Last week I was lucky enough to be invited by Sheraton Hotels on a press trip to travel to Croatia and visit two of their stunning hotels in two amazing places within the country, Zagreb & Dubrovnik. I will write a blog for each hotel.
My first stop was to the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb, Croatia’s Capital.
We were picked up from the airport in a lovely private car and chauffeured to the Hotel through the city. Croatia has never really been on my list of places to visit so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I remember seeing images of the former Yugoslavia when I was younger and I’ve also been to Kosovo which isn’t many miles away. So I guess I had an idea of something.
What struck me most on entering the city was all the graffiti. There were designated places where street artists can express themselves but there was also a lot of unnecessary tagging on these beautiful buildings that have so much history, which I found kinda spoilt the look of this wonderful city.
The buildings looked run down on much of the city and were in need of funds to help restore the historical look. There was refurbishment and restoration work taking place as well as new builds but I felt more needed to be done.
Sheraton Hotel Zagreb
We arrived at the Hotel and you could tell it’s been well looked after and very clean looking. I was intrigued to see the inside of this 5 Star Hotel.
On entering inside we were greeted by the team that would be hosting us for the 5 days we would be in Croatia as well as the team at the Hotel. We were quickly shown around the hotel to get to know where things were etc.
I was very surprised with the stunning decoration within this Hotel. It had a modern look but with a vintage style. It had been executed to perfection. You could see why many famous and wealthy people choose to stay in the Sheraton Hotel.
Me and my friend Patrick were taken up to our room. We were given a suite and again totally surprised by the size and space we had inside this suite.
But the view didn’t really concern us as we knew we would be out exploring a lot. We were given chocolates, fruit, wine and brochures as gifts to our room every day. I would never say no to free chocolate and wine 😉
The hotel had everything you wanted from free wifi, swimming pool, sauna, spa, a gorgeous piano bar with amazing chairs (loved those chairs). It also had a modern coffee bar with low calorie options and great coffee and tea on offer.
That evening we were invited to their sister Hotel The Westin in Zagreb to drink cocktails and indulge in Croatian gastronomy with their head chef Tomislav Hruban on the 17th floor.
We were totally spoilt and it came with a great view of Zagreb. I never knew what the Croatians ate but wow I could definitely get used to eating the Croatian way.
The food ranged from delicious fish to mouth watering juicy meat. Okay my mouth is watering I need to take a break and eat something ha……….. 🙂
We finished the evening with a drink in the bar and called it a night by walking back through the city to our hotel, The Sheraton. In many cites there are locations that you might not feel comfortable in walking in the dark. Here in Zagreb we felt so safe in walking 15-20mins to our Hotel. We were told that many women walk through the city alone as they too feel completely safe. This is amazing and every city should take something from this.
Shopping With Executive Chef
The following day we were invited by Matija Balent, Sheraton Zagreb’s Executive Chef to go shopping with him around their famous market – Dolac, which is the biggest open air market in Croatia. We completed our shopping adventure with a little wine, prosciutto and cheese at perfectly named Cheese & Wine Bar. God I LOVE these people!!
I have to applaud the Croatian people as they love their food and it’s a typical way of life for them. I guess it is for most countries but you could really feel the passion for food and gastronomy on this trip.
After the shopping trip the Executive Chef cooked with some of the ingredients we brought from the market.
WOW this is why Matija Balent is the Executive Chef, what a wizard in the kitchen. I mean I love meat and sweet things but out of all this the cabbage was absolutely AMAZING!!! Yes that’s right….. cabbage. I know right? I’ve never tasted cabbage like it. Everything we ate at the Sheraton was top notch food. I have to quickly mention the strawberry ice cream the chef made from fresh strawberries from the market, as us English would say…. Bloody Delicious! 🙂
Tour of Zagreb
After having a little rest from eating all that amazing food and by rest I mean a snooze zzzzzz 😉 We went on a tour around Zagreb hosted by our guide Harry, yep you heard me, Harry. He did tell us his proper name but Harry was so much easier haha.
It was a very informative tour and I loved the Cathedral. I was so happy you can take images inside. A lot of the cathedrals in the UK wont allow this. Also upper town had so much history and character. St Marks church was also stunning with it’s colourful tiled roof. I say this time and time again, they really knew how to build magnificent architecture in those days.
It rained a little on our tour but being British that didn’t bother me as I’m used to it.
We took shelter inside a tower in upper town where they fire a Canon every day at noon, you can smell the cordite inside the tower when walking up the stairs. The tower also provided stunning 360º views of Zagreb.
Around the corner from the tower was the Museum Of Broken Relationships. Personally not for me but I can understand it’s appeal. There was a cafe/bar connected to the museum, so guess where I spent my time? Mmmmmm Ožujsko Croatian beer. What? I was hot and needed refreshments after a long walk lol 😉
Finishing the night we were invited to The Place (great name) where we would be tasting Rakija and Croatian White Wine courtesy of Vivat Fine Wines. Now I would show a picture or two from the night but I had such an amazing time I forgot to capture anything. All I got was a selfie with my friend Ana from Zagreb who joined us for the evening.
Now I’ve never had Rakija before and I’ve never really been a brandy fan which is what Rakija is. But I cant wait to try some more. The flavours they were bringing out were so fresh and delicious. Great work by everyone here at The Place and by Vivat Fine Wines. Please drink responsibly!
Johann Franck Coffee & Tea Bar
The next morning and our final day in Zagreb started off at Johann Franck Coffee bar/club at night. They introduced themselves and explained how and what coffee & tea they made. Now I LOVE coffee so I was happy to try everything they made. I was buzzing afterwards like a little kid on sugar.
Our host’s here were very generous as they also provided us with loads of free samples to take away, I’m still using them today. Yummy!
Museum of Contemporary Art
In the afternoon we visited the Museum Of Contemporary Art. Again this museum wasn’t really for me. Sometimes I don’t understand contemporary art. It was still interesting to walk around this modern building but the biggest attraction was it had a slide that went from the top floor outside to the bottom. Now I HAD to try that…. Weeeeeeeee! I know I’m a big kid but hey you have too right?
The ladies who were hosting us laid on a beautiful picnic on the roof. We had blankets and a basket full of Croatian goodies from the sister Hotel The Westin. The weather wasn’t the best but we didn’t care as we had champagne and great company.
So our stay in Zagreb has come to a end. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by Zagreb and it’s friendly people. The history of Zagreb is fascinating and the architecture is some of the best in the world. The city still has a long way to go and if I left it 10 years (which I hope I don’t) before I visited again I’m sure I will see a BIG difference in this ever evolving city with huge potential to be one of the best tourist locations.
I have nothing but praise for the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb. We were looked after to a very high standard. The staff were so friendly and the atmosphere was constantly busy. I highly recommend this Hotel as a city break Hotel or even a place to relax using their wonderful spa.
I’ve seen and tasted a little bit of Croatia and it’s certainly wetted my appetite to experience more.
Thank you to EVERYONE that made my visit to Zagreb a truly wonderful experience.
Make sure you check out my next Blog as I visit The Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel in Dubrovnik, Croatia.