Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
There are yachts, there are mega yachts, and then there is the Emir of Qatar’s yacht! Al Lusail set back the Emir a whopping $300 million when he purchased it back in 2016 and is the 24th longest private yacht in the world and it certainly dominated the Adriatic when it arrived in the Bay of Zupa yesterday.
Reported to be worth $2.5 billion the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim, at 39 is the youngest sovereign in the world.
Rumours were abound that the billionaire Sheikh had arrived in Dubrovnik to cast his eye over investing into a hotel resort, with even a local politician suggesting he was here to inspect the Kupari resort.
Sheikh Tamim is the head of the Qatar Investment Authority which, apart from owning Qatar’s oil and gas interests, is also the owner of the luxury London store Harrods.
If the tourist season, as some claim is worse than last year, then the rent-a-car companies at the Dubrovnik Airport certainly aren’t feeling the pinch. Rent-a-car agencies at the airport are blooming, with more customers than ever before. Some estimates show that around 800 cars are being rented out every day, reports Dubrovacki Vjesnik.
“The season is really very good. Every day we are renting out around 60 cars. We can report that we have had no difficulties with customers the parties, although we have had numerous problems with the infrastructure at the airport itself. We simply don’t have enough room. Before the reconstruction started they did not advise or take into account the needs of rent-a-car agencies. We do not have enough space for vehicles,” commented a rent-a-car agent in one of the major agencies.
Another fellow agent who works for a smaller agency at the airport added that the season is excellent, and that prices have come back to normal.
And a third agent commented, “This season may be a little better than last year, we have no right to complain. There are a lot of cars on the market, but also a lot of guests. True, no one gives the exact figures, but from the 20 agencies operating at the airport, I think that the larger have at least 150 rentals a day, and then the medium sized ones have between 40 and 80 rentals a day. And then the smaller agencies have between 15 and 20 rentals a day. The average number of vehicles rented is probably higher at the weekend than during the week, but roughly around 800 vehicles are rented out on a daily basis,” added a young rent-a-car worker.
“We have days when we rent around a dozen, but we have 60 reservations on weekends. You could say that we sometimes haven’t enough cars to rent out. I am sure that between 700 and 800 cars are rented out every day. Prices in the summer start from around 50 Euros for a smaller, compact car and most of our bookings come via the internet,” adds another agent.
And it would be true to say that prices vary massively. In the compact car section, we found a three-door VW Polo for 359 Kunas a day, and a Toyota Yaris at twice that price for 780 Kunas a day. In the winter prices are considerably lower.
As tourists often rely on GPS navigation systems and are not used to driving on the busy Dubrovnik roads the majority of the agents were in accord that the number of accidents is relatively low.
"Of course there are accidents, but considering how much traffic there is and how many cars we rent out it is a really negligible number. We would like to take this opportunity to comment on how British and Australians cope so well with driving on the opposite side of the road than their how countries. It's not so easy! We have clients who come into the car and do not even know how to operate the gear box, or where the clutch is and others who have limited experience of driving on European roads. Bur all in all they do very well and we have very little bad experiences,” concludes an agent.
Dubrovacki Vjesnik also found an agency who had a story from the other end of the scale. From the time one client rented a car in the rent-a-car agency to the time he called to say that he had completely scrapped the side of the rented Mercedes was only 13 minutes! Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident and such “express” accident are very rare. However, clients filling up at the petrol station with the wrong type of fuel is less rare.
Every week through the height of summer we are hitting the streets of Dubrovnik to discover what you, our visitors, think about the city as a tourist destination. This week we caught up with a young couple from San Lorenza in Argentina.
Marcus Venitez and Teresa Varene – Argentina
What are your impressions of Dubrovnik?
The most impressive is the walled Old City, a very beautiful city with the walls and the fortresses. In fact, I didn't really expect it, I knew about the sea and the islands but I didn’t expect to see so much history and culture in Dubrovnik.
What do you think about the prices?
Compared with Argentina the whole of Europe is expensive. However, Dubrovnik is cheaper than Western Europe and more expensive than Eastern Europe. We have come from Bosnia and the prices are certainly higher here, but compared with Italy or Spain the city is much cheaper. But the hostel was expensive, we were in a shared room and paid 45 Euros a night.
Are you satisfied with the level of service you have received?
Yes, everywhere, in the hostel, in bars and restaurants the level of service has been excellent. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness, you have a very clean and tidy city.
Is there something you would have liked to done in Dubrovnik but weren’t able to?
