Draga di Lovrana: The Haunting of Hill Hotel at Foothills of Učka

By 20 November 2018

The renowned Draga di Lovrana is located at the foothills of the Učka mountain range, just above the eponymous municipality of Lovran. Built on the edge of a cliff, it overlooks the entire Bay of Kvarner, and the view is nothing less than spectacular. To get to the hotel, you have to drive up the serpentine road to an elevation of about 380 meters – for those who don't speak metric, that's a little over 1200 feet – but Draga di Lovrana is indeed "worth every curve," as their motto says.

Draga di Lovrana 1908

With an eerie history of mysterious accidents, lightning strikes, fires, and other unfortunate events, the hotel had become notorious for its macabre past and tragedies that have haunted its halls for over a century. In fact, the locals often say that the entire estate is haunted, and that ever since it was built in 1908 by a Viennese entrepreneur Anton Urm, and then intentionally burned to the ground in 1923, it's been as if the house itself had been choosing its new occupants while the ghosts of old ones still roamed around, keeping company with the living.

So is it really haunted? – I asked Dragan, the charming hotel manager, jokingly stating it was only logical that the house named Draga would choose to be managed by someone bearing the same name. And he does take good care of the classic-looking beauty, together with the rest of the personnel, because Draga di Lovrana is in mint condition. It has a special kind of energy, Dragan said to answer my question, and I immediately agreed – its aura is almost tangible.

Draga terrace foto Damir Fabijanic

And even if numerous stories about Draga had some truth to them, it seems the bad luck had turned around in 1978, when the Nikolac family bought the place, with the intention of restoring it to its original splendor. In 2005, the hotel underwent a complete renovation, retaining its historical design.

Tuna sous vide 2

Over the following years, the owners' vision and hard work have transformed Draga di Lovrana into what it is today – a successful boutique hotel whose restaurant received the Michelin Plate designation in this year’s guide; the newest hallmark of fine dining quality.

 Chef Deni Srdoc Sanja Nikolac

Under the creative guidance of chef Deni Srdoč – Gault & Millau Young Talent of the Year 2018 – the restaurant offers mostly seasonal food, combining gourmet cuisine with traditional flavors, using only top quality, hand-selected local produce, while all the fish comes from the Nikolac family's fishing business.

Kvarnerski ceviche

Apart from the amazing lodging options and an outstanding cuisine, with such a romantic setting suitable for the most intimate celebrations, Draga di Lovrana is also known for organizing weddings and various other gala events.

Draga pool view

Today, this magical place seems to be haunted only by good spirits, and it stands there proudly defying time, inviting anyone to visit and experience their own kind of happy ending.

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