CROATIA, Hvar - Hotel Places by Valamar 3*

01/08/2022

Hotel in a quiet location in a pine grove by the sea with all comforts, flexible half board

Address: Hvar [PLACESHOTEL] by Valamar, Naselje Helios 5, 21460 Stari Grad, Hvar, Croatia

Web: www.valamar.com/hvar/placeshotel

Do you want a 100 Euro discount to any hotel from the Valamar network? Email me.

Hvar

Hvar is the 4th largest Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Dalmatia. It is long, narrow, from one side to the other it is about 70 km. The largest is the town of Hvar, home to the first public theater in Europe (1612). Another important city is Stari Grad, in ancient times it was one of the first inhabited places on the Adriatic islands. The towns of Jelsa and Sučuraj are also worth mentioning. The inhabitants of the island live mainly from fishing, quarrying and tourism.

In UNESCO is the Starigrad Plain - an ancient cultural landscape founded by Greek colonists in the 4th century BC. In 2020, fossilized dinosaur tracks were discovered on the island.

Hvar is known as the island of sun, lavender fields, great wine and rich history. It has many secluded bays, which is why it is also popular among yachtsmen, there is a larger harbor in Stari Grad.

How to get to the island of Hvar from the mainland

If you don't have your own boat, you have to go by ferry, you have two options, namely: 


1) SPLIT - STARI GRAD (Hvar)

If you are coming from the north of Croatia and have the city of Split on your way (there is also an international airport here), take the Jadrolinia ferry here (either on foot or with a car) and in about 2 hours you will be on Hvar, specifically in the town of Stari Grad. Hotel Places by Valamar is on the other side of the bay, which must therefore be driven around by car. If you don't have a car, you can arrange a pick-up with the hotel for KN 30 per person. We also saw the boat taxi, which is the closest across the bay, there is a pier right next to the hotel. You can also go from the hotel to Stari Grad by boat, on foot it takes about 20 minutes.

Find out your ferry on the Jadrolinia website. Departure port is Split, port of arrival is Stari Grad (Hvar) and you enter the date. In season, the ferry goes 5-7 times a day (June-September), in the off-season, 3-4 times a day. You pay both per person and per car. The price list is on the website, in the summer season 2022 it cost 55 Kn for a person, 27.5 Kn for a child 3-12 years old, 326 Kn for a normal car. You can buy tickets either directly at the port and pay by card, ATTENTION - I highly recommend buying tickets online, you enter the dimensions of the car there and the system calculates how many cars can fit on the ship, so you may arrive at the port without a ticket and they will tell you sorry, full. And you wait 2-3 hours for the next ferry.

2) DRVENIK - SUČURAJ (Hvar)

If you are in Makarska and want to visit the second Places hotel from Valamar, like us, it is pointless to return to Split to the north, which is an hour by car, and then take another 2 hours by boat, and the ferry is not exactly cheap. We went south from Makarska to Drvenik, it's about 30 km along the coast and half an hour by car. The port here is small and the ferry is much smaller than from Split. Since the ferry ride across the bay takes only about half an hour, and they didn't have enough time to satisfy the need of transport-hungry people, they didn't bother much with the timetable and turned one boat after another. You put the car in the queue, it is good to leave the driver in it if the line moves (that is, if the ship is already in the port, otherwise it is useless) and the passenger goes to buy tickets, the ticket office is not marked at all, so I advise you - walk past the restaurant until to the other side of the port (you walk a bit) and there on the right side you buy tickets in a small booth, you can also pay by card. Tickets can also be bought online. But it didn't matter here, you don't have any priority right as whoever arrives goes on the ferry, so we didn't buy in advance. We didn't get on the first boat, but we only waited about 45 minutes for the second one. You leave your car in the queue and you can go to the garden of the restaurant in the port for refreshments, where you can see if the ship is coming, so you don't have to worry about the car standing in the queue without a driver. No one goes anywhere without a boat, right?

So we chose the second option when moving from Makarska, you enjoy the ferry for 30 minutes and then drive across the entire long island to its other end, where Stari Grad and the Places by Valamar Hvar hotel are located. It is roughly 60 km and an hour and a half drive along narrow winding roads.