No, we caught the public buses around the city and they work very well. The only thing that we didn’t get to see was the island of Lokrum. We were looking forward to it but the ticket price was just too much for us. We couldn’t afford it. They wanted 20 Euros per person and that was out of our possibility. It’s a shame.
How long did you stay in Dubrovnik?
We stayed for two days in Dubrovnik and now we are going to Split by bus.
The first drama premiere of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival was announced yesterday at the festival palace in Dubrovnik. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Paolo Magelli, will certainly be one of the highlights of this year’s anniversary festival.
The artistic director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Dora Ruždjak Podolski, commented that Hamlet was a "big and central event of the jubilee 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival". Over the years Hamlet has featured 14 times in the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, 13 times on the Lovrijenac Fortress and once on the island of Lokrum.
The premiere of this year’s Hamlet will be on the 27th of July and then the program will see the Bards masterpiece on the schedule from the 28th to the31st of July. All performances will start at 9.30.
One of the leading hotels in Dubrovnik, the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, has gone that extra mile to make sure that your vacation in Dubrovnik is as memorable as possible. Every day of the week is covered, there’s no more scratching your head figuring out what to do tonight, it’s all laid out on a daily basis. Whether it’s a full blown specially created themed meal to a sweet tooth heaven of ice-cream sundaes, at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik there is a day for every taste.
Located a mere stone’s throw from the historic walls of the Old City of Dubrovnik the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik is simple to get to, whether you are arriving by bus, taxi or on foot. You literally can’t miss it. It’s that big imposing building just behind you if you are looking at the Old City from the main entrance on Pile. If you need some more navigation tools, then check out the video below. It will give you a birds-eye view.
Summer Promotions at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
This is a hotel, and indeed a building, literally dripping in history. In fact, the origins of Dubrovnik tourism industry can be traced back to the Imperial. And over the years it has seen many a famous face, including the King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, who by all accounts enjoyed a cocktail in the gardens whilst on cruise along the Dalmatian coastline.
But enough of the history, what about the present, and more importantly what is included in the Summer Promotions at Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
So here is our day by day guide as to what promotion, at special prices, is on offer throughout the week. It is also important to mention that all these promotional events are open to non-residents of the hotel. Yes, that’s right. You don’t have to be actually staying at the hotel to enjoy all the goodies on offer in this five-star hotel. Go on treat yourselves.
Monday – Dubrovnik Republic Menu
Served in the Porat Restaurant (just ask on reception and they will point you in the right direction) the week opens with a beauty. A three-course meal with a difference. Themed around the meals that were served on the tables of the nobility in the times of the Dubrovnik republic you’ll get the chance to try top quality local food. And at only 260 Kunas for three course you can’t ask for much more.
You’ll start with Oyster Soup from Ston, followed by stuffed capon with local sausages and herbs and rosemary roasted potatoes. And last but not least is the king og Dubrovnik desserts, rozata with rose liquor. Served every day from 7:00pm to 10:00pm it’s the perfect way to start your Dubrovnik evening.
Tuesday – Happy Hour
In fact, this should have been called “Happy Hours” as from 6:00pm till 8:00pm there is a massive 50 percent discount on all drinks at the Lounge Bar. Yes, stop rubbing your eyes we said 50 percent discount, or if you like all drinks are half price. Indulge yourself with a cocktail or your favourite aperitif in the sumptuous Lounge Bar at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik and your wallet will breathe a sigh of relief.
Wednesday – BBQ Night
Now this is high on our list of favourites in this Summer Promotional guide. Summer in Dubrovnik is all about al fresco living, and indeed eating, so a BBQ on the beautiful and scheduled terrace of a five-star hotel must be a winner. And it is! It’s the smell that gets you.
As the aroma of the BBQ wafts around the late summer afternoon on the open terrace of the Porat Restaurant you can’t help but to feel peckish. Meat, fish, seafood and grilled vegetables all get throw on the barbecue. Every Wednesday from 7:00pm to 10:00pm its BBQ night and at only 310 Kunas per person its great value as well. Could it get any better? Well yes, there’s live music thrown into the mix as well.
Thursday – Happy Hour
Yes, you’ve guessed it another night of half price drinks at the hotel Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik.
Friday – Detox Menu
Having a detox menu right after a night of Happy Hour drink prices could well be coincidental, but then again maybe its good planning. Whether you’ve partaken in the Happy Hour fun or not you’ll need to get ready for the upcoming weekend. This is where the detox menu is here to help.
The menu starts with detox salad, with everything from green beans to avocado and chickpeas (and much more) followed by steamed chicken breast with some interesting side dishes (we don’t want to give everything away) and all completed with a fresh fruit collection.
