Monday, 31 May 2021

New Ogulin Glamping Resort By the Lake!

May 31st, 2021 - The new Ogulin glamping resort is the latest attraction with its unique ‘A-Frame cottages’ by the lake. 

Jutarnji reports, there are 20 glamping houses with saunas, swimming pools, jacuzzis, and pitches for private tents, and the emphasis is on the sensory park, which aims to arouse the senses.

Glamping is, by the simplest definition, a mixture of glamor and camping. It is, in fact, the fusion of these two concepts, which transform camping into premium luxury accommodation in nature, and in our areas, it is nothing new. The future Ogulin glamping resort will definitely raise the offer, quality, and glamorous camping experience in Croatia.


H3 Studio d.o.o | H3 Studio d.o.o Facebook

The new glamping resort will be located near Lake Sabljaci, in the settlement of Otok Oštarijski, part of the town of Ogulin. The project is currently under construction. According to the conceptual architectural and urban study prepared by H3 Studio, it includes a land area of ​​45,821 square meters, which is located within ​​catering and tourism. There is a central building with reception, kitchen, restaurant and cafe, terrace, offices, toilets and storage, 20 double and quadruple glamping mobile home, pitches for private tents and numerous public facilities, or sports and recreational areas and playgrounds.

Architect Hrvoje Hanže Hanzlin from H3 Studio explains that in agreement with the investor, the idea of ​​a glamping resort was reached, and the focus is to create an anti-stress program. 

"Given that a forest surrounds the plot, there is a lake, and in the background of the mountains Klek, we did not focus on maximum construction, but we devised a concept that will provide a connection with nature and beautiful views, while high-quality accommodation and content that would provide users with relaxation, peace, and privacy," says Hrvoje Hanže Hanlin and adds that the emphasis is therefore placed on the sensory park, which aims to stimulate the senses, reduce the stress of everyday hectic life and help find balance.

The resort itself is divided into several zones, depending on the configuration of the slope. At the top, there are glamping houses, and at the bottom, there are public facilities. In addition to the sensory park, tennis and mini-golf courts, a children's playground, a dog playground, and a flower garden are planned. The spirit of the climate is also visible in the design of buildings, with the use of local materials, mostly wood.


H3 Studio d.o.o | H3 Studio d.o.o Facebook

"The shape of the glamping mobile home is a modern interpretation of the archetypal shape of the houses of Gorski Kotar 'A-Frame house'," explains the architect. He adds that such houses were once built with a stone base, but here it is physically dislocated and "pushed" into the terrain on a slope and is used as an auxiliary room equipped with a barbecue and storage. The houses themselves are raised from the ground and placed on wooden poles while in the space between the plateau with a pool or jacuzzi. 

Also, all homes are equipped with saunas. On one side, there is a sail on the front, on the other a glass rock, and thanks to the configuration of the terrain on the slope, all the houses have a view of Lake Sabljaci.

The start of the project has not been defined yet, given that the necessary permits are still pending.

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Saturday, 3 October 2020

Arena Hospitality Group's Croatian Camps to Operate in Winter

As Novac/Barbara Ban writes on the 2nd of October, 2020, with the lingering summer weather, Pula's gates remain somewhat empty. Cafes, shops and restaurants have been opened, but the question is for whom. Unfortunately, there are no guests. Various "red zones" did their thing and drove foreign tourists home in late August. Therefore, the off-season in Pula is quite bad, when you ask the biggest Pula-based hotel company - Arena Hospitality Group.

''I don't remember when the weather in Pula was as beautiful as it has been this year. Summer is still going on, but for us the season ended practically when the Austrians put us on their so-called red list. We lost a large number of tourists in one day and I can freely say that that in itself was the end of this season. September was very bad. But we can't influence that. These are mostly political decisions.

