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GSREVIEW Gracious living in context

H o t e l s & Resorts

Art at the palace The Dubrovnik Palace Hotel's unique collection of contemporary Croatian art

Outstanding service Tennis aces Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic won the Davis Cup for Croatia

Fit for purpose Transatlantic oarsman Rob Eustace trained at Wren's Club in Windsor

Family fizz Charles Philipponnat's family has been making champagne near Epernay since 1522

Property swap Consider Croatia...for a holiday home, an investment property or a change of life

Breathtaking

Bellevue The Hotel Bellevue reborn - a stunning new five star bolthole for Dubrovnik


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WELCOME …to a new edition of GS Review. I hope you find it an entertaining and stimulating introduction to the people and places that make GS Hotels & Resorts. he magazine reflects the bi-polar nature of the Anglo-Croatian enterprise I founded more than ten years ago, when I bought Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel in Windsor and the Grand Hotel Bonavia in Rijeka. Croatia has come a long way since then and, as so often happens, economic revival and sporting success have gone hand in hand. As a sportsman, I rejoiced in Croatia’s Davis Cup victory in December and in the successes of world champion skier Janica Kostelic, who brought a record 4th Winter Olympic gold medal back from Turin. I won’t tempt fate by mentioning football. In tourism, Croatia’s beautiful Adriatic coast is all the rage. The year has seen prestigious awards for our hotels in Dubrovnik, where our Adriatic Luxury Hotels portfolio is firmly established as market leader. The Dubrovnik Palace won two World Travel Awards, and the Excelsior was on the Sunday Times list of ‘hot hotels’ in the Mediterranean; not forgetting the Kompas – the best in its category on the Adriatic in Croatia’s Tourism Flower awards. To pursue the sporting metaphor, rebuilding the Dubrovnik Palace was a marathon for us. But the achievement was immense, and once we got our breath back we moved on to the next challenge. Now we are ready to celebrate the transformation of the Hotel Bellevue in to a stunning new five-star hotel worthy of its magnificent setting. I hope you can find time to visit this remarkable property. Croatia’s success owes much to its rich cultural life. Dubrovnik is not merely a collection of pretty views and old stones, but a vibrant art city where we are proud to be patrons of the arts through our hotel investment projects and festival sponsorship. The same is true for our English base in Windsor, where Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa, and my offices, look out on two familiar images of English heritage: the River Thames, and Windsor Castle. At Windsor we have played our part in the celebrations for the Queen’s 80th birthday, popping many corks and ‘sabraging’ others to salute a monarch who commands the reverence of her subjects and the respect of an admiring world. If you are reading this in one of our hotels, I wish you an enjoyable and relaxing stay. And if you have yet to sample GS Hotels & Resorts hospitality, I hope this magazine whets your appetite to do so. Whichever of our beautiful hotels you visit, I am sure you will find a comfortable bed and a warm welcome.

