You can’t take anything for granted at Maslina. Everything, down to the last little detail, has purpose — inspired by a deep love for the hotel’s location on the Croatian island of Hvar.
Hvar island has brought travelers to the Adriatic for millennia. The Greeks made it one of their first settlements in the region. That was 2,400 years ago. Its pine forests and sun-bathed hillsides became one of the first places for health tourism in the world. That was 150 years ago. These days, as Croatia enjoys a tourism renaissance, parts of the island are known for their posh parties and see-and-be-seen vibe. But Maslina Resort makes its home on a protected bay just minutes from the UNESCO-listed town of Stari Grad, in a decidedly peaceful place among the trees.
Dark blues and deep grays, pale greens and rich browns. The calming effect of the colors at Maslina weren’t simply chosen from a color wheel. You can trace every splash of the palette here to the forest just outside. 20 years ago, the hotel’s designer visited Hvar and felt awestruck by the natural scenery. She studied the pines to give you the same feeling. Nothing can be taken for granted at Maslina. Everything at this design-forward boutique hotel has been implemented with a specific purpose, crafted by hand by people in deep and rapturous love with this dreamy, warm island.
“It was this childhood dream that came back,” explains Maud Truchi, the French-born founder. Truchi grew up in the Philippines, spending family vacations at the breathtaking island resorts throughout Asia. When she saw Hvar for the first time, she knew this could be her own version. But the thoughtfulness of each decision wards off any whiff of the generic. This is a resort that could only be on Hvar.
“When I first spoke to the investors about the hotel plot, they said that they remembered coming to Stari Grad for the first time years ago, and they had a vision of a modern hotel fully integrated into the landscape,” explains the architect, Tomislav Alujevic. They wanted the resort “aligning with the trees, and without obstructing nature.”
The result were facades set in ventilated wood — a blatantly untraditional material for Dalmatia, but one that blended into the hillside and camouflaged accommodations. Designed to avoid the long rectangle of the typical hotel, the resort makes use of several vertical buildings, with the subterranean public spaces in alignment with the contours of the surrounding hills. The scattered pavilion concept means each room has only a few neighbors. That’s crucial to one of the hotel’s primary visions: that each guest might imagine themselves to be in a private apartment on the sea. Every room has an unobstructed view.
What guided the principles of this project, it seems to us, was the desire to capture and make tangible the feeling of love-at-first-sight each felt upon finding Hvar.
“When I was contacted about this project, I instantly remembered the holiday I spent on Hvar island just after the war,” says interior designer Léonie Alma Mason. “Even though it was 20 years ago,” when [owner] Maud Truchi asked her to work on this project, “I remembered the pine needles on the ground, the smells, the shades, the rocks, and the transparency of the sea.”
Between the materials and the color palette, Mason has brought Hvar into every space of Maslina Resort. Often literally. The hotel is only open May to October, designed to thrive in the perfect weather. “I dreamt that all windows could stay open so that the light summer breeze would flow in the curtains,” explains Mason. Her curtains are light and transparent. Terracotta floors make no distinction as they flow between rooms and terraces.
But nothing shows the thoughtfulness of the resort as well as what is perhaps the first piece you’ll see at Maslina. Head to check-in, and your eye wanders over the impressive stone desk in the lobby. It didn’t just happen. The desk, twelve tons of stone from a neighboring island, was brought by ferry and deployed by crane. The rest of the building — including the floor — was built around it. At the end of a long, painstaking project, rarely is a vision borne out so successfully. When you refuse to compromise on the details, you have a shot.
Nuts & Bolts
A bite-sized breakdown of your most frequently asked questions about Maslina Resort.
Who comes here?
Lovers of the pool and beach who want to explore a 2,400-year-old town (Stari Grad, among the oldest towns in Europe) and stay in a room with a sea view. It helps if you appreciate thoughtful design and locally sourced, seasonal Mediterranean cuisine.
When’s the best time to visit?
It’s open from May to mid-October; the summer months have perfect weather that reaches into the 80s. May and October cool off a bit, but there’s a reason Maslina is seasonal — and Hvar is the sunniest island in Croatia. Look for the Hvar Summer Festival in Hvar Town, usually sometime between June and October, which hosts classical music in a vaunted Franciscan monastery space and other shows in open-air locations. The Lavender Festival, usually in June, might be the island’s most celebrated celebration.
What else is there to do in the area?
All the water sports/activities of the Adriatic and all the hiking/trekking of the island, including paths through the olive trees, lavender fields, and vineyards — and one to a 16th century fortress with views over the town and islands. The hotel has its nearby beach, and its Pharomatiq Spa, as well as a playroom with educational programs and activities for kids.
And then the culture. 20 minutes away by bike is Stari Grad, the ancient town full of traditional restaurants, galleries, and protected heritage landscapes. On the other side of the island, Hvar town is the spot for nightlife.
Best room for a solo traveler? A couple? A family?
Solo travelers might opt for the simpler garden rooms, while the Panoramic Suites are extremely popular among couples looking for romance. Other suites have two to three bedrooms for smaller families, while the four- and five-bedroom villas make most sense for a larger party on a group getaway. Not that we’d keep you from splurging, whoever you are.
What’s a design feature I would miss if you didn’t tell me about it?
You’ll notice, but amidst the Croatian stone, terracotta or wood floors, and brushed brass of the rooms — the bathrooms feature wooden bathtubs with a decidedly Asian influence. It’s a nod to founder Maud Truchi’s upbringing in the Philippines, where she traveled to Asian island resorts with her family and first imagined running her own. It’s a dream that came true in Croatia.
What’s there to eat?
The Maslina restaurant hosts breakfast, lunch, and dinner — food honors the Mediterranean Diet but isn’t tied to it completely, while the major focus centers around local ingredients and seasonability, with the hotel’s organic garden providing plenty of the fare. At the bar and poolside, order craft beers and signature cocktails.
Anything to say about sustainability?
Plenty. The resort has focused on reforesting trees and protecting native species, as well as more hotel-specific measures like going plastic free, producing their own amenities, and installing new solar panels to be completed by the end of the year. The organic garden spans 7,000 square meters — you can visit it on an eco-friendly wooden bike, and the spa uses its lavender and sage in treatments.
What’s the final word?
In a word? This is simply fantastic design on the Adriatic — where the sedentary and the active will be equally pleased, and you’re free to fantasize about a life in your own private apartment on the sea.
Book Maslina Resort on Tablet Hotels.
Mitchell Friedman is an editor and social media manager for Tablet and Michelin Guide hotels. He’s been with Tablet since 2018, and wants you to subscribe to our newsletter.