Before I start the review of the hotel, I will also mention the port town of Stari Grad, which is a 1300 m (about 20 min) walk from the hotel along the coastal promenade and you will definitely make a trip there.

Stari Grad

Stari Grad is the site of the oldest settlement on Hvar and one of the oldest settlements on all Croatian islands. It was inhabited during antiquity.

Among the monuments, you can find here several churches, the villa and mausoleum of Šime Ljubič (priest, historian), Tvrdalj - the fortified villa of the Renaissance nobleman and poet Petar Hektorović, the Stari Grad city museum with an exhibition of ancient underwater and archaeological finds, and the rare Himalayan cedar grows here. Also worth mentioning is the Dominican monastery and the church of St. Peter the Martyr with the image of the Lamentation of Christ.

Right in the city, there is a category I harbor for yachts and small boats, although one could argue about what a small boat is, large ships with several decks were also moored there. The ferries then park a little to the side, before the entrance to the bay. You have a beautiful view of them from the hotel beach.

And finally we go to the hotel. 

Hvar [PLACESHOTEL] by Valamar 

[PLACES location]

The hotel is located at the end of a quiet bay. Next to it is one 2* hotel, also from Valamar, and a brand new hotel also from the Valamar network - Amicor Green Resort 4* - the first family resort in Croatia built in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. When it is fully completed, it will be a beautiful resort consisting of villas, which we must definitely visit. The construction did not disturb our stay, it is a little further towards the Old Town.

The hotel is located right by the sea. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to Stari Grad along the promenade around the sea.

[PLACES]

HVAR [PLACESHOTEL] by Valamar is the first hotel from the latest brand [PLACES] collection designed for modern travelers who expect more freedom from their vacation. Which means - break out of the stereotype. Why have breakfast from-to or go to lunch at noon when you're hungry later, or don't have lunch or dinner at all. Do it your way. Would you rather have 3 beers instead of lunch? Not a problem. Treat yourself to whatever you want. Flexi half board is here for you!

The hotel is divided into several 4-story buildings. If you want peace and quiet, take a room as far as possible from the pool, where loud dance music plays all day until late in the evening. There is a large parking lot right next to the hotel with chargers for electric cars if you have the right terminal (Mennekes).

[PLACESFLEXI] Flexi halfboard - new concept

The room price includes breakfast + 25 Euro per person per day, and for this amount you can buy either lunch, dinner or drinks as you wish. It's a great idea if you're going on a trip and you're out of the hotel all day, it gives you much more flexibility and you won't lose your paid meal. Or you can sip drinks all day, and go to a different restaurant every night and taste the local cuisine. If you do not spend the credit during the day, it is transferred to the next day. And if you don't hold back and spend more, you'll pay everything at check out.

Practically, it works by giving you a stylish wristband that looks like a watch when you check in, and the credit is uploaded to it every morning. The bracelet also serves as a room key and is waterproof. You don't have to wear it all, just one of the room, which will then also pay. Room credit is added to all persons. So if there are two of you in a room, you both have 50 Euro loaded for the day, but at the same time, when one pays, it is also deducted from the other. I recommend wearing the bracelet not as a watch, but on the contrary, with the face down, if you don't want to dislocate your hand every time you pay (the face is attached to the terminal like a payment card).

Furthermore, it is advisable to have a smart phone. You download the app [PLACEAPP] from Valamar Hotels and Resorts (note that the My Valamar app is something else, it is used for booking hotels and for the loyalty program) and here you monitor the amount of your credit. It was a bit inconvenient that you get 25 Euros per day, but the prices in the restaurant and bars are in Kuna, so you have no idea how much it costs. This is probably because Croatia is supposed to switch to the Euro from 2023, so you still have to endure it this year. However, in the application you can see the balance in both Euro and Kuna.

