The clue’s in the name at Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery, a traditional village-style resort where creamy Istrian stone buildings with red pantile roofs and painted wooden shutters huddle around tranquil outdoor pools and tree-lined walkways. Indeed, it’s all about the grape here, where 12 acres of vineyards produce 14 varieties of robust reds and zingy whites, available to try at tasting sessions or over dinner in the farm-to-fork restaurant. Heck, after exhausting yourself with a day’s tasting you can even undergo vinotherapy treatments in the spa.
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A bottle of Meneghetti wine; GoldSmiths also get a welcome cocktail
58 spacious rooms and suites, including five villas.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability (charges may apply). Check-in is at 3pm.
Double rooms from £200.09 (€234), including tax at 25 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.40 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a plentiful a la carte breakfast served in the main Meneghetti Restaurant.
Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery’s multi-award-winning reds and crisp whites grace the wine lists in restaurants across the world. The hotel’s olive oils are no slouches either, and are consistently voted among the planet’s finest by olive-oil bible Flos Olei. You’ll definitely want to take some of this liquid gold home with you.
Closed from the end of October to mid-March.
At the hotel
Free WiFi, two outdoor pools, spa with sauna, treatment rooms, pool and gym, free shuttle to private beach, bikes to borrow. In rooms: air conditioning, TV, Nespresso coffee machine, minibar, free bottle of water, handcrafted Meneghetti branded toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
With accommodation that ranges in size from a generous 28-square-metre bedroom to a private three-bed villa big enough to get lost in, there’s stacks of choice here. Somewhere in between the two, the One Bedroom Residence, clocks in at a roomy 75 square metres, with beautifully carved wooden beams in the bedroom, smart living and dining areas, a spacious bathroom with dual sinks and a walk-in shower, and a terrace. Upgrade and you’ll get a private pool in your garden. Where better to watch those famous Istrian sunsets as the crickets chirp and the ice clinks lazily in your second or third Negroni of the evening?
Gaze out across the olive groves and vineyards from the terraces of the main outdoor pool and its smaller, more secluded sibling, both open 9am-8pm. The indoor spa pool is open from 11am to 8pm.
Signature treatments in the spa include vino and oleo therapy, using red wine serum and cold-pressed grape and olive oils made from the estate’s own produce. And if that’s got you feeling all woozy, there’s also a Finnish sauna, as well as an indoor pool and gym to bring you out of your stupor.
Don’t forget your running shoes. Yes, yes, you’ll likely want to spend the majority of your time horizontal in the spa, drifting in the pool and quaffing fine wine after fine wine, but hear us out: there’s a lovely jogging route to the private beach that winds through vineyards, olive groves and woods and takes about 15-20 minutes at a gentle pace. Better still, you can cool off with a dip and a cocktail at the end of it before catching the free shuttle bus back to the hotel.
Located on the Adriatic Coast a couple of kilometres away, the hotel’s exclusive Beach Club has a private stretch overlooking the Adriatic and Brijuni Islands. The bar serves drinks and snacks and a free shuttle bus runs back and forth all day.
The hotel’s sizable rooms mean there’s plenty of space for your furry friends. A daily fee of €50 applies and dog beds, bowls, water and snacks are provided. See more pet-friendly hotels in Bale.
It’s not that little Smiths aren’t welcome, but the fun here mostly revolves around wine and its associated pastimes. That said, babysitting services are available on request at an hourly rate of €20.
Just-picked seasonal herbs and vegetables, velvety olive oil and full-bodied wines come direct from the hotel’s own gardens, groves and vineyards, supporting the restaurant’s commitment to zero-kilometre cuisine, with crops irrigated using groundwater. All other ingredients – award-winning cheeses, meat, fish and prized white truffles – are sourced from local producers on the Istrian peninsula.
Tables beneath the pergola in the courtyard for the win. Those old Istrian stone walls look just dreamy by the light of a flickering candle.
Poolside casual in flip-flops, loose linens and billowy sarongs at Oliveto, but vamp it up for evenings at Meneghetti Restaurant, where you’ll want to look every bit as fine as the wines taste.
The focus at Meneghetti Restaurant is firmly on farm-fresh local flavours, with vegetables plucked straight from the kitchen garden, extra-virgin oil from the olive groves and marvellous merlots and crisp chardonnays from the winery. Try to show a little decorum when dousing your bread aperitif in those indescribably good olive oils: there’s a significant danger of overstuffing yourself before you even get near the main event. And what an event it is: cured Istrian meats, freshly shucked oysters, truffle-infused risottos, braised Boškarin beef, monkfish swaddled in prosciutto. Not ready to throw in the towel just yet? Finish with a plate of artisan cheeses from the dairy farm down the road or contemplate a warm plum tart before slipping gratefully into a food coma.
