First impressions count. As I walked into the elegantly luxurious surroundings of the award-winning spa, Anjana SPA, in the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik I felt an immediate release of positive energy, almost a zen moment. Details are important. From the interior, the soothing aroma, the background music, everything was harmonised to calm. I could have just sat in the reception and felt stress-free. None of this had happened by chance. Behind every great idea there is a creative driving force. And I was about to meet her.
It’s impressive. Turkish-inspired but with absolutely brilliantly designed Dubrovnik influences that I haven’t seen in any other spa centre in Dubrovnik. Connecting a city and its rich history with not only the treatments but also the interior design, that takes patience and above all else passion.
A touch of Dubrovnik with a twist
“The first steps were important, how could we create a spa centre that our guests would recognise as both unique and also with a touch of Dubrovnik,” smiled the manager of the centre, Sandra Skledar. “We have incorporated elements from the historic Old City of Dubrovnik into the design, and not just the interior but also throughout our treatments,” she added.
Turkish-inspired but with absolutely brilliantly designed Dubrovnik influences - Photo - Mark Thomas
There was one interesting item that I had heard the spa had in its offer that nobody else in the city had. I wasn’t sure if it was true or just a rumour. If it was, well let’s just say it would be extremely impressive. “I knew that the pharmacy inside the Franciscan Monastery in the Old City was fascinating for guests. And that even tourists enjoyed buying the natural products that the pharmacy offered,” explained Skledar.
Now, just to bring you all up to speed the pharmacy that she was talking about is the third oldest working pharmacy in Europe. It was founded in 1317.
“I realised that not one wellness in Dubrovnik was using the products of the pharmacy, so I came to the idea of using these handmade cosmetics from the Franciscan Monastery in our treatments. It was a very long process. However, our patience paid off and now the pharmacy is producing three types of massage oils exclusively for our spa centre, “said Skledar.
Teas galore - Photo - Mark Thomas
One of the most unique souvenirs anywhere in the city!
So it was true. And there was another nice twist. Clearly the pharmacy isn’t in the position to mass produce anything, so the oils aren’t for sale anywhere, however all guests to the spa receive the bottle of oil that was used in their massage as a gift in a special bag. That must be one of the most unique souvenirs anywhere in the city! And the three varieties are rosemary, lavender and pine.
Oils from the third oldest working pharmacy in Europe - Photo - Mark Thomas
With, according to Skledar, pine being the most popular as it reminded guests of walking close to the Adriatic under the shade of pine trees. And yes, of course they are all made to a secret recipe.
The whole complex stretches over 2,800 metres squared - Photo - Mark Thomas
The only traditional Turkish Hammam in the country
Already blown away by this connection between one of the absolute gems of the old city and the spa centre I continued my tour. Extensive is an understatement. The whole complex stretches over 2,800 metres squared, for our American readers that is roughly the size of half an American Football field, in other words, large. The largest in the city.
Traditional Hammam Spa - Photo - Mark Thomas
From quite possibly the biggest traditional Turkish Hammam I have ever seen to massage rooms, saunas and even a salt room. This five–star spa includes everything you’d expect, and much more. “Our original Turkish Hammam is the only one in Croatia,” added Skledar. Continuing that “We also have two Finnish saunas, three kinds of showers, a cold room that guests can use after a sauna or a visit to the Hammam. This cold room has an ice fountain and cold mist that falls slowly down from the ceiling.”
Cold room with an ice fountain - Photo - Mark Thomas
And yes, you read correctly a salt room. A room that guests relax in with salt direct from the Himalayas. The space has salt on the floors and even in the walls, and guests stay inside for twenty minutes to get the full experience. It gives the effect of walking for a few kilometres along the seaside and inhaling the clean sea air, and therefore cleanses the respiratory system. Now, after the two-years we’ve all just passed that sounds like an excellent idea.
Salt room - Photo - Mark Thomas
And my first impression. Well, as I said every detail has been covered. The actual music, that was the background to my visit, was in fact especially designed to be in exact frequency to a human heartbeat. In fact, even the lighting changes according to the time of day and the aromas from the oils are especially selected to be in harmony with the ambience. A truly impressive spa centre that is not only in balance with the historic city but also gives balance to all who visit. I’m impressed from the first the last impression.