The application is only available in Croatian and English. You click that you agree to the terms and conditions and then choose whether you have a reservation or are already staying at the hotel (you are after check-in). Mostly probably the latter, because you don't know you're supposed to install an app until you get there. So you put I am already checked-in, below you choose whether you are in the Places hotel in Dalmatia or on Hvar (there are currently two hotels of the Places brand from Valamar, the application is the same for both, you can read about the second hotel in Makarska here: bit.ly/places-by-valamar-hamiczech). You enter the check-in and check-out date, room number, and your date of birth. I wanted to kill them here, because on iPhones the form is handy, but with Android you have to scroll through prehistoric times like I did for about an hour before I clicked through to my birth year. Why can't I simply type the date on the keyboard normally?

In the application you will also find a menu and a drink menu, including prices, sports activities, which DJ is playing, etc.

As for the dining room, it is open from morning to evening, I had a feeling that it is open all the time, and maybe it is, I did not check it late at night. Food works on the principle of self service. Breakfast is from 7 to 11 o'clock. I really appreciate the breakfast, there was just about everything you could want, even champagne and oysters! Eggs in 100 ways, cheeses, sausages, fruits, vegetables, muesli, yogurts, various types of milk, incl. vegetable, selection of pastries. The juices were not good, they were too diluted and the coffee machine was so difficult to control that everyone was losing their temper. They are details, but they make up the whole.

After breakfast comes lunch and dinner or a snack, the menu is then the same, broth and vegetable soup every day, I don't understand why the soup isn't changed to a different one every day, broth is ok, but I don't have to eat vegetable soup every day. The soup is freely available, there is no charge. Other meals are already deducted from the credit. You choose some food on the board (the menu is also in the app), order at the cash register, pay with a wristband, get a pendant and go to sit at the table. Once your food is ready, the tag will beep and flash and you will walk back to the counter where your food will be served. The menu is quite wide, you can certainly choose several days in a row - e.g. various pizzas, sandwiches, meats, salads, desserts, tuna tartare or vitello tonnato, bruschetta, sushi, fish, burgers, calamari, pasta and more. You can have lunch and then go to a local restaurant for dinner, or have a drink with lunch or instead of lunch - freedom of choice. I appreciate it.

As is customary with Valamar hotels, it also offers the Dining around service. This means that if you don't want to have dinner at the hotel, Valamar has contracted restaurants near the hotel where you can get a discount on your spending when you show your voucher. You will find out in the application how much and which restaurants this applies to. I definitely recommend the closest one - Eremitaž. It was so good that we even went there twice and I am dedicating a separate review to it here: www.hamiczech.tips/l/eremitaz. You can walk there from the hotel along the promenade around the sea in about 10 minutes.

[PLACES rooms]

Check in is from 2 p.m. Don't try to arrive earlier, even in June, when it wasn't full season, we didn't get the room an hour earlier, and no one got it, apparently they were understaffed and didn't have time to clean. As an apology, we received a magic card, on which we could buy anything we wanted at the bar once. Then they brought a bottle of water and a bowl of fruit to our room. Nice attention.

In addition to normal towels, large beach towels await you in the rooms. It was written on them that if you want to exchange them for clean ones, it costs 10 Kuna. I haven't experienced that yet. Apparently as part of nature conservation. However, if you throw a normal towel on the floor, it will replace you normally. We were only here for a few days and we dried the towel on the balcony, so there was no need to change it, some happily left them on the sunbeds like somewhere in a 5*, but someone will clean it up and then give me a new one, but I don't know if they were surprised when they then charged them. They wrote hand towels at the reception when checking out, so I didn't really bother with that, we left them in the room and no one even asked about them, so I don't know if in practice they really charge anything for replacement or not, try asking, it's quite confusing. I understand that they don't want people to steal them, they are very nice, but..

The hotel has several types of rooms, we had a Size M for 2 with a balcony and a view of the pool, partly also the sea. If you go to bed early, don't get a room with a view of the pool, there is loud dance music playing until midnight, sometimes even longer. I think because of the few people at the bar they could turn down the music after ten o'clock when most people are already in their rooms.

In the bathroom (I think in all types of rooms) there is only solid soap, so take all your cosmetics.

1) PlacesRoom Size S for 2 with a view of the park or the sea

- 12-13 m², bathroom with shower, air conditioning, TV, wifi, hairdryer, no fridge

2) PlacesRoom Size M for 2 lounge, sea side

- 17-23 m², a room with a large terrace on the 1st floor directly above the restaurant and the pool, an outdoor couch and a four-poster bed, the terrace is beautiful, dance music is constantly playing by the pool, sometimes quite loud, if you don't like it, take the view to garden, without terrace, with balcony. The room is for 2 and has the same equipment as the room above + it also has a minibar, i.e. a fridge.

