouring the indoor pool.
In this ancient city where there’s so much to see, you’ll need shoes made for walking and a light shawl or wrap to counter evening sea breezes.
Four rooms and the majority of communal areas are wheelchair accessible (there are steps down to the roof bar).
Indoors, tables by the wall, which is lined by one long, upholstered bench keep you away from diner traffic but offer the best restaurant views. Outdoors, a table shaded by the tree canopy feels winsome, even after sunset.
Cover-ups to take you from pool to lunch; something white or light and glamorous for evening that can take you from dinner on the terrace to a post-prandial stroll along the prom.
Sphere is the hotel’s all-day restaurant, serving a buffet breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt and pastries, eggs, bacon and sausages. Lunch and evening bring a menu of Mediterranean dishes such as pan-fried salmon fillet or grilled steak with chanterelle sauce. The dining room of pale wood, dove-grey upholstery and white walls is light and airy, but it’s the vast dining terrace (which also has low sofas and chairs for drinks) that steals the show here – by evening, lit with lanterns and catching the buzz from the esplanade below.
Luna Bar, by the pool, serves coffee, soft drinks and cocktails by day to swimmers and sun worshippers. Top-floor Zenith Bar, tucked away off the lobby and dressed in white, has floor-to-ceiling windows with sea views, statement globe pendant lights and sofas to sink into – just the spot for fine wines, draught beers and cocktails, or even a coffee.
Sphere serves breakfast, 6.30am–10.30am, and stays open for the rest of the day until 11pm. Luna Bar is open from 11am until 6pm; Zenith Bar, 7am–midnight.
A dedicated menu of light bites, snacks and sandwiches is yours to order from, 24/7.
Seafront Hotel Kompas is in the Lapad neighbourhood, a 20-minute cab ride north of Dubrovnik’s old town.
Dubrovnik Čilipi airport is a 30-minute drive from the hotel. Staff can arrange private transfers (at extra cost) on request.
Split is the nearest train station, from where you’ll need onward transfers or a bus to take you the three-and-a-half-hour drive to Hotel Kompas.
There’s a car park at the hotel with free parking.
Hotel Kompas is 10 minutes from Gruž ferry port, for boat connections to the Elafiti islands, Mljet and Korčula.
Worth getting out of bed for
Lapad peninsula comes with walking trails and jogging paths, although you may feel a stroll along Uvala’s tree-lined promenade is all you need. Lapad Bay beach is shallow and family-friendly for swimming. The sights of Dubrovnik’s walled Old Town are a 40-minute walk or 15-minute drive away. A day trip by boat to the Elafiti Islands offers a bucolic change of scene.
The food is fancier than the name at Pull Over Bistro (also on the esplanade), where you can dine on elaborately presented plates of pan-European fare such as roasted poussin on spiced cabbage or slow-roasted lamb shank with polenta with tables indoors and out. At Tuttobene, the menu’s printed on a paper mat and the interior’s chrome details say “diner” – this is fast food, but good: its pizza, pasta and burgers attract brisk trade with an outlet in the Old Town as well as here on Lapad’s esplanade.
When the seafront puts you in the mood for a piled-high cone of small-batch gelato, head to Lapad ice-cream institution, Koogla – by the sea and only a few minutes’ walk from the hotel.
Hotel Kompas is in a category of hotel I like to call VR headset – hard to understand from the outside, but once you’re in it, everything makes sense. Its quirky exterior we’ll put down to the Sixties shell, now remodelled with chic, Scandinavian-inspired design in a palette of creams and whites that not only creates a sense of serenity but also keeps the space light and bright.
A beautiful glass wall framing a sweeping view of the glittering Adriatic makes a dramatic first impression in the lobby. More subtle, but just as welcome, is the beautiful scent, reminiscent of a spa, that wafts not just around the reception area, but extends throughout the hotel, too.
Views aren’t constrained to the lobby either: the hotel’s architects have endeavoured to ensure that most of the rooms are sea-facing, meaning that vistas across the forested hills and teal Adriatic are shared out democratically across lower-category rooms as well as suites.
Our room, for example, comes with a glass-edged, furnished balcony. I’m struck by the cream carpet, which feels so luxurious for a beachside stay. The bathroom also gets a big tick for its generous footprint. And I like the art in our room: scattered throughout the hotel are many pieces of modern art, from eye-catching paintings, to decorative, monochrome wall panels, to abstract lighting features – all of which enhance the hotel’s contemporary good-looks.
We ditch our luggage and decide to scope out the pool. Set in the gardens, it’s shaded by towering pines and reminds me of the Italian Lakes. It’s the perfect spot for a peaceful morning swim, and Lapad Bay must take some of the credit for this…
The hotel’s verdant setting echoes the greenery across the bay, where forested slopes tumble down towards the shingled shoreline, lapped by the Adriatic’s trademark emerald-clear waters. It’s not hard to see why city dwellers might head here for a weekend beach fix. For Hotel Kompas guests, the beach’s parasol-shaded sunloungers are free – a wonderful perk – as is the fact that our city break to Dubrovnik comes with such a scenic side of sand and sea.
Dubrovnik – specifically its mediaeval-walled, terracotta-roofed Old Town – is a 15-minute cab ride away and the focus for most of our exploring. We put in a lot of steps wandering the fortifications, elegant squares and pedestrianised shopping avenues; we refuel on ice-cold drinks at pavement bar tables and linger over Mediterranean-style plates at stone-cooled tavernas. However, foot-sore and museumed-out, we were just as happy to return to our brilliant basecamp.
For those wanting to indulge in some wellness and relaxation, Kompas has an impressive spa and fitness centre, provided at no extra cost. There is a freshwater indoor swimming pool with stone walls and loungers, which is always very quiet – good to know for when the outdoor pool area fills up. After a cool dip, you can take yourself off to the sauna and steam rooms. And if you’re after a few more endorphins, there’s always the state-of-the-art gym.
Food and drink at Kompas is a highlight of our stay. Along the shoreline in Lapad there are many fantastic seafood restaurants, but if you’re not looking to venture too far, the hotel restaurant, Sphere, will not disappoint. We are whisked through a dining room of pale wood, dove-grey upholstery and white walls, and emerge onto a vast dining terrace (which also has low sofas and chairs for drinks) that steals the show – built around a beautifully old tree, and lit with lanterns (as well as the setting sun). Sphere’s a-la-carte menu is Mediterranean-skewed: we plump for glossy bowls of truffle pasta, and find them bursting with flavour.
Sphere is also the setting for breakfast each morning, which is included with your stay. There’s a generous spread of sweet and savoury options, fruits and salads, something hearty and something light. So many different jams and accompaniments for your pancakes make it difficult to choose. And restaurant staff are professional and attentive.
Day two takes us back once more to the city, but not before we’ve taken a morning walk on the beach and returned to rooftop Zenith Bar for a coffee pitstop. The bar runs along one side of the building, giving breathtaking views of the bay, and is a looker indoors as well, with pale interiors that are studded with planet-sized globe pendant lamps and Austin-Powers-style winged armchairs – very 1960s, very cool.
Arguably, one of the most attractive factors when choosing Kompas is the location. Its out-of-town co-ords make it excellent value for money, and yet all of Dubrovnik’s antique attractions are reachable, plus you can supplement your city break with spells at the beach, esplanade strolls, or ascents to the ridge line to be rewarded with bird’s-eye views. As we decided on our last night – ensconced on the terrace at Zenith Bar, looking out across the twinkling lights of the bay, cocktail in hand – a short break at Hotel Kompas may well leave you wanting more…