The season is upon us and we are getting booked up already

The season is upon us and we are getting booked up already

Well, being more proactive on my journal didn't last long, wow what a busy few months. Getting the rooms spring cleaned ready for our guests changing a few things around is all consuming but not half as much as the office work. We can't believe how many bookings we have already. May is half full and June is fully booked and July and August almost there. The mention in the Sunday times last week certainly helped but I would seem that word is getting out about us and of course Croatia is big news right now and deservedly so. 

I took my first swim with friends over the Easter weekend and am looking forward to my daily swim as from next week (once we get all our work done of course). Yes it was a bit cold getting in but so refreshing and the perfect way to start the day. The crystal clear Adriatic Sea is simply stunning, especially at this time of the year with no one around, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the World.

Our new rescue kitten Dave (the girl.....its a long story), is really settling in with the other cats after we found her almost blind in the local square just before Christmas. She is going to have a shock when she notices she has to share her home over the Summer with all our lovely guests, but she loves attention so I'm sure she will cope. 

I have noticed a few new restaurants opening and so as soon as they do I'll be popping in to test it out, well someone has too.

Better get on now, our first guests will be with us very soon and the season is upon us. Hope to see you at Hidden House this year x

 

 

Where does the time go ?

March is a wonderful time of the year in Stari Grad, the island is waking up from its slumber and everyone has started getting ready for the new season ahead, 

I have noticed a few new restaurants springing up and the good old local favourites getting a fresh lick of paint.

The sun has come out and today we are experiencing 17 degrees of warm, springlike wonderfulness and so today we have all the windows open to air Hidden House. It feels rather like coming out of hibernation. You can go for days without seeing anyone in the Winter so this feels rather lovely.

So I had better get my painting clothes on and get cracking. But I do promise to be more pro active on my journal, telling you all about new places to go and what is happening on our wonderful island.

Last year we were so busy finding our feet, this year I am hoping to have more time to write reviews as well as sharing little tips of how to get the best from your holiday on Hvar.   

Amanda x

 

old sailing boat in SG.jpg

At last........we are finally there and ready to open.

At last........we are finally there and ready to open.

Wellcome to Hidden House

Wellcome to Hidden House

The last 3 months have been a crazy whirlwind of building, painting, decorating and panicking. The re-building of this beautiful old stone house has taken nearly 2 years but it is always the last few months when it all comes together that seem to be the most stressful, but the most rewarding. 

We open our doors to our first paying guests soon and can't wait to fill Hidden House with the happiness of travellers visiting Hvar, maybe for the first time or maybe guests who have fallen in love with Hvar as much as we have and who keep coming back. 

Stari Grad is also waking up from its Winter slumber with restaurants and bars getting a face lift and getting ready for action. May 1st seems to be when it will all spring into life although its lovely to have a few more places open already. 

We have enjoyed our first Winter here on the island but with so few restaurants open this year in Stari Grad (as some were having re fits), it did seem like we only had Bistro Kod Damira to choose from but thank goodness as he certainly knows how to cook. 

So with a few snagging jobs to do, I had better get on so we can have Hidden House looking its best for our first guests. 

Watch this space for news of life in this wonderful fishing village which we now call home. 

Stari Grad – Old Town

Stari Grad – Old Town

Our street, Duolnjo Koa......No cars, old stone streets and so much history.

Our street, Duolnjo Koa......No cars, old stone streets and so much history.

Stari Grad (literally means Old Town) grabbed our attention straight away. It is one of the oldest towns in Europe and 2016 will see it celebrate its 2,400 year anniversary of it being a settlement with a festival and is a Unesco-protected World Heritage Site.

This is impressive enough, but it was the feeling we got as we walked through the tiny winding streets, carless and quiet, as if stepping back in time. The smooth well-worn pavements seemed to be telling us stories and every corner you turn, some friendly smiling face would say ‘dobar dan’ (good day) to us. Mind you, with all this sunshine and the most beautiful island to live on I knew we would be happy and smiley too.  

We met up with a local estate agent and the first house we looked at we fell in love with – an old 4-story house situated on Duolnjo Kola, meaning First Street, just off the harbour with its many small fishing boats. It was in need of a lot of love and renovation but we both knew as we walked through the door that this was going to be home.

To be honest we didn’t know how or what we would do with it and we also didn’t expect to wait 11 years to find out, but in May 2004 the future Hidden House was ours (well kind of, but that is another story and a stressful one at that).

To cut a long story short (thank you Spandau Ballet), we didn’t lose our minds, although when we came back to Brighton and told everyone what we had done, many people thought we had. Croatia was not as well-known as it is now as a hot holiday destination and had just come out of a terrible war. But we saw something very special and knew it was going to be a great adventure. 

 

And so the adventure begins

And so the adventure begins

Our first photo in Stari Grad taken in 2006 (wow fresh faced, amazing what 10 years can do to you).

Our first photo in Stari Grad taken in 2006 (wow fresh faced, amazing what 10 years can do to you).

In 2003 a very exciting chapter of our lives opened up and here we are in 2015 ready to jump in and see it unfold.

Needing a holiday away from our busy lives at Blanch House (Brighton, U.K.), we took a flight to Dubrovnik after my Mum had been going on and on about this stunning country of Croatia, (She had been coming for years when it was Yugoslavia). So in for a penny, we hired a car and went exploring and first stop was the historic City of Dubrovnik, and yes, well before the days of ‘Game of Thrones’ we really did think we had been teleported back into ancient times within this magnificent walled City.

Then a drive up one of the most spectacular coast roads up the Makarska Riviera towards Split, passing the famous oyster beds of Ston and endless crystal clear bays and quite sleepy villages. By this time it was clear that the jaw dropping beauty of Croatia had won our hearts, just as my Mum had predicted and we had only been here a few days.

Anyway, it would be a very long first journal if we went into detail, but suffice to say, our time in Split (which blew us away) and then Sibenik, Zadar and many places in between, got us thinking... "why don’t we look at a few properties, just look, nothing more, just to see what all the fuss was about?" So we did. And then we thought of the islands close to Split. First Brac and a few amazing houses that really cemented our idea about a little bolt hole away from the rat race and then we took the ferry to Hvar...

As the ferry pulled into the harbour you could see the Town of Stari Grad nestled in a long and safe natural harbour with the church spire dominating the skyline. Little did we know that this would become our home 11 years later. But there was something very magical about our first time on Hvar. We just knew this was the place we would end up falling in love with.