Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hotel Belvedere - Our Adventure In Pictures

While in Dubrovnik Travis and I set some time aside one afternoon to follow up on the rumours of an abandoned hotel down the beach, here are some of our favorite photos from the adventure...

The hotel complex from the water

Originally a 5-star luxury hotel perched on the Adriatic Sea, Hotel Belvedere was destroyed by Serbian forces (remains of the Yugoslav People's Army) in 1991, just six short years after it was built. Although finding information has been difficult, we were able to learn that the hotel opened its doors to citizens displaced during the Croatian War of Independence (as other cities throughout Croatia were destroyed people fled to Dubrovnik believing it would be spared). In the twenty plus years since the shelling finally ceased the hotel has sat empty, open for anyone to explore and hosting the occasional unofficial rave. 

A sign still greets visitors from the main road

View of Old Town from what once was the hotel's night club

The hotel is quite easy to find, and can be seen from Old Town when looking out over the harbour. Heading East along the shoreline from the Old Town it’s about a twenty minute walk past some lovely high-end hotels including Villa Dubrovnik. After rounding the corner by an old church the road passes St. Jacovs Beach at the bottom of a steep cliff before the worn out gates of Hotel Belvedere greet you. It’s a nice walk, quite flat (a rarity in Dubrovnik), and there are lots of spots to stop and swim along the way.

The once lavish pool area

The complex is quite large, leaving a vast network of halls and staircases to explore. As it was constructed of stone and cement the building is still structurally sound, although common sense should be used as there is lots of broken glass, sharp edges, and low hanging pieces. It's also evident that crews have removed anything usable, including wiring, staircase railings, some floor tiles, and all the bathtubs from the individual rooms (leaving quite a mess of crumbled brick, oddly the bathtubs are all stacked together near a large staircase). A bit eerie, original menus, employee uniforms, and some furnishings litter the halls, a reminder of the urgency in which the hotel was evacuated.

Graffiti tags cover the walls

A cruise ship spotted through this broken window

The bathtub mystery solved - they're all stacked here, but why?

We spent about two hours exploring the hotel and snapping photos, a great break from the tourists crowding the streets of Old Town. In addition to having the place to ourselves, the visit was completely free, always nice on the budget.  A few spots not to miss - The pool area (immediately through the gates above the open parking area), shoreline and lounging area, various restaurants and clubs (check out floors 10-13), and a lovely (very photogenic) spiral staircase.  

A glimpse of spiral staircase from the dining room

The gorgeous spirals from below, complete with domed top

Looking up at Hotel Belvedere from the pool level

Overall a great way to spend the afternoon and something we highly recommend to anyone interested in photography and history. If we’d only brought our swimsuits and a snack we would have spent  a couple hours at the beach as well. However if you’re planning a trip to the area, note that there are plans to refurbish the hotel over the next two years, the lobby area was already blocked off while we were there, so you’ll have to hurry before it’s too late!

By Calli D with 7 comments


fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
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Thanks so much reading and for the nice words...glad we could be of help!

Why that hotel seems to be war affected?

That's a superb picture of the cruiseship through the broken window. Was it coming towards you? I assumed they all docked at the big port at Gruz, the other side of the Old Town.

It was docked at the time. We just though it was a nice juxtaposition with the ruins of one of the former fanciest places in Croatia and the luxury of the cruise ship. Thanks for the compliment!

In 1989 my wife and I stayed in the bridal suite at the Belvedere while on our honeymoon. We visited Dubrovnik and Mostar at that time because we felt that war was approaching and wanted to see it while it still existed. We have wonderful memories of that wonderful place! We also have 4 hotel dinner plates embossed with a blueprint of the old town. We schlepped them all over Europe without breaking them and still use them for anniversaries etc. We hope to visit Dubrovnik again in March 2014 for our 25th anniversary and if so will look the old girl up- she is such a magical place and has been through so much!! Thanks for bringing back such nice memories. By the way the bathroom fixtures in our room were a deep forest green.

Jack, that's very cool that you got to stay here before the destruction and devastation of the war. You can definitely feel the history as you walk through the place - the menus, the parquet floors, the huge spiral staircase - it felt like it was frozen in time. Hope you get around to taking a visit, it will definitely be a unique experience for an anniversary!

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Hey there!

Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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