Saturday – Gin & Jazz
Is there a better combination than gin and jazz? Especially when you are getting gin and tonic at a special discounted rate and the jazz is being played live. On Saturday from 8:00pm to 11:00pm the place to be is the Imperial Bar and Lounge, great jazz and even better gin. And if, heaven forbid, you are not a big gin fan then there’s a 20 percent discount on all other drinks. Now that’s a Saturday night out in Dubrovnik.
Sunday – Sunday Sundaes
And to end the week, the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik have saved the best, or should we say the sweetest, till last. Ice-cream sundaes on Sunday. Yes, you get the pun. Relax on any of the hotels outlets and terraces with an ice-cream sundae and let the day wash over you.
Hotel Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
Marijana Blazica 2,
+385 (0)20 320 320
The tennis number one, Novak Djokovic, is certainly having a holiday to remember in Croatia, cruising around the islands of Korcula with his family and even having an impromptu singalong in a restaurant.
After winning the 2019 Wimbledon Championship, his fifth Wimbledon title and his sixteenth in total, Djokovic is relaxing on the Croatian Adriatic, a coastline that is clearly close to his heart as he describes it himself as “one of the most beautiful in the world.”
The romantic Djokovic cruise has seen the couple spending a lot of time on the islands of Vrnik and Stupe where they have fallen in love with the restaurant Moro Beach. Djokovic (32) religiously follows a vegan and gluten free diet and has clearly found a restaurant that not only suits his diet but also his musical tastes, if last nights’ singalong is anything to go by.
All that is best about the Mediterranean and about the Croatian coastline is highlighted on the Pelješac peninsular. Stunning coastlines, inviting seas, vineyards, historic settlements, tradition and culture, all of these can be found of this green peninsular. If you added all the beauty and culture of Dalmatia and put it in one place then that place would be called Pelješac.
Located just an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik, this long, narrow, corrugated peninsula is encircled by deep sea channels and the glittering islands of Korčula, Hvar and Mljet. The hinterland of the peninsular is just as enchanting as its coast with wild sheep and boar, jackals, fox and rabbits. Driving through the peninsular and this is a firm recommendation, every corner brings a new panorama, a new experience, from rolling green hills to steep rocky cliffs, this is a place of contrasts. And every corner will eventually bring you to a vineyard; if you could design the perfect location for growing grapes then Pelješac would be high on the list.
Your journey starts at the quaint town of Ston which has medieval walls and towers and continues over the second largest peninsula in Croatia measuring 358km². Across this stunning landscape you will witness nature in its most natural form. The locals proudly have a saying – Pelješac is the place where the nature is still the nature – a lose translation but the meaning is obvious.
It is a highland region, but with a lot of flat areas and has soil particularly favourable for growing grape vines, and mountain regions for breeding of high quality game. Your journey continues over narrow country roads and unmade tracks, through groves of pine and ancient cypress rich in history and legend. Vistas of the sea and mountains alternate with faded villas and crumbling villages, a 15th century monastery, a medieval chapel in the woods, lemon, orange and almond trees.
A peninsular formed off hard stone but with a soft and generous heart. Pelješac should be on your list of places to visit whilst holidaying in Dubrovnik. Its like seeing all of the Croatian coast in miniature.
Hollywood star Salma Hayek is on her way to Dubrovnik to film for her latest movie, the sci-fi romantic comedy, Bliss!
Filming will begin next week in Split and then the whole cast and crew will move onto the Dubrovnik region. Hayek stars alongside Owen Wilson in Bliss, directed by Mike Cahill.
The Hollywood actress isn’t a stranger to Croatia, in fact, Salma Hayek was in Croatia only a few months ago working on Hitman 2 or The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard which she filmed with Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds in Istria.
UPI.com is reporting that “Production began this week in Los Angeles and Croatia on Bliss, Amazon's new sci-fi drama and romance starring Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson.”
Salma Hayek in Istria - Photo Instagram
"Mike Cahill is a brilliant storyteller gifted by a unique ability to craft the truly high-concept idea in a deeply soulful way that resonates with audiences. As a real fan of all his work, I am delighted that we can provide this opportunity for him to take his vision further than ever before. We know our global customers will be excited to see what Mike and his team -- Salma Hayek, Owen Wilson, and this fabulous cast and crew -- can do with such complex, yet real characters in such an imaginative and thrilling world. It will blow people's minds, I am sure," Ted Hope, co-head of movies at Amazon Studios, said in a statement.
It is rumoured that Hayek will arrive in Dubrovnik at the end of the week.