This new resort hotel on the Adriatic Coast is just a short walk around the bay from the Medieval town of Rovinj. It not only pays homage to classic Croatian Hotel design from the Seventies but also is a showcase for the talents of contemporary Croatian Creatives
Interior design: Numen/For Use
Croatia’s first design hotel, the newly opened Lone, is so much more than a sensational looking hotel on the Adriatic coast. The organically shaped exterior form of the hotel is carried on into the interiors, where design, bespoke furniture and lighting, conceptual artwork in the form of sculptures in steel and fabrics and live plants, collaborate to present a stunning showcase of Croatian creative talent.
The Lone is in Istria in northern Croatia. The region survived untouched by the bloody and vicious fighting that ravaged the rest of the country and its neighbours in the Nineties, but its creative forces that were just starting to emerge in the post-Tito era were nevertheless overshadowed by events, and now are only re-emerging on to a worldwide stage.
Lone owner the Maistra Group chose an idyllic setting for its newest hotel, just a short walk around the bay from the picturesque medieval town of Rovinj and surrounded by centuries-old forest. It nestles between Maistra’s other five-star hotel the Monte Mulini and its Seventies’ classic the Eden, to which the Lone pays artistic homage.
Lone was designed as a contemporary expression of the classic Croatian resort hotel, with sea-facing terraces and large lobbies by 3LHD from the Croatian Faculty of Architecture under the guidance of architect Silvije Novak. Interiors saw 3LHD working with Croatian design practice Numen/For Use, fashion designer-turned conceptual artist Silvio Vujicic and fashion house Studio I-GLE. The Lone’s visual identity is also Croatian crafted, by award-winning agency Bruketa&Zinic OM. In 2009, while still on the drawing board, Hotel Lone became the first Croatian member of the Design Hotels Group.
Designed around the characteristic Y-shaped floor plan, the Lone is able to offer lovely views from all rooms while providing its public facilities of lobby, lounge, shop and restaurants and bars around an airy central five-floor-high atrium.
The interiors are based on the theme of contrast, with fabric as the connecting element. This varies from a thin ‘veil’ in the restaurant separating operational and seating areas to rich and decorative murals in the lobby and dynamic wall coverings in guest rooms. Even in the state-of-the-conference rooms, screens of fat, padded tubes of black fabric add a uniquely creative element to the businesslike ambience.
The lofty and airy lobby is largely black and white, with a white terrazzo floor and splashes of colour from fabrics in beige and gold, grey and orange. Transform sofas designed by NUMEN/For Use and made by Moroso have organic lines that echo the curves of the building, as do the low, round Around the Roses tables by Massimo Gardone and Luca Nichetto, again by Moroso.
The central sculpture was created by conceptual artist Ivana Franke to hang in the lobby space. Made of steel and some 8.7m wide, the sculpture’s solid elements entwine without touching, creating an impression of weightlessness and suspension.
Colours and materials in the 248 guest rooms, all designed by Numen/For Use, are more muted with warmer, darker fabrics, wood including light Slavonian oak, and terrazzo. Included is the award-winning task chair Satyr, that sits at a desk integrated into the bed’s headboard.
Rooms on the first floor have outdoor sunken spa baths on their individual patios, edged by a shallow infinity pool that runs the length of the hotel and blurs the distinction between inside and out. Bathrooms are separate yet connected to the guest room by glass walls, allowing in floods of natural light on to shallow sinks in Corian, while backlit fabric murals, based on ancient frescoes found in the churches of Istria, hang across one whole wall.
The blending of the hotel’s natural surroundings with its interiors continues into its public areas, with interior planting and gardens that create smaller, more intimate areas, some of which extend to expansive outside decked terraces.
The hotels three restaurants – LO, N and E – and bars are another platform for showcasing, this time with a gourmet flair – Croatian wines, olive oil and locally hunted truffles.
Another major attraction of Hotel Lone is its spa, covering 1,700 sq m. Here an indoor pool looks out on to the gardens, which are scattered with daybeds, while the spa also offers two connected ‘sunken’ rooms in which to float and relax on hydro-massage beds and chairs.
A stay at the Hotel Lone is not just a break, it’s a veritable guided tour of Croatian design genius.