3) PlacesRoom Size M for 2 the sea side

- 17-23 m², bathroom with shower, air conditioning, TV, wifi, fridge, hairdryer, nice size when you have a lot of luggage

4) PlacesRoom for 4 lounge, sea side

- 31 m², a room with a large terrace on the 1st floor above the restaurant and the pool, I assume there are two bedrooms, I was not inside, but according to the photos it does not look like there are 4 beds in one room, however, you better ask, otherwise equipment the same as the rooms above, including a refrigerator

5) PlacesRoom for 4 with balcony, sea side

- 31 m², the same as No. 4, but without a terrace, with a balcony and on a higher floor than the first, the hotel has a total of 4 floors

[PLACES pool and beach], sounds of [PLACES]

The pool consists of two above-ground tanks and is surrounded by plenty of comfortable sunbeds, beanbags, four-poster beds and umbrellas, all included in the price. By the pools there are also showers, outdoor toilets, a bar and direct access to the restaurant and hotel. Exercise lessons in the water also took place here. Dance music plays here all day, every day a DJ comes and shows his art. If you don't like dance music, I probably don't recommend this hotel, because it plays from morning until night, even until one in the night, and it's quite loud. The surroundings of the pools are surrounded by a pine grove with artificial grass, deckchairs, swings and you have a beautiful view of the sea. There are also two free hot tubs. You can cross the promenade and lie down directly on the concrete beach, pine branches provide shade here, most of the beach is in the sun. There are no deckchairs here, unless you want to carry them, but there were rolling bags, you can both sit and lie in them, so they were fully sufficient. Since the hotel is almost at the end of the bay and there is only one other with its beach next to it, the beach was almost empty. What a difference compared to Makarska! There were also showers, the beach hotel bar was just getting ready to open. You don't need shoes, there are steps into the sea and you are waist deep. The best thing about the beach is that all the boats have to pass by to the port, so you can have fun all day watching the boats, yachts and ferries without getting bored. I appreciate that the wifi worked on the beach. A short distance away is a small pebble beach with a gradual entrance, shoes would be useful here.

[PLACES fun & activities]

At the exit of the hotel towards the sea, on the hotel terrace, you will find a table football. There were ping pong tables outside behind the pool bar. For an additional fee, you can play tennis or choose one of the water sports. Or you can rent a bike. If you are a fan of via ferrata, there is one 22 km from the hotel - via ferrata Hvar above Sveta Nedelja. There is an adventure park in Jelsa, 12 km from the hotel.

DJ´s stage at the pool, Hamiczech
DJ´s stage at the pool, Hamiczech

Summary

I would rather recommend the hotel to the younger and middle generation who like to have fun, like dance music and parties, because DJs play by the pool every day, from morning to night, so you can't really talk about a quiet relaxing holiday. It is also convenient to be able to handle digital technologies a little thanks to the application. You might be a little confused on the first day because you probably haven't experienced the Flexi half board anywhere before, however, you'll get used to it quickly. The food was delicious, the beach and sea beautiful, stylish pools. Everything at your fingertips. Try it and see for yourself if this style of vacation suits you. A 20-minute walk along the promenade around the sea to the historic town. From the beach, you can watch dozens of ships daily flowing in and out of the port. I don't know why this hotel is not adults only, there is not much entertainment for children here, in fact almost none, as I write above, it is a party hotel, not a family hotel. But Valamar has a huge network of hotels for everyone, just choose the one that suits you best.

We also visited the second hotel of the [PLACES] brand from Valamar in the same spirit, only in Makarska. Article here: www.hamiczech.tips/croatia-makarska-valamar-places-hotel

This article was created in cooperation with the PR department of the VALAMAR hotel chain. Thank you.

For travel inspiration, follow me on social media:

Instagram @hamiczech

Facebook @hamiczech

Twitter @hamiczech

Youtube @hamiczech