Friday, 14 January 2022

Renowned Health Resort In Istria to Introduce Senior Housing, Focus on Foreign Markets

Istarske Toplice is a renowned thermal health spa resort in central Istria offering a wide range of health care, wellness and fitness services. Their new plan to introduce independent living facilities for persons aged 55+ has already drawn interest from Slovenia, Italy, and Croats in diaspora

As of January 2022, the popular health resort in Istria has a new director who’s planning to turn things around after the pandemic dealt their business a blow. The new director of Istarske Toplice Vlado Mezak discussed his plans with Glas Istre on January 13th, 2022.

‘I’ve approached my new position with a vision to keep developing medical and tourism services that will take us to the top ranks of health tourism in Croatia and beyond. After all, we’re at a location with more than 75 million people living within the radius of 500 kilometres. The resources are there, Istarske Toplice ranks among the top three thermal springs in Europe based on the water quality and its curative properties’, said Mezak.

Business was thriving before the pandemic struck, so much so that the company was about to start an investment cycle in early 2020. And then…

‘We saw a drop from 35,000 overnight stays in 2019 to 10,000 stays in 2020. Last year there was an increase during summer so things were slightly better, but still half as much as in 2019. Energy prices increased, and we had additional expenses because of Covid’, said director Mezak.

‘The state did help us in 2020 and 2021 to some extent, but this year there’s no support for our business segment. We’re in a situation where we have to come up with new business models that will help us get through the crisis’, said the new director, adding that the resort is only booked at 10% of its full capacity at the moment.

As expected, it’s a situation they don’t find satisfactory, but are actively working to turn things around. They are planning short-term activities that are expected to attract more guests, and are modifying some of their packages to highlight their affordability, the quality of their health services and the benefits of visiting a health spa.

‘We will be offering anti-stress packages, as well as post-Covid rehabilitation which is sorely needed these days’, explained Mezak.

Istarske Toplice has a total of 148 hotel rooms, 120 in Hotel Mirna and 20 in Hotel Sv. Stjepan; there are some 250 beds available to resort guests.

So far, domestic guests made up the majority of their visitor count, growing from 55% in 2018 to 78% in 2021. As far as international visitors are concerned, the resort mostly saw guests from Italy and Slovenia who either stay for the weekend, or book one-week or two-week rehabilitation programmes.

The management is now planning to focus more on foreign markets, namely Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Germany.

Another major plan is in the works for the health spa, according to its owner and Chairman of the Board Mirko Kliman.

Named ‘Quality of life +55’, the project would introduce senior housing at the resort, i.e. independent living units for persons over the age of 55. The project is worth 30 million kuna; Kliman is expecting to get EU funding to cover 50-70 percent of the sum, and he will personally finance the other part.

Existing facilities at the resort would thus be partially reconstructed to create the new housing units. Some 100 hotel rooms will be remodelled into 40 apartments, accommodating sixty to seventy tenants who will also have access to other available facilities and services at the resort. According to the owner, they don’t lack interest.

‘When we first started to elaborate the project a few years ago, we conducted a survey and received 114 applications in the span of 15 days, most of which came from Slovenia, Italy, and from Croats living abroad’, said Kliman.

They’ll soon be applying for EU funding and if everything goes according to plan, implementation of the project could begin in late autumn.

‘Quality of life +55’ would enable the tenants to live a carefree life at a quiet location, with access to additional services and facilities at the health spa, such as medical consultations, a thermal pool and a heated pool, a wellness centre, a fitness centre, and more.

Kliman says it’s the only such project in Croatia as far as he’s aware, as this housing concept is still more prevalent in western European countries. ‘It’s a modern approach to growing old’, he says.


Saturday, 4 September 2021

Plitvice Holiday Resort Introduces First Mobile Wellness Center in Croatia

September 4, 2021 - A new wellness center is located in the unique ambiance of Plitvice Holiday Resort and is the first mobile wellness center in Croatia!

This is new quality content for the Resort, which delighted visitors with the concept of treehouse glamping a few years ago. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to book accommodation at these treehouses, due to the excellent occupancy.

The wellness center is designed following nature and the 4 elements - earth, air, water, and fire, and offers a handful of facilities for guests. The wellness area has a Finnish sauna with a view of nature, an infrared sauna with a salt wall (salt room), a unique experience shower, a relaxation area, an outdoor covered and heated terrace, and a hydromassage pool and cacoon deck chair.

You can see photos of the mobile wellness area HERE.

The wellness area is rented for a minimum of two hours with prior reservation at the reception as a complete unit to ensure the guests' complete privacy.

"Conceptually the first mobile wellness center in the Republic of Croatia is designed to provide guests with complete privacy, peace, relaxation, and enjoyment in the immediate natural environment and is additional content in the winter and before and after the season. Made in collaboration with Spa2o design d.o.o. from Zagreb (construction and equipping) and Abstracto studio d.o.o. from Zagreb (architecture and interior design), it is intended primarily for guests of the resort as additional content and offers. Still, there is the possibility of renting to outside guests," said Damir Stanišić, director of Plitvice Holiday Resort and added that after use, the wellness center breaks for an hour to thoroughly clean, disinfect and prepare the area for new guests because they want to provide guests with complete security to experience this unique project.

As for the season, Stanišić points out that they are delighted and that in August, they recorded 7% more guests than in 2019, while at the level of the whole year, they are at about 90% compared to 2019.

"If May and June had been better, they would surely have better numbers than in 2019. As for the offseason, the announcements are excellent, and we continue to match the results from two years ago. We currently have a lot of inquiries for team building programs from companies, and now we will see if the epidemiological situation will be reflected in the offseason, ”adds Stanišić.

