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“VISIT CROATIA.....GO ON!!”
Review of Villa Irena

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Villa Irena
Ranked #9 of 129 Specialty Lodging in Trogir
Channel Islands
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“VISIT CROATIA.....GO ON!!”
Reviewed August 4, 2009

10 of us just had a fantastic holiday in Arbanija, Islan Ciovo, near Split Croatia. We stayed in Villa Irena, which is in fact 3 seperate apartments and offers great value at £1,700 for 12 beds for 2 weeks!!

The best apartment is the three bed upstairs with the balcony, which is where we all congregated as we had the whole place to ourselves. The other two are ok, clean but basic. All have air conditioning which is a necessity as it was between 29 and 36 degrees whilst we were there and about 27 at night!!

The beach is literally just across the road and is great, very few people on it and very clean. All the beaches are pebbly and there are lots of sea urchins so protective shoes are a must. You can buy these from the local market or from the market in Trogir where they are a bit cheaper. Very near to the Villa is a small market and a bar. The staff are friendly and helpful and most have some english.

With regard to travel, there are regular and very cheap buses to and from Trogir (£1 each way) and you can get ferry and boat trips from Trogir. A one way trip on the ferry to Split was about £2.20!!!

None of us had been to Croatia previously and we were all delighted. The scenery is absolutely stunning, the Adriatic is clear, warm and really inviting at all times of day or night. It is very salty tho and can sting your eyes initially.

We visited some of the smaller islands including Solta, all of which are really beautiful and the trips are very reasonably priced. Trogir is a lovely market type town and has a traditional market which sells fruit veg and holiday trinkets. We also visited Split which is remarkable for its incredible architecture and fabulous location.

Eating out is very very reasonable and excellent quality generally especially on the harbour front in Trogir, pasta's and pizza's are brilliant and the local beer Karlovasko is great and pretty cheap too.

We are all going back as soon as possible to do some more exploring of the fantastic country.

Strongly recommended for a very very enjoyable and great value holiday. Feel free to drop me an email if you want the contact details for Villa Irena and I'll send you a few pics!!

Helpful?
1 Thank alb2802
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Sussex
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2009

I was the main organiser for a group of friends that stayed at Villa Irena in early June 2009. We hired not only Villa Irena, but also Villa Verija. It was to be a joint 40th birthday celebration for a friend and myself - something I mentioned to Mark when I first started looking into booking the villa back in September 2008. I have to admit Mark was very patient and courteous dealing with the countless queries I raised over the next 10 months! He was especially patient with the delays I experienced in collecting deposits and payments, delays caused by the group being distributed all over Europe and Canada.

Six of us were on the same flight arriving several hours before check in, so we felt obliged to use the mini-bus arranged by the villa, but the cost was extortionate! How can anyone justify 550 Kuna for 6 people, when 8 friends on a later flight paid 180 Kuna for the same sized mini-bus? I appreciate some holiday makers might not like organising things themselves, but that is one heck of a mark up!

Irena was quite obviously under pressure when we arrived. There had been a booking mix-up and she was relocating the previous occupants to Villa Julio next door. She was rushing to get the apartments ready for us, which really wasn’t an issue as we knew we were early and weren’t expecting any of the apartments to be ready. It gave us time to relax and get our bearings – find the supermarket, beach, bars etc.

My problem started on the afternoon of the first day when I was confronted by Irena, who aggressively accused me of not paying 1500 Euro for Villa Verija. I had paid – but had unfortunately assumed I would not need the confirmation paper work (e-mails, bank statements showing transfers etc), so an argument ensued for 45 minutes! 45 minutes!! Until Irena realised she was looking at someone else’s booking!! Cue lots of hugging and apologies, but by then it was too late and I was extremely upset. After this confrontation, I couldn’t even bear to see Irena, which unfortunately was not possible as she was at the villa on a daily basis! Thankfully, my partner and a mate stepped in so I didn’t have to directly deal with her for the rest of the week, but this was not a good start to the relaxing holiday I had been looking forward to for months.

