We stayed in the 3* Laguna Gran Vista, Zelena Laguna for 10 Nights at the beginning of September. It was my first time in Croatia & after a stressful year I was looking for a Relaxing Holiday - and thats what I got !!
The hotel is rated as a 3* so I wasnt expecting Luxury, however the hotels main areas are quite Impressive, if not a little OTT. Lots of Marble, Glass and Mirrors! All Spotlessly Clean.
We arrived at 12 noon and didnt check in till approx 2pm, the Reception Staff are not the most Welcoming so didnt give a great 1st Impression but having spent 10 nights in Croatia I quickly realised that everyone is like this - You very rarely get a Hello or a Thankyou when being served - even eye contact is quite rare!!
As the hotel is only a 3* there is no assistance with your Luggage and the lack of Lifts means you have to drag your suitcases upstairs yourself - Luckily we were on the 2nd Floor!!
Our Room was adequate, a nice size and very spacious with a small balcony which overlooked both the pool and the Sea - Wonderful Sea Views over-looking the whole Bay of Zelana Laguna. A/C was available 24/7 and could be controlled - We had it on the highest setting the whole time. The Beds were two Singles pushed together - however they were very Comfortable. Decor was a bit dated - Again lots of Mirrors - 80's Brown Tiles in the Bathroom. Room was cleaned Daily to a good standard. The only downside was the VERY small bathroom, the layout is poor and you have to almost step over the toilet to get in/out of the Shower. We coped OK but if your a larger person or not so agile you may have a few problems. They would really benefit from making the rooms smaller and extending the bathroom.
This was my 1st experience of Half Board & probably my last !! The Food was excellent, a Good Choice and not a Chip in sight. Catered mainly for German and Russian tastes. At Breakfast there was always lots of fresh fruit, breads, cheese and meat. You could have cooked breakfast however I found this very greasy so stuck to the Cold buffett. The Evening Meal was also good, always Pasta, Meat and lots of Fish, Pizza and Salads.
The Downside was the Cattle Market stampede when the restaurant doors open, 1st the Rush for the best tables and then a competition to see how high you could pile your plate!! I suspected lots of people took food back to their rooms which is just Greedy because there was always enough to go around. The Best bit was the Free Drinks, Beer, Wine and Soft Drinks - you could help yourself to as many as you like which was a nice added extra. We ate Breakfast at the Hotel everyday but only stayed their for a few evening meals - If it hadnt been for the rushed atmosphere we probably would have eaten in the Hotel more. The Final straw was being pushed out of the Queue by a German man who forced his Plate into my back to indicate that I was in his place!!
The Hotel itself is in Zelena Laguna a Touristy area outside of Porec. Porec Old Town can be easily reached by Water Taxi, Noddy Train or Bus - 15 Kunas each - The Buses and Water Taxis arrive on the hour - A bit silly that they are both Scheduled at the same time!! The Noddy Train takes the longest, but its a lovely journey along the wooded coastline - It gets very busy so get there early to get a seat !
The area of Zelena is quite busy, but not rowdy or noisy. Various entertainment is on in the Evening in the Bars or surrounding hotels - All a bit Cheesy but seemed popular. The Surrounding Bars & restaurants are quite expenisve (Probably the same prices as the UK) and the Shop - Mini Market is a bit of a Rip-Off but your in a Touristy area so its what you expect.
The Beach area is Beautiful, Lovely and Clean - Buy a Snorkel and Mask, the water is so clear you can see lots of marine life just a few ft from the shore. As its not a Sandy Beach (Small Shingle Coves, Concrete Bathing Platforms and Grassy Areas) i'd reccommend buying a Beach Mat and a Inflatable Lilo to make Sunbathing more Comfortable. Also as the beach is quite rocky you need Beach Shoes or Croc's when you go Swimming - All the Shops sell them (Approx £5) and their a great investment ! There are some lovely walks around the coast, amongst the woods, ideal for cycling too.
The Downside to Zelena (and the hotel) is the amount of Steps, I'm youngish and It was difficult for me especially in the Heat. We counted 150 steps from our hotel room to the Beach. The Hotel would benfit from an Escalator like the Laguna Istra or atleast a lift from the Lower floor to the Bedrooms. Its certainly not recommended to those with walking difficultys.
Porec old town is beautiful, an Italian influence, lots of quaint streets & alleys to get lost down! A nice mix of designer shops & the usual Touristy Tack. Travellers Cheques arent accepted everywhere and most charge commision - If you can change them in Sunny Way Agency in Porec as they dont charge. There are lots of restaurants, mostly Italians - Pasta and Pizza. Nono's is great for Pizza - the Small Pizza is HUGE, plenty for 1 person and costs £5. We also ate in the Peterokutna kula restaurant, which is one of the Gate Houses to the Old Town - Very Impressive interior in an Old Stone Rotunda. Good Steaks and good value - but poor service, very rushed and unfriendly !!
Must See : We spent the day in Rovinj (Travelled by Local Bus, Much cheaper than the Boat Trips & you can spend longer there). Rovinj is beautiful, very similiar to Venice. Another day was spent in Vrsar - again beautiful - gorgeous scenery of the surrounding Islands. In Both Vrsar & Rovinj there are lots of steps & steep hills so take a comfy pair of shoes. We also hired a Car and travelled over the border to Slovenia - Ljubljana which was stunning. The Drive through Slovenia is gorgeous - lots of green hills, vineyards and olive groves. We went to Ljubljana on a Sunday (Big Mistake) all the shops were closed & trying to find a Currency exchange was a nightmare!! We took the Monorail up to the Castle which gave stunning views over the whole City. Would Definatley like to spend some more time in Slovenia another time. My advice is to forget the Tourist Trips and go DIY, we saved so much money by travelling on the Bus and got to spend more time in each location. The Boat Trip only gives you 2 hours in Rovinj and its just not long enough to see everything.
Porec and Istria are beautiful places and have given me a taste of Croatia - I'd love to see more.
I hate to say it but the downside of the holiday was the Croatian People - If your used to UK or USA hospitality then you'll be rather dissapointed - they really could make more effort to make you feel welcome. Smiles, Hello's and Thankyous make such a difference to your experience.
I would recommend the Laguna Gran Vista, pay the extra for the Sea View (Well woth it) dont expect Luxury, its a 3* after all. And Prepare yourself for a few pushes and shoves in the restaurant !! But for the price we paid it was good value and a enjoyable stay and I would go back again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Istria and Porec are famous for beautiful nature, and owing to its location, the Hotel Laguna Gran Vista offers breathtaking views. While you are resting, enjoying the clean sea and Mediterranean air you can have a go at a number of sports activities available at the nearby sports centre -including football, handball, tennis and sailing. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Laguna Gran Vista Porec