house hidden in trees

Maslina Resort sits within a former olive grove on the edge of Maslinica bay. Photograph by James Houston

Why should I go now?

For endless blue skies, crystal clear water, and the slow, seductive pace of island living. Croatia remains one of the most popular and reliable summer destinations in Europe, and thanks to the sheer number of islands (there are over a thousand), there are still a handful of unspoiled spots to be found.

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While Hvar town might be bring to mind superyachts and glitzy parties, the island itself is rugged and wild with dense pine forests, remote fishing villages, and a rich, layered history. Maslina Resort opened quietly in 2020, mid-pandemic, and offers a wholesome, earthy kind of luxury.

First Impressions

The colours are the first thing you notice: the vivid blue and white spray of the Adriatic sea as the speed boat curves around the base of Hvar island and into Maslinica Bay. From a distance, the wooden-clad buildings of Maslina Resort are barely distinguishable amidst the earthy green of the olive and Aleppo pine trees, but inside is everything is bright, open, and bare with smooth, cream walls, terracotta-tiled floors, and white floaty curtains, which divide the reception, library and a sunken lounge. Each space is filled with beautiful objects and eclectic furnishings, including a spectacular 12-ton rock from the island of Brač which serves as the reception desk.

It has the feel of a fashionable, much-loved pied-à-terre, which in a way, it is: the owners are French financiers who fell in love with the raw beauty of the island and purchased the land to build their own little hideaway.

sunken living room

The public spaces are open-plan, creating a sense of light and space. Photograph by James Houston

The Experience

Guests spend their days padding around barefoot in their swimsuits, wandering between the restaurant, poolside, spa and the sea. Bedrooms are divided between six-interconnected pavilions; some have their own private plunge pools or gardens, but for the best sea views, check into a panoramic suite. There are also three spacious seafront villas for groups of friends or families.

swimming pool amidst trees

The view over the bay from the balcony of a top floor bedroom. Photograph by James Houston

There’s a strong focus on holistic living that connects with the local culture and landscape. Spa treatments involve botanical oils, scrubs and baths, and for those checking in for longer stays, there are wellness programmes designed for stress-relief and detoxification. One of our favourite experiences was guided meditation under the shade of a tree in the organic garden, which sits just behind the beach, providing a soothing soundtrack of rolling waves.

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The main restaurant makes the most of the home-grown seasonal produce, pairing Mediterranean flavours with Japanese cooking techniques (think herby salads, fresh fish, flat breads, and olive oil), while the beach bar (open from 5pm onwards) offers a more causal menu of tapas and seafood dishes.

fine dining restaurant

The indoor dining room at the main restaurant. Photograph by James Houston

As the staff come mainly from the surrounding communities, they have an expansive knowledge of island’s sites, histories and customs. We spent a wonderful afternoon with one of resort’s expert guides, who took us on a tour of the ancient town of Stari Grad followed by wine-tasting in a beautiful, candlelit cellar, and dinner at a konoba-style restaurant, perched high up on the hillside.

Takeaway

Unlike a lot of luxury island resorts, Maslina feels genuinely rooted in its surroundings, which has less to do with its architecture, and more to do with the people and natural landscape. The atmosphere is laid-back and unpretentious; you feel at home, almost instantly.

Rates: From €300 per night, including breakfast (approx. £250 / $350)

Book your stay: maslinaresort.com