I also had issues with keys. People were arriving at different times, and not everyone knew each other. It would have been useful to have been given two keys per apartment on the first day – rather than having to find Irena on the second day, after the issues had presented themselves.

The bins in our apartment were emptied only once – on the second day. Not a particularly big problem as we knew where to take the rubbish – but replacement bin liners would have been useful – especially considering the heat and a rapid accumulation of nappies and fish bones/skins etc. Sheets were also changed only once - again on the second day, after only one night! As mentioned in previous reviews, toilet paper was a rarity, and this along with the points above, made me wonder exactly where the apartment maintenance fees were going.

The website states the villa is a short walk to the nearest beach and although this is correct, the fact that the short walk involves a steep and uneven, rocky path has been omitted. It’s not easy to navigate with a push chair!

Apartments 2 and 3 share a terrace, which is not clear on the website. Not a problem for us, as we were a group of friends sharing, but we did have a toddler in our apartment that had more space to explore and cause mischief! The terrace of the double room in Apartment 3 backed onto a big tree obstructing any decent view and sunlight. There were also locked interconnecting doors between the two apartments which meant sound carried easily. The double room in Apartment 2 had no space for a cot, so it had to be situated in the twin room where the only viable space was against one of the interconnecting doors. So when the baby awoke in Apartment 2, Apartment 3 woke up too!

The website also states “Luxury apartments” – which I guess depends on what your opinion of luxury is. Sure, they are clean, but no dishwasher, washing machine etc. I personally thought the lounge/dining areas of Apartments 1 and 3 were on the small side for the number of people they accommodate.

The jacuzzi – well, I think it’s been said in several of the reviews below but, really, what is the point in advertising a jacuzzi when you won’t even switch it on?? We asked repeatedly, and on the last day, Irena eventually switched it on, explaining that the timer was broken. It was switched on for two fifteen minute periods, at which time we had to share the pool with one of her staff/cousins’ daughters who it appeared was “keeping an eye on us”. There were at least 3 people relaxing by the pool daily - why couldn’t the jacuzzi have been switched on earlier in the week?

The patio furniture didn’t appear until the 5th day – possibly as a result of a couple of us sitting on the concrete floor in the shade on the previous sweltering afternoon. We had a toddler in the group that needed the shade of umbrella’s and the patio furniture, so it would have been useful for these to have been provided daily without prompting.

I found “muzzer69”s review a little too late, and have to admit to being a bit concerned. I e-mailed Mark to ask him if he had a list of rules etc that I could distribute to the group, but he said we would all be told them on arrival. As everyone was arriving at different times, I can imagine Irena must have been stressed having to reel off all the rules to everyone individually. I agree with "Kimsk" comments – leave a guide to rules and restrictions in each apartment - it might just make Irena less stressed. Personally, I think a happy Irena could just make for a happy Villa Irena.

On the positive side, the villa location was perfect – lovely view, close to the beach, bars and restaurants, and a nice walk to the water taxi’s that head to Trogir. The fresh fish from the market in Trogir was astounding – the mussels and the sea-bass were gorgeous! The Croatian people were very friendly and helpful. The restaurants were very accommodating when large groups of us descended on them at short notice, and the lovely barman at Zule even kept some beer jugs in the freezer especially for our group. We were well looked after in all the bars – but I have to especially mention Medini (Bruno!!), and the bar next door served the best flaming zambucca’s I have ever tasted. We hired a glass-bottom boat for a whole day - just for us - at a cost of 180 Kuna per person – including red wine and a fresh fish lunch – and plenty of beer stops! Thank you, Katarina from sea-gate.net!