Some decisions we couldn't understand. Especially since we were blocked in mid-August. The Dutch made the decision to put us in the orange zone in a single day. People had to leave overnight. But looking at the whole year, we can say that we tried to do the best we could. It's worth knowing that we opened only in June,'' admits the executive director of Arena Hospitality Group Reli Slonim. Different guests also came. Along with the most loyal German guests, there were Czechs and Poles in the facilities of the former Arenaturist.

Their glamping camp in Pomer was the best filled.

''Some talked about lowering prices, but I don't think it mattered. People wanted to feel safe, they wanted to be in quality accommodation, in nature, outdoors. They didn't ask about the prices,'' said Slonim.

Closed hotels

He pointed out that they will have from 30 to a maximum of 40 percent of last year's turnover annually, and without the measures of the state they wouldn't be able to celebrate Easter.

''The state's measures to preserve jobs have helped us tremendously and we're very grateful to them for that. Without them, I don’t know how we'd be welcoming in next year. This year we've employed about 900 seasonal workers, and these are primarily permanent seasonal workers and labour force from the vicinity of Pula. Due to reduced capacity and occupancy, we didn't need more employment, and we even didn't bother to open two of our hotels at all, the Medulin in Medulin and the Holiday in Pula. But that's why the camps were well filled,'' the Arena Hospitality Group boss pointed out.

That's why they decided not to close some at all. For the first time this winter, they will leave the camps Stoja in Pula and Kazela in Medulin open. On top of that, it will be the first time that the Pula and Medulin camps are open in winter.

''We'll come out with this offer soon, which is completely new to us. We're going to start with that because we saw that guests really like being outside, they feel safer. And at the camps they can also get everything they need in the winter. They can come to Istria because of the favourable climate and I believe that pensioners, seniors and people without children will take advantage of it. So, we hope that this action of ours will yield results.

In addition, Camp Stoja is located not far from the large shopping centre in Pula, there are also the city pools, close to the city centre. In addition to these two camps, we'll also have the Histria Hotel open all winter,'' Slonim revealed. As for the next season and how to prepare for it, Slonim has no doubts in his mind.

Pula is better than Berlin

''The least problem for us is the preparation for the next season if the situation is favourable and if they allow us to work. This year we saw how we can function with measures and we're already used to it. The only thing that matters to us is that we can work,'' emphasised the head of the Arena Hospitality Group, which had much better results in Pula than in European cities where it has hotels, such as Berlin or Cologne in Germany.

''City tourism was dead this year and we felt that too. We had some guests in Cologne. We'll see how this segment of tourism will develop further. It's difficult to deal with tourism today when hoteliers can control and manage absolutely nothing,'' concluded Slonim.

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Sunday, 26 May 2019

Big Berry, Luxury of Freedom: Glamping Detox Plus on Slovenian Border

May 26, 2019 - Looking for the ultimate detox getaway in idyllic nature? Meet Big Berry, the Luxury of Freedom, right on the River Kupa which separates Slovenia from Croatia. 

Like most people online, my Facebook life is a lot more perfect than the realities of the daily grind.

I will confess, however, that real life is also pretty cool, and although I have never worked harder in my life than I am doing at present, TCN's increasing popularity has led to more and more invitations to fascinating events and press trips. 

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Behind all the pretty pictures and videos posted online, of course, is the offline work and travel. I was thrilled to be invited on my first international trip, a four-day tour of parts of Slovenia, by the Association of Slovenian Travel Journalists, but after a brutal 10-days on the road - including speaking at two conferences in Budva and Zagreb, and attending another three-day conference in Split, the last thing I wanted to do was get back on the road again. Apart from missing my family, I was so behind on work that it was getting embarrassing. I was thinking of politely cancelling, but I am so glad I didn't. Because the trip to Slovenia and the Big Berry resort near Metlika on the border with Croatia, was EXACTLY what I needed. 

Total detox. 

As you can see from the photo above, taken from the jacuzzi on my terrace, just 17m from the River Kupa (Kolpa in Slovenian) and the border between Slovenia and Croatia, there was not a lot of stress involved here. This place was sensational and had come at just the right moment in my life.


