Hotel Review: Roxanich Winery and Design Hotel
For a lot of people Croatia feels like paradise on earth, a land of boundless natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, with a fascinating history that goes all the way back to the Romans, who probably fell in love with its superb coastline and near-perfect weather. They weren’t the only ones who did that though, as the Venetians also followed hundreds of years later and numerous other people and cultures fell in love with Croatia ever since, including us today.
From the sparkling Adriatic Sea to the majestic Dinaric Alps, Croatia offers a wealth of diverse and enchanting places to see and experience, with amazing nature reserves and picturesque islands, dotted with serene beaches and charming little villages.
It’s got a little bit of everything for everyone, that’s why it’s by far one of our favorite vacation spots and we always come back here with sheer joy. But where exactly should you spend your time in Croatia?
We’ve all heard of the storied historic cities of Dubvronik or Split, the breathtaking national parks of Plitvice or Krka, or the buzzing islands of Hvar, Korkula or Brac, but there is one part of Croatia that we always recommend to anyone interested in spending their vacation here, and that is Istria.
Nestled in the northwest corner of Croatia, Istria is a mind blowing region that just asks for exploration. From the superb medieval towns like Rovinj, Pula, and Lovran, to the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, there’s so much to discover here.
But in this article we’ll take you somewhere else, to an enchanting village called Motovun, which might just be Istria’s best kept secret.
Perched on top of a hill above the Mirna River Valley, this little village boasts a rich history dating back to the 14th century, when it was fortified by the Venetians. We’ve told you Venetians loved this country, didn’t we?
The city’s thick walls still stand proud today, surrounded by a mix of lovely Gothic and Romanesque buildings that house artists studios, boutiques, a few small restaurants, and cozy cafes.
That’s why Motovun is known for its vibrant artistic community today and if you’re here around the annual film festival you’ll also get to see this village transforming into a unique cultural hub. But the main attraction of this place might be the fact that it’s very close to the Motovun Forest, home to the sought-after Istrian truffles, and it’s also surrounded by numerous wineries as well.
Motovun is a perfect destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of art, nature, and the good life. So we just had to come here and discover the region’s rich heritage. And we’ve picked the best hotel for this trip.
Our journey to the heart of Istria started at the Roxanich Winery & Design Hotel, but trust us when we tell you that this isn’t the typical story a hero would go through. Our story revolves around hedonism, self-indulgence and complete and utter satisfaction.
We didn’t come here thinking that we’d spend our time running around and seeing everything there is to see in Istria; Instead, we just wanted to sit back, relax and recharge our batteries after so many weeks on the road. And we were in for a treat.
Nestled on a hillside beneath the tranquil shadow of Motovun, the fabulous Roxanich hotel offers a unique blend of history and modern design, with plenty of surprises wherever you might turn your head, from the moment you want to park your car to the time when you’ll find out what’s actually hidden beneath the hotel. But before we get into that, let me give you a brief overview of this high-end retreat.
The hotel has 32 exquisite rooms and suites for you to choose from, each of them brimming with unique character and style. Some of the rooms offer views to the historic old town of Motovun, while the other offer spectacular views over the Mirna River valley. No matter what option you go for, you will surely have an unforgettable experience here.
A property that exudes elegance and luxury, Roxanich is the creation of a famous winemaker called Mladen Rožanić. He was the one who decided to combine the idea of a state-of-the-art winery with a boutique hotel with old world charm, which led to one of the most interesting and fitting combinations we’ve ever seen.
The hotel’s traditional stone façade alongside its superb green shutters give this place a historic charm, and while it may not look like it at first, the interiors are very sumptuous, carefully blending industrial elements with heritage details to give this place a totally unique vibe.
For instance, the reception area boasts a vaulted brick ceiling, with designer armchairs and white and burgundy-colored walls, which add a touch of flamboyance and flair to the whole place.
And if you can’t wait to check in and decide go outside on the terrace you’ll quickly fall in love with the shallow reflecting pool that feels like a huge mirror reflecting the mesmerizing views around the property.
After we checked in though, we got a quick tour of the hotel and also learned more about the history of this place, which we won’t spoil here, but just so you know, it will make you appreciate the hotel’s design choices even more than you’d think. Now let’s head to our room, shall we?
As you get inside the room you’ll feel like you’re entering another world, surrounded by lively and colorful wallpapers, and complemented by massive ceilings and superb wooden beams, which create a unique atmosphere and add a touch of warmth to every single room.
It really feels like you’re walking into an art museum, with every little detail and feature carefully designed to make your stay there more welcoming and comfortable.
We’ve stayed in a lovely Deluxe Valle room, with large windows overlooking the picturesque Mirna River valley and the surrounding vineyards, and let’s just say that we liked it so much that we wanted to stay one extra night there.
The room itself was very, very spacious, but the cherry on top was the custom-made, king-sized bunk bed, that was clad in leather and even had an overhead mirror. The bed, for us, was almost too big to even measure, as we could easily roll around multiple times over from side to side. And it was extremely comfortable as well. So comfy that we found it hard to get out of the bed every morning.
We also got a pretty cool designer armchair and a glass desk which came with its very own Art Deco-style minibar. There were a few modern lamps inside the room as well and a fair share of amenities, including air conditioning, an espresso machine, in-room safe, comfy bathrobes, slippers and a hair dryer.