In summary, the holiday I had looked forward to for so many months fell very short of my expectations - because of Irena. Hopefully, the owners will read this and the other negative reviews and perhaps learn something from them, taking them as constructive criticism rather than a personal attack. Personally, I would like to return to Trogir and Seget Donji, but will definitely give Villa Irena a wide berth.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank BrightonWendz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birkeroed
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2009

Villa Irena is beautifully situated with a fantastic view from the upper apartments and from the pool area. It is close to a very nice beach area with restaurants and a long water front promenade. This is better than described on the website of Villa Irena. There is a little traffic noise on when you are sitting on your balconies – but nothing serious.

The Villa is described as luxuriously equipped. That is not correct – the inventory is relatively basic and low cost. But the villa and its surroundings are kept meticulously clean and orderly and managed in a very cost efficient way. This unfortunately leads to a large number of rules to obey and to some shortcomings in usage of facilities and standard of equipment, which I will describe below.

We had a wonderful stay at the Villa, but would have preferred less restrictions and less “monitoring” by Irena. I am sure some of all the feedback will improve on this and we would then be happy to return to the Villa.

We had no issues with the air condition remotes as described by others. We only used it for a few hours every evening before bedtime. However once while using the air condition during the day time because one of our children had to stay inside to study for her school we were told never to adjust the inside temperature lower than 5 degrees C below the outside temperature – not very helpful when it is 35 C .

On the first night all the furniture in the pool patio area were removed and locked away while we were eating dinner. Big was our surprise when we went to sit by the pool for an after dinner drink. Next day I managed to persuade Irena to leave it out permanently during our stay but I had to promise to make sure the cushions were stored in a way so the local cats could not sleep on them during the night. However there is only furniture for 4 people – so only one out of 5 apartments can use the patio area at a time.

Next issue was lights in the pool – we asked to be able to turn them on at evening time when we were sitting in the pool patio area. That was not possible no matter how hard we tried to convince Irena. Interestingly they are turned on the photos at the Villa’s website. The reason was stated as the lights were connected to the pool circulation pump, which was turned off around 20.00 every day so they could not be switched on separately and the switches were to be found behind a locked door.

The Jacuzzi can not be operated by the guests. You will need to find Irena and ask her to switch it on. She would allow 10-15 minutes usage. However we generally had no issues here except for the annoyance of having to find Irena first.

There were a lot of plastic sun beds by the pool, but no proper cushions – only very thin towel-like covers, which we had to ask for and which were removed around dinner time every day and locked away for the night. Small tables for the sun beds were kept under lock during all the time we were at the villa.

The two brand new pieces of exercise equipment were kept under covers and if the equipment was used, the covers would be on at the moment you left them for a minute.

There was a grill place, but no grill equipment and no tables or chairs. We had to ask for the equipment a day in advance and it was removed next morning, Chairs and tables we had to carry down from our terrace and we had to promise everything was brought back and cleaned up before we went to bed.

Our coffee brewer was hopeless – it took an hour to brew 6 cups of coffee, furniture on terrace was not at all comfortable, they were iron chairs with a thin cushion and a very small table – hardly big enough for 4 people. The terrace had to be shared with the next door apartment – would have been nice with some separation allowing some privacy.

There is no internet access at the villa as advertised – a bit annoying as one of our children needed to study during our stay.

Generally any issue we raised was met with endless explanations to why things were not possible. However very often we were able to work out a compromise and Irena tried her best to accommodate our requests.

On the positive side, Irena did not make complaints about noise levels or put any restrictions on the usage of the pool time wise. We arrived early at the Villa and were allowed in before 4 o’clock. On my mothers birthday she came to the house with flowers and home made cookies. We were not charged any extras.