When talking about continental tourism, the season is just beginning because while summer is the peak season at sea, on the continent, the peak season is the pre-season and post-season.

“In the past two years, we have significantly raised the content of the entire resort. In addition to the already mentioned wellness, we built a bowling alley, multifunctional sports fields, arranged a cafe and restaurant, social zones, beauty salons, massage offers, and charging stations for electric vehicles in addition to the already mentioned wellness center. We also offer e-scooters and e-bikes; we have entertainment all year round, not only in the peak season as before… so that guests really have a wide range of what to do in our resort. Furthermore, we have excellent cooperation with other partners in the context of additional content in the destination," concludes Staničić.

The new content of Plitvice Holiday Resort is just a continuation of investing in raising the quality of the entire resort. The first transformation from a classic camp began in 2014-2015 with mobile homes and a pool complex. In 2018, a lake zone with houses by the lake and canopies were created, and in 2019, they were categorized as a four-star camp and tourist resort.

Thus, the entire complex has diversified accommodation for everyone, from tents, mobile homes, bungalows, glamping, classic hotel rooms, canopy accommodation, and 5 categories of campsites or types of pitches by quality, from standard, comfort, premium, exclusive, and VIP exclusive.

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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Croatia's Sailing Yoga Retreats: Eat. Sleep. Yoga. Sail. And Repeat

July 14, 2021 - With the Adriatic sea's shimmering shades of blue, a coastline filled with islands to explore, and a bountiful amount of sunshine and blue sky, is there any better place to find inner peace and balance than a sailing yoga retreat in Croatia? A look at Croatia's sailing yoga retreats. 

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Yoga is now so popular that all kinds of methods have been invented including even the most unconventional ones such as beer yoga, yoga raves, tantrums yoga, nude yoga, and goat yoga - yes, yoga with goats is a thing and also apparently having full-blown tantrums, too. Though there is no beer yoga or yoga raves available in Croatia (at least for now), Croatia's response to yoga's growing trend is by introducing a combination of a yoga retreat and sailing holiday in Croatia - that means sunrise meditation, morning yogas, delectable Mediterranean food selection, and island hopping, in short, a yoga holiday in paradise!

Sailing yoga retreats in Croatia

209584799_1009306893141985_1318592550050222674_n_1.jpgPhoto credit: Instagram - aerialsea


There are currently 4 sailing yoga retreats registered in BookYogaRetreats and available in Croatia:

1) Yoga Sailing Holiday - 8 Day Sailing and Yoga Holiday in Croatia 

The most popular retreat, according to BookYogaRetreats, Yoga Sailing Holiday offers 7-day yoga-sailing from Split to Dubrovnik, and visiting Croatia's famous islands such as Vis, Hvar, Korčula and the Mljet National Park is a part of their itinerary. Their yoga program includes daily sunrise meditation and morning, yoga classes. At the port, the participants will have the time to enjoy exploring the islands by foot or scooter and onboard, they will get to enjoy delectable selections of wine and mouth-watering local fresh fish and grilled vegetables. Yoga Sailing Holiday also prepares vegan meals daily. The yoga styles offered are Hatha, vinyasa, and yin, and the classes are conducted in English and are open to beginner, intermediate, and advanced practitioners. The retreat program is open to 7 participants. If interested, CLICK HERE for more information.

2) Daniel and Igor - 8 Day Elevate Yoga Retreat on the Islands of Cres and Lošinj

Daniel and Igor offer to elevate your spirit by cruising the archipelago, discovering breathtaking natural locations, feeling the health benefits of the island’s micro-climate, enjoying the local delicacies, getting insider access to the local lifestyle, and of course, practicing hatha yoga with them twice a day. The yoga holiday retreat also includes sport and safety gear for all activities, entrance to museums and education centers, private chef, skipper and guide, airport transfers, panorama flight, and underwater photos. The highlight of the retreat is the holiday home Stancija Srem where guests will be staying. The secluded villa has an infinity pool and is nestled in the green hills of Cres Island but also located near the island's most pristine beaches. The class is offered in Croatian, German, and Portuguese and is open for beginner and intermediate practitioners. This retreat is open to 6 to 12 group participants. If interested, CLICK HERE for more information.

3) AerialSea - 8 Days Sailing, Meditation, and Yoga Holiday in Split Area, Croatia

AerialSea offers a deeply secured and supported time and space for recharging oneself through yoga and mindfulness retreat offered onboard their sailing yacht. Their 8-day program includes daily yoga classes, morning meditation, and lectures, sailing through the hidden bays of Croatia, strolling around local villages, and dolphin-spotting if you're lucky enough to come across them. You may also sunbathe on the yacht's deck and participate in onboard team-cooking. The yoga styles they teach are vinyasa, restorative and aerial. The class can be conducted in English or German and is open to 6 to 8 participants, beginner and intermediate. If interested, CLICK HERE for more information.

4) Mare & Soul - 6 days of pure relaxation on a yoga holiday with a sailing trip along the coast of Istria, northern Adriatic

Mare & Soul invites you to give your body and soul a break and restore balance in your life by joining them on their yacht retreat along the beautiful Istrian coast. Their program includes daily yoga sessions, pranayamas, and meditation, acupuncture massages, Bemer physical vascular therapy for microcirculation improvement all conducted on their fully equipped sailing yacht. They also offer a healthy and delicious Ayurvedic diet to further aid the body in regaining health and balance. Hatha yoga is offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The class is conducted in German or English and is open to 6 participants maximum. If interested, CLICK HERE for more information. 

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Eight Croatian Spas to Recieve Sustainable Spa Certificates

Some SPAs in Croatia are moe eco-friendly than others, and today their efforts will receive the official recognition of their peers.