The bathroom was completely different from the rest of the room, with period tiles, a walk-in shower with rain head and wand, a heritage style sink, and Naturals Remedies products, so that you could have your own spa-like experience in the comfort of your room.
All in all, this was the perfect place to unwind, relax and disconnect from the real world, at least for a couple of days.
Eating & Drinking
Roxanich has only one restaurant, but this hotel’s exceptional dining venue might just be the best representation of the “wine and dine” expression. With a view that could literally take your breath away, the Roxanich restaurant promises to take you on a culinary adventure like no other.
It offers a plethora of surprising dishes made with locally-sourced organic ingredients, that showcase the special gastronomic heritage of Istria, with a modern twist of course.
Add in a glass of wine from the Roxanich collection and you get a symphony of flavors, that will impress even the pickiest foodie. My personal favorite was the pasta with fresh black truffles, since this area is renowned for its truffles, but we also enjoyed the fish and aged beef. And the desserts… Oh my! I think we’ve had the best mille-feuille here.
The restaurant itself is very chic as well, with elegant parquet flooring, designer lighting and furniture, and walls of glass that open onto the terrace. There’s also a huge glass-fronted wine chiller that adds to the overall ambiance and the open plan kitchen is a nice element as well, but let’s just say that we’re sure you’ll probably want to enjoy every meal on the terrace.
As the sun goes down you get to see a magical view of the Istrian countryside painted in numerous shades of orange, red, blue and pink and the sparkling water mirror doubles this effect and takes it to a completely new level.
If you’re lucky (or know the schedule for special events in advance) you might also get to enjoy a live music show that will make your dining experience here totally unforgettable.
The breakfast is exactly as you might expect from such an outstanding restaurant: simply delicious. Fresh cold cuts, eggs cooked to order, croissants, pastries, juices and everything else you could possibly want, complemented by the rolling Istrian hills in the back.
What more could you ask for?
Spa & Wellness
Well, a few hours of complete relaxation and tranquility might be the next best thing on the menu, and if you’re like us, you probably won’t want to leave the hotel the moment you will see its incredible spa and blissful infinity-edge outdoor pool.
Tucked away on the lower level of the hotel, the spa feels like a real oasis of wellness, close to everything, yet far away from the terrace and the rooms to feel serenity. There, you could either soak up the Istrian sun by the outdoor pool all day long and take a dip in the refreshing water from time to time, or you can release the tension, anxiety and stress of everyday life at the sauna and relax rooms.
You’ll find here a traditional Finnish sauna, but you could also enjoy a rejuvenating Turkish hammam experience, followed by a refreshing detox water or a soothing cup of tea when you’re done.
And with that serene view of the rolling hills in the background it feels like you’re surrounded by pure bliss. Especially if you’re there before the sun sets. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind spa experience that you’ll want to repeat every day.
But hey, that’s not all this awesome hotel has to offer.
Since Roxanich was imagined by a true wine connoisseur, it only makes sense that the hotel’s greatest treasure would be its wines. But you probably won’t realize the sheer amount of passion and dedication that went into this until you actually get to see it with your own eyes.
For more than two decades, Mladen Rožanić and the Roxanich winery have been crafting some of the world’s most interesting and delicious wines in this picturesque part of Istria, and they’re all kept safe and sound in a state-of-the-art wine cellar, located right beneath the hotel.
Spreading over four levels right within the hill, this is the heart of the Roxanich winery, a real hidden gem where they showcase every single aspect of winemaking, from vinification and maceration, to aging and labeling.
The crowning jewel of the cellar is an elegant tasting room, where you can experience and savor the best wines they have to offer and indulge in the rich flavors and aromas.
The Roxanich winery produces wines in strictly limited quantities, inspired by hundreds of years of winemaking heritage of the area, yet constantly evolving as well, as they experiment with new varieties that are just breaking into the global scene, while staying true to traditional methods.
They’ve probably got something for everyone and for every occasion here, with a selection of 20 labels, from light and refreshing whites and rosés to rich, long-aged and macerated white, orange and red wines and even a new sparkling wine and a fortified wine. And best thing is that you could also go home with a little Roxanich souvenir from the hotel’s colorful wine showroom.
We’ve been to a few wineries and wine tastings before but we can honestly say that this was one of the best wine tasting experiences we’ve ever had.
In the end.. what else should we add? Our stay at this gorgeous hotel was nothing short of extraordinary! Every aspect of the Roxanich experience was absolutely flawless, from the moment we walked through the doors to the moment we left. As I’ve said earlier, we liked it so much here that we wanted to extend our stay for another day and.. we’re pretty sure we will come back in the near future.
One of the things that we loved the most about this place however was the meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of the decor. The hotel itself is a true work of art, with all its vibrant colors and a cheerful ambiance, that make it impossible to feel anything but relaxed and happy to be there.
The atmosphere was incredibly laid back, whether we were lounging by the pool, having dinner on the terrace or unwinding in our cozy room, we always felt at ease.
But the true highlight of our stay here was definitely catching the sunset every day. As the sun began to set, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the stunning views and the peaceful ambiance around.
Where: Roxanich Winery and Design Hotel
Kanal 30, 52424, Motovun, Croatia
Phone: +385 52 205 700
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