Suggestion to the owners of Villa Irena : leave a guide to rules of Villa Irena and usage of pool and a description of bus, taxi and boat services etc. in each apartment. In the guide there should be instructions in how to reach Irena so she didn’t have to be around the villa all day.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kimsk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malmo, Sweden
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2009

Villa Irena has a very high standard with all appliances as promised. It overlooks the bay and the ambiance in the evening is very nice. The pool water is clean and the temperature is OK. For families that rent the whole house it is very convenient and it is easy to communicate with one another.
However, we were also controlled and watched all the time. We paid a substantial amount of money into a German (not Croatian) bank account for renting the whole house for a week for our grand family of 16 ( 5 children under 12), but that was obviously not enough. A wash where the laundry did not come out clean cost 10 Euro, there was extra to pay for using the tennis court including criticism for the shoes used. There was extra to pay for the house cleaning when leaving. Normal wear and tear was not accepted and an old table cloth had to be paid with 15 Euro (I give you half price!). Also Mr Mark tried to charge tourist tax also for children under 12. There is no tax on them. Also they went through our garbage in order to collect bottles and cans in an irritating way – this has nothing to do with a first class dwelling. One time when we were out Ms Irena let herself into our apartment and increased the temperature of the air condition (which we used very little) – terrifying we thought. The children were not allowed to play in the pool properly because some valves were not working as they should, they were substandard. Actually we were all treated like children, but the young ones were not allowed to be children.
There was so much information about what not to do, see others comments, but no useful information about buses and boats to Trogir, how to come to the beach and restaurants. All this could easily have been on a couple of pieces of paper I think.
I fully agree with “Not enough value for money”, “If you want to be treated like an irresponsible child, this is just the ticket”, “muzzer69”, “Irritating, Rude, Extreme Nuisance, Awful”.
I doubt that they really want to rent out their villa. Best that they do not. The house policy has to be changed in the long run; otherwise many more will have a bad aftertaste like we had. I tried to shield the rest of the family from most of the unpleasant. The place cannot be recommended.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Gardenstam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2009

I stayed at Villa Irena in June 2009. I read about the Villa on the internet and was very excited about the outdoor onsite gymnasium, the Jacuzzi and the “Luxury equipped Villa Irena Apartments” in general. The apartments had a lovely view of the coast and were surrounded by pretty gardens. There was a rather steep walk down a very rough path to the beach and at the bottom of the hill was a lovely restaurant called ZULU’s. The mussels there are the BEST mussels I have ever tasted and their Gorgonzola pasta was also delicious!

BUT Villa I R E N A was disappointing……..

On arrival little by little the Villa and Irena started getting under my skin! I was first INFURIATED when I discovered that Mark had totally taken advantage of our group with the airport pick up. We arrived in the morning and Mark collected us from the airport. He charged us 600KUNA! Our friends arrived later, took a regular taxi and only paid 180KUNA! When I asked Irena about this she said you have to be careful with taxi drivers and it would have been better if we had booked a transfer through them – when I told her it was her SON who collected us and it was booked through them she didn’t really know what to say! Then she tried to cover it up and say “Well that’s because there were 6 of you!” and when I told her there were 8 in the other taxi she was totally speechless! I was furious!

On their website they write that the “Friendly personnel of Villa Irena is there for your service”. Throughout the whole stay I do not personally feel that they provided a “SERVICE”. I feel that we were being watched and supervised for the duration of the stay. On arrival Irena came along all smiling and appeared perfectly pleasant. She dished out 101 rules about the fridge, the lights, the boiler, the pool, the keys, footwear, food & drink etc,etc. I honestly felt like we were on some sort of school trip and she was the teacher who would be making sure that we did everything as she asked. What she should have done was provide the remote control for the air conditioning – which we never got, shown us how to operate the Jacuzzi – which she only allowed us to use on the LAST DAY for 15 MINUTES, told us about the gym equipment – which stayed permanently covered and we were never able to use, told us about the barbeque, shown us the fastest route down to the beach etc etc BUT those things obviously seemed irrelevant to her.

The apartments on the whole were ok. I will post some photos very soon. Our apartment would have been far more comfortable had Irena provided us with the air-conditioning remote as it did get very hot and the air con would have made it more bearable. The shower in the bathroom was very small. It was a shower above a half size bath tub and the boiler took up half of the already limited bath space. We burnt ourselves on the boiler a couple of times as you couldn’t help but bump into it when you were showering! The kitchen was well equipped with a good size fridge and the bedrooms were fine also.

