Friday, 24 April 2020

Lockdown at the Quaich Experience: A Scottish View from Hvar

How does a Scottish lockdown on Hvar look? The view from the Quaich Experience in Vrbanj through the eyes of owner Chris Connor. 

Mick and I left the UK in 2009 and created The Quaich from an old ruin which had not been lived in since WW1II, the Quaich Experience. With hindsight I’m not sure I would do it again but we finished up with not a bad place to spend this recent lockdown!  I know our children are happy we are here on Hvar rather than back in UK at this time.  But how I miss them!

Vrbanj is a very quiet little village even during normal times so at the moment we are grateful to hear a donkey heehaw or even a dog bark.  Thankfully our little village shop is open and we have been allowed to travel within our ‘Opcina’ area which is Stari Grad so the Big Tommy has been our go to for food and gin!

On my worst days I cry and mope about but a FaceTime with my grandchildren always picks me up again and of course my Mick who is always ‘splendid’ bless him.  My rock.  Normally at this time I would be flying back to Sussex to spend time with my little family but alas………. 

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I was a little too late to get to the Frizzer (hairdresser) before the lockdown so in a moment of rashness allowed Mick to shave my head.  After two weeks it’s starting to look not bad.  For a while I did resemble Ian Beale from Eastenders!  

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We are not the kind of folk who can watch endless Netflix or daytime TV so finding projects to keep us busy has been a challenge.  It started with renovating the odd chair we would find at the bins but we have now moved on to making toys for the grandchildren from old timber!  On wet days (not had many of them) jigsaw puzzles and knitting for me and Mick is still able to find some old football matches or rugby.  

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All in all we are doing OK although must admit not looking forward to the humid nights and the mozzies!

We have had a lot of cancellations but still hopeful for July when we still have some guests booked in and as we have all this spare time The Quaich is looking pristine and ready to welcome guests as and when.  We rely on the income we receive during the summer months to get us through the winter so the future for us is a little uncertain financially but heyho!  a day at a time for now.

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Turning our thoughts to the future we realise that the very personal service we have provided at The Quaich will have to be toned down as I believe guests will be very cautious about leaving home for some time to come.  Fortunately, we can be very adaptable in that respect - the cottages are all self-catering with lock boxes for keys so no need to have contact with us at all if that is what they prefer.  Information regarding swimming pools is quite clear in that the normal chemicals used to keep water healthy will kill the coronavirus.  Staying within the area of The Quaich can be like an isolation in itself and maybe for the future, guests may be looking for longer-term rentals.  We can either stock up groceries for them or I think driving to us and bringing their own goods will become more the norm.

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For those of you who know Mick and I and The Quaich, you will know that in the past couple of years we have been for sale.  This is still the case for us.  We have enjoyed our time here immensely but for me especially, it’s time to go home.  Maybe our lifestyle here, whether as a holiday home or as a permanent home, will be far more appealing once the world gets back to some sort of normality.  After all this is paradise and until we sell we are still welcoming guests.

Do you remember Terry Waite.  He spent 1763 days as a hostage in appalling conditions.

He just told us all to stop complaining!

Change your mindset he said, you're not STUCK at home, you're SAFE at home 

His advice:

*Keep your own dignity - get out of your PJs! 

*Form a structure for the day

*Be grateful for what you have - shelter, home, possessions 

*Read and be creative

Stay safe everyone xx

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Property of the Week: Successful Stone Luxury Rental Business on Hvar

February 26, 2019 - Looking to buy into a property rental business with a lot of love on gorgeous Hvar? You have come to the right place. 

If there is a stone house in Dalmatia that has seen more love and laughter than this one, I would like to meet it. 

It is one of my favourite real estate stories of all. A British couple looking for a new life abroad came to Croatia way back in 2004. First-time visitors, I remember showing them this property in my former existence as a real estate agent one Monday morning. By lunchtime, they had decided. By Friday they had completed the transaction (a rare case of completely clean papers) and were on the plane back to the UK. 

