Mar 10, 2009

Private Accommodation in Croatia

When planning your next Croatia trip you are bound to come across the term private accommodation. For our (JayWay Travel) guests in Croatia we often encourage them to stay in private accommodations. The initial reaction I often get from potential clients when I say private accommodations is generally negative. They often think that means they will be sleeping in someone’s house with their family members in the next room. While this has be known to happen this definitely is the exception rather than the rule and with enough research or suggestions from the experts such as JayWay you will be able to find the ideal Croatia private accommodation.

Private accommodations can include a number of different types of accommodations such as private rooms, apartments and villas. Terms used for private accommodations you may come across also include condos, rentals, vacation homes or holiday rentals to name a few. In Croatia private accommodations are usually the most popular and the most abundant type of accommodation.

We tend to encourage guests to stay in private accommodations as we believe they are the best value for money you will find in Croatia. There are several advantages to staying in these accommodations over hotels. For the most part we believe the hotels in Croatia are overpriced for what you get. Although they are getting better as of the last couple of years with recent reconstructions, many of the hotels in Croatia are out of date and badly in need of refurnishing. In a lot of these hotels it is like stepping back in time and not in a positive way.

However the number of hotels in Croatia are limited due to building restrictions. The Croatian Government makes it very difficult for hotels to build in new locations so many of the new hotels are built on former locations. This generally makes the process of building even longer as the former hotel has to be knocked down before building the new one. You also won’t find many chain hotels in Croatia due to these restrictions. For example the only chain in Dubrovnik is the Hilton and in Split is the Le Meridian hotel which is actually located five miles outside the center. I have always seen this as a very positive move by the government as this will allow Croatia to keep its charm instead of becoming overdeveloped like some places in southern Spain for example and ruining what was once a beautiful coastline.

The first advantage I see with private accommodations is they provide more space than a hotel. Unless you spend a lot of money on a hotel you are generally confined to a small double room, whereas for the same price you can often get a spacious one bedroom apartment allowing you for plenty of room to relax. Many of the private accommodations have kitchens which provide a nice alternative to eating out for every meal. Although I believe dining is an important part of the experience it at least allows you to have a fridge where to keep some snacks and drinks to enjoy after a day of sightseeing or a late night of partying.

Private accommodations often give more privacy than a hotel. Sometimes in hotels you can feel like you are bunched together with a number of people and it is easy to hear what is going on in the next room through the thin walls. Whereas private accommodations for example are often single locations on one floor without neighbors bothering you on either side, consist of lets say three apartments that make up one villa location or even can mean your own private location with no one in the surrounding area.

Private accommodations often have as nice and sometimes even nicer standards than hotels in Croatia. All of the private accommodations we offer to guests have a three, four or five star standard. As mentioned above the standard of some of hotels in Croatia are quite outdated so what they may call a three star or four star hotel may not live up to the standards of today. Many of these private accommodations have been restored and refurnished with modern furniture and amenities. You may find a century’s old building that has a private accommodation with a plasma TV on the wall.

Generally private accommodations have better locations than hotels. Due to the make up of some of these Croatia cities they do not allow space for big hotels so the hotels are forced to set up outside the center of town often requiring a bus or taxi to access it. One prime example of this is in Dubrovnik. In the Old Town center within the city walls there are only two small boutique hotels while there are countless private accommodations available. Many of the hotels in Dubrovnik are set outside of the center in an area known as Lapad which can only be accessed by taxi or bus. I believe if you don’t stay within walking distance of the Old Town in Dubrovnik you get a completely different experience.

Continuing on the point from above, private accommodations often have large private terraces with incredible views. Not to say hotels don’t offer this but if you are lucky you will get your small balcony with two chairs facing the sea. Whereas private accommodations allow for some of the best positioning to enjoy the most unique views these locations can offer. You can find beautiful large and private terraces where you and a group of friends can enjoy a few drinks and beautiful Croatian sunset, it does not get any better than that.

I believe private accommodations provide a more charming and authentic travel experience. The owners of these places take great pride in their accommodations and they become part of the experience. I have had the pleasure to work with a number of different owners in Croatia over the years and made a lot of good friends in the process. I often select accommodations for my guests not only on the quality of the accommodations but also based on the owners. They can bring so much to a traveling experience with their local knowledge, assistance and stories. You can really get a feel for how the people live in Croatia from these private accommodations. The feedback I receive from guests about these owners is always excellent and they often say a particular owner was what made their stay so special.

Finally, probably the biggest advantage to private accommodations is they are more a lot more affordable than hotels of the same standard. For what you get with a private accommodation if you can live without breakfast (some even have breakfast included) and some of the amenities of a hotel I believe there is really no comparison between private accommodations and hotels as the price savings is quite significant.

Despite all the advantages I listed I will say that not all the private accommodations are perfect. It can actually be quite difficult to find the quality you want out of a private accommodation. I know this first hand because it has taken years of research to compile the accommodations suitable for our clients. I have personally visited every accommodation first hand often staying in these accommodations myself. I always say I would not recommend any accommodation to a client which I would not stay in myself. When booking private accommodations on the internet be quite careful as photos and descriptions can be quite deceiving. You usually don’t know until you are actually there so that is why I believe our service is so valuable. .

All of the accommodations we offer are in the center or within walking distance of the center. I think location may be the most important factor when selecting a place to stay so to be at least in walking distance is a general criterion we use when selecting an accommodation. To illustrate this point take my Dubrovnik example from above, I could never consider a private accommodation out in Lapad. I believe the true Dubrovnik experience can only be enjoyed by staying in the Old Town or in the area just outside the city walls with its spectacular views of the Old Town and sea. Don’t get me wrong, an area like Lapad is very nice but I it does not compare to being in or around the center.

During a typical city accommodation research I may see 50 different locations and I would say in the end I may select just 10-15 I believe are suitable for our guests. Again you have to be careful as things may not always be what they appear. When I search for JayWay guest accommodations the internet is always my starting point but when seeing them first hand I was more often than not quite surprised what I found.

With private accommodation you sometimes need to proceed with caution but if you follow expert advice and research enough, private accommodations can provide you with an unforgettable travel experience.

Visit JayWay Travel for an authentic and personal travel experience. Feel free to contact the experts at JayWay Travel anytime at, through our website at, within the US at 914 595 4540 or within Europe at +44 20 8133 7150 and we are glad to provide you with advice on what solution is best for you.


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