I rarely, if ever, look at a trip itinerary beyond working out where I have to be and when at the start, and so I set off for the Big Berry resort about 30 mins by car from Karlovac on the Slovenian side, with no concept of what I was about to experience. But within 5 minutes of arrival, I was hooked. 

Big Berry is a Slovenian company, whose concept is to offer authentic and natural experiences in idyllic nature with its luxury mobile home accommodation. This is their first resort, located along several hundred metres of the Kupa. With just seven homes on site and several wonderfully equipped leisure and relaxation areas, with no neighbours, the only noises you hear are birdsong and the occasional mooing of the nearby cows. I slept like a log in the very comfortable bed both nights, and was a delightful way to wake up and start the day. 

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So much space and natural beauty.  

And, as I contemplated life on the final morning, above, with my first coffee and uninterrupted view of the border river, I concluded something that had never occurred to me before. This was a multi-purpose destination which would fit so many aspects of life equally. My first thought to return was with my family, as this is the PERFECT resort for families whose unity and closeness has been interrupted by those essential electronic devices. For parents wanting their kids to put down those devices, the pure nature, space, and nature, make this a return to the childhood fun of the older generation. The houses are well-equipped and private, allowing the family unit to function as one. 

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But Big Berry is also a very popular teambuilding destination, whose clientele includes big business to art colony. As a place to stop off to break the tourism journey en route to the Croatian coast, it takes some beating. And my colleague, the editor of Total Slovenia News had exactly the same feeling as I did - we both wanted to return to write - the solitude and nature were the perfect backdrop. 

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Either in or out of the jacuzzi.

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There is no restaurant or bar at Big Berry per se, although drinks are available. The resort works with a number of local partners, and restaurants are close by. But far enough not to interfere with the tranquility, for this is a place without neighbours. 

The bond with local partners is very well-developed and crucial to the success of the concept. Breakfast is ordered the night before, a selection of local products from farmers in the neighbourhood. It is then delivered in a basket to your terrace, allowing you to enjoy at your own pace. 

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The neighbouring cows are perhaps a symbol of that natural and local approach, and they have proved a surprisingly popular attraction to destressing executives.  

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The emphasis is on either eating in the local restaurants, or self-catering, and barbecue maestros have come to the right place.  

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Of course, without any tourism content in the surrounding area, the art of relaxing might become a little boring after a while, and this was another aspect I loved about the trip - how Big Berry has managed to successfully integrate its concept into the local community, both for mutual benefit and for increased benefit to the visiting tourist. First up was a short drive and very friendly welcome to Gostisce Veselic. The welcome started with a refreshing spritzer before an introductory dinner with local specialities before this, one of the most unusual things I have come across here.  

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Garlic and pumpkin oil ice cream. It was delicious and strangely addictive, just one of the dishes available in the annual garlic festival each July.  

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The region Bela Krajina is famed for its excellent wines, and there are no shortage of fine wines to be sampled. One of the most entertaining wine tastings I have enjoyed for several years came from this man, Jozef Prus, who is one of Slovenia's top producers. As we worked our way through no less than 15 of his 45 wine range, I was amazed at both his stamina and ability to come up with a great story with each. The most interesting was a wine called Beli Trio - a cuvee of Muscat, Traminac and Sauvignon. It wasn't just me that enjoyed the sensation of three different aromas and tastes in the same glass. 

Deep in his cellar, Jozef keeps a wine 'safe'. Top clients can hire one of the 24 wine safes in his cellar if they spend 500 euro a year here. The wines are kept at optimum temperatures and guarded by padlock and the watchful eye of St. Martin, the patron saint of wine.  

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A highly entertaining evening, and then a return to Big Berry bliss.


Day two started with a visit to Gostiona Petra Badovinca, a family hostelry with 120 years of tradition. Included in that was the welcoming rakija, made from no less than 16 different herbs. I am not a rakija man in general, but this one was superb.