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And then started the renovation. And the love. 

From a shell of a ruin with three ruined goat sheds emerged one of the warmest welcomes and hospitality experiences on the Adriatic, as the two Brits put a very Scottish trademark on this most Dalmatian of properties. Visitors to the Quaich Experience have been touched by the attention to detail and attempts to go the extra mile over the years, as the owners exceeded the expectations of their numerous guests, many of whom came back year on year. 

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All good things come to an end, however, and now the Quaich Experience in Vrbanj is for sale, ready for a younger couple (or family) to take over this lovely stone rental business in central Hvar - either as a business or a family home. How better to describe it than through the words of the owners:

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At the foot of the Hvar mountains, between Stari Grad and Jelsa, you will find the village of Vrbanj - population approximately 450. At the foot of the Hvar mountains, between Stari Grad and Jelsa, you will find the village of Vrbanj - population approximately 450. 

This is where you will find The Quaich - an old stone house nestling on the edge of this quiet, peaceful village - with magnificent sweeping views of the houses below and across to the island of Brac and the Croatian mainland. 

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This historical property, which is circa 150 years old, is offered for sale fully restored and renovated to a spectacular standard. 

The listing includes the large main house, three separate and self-contained cottage apartments, PLUS a double-tiered courtyard and patio area with swimming pool. 

MAIN HOUSE 

Generously sized and faithfully restored, the heart of The Quaich is the main house, which consists of three large floors of living space (each measuring 44 sq m.) with one more floor of reinforced attic space for storage.  

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Ground floor: 

A large open-plan kitchen, dining area and utility room, with downstairs toilet and washroom. 

Wood-burning stove fitted to the fully-functioning chimney and large staircase leading to the first floor.   

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First floor: 

An exceptionally spacious, fully air-conditioned open-plan living area. 

Real wood floors, spinning ceiling fans, a second wood-burner and feature staircase make this room welcoming, comfortable and beautiful in every season. With five shuttered windows, and a door leading outside and down to the terrace and apartments, it serves as both a conveniently placed hub for friends and visitors, and a blissful retreat from the high temperatures in the hottest months.  

A spiral staircase leads to the second floor. 

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Second floor: 

A peaceful and airy space, with large windows, air conditioning and more ceiling fans, the second floor consists of the master bedroom, a large ensuite bathroom and a private outside terrace with panoramic views across the water.  

The bedroom boasts room enough for a super king size bed and wall-to-wall fitted oak wardrobes/cupboards, while the ensuite bathroom includes both a jacuzzi-style bath and double shower cubicle.  

The private terrace overlooks the Croatian mainland and Brac island, making this a very special place to relax. 

Third floor:

Attic space: Large floored and reinforced attic space. Plenty of storage, or possibility of converting the space. 

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COTTAGES

The Quaich includes three fully-furnished and equipped cottage apartments with varying levels of capacity (2 - 4 persons). Each cottage is approx. 36 sq m. and they share a large courtyard patio and private swimming pool area. Each of the cottages is decorated to a very high standard and have their own kitchen and bathroom.* The furnishings in the cottages are included in the sale of the property. 

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The courtyard is a tranquil year-round sun trap and is planted with many mature flowering plants and hanging grape vines. Steps lead up from here to the pool area, where there are even more plants and more views!  

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The pool measures 15 sq. m and is a rare treat in Vrbanj, where temperatures can reach 30C on just an average summer day. 

There is ample parking in the vicinity. Local amenities include a great place to get pizza and a convenience store just 2-3 mins walk away. 

Vrbanj is 5-6 kms from both the towns of Jelsa and Stari Grad and 6 kms from the main port of Stari Grad where there are regular ferries to Split on the mainland. Hvar Town is 22 kms. 

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*The three cottage apartments are currently designed as self-contained holiday lets, but two of them could easily be joined with the main house to create a luxurious and extremely large three or four bedroom family home.

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Sales price 495,000 euro. For more information, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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