Dubrovnik had long been on our wish list and when we had finally booked the flights it was time to start planning where to stay. (To see what we got up to check out my blog Captivating Croatia). A work colleague had recommended that we didn’t stay in the Old Town as the heat in August would be suffocating and it is nice to get away from the hustle and bustle so our search centred around the coastal area outside.
So as a family of four we looked at options and I am usually very, very fussy about where we stay having bein spoilt by working in the travel industry. We only had three days to fill and a lot of the accommodation was coming up pretty expensive for a big enough room for all of us or we were going to have to do an inter-connecting room which I just wasn’t keen on.
I had previously discounted Valamar Club Dubrovnik in Babin Kuk due to the 3 star rating (I know a bit of a snob) but the price and facilities kept drawing me back. So we took the plunge. Valamar Club Dubrovnik also operates what they call “Light Inclusive” which is essentially breakfast, lunch and evening meal (all buffet) but with drinks served during your dining only. Basically a slimmed down All Inclusive. The cost of this package was fantastic and matched some room only/bed and breakfast rates in some of the higher grade hotels. So whilst we may have dropped our usual higher grade hotel the cost saving was too attractive.
We organised a private transfer through Hoppa.com which were incredibly efficient and they had us at the hotel within an hour of landing. We sat back in the car and took in the gorgeous sea views and then the magnificent vista of the Old Town came into view and we could not wait to get exploring.
We checked into the hotel ahead of the requested time but the reception staff advised us that our room was ready. They were really friendly and helpful, giving us the low down on meal times, activities, the kids club as well as how to get into town.
So we headed down to our room – it was a bit of a rabbit warren and we couldn’t find a lift but luckily it was only a floor down and whilst we were OK with dragging our big cases it might not be ideal for more restricted. There may be lifts but we couldn’t find them for the life of us.
They have 2 different room categories – Classic – Twin/Double/Family and a Superior. We had opted for the Classic Family – purely because we thought we would hardly be there and preferred to spend the money on excursions. It was pretty basic and it felt the 4 beds had been crammed in but it served a purpose and was clean and functional. One nice touch was our room had a little terrace with a table and chairs so we were able to sit outside when the kids were asleep. Each room does come with its own safe too to store those valuables.
It looks like since we were there that their family rooms have changed and they have 2 bedrooms with a connecting door rather than one room and 2 bathrooms, but we didn’t have this option when we visited.
They have a packed entertainment programme, children’s playground, fantastic swimming pool with children paddling pool, sports grounds, tennis courts, children’s entertainment centre and concierge for booking tickets and excursions.
There is Wi-Fi access (thankfully) and an internet area (chargeable)
Club Valamar Dubrovnik has it all covered when it comes to the little ones. They have the Maro Kids Club with plenty of activities day and night. The Mini-Club for aged 3-7 and the Maxi Club for 7-12. There is also Teen which is an area and entertainment specifically for teenagers. The hotel also offer babysitting services but we didn’t use so cannot comment on the cost. Then there is the great pool and kids paddling area. They have a children’s corner in the buffet restaurant with special children’s menu and of course the usual supply of cot, potty bathtubs etc (some chargeable)
Now the WilBennetts love our food and good food too so this was one area we were a little concerned with due to being a 3 star property. The breakfasts, lunch and dinner were all typical buffet style and don’t get me wrong it wasn’t Michelin star but it was decent. There was plenty of choice for all and the local food they offered was different every day. They also had the cooks on show so you could see the food being prepared. They had an outside BBQ and each evening this served fresh fish griddled to perfection. On our last night they had a Croatian night and the Trout and Prawns were delicious.
You can choose to sit inside the restaurant but there is also a lovely terrace with plenty of seating and great view of the pool and sea beyond.
Ella had her 6th birthday whilst we were at the hotel and we let them know in advance. They brought a plateful of little mini-cakes, gathered all the staff and made a big fuss of her which she loved and we were very grateful for.
There is also a pool snack bar and an aperitif bar.
A lunch box can be ordered for your days out but they need a day’s notice.
Being able to have a few beers/wines over dinner also saved a few pennies and to be honest it wasn’t too bad. We did eat away from the hotel each day but having the flexibility to come back if we wanted was great.
Pools and Beach
The pool area was really great and one of the highlights of the hotel. A terrific size and there was plenty of sunbeds around if you wanted to chill for a while with the added bonus of towels being provided. We made a point of getting out each day at some point but it was still great to have this to start the day or come back to when we wanted to escape the afternoon heat.. The paddling pool was a big hit with the tiny ones and during the day there was also a number of activities around the pool.
The hotel offers direct access to Copacabana Beach too which is one of the largest in Dubrovnik. Like most of the beaches it is pebbly but it has super clean and shallow waters so is great for children. You can hire sun loungers, there is a water sports centre and a bar so enough to keep you there for a few hours or the whole day. There was also an inflatable water park in the sea which was brilliant fun for all ages (although made me realise how unfit I was). A lot of the cruise ships also come to the port opposite the beach so you get to see some of these magnificent beasts dock for the day-trippers.
There are other beaches close by but we did not visit these.
There is a comprehensive programme of sports and entertainment at the hotel. Stay-Fit offers a recreation and fitness programme for all ages (at least 5 activities per day), there is also the multi-purpose sports ground and they also have bikes to hire for hotel guests.
The music and nightlife is covered too with live singers, DJs and performers covering most evenings and in the summer an outdoor cinema.
The hotel is about 15 minutes on the bus from the Old Town and there is a regular service day and night which drops off just a 5 minutes walk from the hotel reception. You can purchase tickets from the hotel shop. We did this every day and it was so easy and convenient.
We were pleasantly surprised by the hotel. It definitely exceeded our expectations of a 3 star property and my only criticism was regarding the rooms which were basic. (It does look like these have been refurbished since our trip though).
The facilities were excellent, location was superb and the staff were really pleasant and helpful and from our experience they went out of their way to make sure we were having a good time and keep us informed.
Club Valamar Dubrovnik markets itself as the only family club hotel in Dubrovnik so if you need a hotel that is good value and puts your family needs at the centre of everything it does then you cannot go wrong.
Would I recommend it – YES!!! (To the right people). Plus due the great service we received I would definitely consider the Valamar Group for a stay in the future if/when we revisit Croatia.