»Sited on an Island, in the middle of Krka river, lies a fairy tale castle turned into a 5 star luxury hotel«. (Castle Otocec)
It is no secret that Slovenia has a special place in my heart. Even though I moved across the ocean, I still think Slovenia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is located in the heart of the Europe and it is known for its diversity, from perfect emerald rivers, forests, vineyards to beautiful beaches. So when Castle Otočec, a member of the prestige association of mansions and restaurants Relais & Chateaux, invited me to stay in their beautiful small medieval castle, I couldn’t be more excited.
- Stars: *****
- Price: from 280 € per night (depends on the season)
- Location: Grajska cesta 2, 8222 Otočec
- Website: www.grad-otocec.com
- Parking: complementary
- WiFi: complementary and easy to use
Castle Otocec has been sympathetically restored and been adapted cleverly for hotel use whilst keeping the architectural integrity and the character of the castle. It is tastefully furnished with beautifully colored and crafted local walnut furniture that mix with modern taste perfectly. In the spirit of Gothic and Renaissance, the castle has integrated past times with the comforts of today. And for the cherry on the top, the staff is very attentive and courteous.
I could notice that the hotel staff is very proud of their famous guests as you see a wall of fame next to the Knight’s hall.
THE STORY OF CASTLE
Not often in life you get to stay in a real castle. As I walked into, for a second I thought I was entering medieval times. Even though structure of the castle has changes in time, the Renaissance portal decorated with two marble medallions and stone walkways continue the theme of a true castle.
Castle Otocec was originally built in the 1200s, when it was still located on the right bank of the Krka River. Later, one of the owners ordered a part of estate to be dug out for protection reasons and they created an islet. But I’ve heard that the true story is that this castle once stood on a promontory out into the river, but because the Countess “would not keep the Count’s bed warm at night”, the Count had a wide canal dug to create an islet in the river so she couldn’t sneak out at night anymore. I truly hope all this work was worth and the Count’s bed was wormer from then on.
Castle Otočec is situated in Dolenjska Region, less than an hour away form from Ljubljana and Zagreb and their airports. Me and my friend drove there from Ljubljana and after a quick 45 minutes’ drive, we arrived at the stunning grounds of the castle.
There is a grocery store (Interspar) about 5 minutes away by car and a neighboring wellness / medical center for your massage, spa and pool needs.
The purpose of my 3 days stay was to review the Relais&Chateaux Castle Otocec. As I walked in, this is what expected me:
The castle itself has 16 beautiful rooms very well decorated with very modern and large bathroom. Even though the rooms have modern interiors, they do not detract from the charm of the place. Each room is decorated with natural materials and earthly colors, overlooking the emerald Krka River and the castle terrace.
Our double room (No. 27) was beautiful. It was fair size but all the details and the furniture, which was designed by local designers especially for the castle, gave to space a royal feeling. The designer team that led the refurbishment thought of every detail and this castle is a great example of old-meets-new in terms of interior hotel design. Our room was facing the emerald river and waking up was a blessing.
Our room was equipped with flat screen TV, minibar, WiFi. Bed was fair size and comfortable and I loved that our room was really warm all night, since we were there in the winter.
SURROUNDINGS & ACTIVITIES
If you want to take a day off from touring and just want to relax, this is an ideal place with its picture postcard perfect surroundings. From swans swimming on the river, to the lush green landscape and the hotel’s unique islet setting, it really feels like you are in a fairy tale.
The property is small and it is a perfect spot for a romantic night, but there are many things to do there. They offer one of the best Golf courses in Slovenia as well more than 6 outdoor tennis courts and 3 indoors. But for those who just want to relax and enjoy there is a Spa area just 2 minutes’ drive from the hotel.
But that is not all! For more adventures types the hotel manager told me that they regularly organize trips and activities for their guests like, boat ride on the river, flying with balloon, hunting, fishing or cartridge ride around the islet.
When do you get to have superior food, at a reasonable price, with excellent service, in a castle? Sounds amazing, right? You can experience all that in Castle Restaurant, where guests are offered fresh, healthy and regionally distinctive Slovenian food and drinks with a taste of royal dinning prepared by top chef Dejan Pavlič, who holds a bronze recognition at the Youth Culinary Olympics.
For dinner we were offered a four course meal (33,00 EUR). For starter we had a duet cryfish, for intermediate two-color carrot soup, for main course we were served delicious fillet of veal in pistachio sauce with homemade cheese dumplings, and for dessert they surprised us with a slice of white chocolate with orange and homemade raspberry ice cream. The menu offers a beautiful range of classic Slovenian cuisine accompanied by a lengthy wine list featuring beautiful Slovenian wines as well as foreign champagne. Overall it was an excellent meal and service.
We had breakfast at the restaurant and it was outstanding. Everything on the table was local, fresh and excellent taste. I especially loved homemade pier and berry yoghurt with blueberries and homemade fresh juices.
Apart from the charming historic castle itself, everything about this Castle Otocec, and what it offers, is excellence. The accommodation is first class, the restaurant is outstanding and the staff very friendly and welcoming. I highly recommend a stay here especially for a perfect romantic weekend getaway.
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