In their mission statement they say that they aim to provide a “memorable experience”! Villa Irena was certainly memorable BUT for all the wrong reasons!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Georgia78London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aussie in Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2009

I stayed at Villa Irena with a large group of people for a week in early June 2009, so basically a month ago, same group of 25-30 people that have sent in some reviews to this website.

Actually we celebrated my 40th birthday for the week, I co-hosted my birthday with a friend from the UK, whom shares the same day, month and year with me.

Enjoyed Trogir and Croatia immensely. The culture, people, food, weather and beaches were fantastic, beer was rather good as well. But the problem was Boot Camp Irena.

Our first day at the villa, Irena introduced herself and basically layed down the 101 rules and regulations of boot camp, and these ranged from what you can not do at the pool, such as eating, drinking, smoking, ball games, and I`m surprised breathing air wasn`t on this list, to where recycling must not be put, no bare feet in the villa, to no loud noise levels, etc etc.

Considering most people in our age group were 30/40/50 +, and sufficiently house trained you could say, I thought she might have been confused that were actually an incognito travelling football team aged in our 20`s, but apparently not. It appears if you are a couple, group, family or even by yourself, you are still welcome to boot camp`s rules and regulations, alas.

During our stay of a week, my personal experience of the apartment I stayed in with 3 others, highlighted a lack of services and ameneties . For example, no new bedding, no new towels, toilet paper was scarcer than hen`s teeth, air conditioning and TV remotes failed to exist, so obviously this equipment is advertised, but can not be operated. The BBQ grill mysteriously disappeared each time is was used, so generally service levels were very poor in my opinion.

However, bright and early each morning Irena was on hand to discuss unacceptable noise levels at night, what is acceptable for 25-30 people ? It will obviously be far greater than a couple staying at the villa ? Reinforce pool and BBQ laws, go through apartment regulations and policies, and this continued onwards each day at regular intervals until the final sortie was operated around 11pm to midnight, perhaps we were sufficiently chastised by then, one wonders.

So in short, this idyllic and wonderful spot has the potential to be a jewel in Trogir if managed correctly and some of this negative energy is directed into providing basic amenities and services, plus providing a friendly and relaxing environment for all. But sadly Villa Irena does not.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Micko038
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Finland
1 review
Reviewed July 1, 2009

I spent a great holiday in Trogir with my class. We had a group of about 25 people and we had rooms in Villa Irena and also in Villa Julio. I totally fell in love with Croatia - lovely people, beautiful and clean places and relaxed atmosphere and of course Villa Irena. The location was great - lots of bars, restaurants and cafes, a beach, a supermarket and a bus stop were all within walking distance of the villas. Rooms were nice and clean and the view was great. Pool, grill and exercise equipment were a nice extra.
The owners were very friendly. For example they helped us with the grill when we
wanted to have a grill party. They showed us the best places where to buy food or to go for a drink and they were always there for us if we needed something. They also helped us to arrange airport pick up and programme like a grand boat trip and a great visit to the national park!
The only weak point was that some of us had to change our room once because of some kind of booking error, but personally it was more than ok for me - we got a better room and our whole group got a lift to airport for free.
I would definitely go to Villa Irena again - maybe some day! :)

  • Stayed May 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank FinCoconut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa Irena

Property: Villa Irena
Address: Hrvatskih zrtava 171, Trogir 21218, Croatia
Location: Croatia > Dalmatia > Split-Dalmatia County > Trogir
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 129 Specialty Lodging in Trogir
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Villa Irena is a family owned property located in fisherman's village SEGET Donji just 1,5km from the centre of Trogir. Villa is composed out of five self contained apartment units sharing a common swimming pool area. ... more   less 

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