Poolside Oliveto is a far more casual affair, but don’t let that fool you: the food at this alfresco brunch and lunch joint is just as gratifying. Here, lighter bites include chilled tomato and strawberry gazpacho and Adriatic blue crab cocktail alongside mains such as grilled swordfish and traditional Istrian fusi pasta with summer truffles.
Sink into oversized zebra-stripe armchairs in the Lobby Bar with one of the estate’s classic rosé wines or head down to the Boho Beach Club, where there’s absolutely no shame at all in ordering an ice cream and a pina colada as you watch the Adriatic gently lapping the shore from your lounger.
Dinner is served until 10.30pm and the Lobby Bar remains open until 11pm, in case a second or third digestif is required.
Available day and night with a service charge of €10 on each order.
Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery lies deep in the Croatian countryside surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, a couple of kilometres from the coast. Travellers can expect lavender-scented Mediterranean breezes, fruity Istrian wines and starlit solitude.
Pula airport is 30 kilometres from the hotel, a half-hour drive away. Transfers can be arranged at a cost of €70 one way. Trieste airport is a two-hour drive, Zagreb and Ljubljana airports are over three hours' drive; contact the hotel directly for transfer prices.
Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery’s remote countryside location means you’ll need wheels if you plan to explore more of the region. And, trust us, you should: think long, lazy lunches in charming hilltop villages, fairytale mediaeval fortresses and secluded coves with gin-clear waters. There’s free private parking at the hotel, with charging points for electric vehicles.
Worth getting out of bed for
We know, we know: dragging yourself away from the pool with its hypnotic vineyard views is a wrench but, boy, is it worth the effort. And, on the plus side, you don’t have to stumble very far from your lounger to take part in free morning stretching sessions by the vines. Or to forage for truffles for lunch in the nearby woods. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you can even borrow a bike and head out to explore the shaded trails and hilltop vistas along the route to Rovinj, a pretty seaside town just a few kilometres up the coast.
Star of the show at the estate is of course the winery, where you can opt for a bells-and-whistles tasting experience in the wine cellars, or tour the whole estate and partake of a glass of wine at six different locations, including the barrique room where the wine is aged, the winery rooftop (mind your step!) and – safely back on terra firma, though by this point it may not feel like it – the vineyard itself. If the vino doesn’t get you well-oiled, the estate’s award-winning extra virgin will: oil-tasting can be arranged on site, too.
If you’re feeling the need for a few hours of self-imposed sobriety by, say, day four or five, strike out for the ancient city of Pula, home to Roman buildings including one of the best-preserved amphitheatres on the planet. Or head for the distinctive red-tiled roofs and fairytale mediaeval churches of Rovinj where you can order lobster for lunch by the harbour and wave to the fishermen who caught it as you sip your chilled chardonnay aperitif. From the Meneghetti Winery, natch.
Once you’ve driven up that long tree-lined drive, the crunch of gravel beneath your tires, you may decide you have zero reason to leave Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery. After all, there’s wine, a restaurant that bears repeat visits, more wine, a poolside diner and oh, did we mention the wine?
But for those who absolutely must venture out, nearby Rovinj, about 30 minutes’ drive up the coast, combines mediaeval fishing-port charm with the pick of the area’s best restaurants. Try Agli Amici Rovinj at the Grand Park Hotel, where movie-set views of the old town and the verdant island of St Catherine rising out of the Adriatic are matched only by the Italo-Istrian cuisine on offer here. Seafood takes centre stage across three different tasting menus, with dishes that include red snapper with seaweed and figs, tempura courgette flowers and jellyfish with mussels and aubergine.
Nearby Puntulina brings you even closer to the source of your fishy dinner, its rocky promontory offering tables so near the water you can practically dip your toes. Pair traditional dishes like octopus salad and grilled sea bream with wines – just in case you’re missing them already – from the Meneghetti Winery.
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 secluded sanctuary on Croatia’s Istrian peninsula and unpacked their stash of fine homegrown wines and silky olive oils, a full account of their adventure among the vineyards and olive groves of the region will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery in Istria…
The distant murmur of a lone tractor meandering through the vineyards, the hum of bees plundering the estate’s abundant lavender bushes, the click-clack of wooden shutters opening and closing… there’s not much to break the silence at this most secluded of resorts, where switched-off solitude is king.
Traditional Istrian stone walls and pantile roofs lend a rustic charm to the village-like Meneghetticomplex. Inside, bold fabrics and contemporary framed prints pop with colour, and exposed stonework and beamed ceilings evoke the estate’s 200-year history.
When not relaxing by the outdoor pool and admiring those Tuscan-style vineyard vistas, you’ll likely be treating yourself to a healthy pummelling in the spa, or sampling award-winning liquid ambrosia direct from the estate’s winery and olive groves. The swoonsome sunsets for which Istria is renowned are best experienced, glass of Meneghettimerlot in hand, from the poolside terrace.
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