And then things got interesting... 

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I thought we were back in former Yugoslavia, as our host disappeared only to reappear dressed like this. it turned out that it was a wonderful tourism trick - a passport for the Free Territory of Bela Krajina. These can be issued for 6 euros, not only as a reminder of this beautiful region, but also to obtain discounts in many participating tourism businesses and restaurants in the region. Each business signs and stamps the passport as you visit. 

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Meet proud new citizens of the Free Territory of Bela Krajina.  

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We hadn't had a glass of wine for at least three minutes, so next up was a visit to Vinski Klet Simunic, a Slovenian winery which produces only sparkling wines. They have a range of eight, and the selection we tried were not only superb, but very competitively priced. 

Lunch was looking very far away...

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But before lunch, it turned out that we were going back to former Yugoslavia after all, to the Socialist Republic of Slovenia in 1957, in fact.  

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A very innovative example of how to create an authentic tourism product using local history and a little imagination. A VERY strict teacher took us through some of the history of the region, but beware those who were not paying full attention and sitting up straight. 

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The legendary Slovenian travel journalist, Drago Bulc, was caught talking in class and summoned to the board, where he was instructed to draw an aeroplane. 

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All good fun, and the teacher then proceeded to hand out exam results for each pupil. I hope my kids never see mine, or I will lose whatever authority I have left. 

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The Bistra Buca school was impressively set in an old traditional building. Great thinking and a lot of fun all round. 

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And lunch was coming... 

Back to Big Berry and an aperitif or two while the lamb was prepared. It was a splendid affair, enjoyed by all on the spacious Big Berry terrace overlooking the river. 


Big Berry is not a glamping resort per se, but I have included glamping in the title, as it will certainly appeal to the glamping crowd. But it is so much more than that, and such a multi-purpose destination, that it appeals to people and groups from all backgrounds. 


You can check out some of the promo videos from the company, promoting its teambuilding and art colony credentials.  


One additional thing I really liked about the visit was the nature of cross-border cooperation. 


As you can see on the above map of suppliers, Big Berry has several local partners on the Croatian side of the border. Given all the political tensions between the two countries in recent months, such initiatives are heartening. It turns out that Big Berry is not the only cross-border initiative. While visiting, a Croatian agency from Ozalj invited us to visit so that we could see what both sides are doing to promote tourism in the region together. 

So will I return with my family, for TCN teambuilding, or to finally finish my next book? I am not sure at the moment, but one thing is for sure - a return visit is imminent. 

Big Berry is expanding, and its first house will be opening on the island of Ugljan in Croatia this summer. Its sister company, Hosekra, makes the homes. I predict a big future for both companies. 

You can learn more about Big Berry on the official website

To follow the latest in TCN travel, follow the dedicated TCN section

Friday, 12 October 2018

First Croatian Glamping Resort with Wooden Tree Houses Opens

October 12, 2018 - The first Croatian glamping resort with wooden tree houses has opened in Grabovac, near Plitvice Lakes National Park. The Plitvice Holiday Resort, with its five unique tree houses and nine smaller homes, offers an ideal combination of natural attractions, cultural beauty and recreational facilities for a luxury vacation any time of the year.  

Friday, 12 October 2018

Glamping Trend Spreads to Another Campsite in Istria

Arena One 99 Glamping is a new part of the tourist offer.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Glamping Resort Soon to Open Close to Zrće

Something new for the area as glamping arrives.

Monday, 18 June 2018

7 Million Euro Investment in Croatia's First 4 Star Plus Glamping Camp

This is the first glamping camp in Croatia with four plus stars to receive guests until the very end of September.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

First 5-Star Campsite in Istria Set to Open in June

A 5-star campsite equipped with glamping tents and luxurious cabins is opening near the village of Vabriga in June

Friday, 16 February 2018

Arena Group to Open Glamping Site in Istria Worth €5,5 Million

Arena Pomer is turning into a unique glamping site