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Dobro do˘sli u novo izdanje ˘c asopisa ‘GS Review’. Nadam se da ´ce ˘casopis obogatiti Va˘s boravak kod nas, bilo poslovni ili privatni, te Vas uspje˘sno upoznati s ljudima i lokacijama koji ˘cine GS Hotels & Resorts. ˘ Casopis odra˘zava bipolarnu prirodu englesko-hrvatske kompanije utemeljene prije vi˘se od desetlje´ca, kada sam kupio Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel u Windsoru i Grand Hotel Bonaviju u Rijeci. Hrvatska je odonda prevalila velik put, a kako to ˘cesto biva, o˘zivljavanje gospodarstva i sportski uspjesi i˘sli su ruku pod ruku. Budu´ci da sam i sam sporta˘s, pro˘slog sam prosinca u˘zivao u pobjedi Hrvatske u Davis Cupu, kao i u uspjesima najbolje skija˘sice svijeta, Janice Kosteli´c, koja se s Olimpijskih igara u Torinu vratila s rekordnim ˘cetvrtim zlatnim odli˘cjem. Nogomet ne´cu spominjati, da ga ga ne ureknem. Turisti˘c ki gledano, prelijepa jadranska obala je u vrhu popularnosti. Ove smo godine osvojili presti˘zne nagrade za na˘se hotele u Dubrovniku, u kojem Jadranski luksuzni hoteli ˘c vrsto dr˘ze vode´ce mjesto na tr˘zi˘stu. Hotel Dubrovnik Palace je osvojio dvije presti˘zne nagrade World Travel Awards, dok se Excelsior na˘sao na ljestvici najatraktivnijih hotela na Sredozemlju prema listi Sunday Timesa. Ne smijemo zaboraviti ni Hotel Kompas, koji je u Hrvatskoj primio nagradu Turisti˘cki cvijet kao najbolji hotel u svojoj kategoriji na Jadranu. Da nastavim sa sportskim metaforama, obnova hotela Dubrovnik Palace za nas je bio maraton, no ostvarili smo izuzetno postignu´ce. ˘ Cim smo do˘sli do daha, pre˘sli smo na sljede´c i izazov. Sada smo spremni proslaviti preobrazbu Hotela Bellevue u veli˘c anstveni hotel s pet zvjezdica, dostojan svog prekrasnog okru˘zenja. Nadam se da ´cete uspjeti na´ci vremena i obi´ci ovo izuzetno zdanje. Hrvatska dobar dio uspjeha duguje svom bogatom kulturnom ˘zivotu. Dubrovnik nije samo hrpa prekrasnih pogleda i drevnog kamenja, nego ˘ziv umjetni˘cki grad u kojem smo mi pokrovitelji umjetnosti kroz projekte na˘sih hotela i sponzoriranje festivala. Isto vrijedi i za na˘su englesku bazu u Windsoru, gdje Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa i moji uredi gledaju na dva poznata prizora iz engleske ba˘stine: rijeku Temzu i dvorac Windsor. U Windsoru smo odigrali veliku ulogu u proslavi kralji˘cinog – osamdesetog rodendana, otvaranjem mnogih boca pjenu˘sca i nazdravljaju´ci vladarici koja u˘ziva duboko po˘stovanje svojih podanika iz ˘citavog svijeta. Ako ovo ˘citate u nekom od na˘sih hotela ˘zelim Vam ugodan boravak. Ukoliko jo˘s dosad niste odsjeli u nekom od hotela iz grupacije GS Hotels & Resorts, nadam se da ´ce vas ovaj ˘c asopis potaknuti na to. Svaki je na˘s hotel jedinstven po svojoj ljepoti i u svakom ´ce Vas do˘c ekati udoban krevet i topla dobrodo˘slica.

GORAN STROK CHAIRMAN & CEO, GS HOTELS & RESORTS

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National Service

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Former refugee Ivan Ljubicic and ‘Baby Goran’ Mario Ancic won the Davis Cup for Croatia

Strok’s Frocks

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Gharani Strok’s latest collection marks a new departure...towards the dark side

Island Escape

Hot Property

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Rupert Dawnay bought the house of his dreams on a Dalmatian island, and put his mouth where his money is – running a property-finding agency for foreign investors

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Rob McKelvie swaps the buzz of Dubrovnik for the tranquillity of the Elafiti Islands

Shooting Dubrovnik

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The Daily Telegraph Fashion Queen Hilary Alexander came to Dubrovnik for a fashion shoot

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CONTENTS 76 Midnight Scrambler

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With stars such as Mick Jagger to cater for, The Dubrovnik Palace’s kitchen has to be open all hours, says head chef Tomislav Gretic

GS News The latest news from GS Hotels & Resorts in England and Croatia 4

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Swing, Swing Together

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Dorney Lake, Eton hosts the World Rowing Championships this summer, in a rehearsal for London 2012

GS Friends

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Who, where, when ….

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Transatlantic Trainer

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Power Dresser 70

Wren’s Club in Windsor was the perfect place to prepare businessman Rob Eustace for rowing across the Atlantic, says trainer Kyle Andrews

Branding Croatia

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Goran Strok’s year has seen him sing the praises of Croatia to the King of Saudi Arabia and the Discovery Channel’s global audience

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Marijana Marinovic meets Brioni’s CEO Umberto Angeloni, the world’s most exclusive tailor

Dalmatian Dash

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A vintage Volvo drives rally driver Paul Bloxidge round the bend, from Opatija to Ljubljana, via Split

Violin Virtuosi

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Janine Jansen and Julian Rachlin are the most glamorous couple in classical music

Fizzy Business

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Charles Philipponnat’s family has been making wine in Champagne since 1522

Beau Sabreur

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What’s a sword for, if not to open champagne bottles? Adam Ruck masters the noble art of sabrage

GSREVIEW Gracious living in context

H o t e l s & Resorts

Art at the palace The Dubrovnik Palace Hotel's unique collection of contemporary Croatian art

Outstanding service Tennis aces Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic won the Davis Cup for Croatia

Fit for purpose Transatlantic oarsman Rob Eustace trained at Wren's Club in Windsor

Family fizz Charles Philipponnat's family has been making champagne near Epernay since 1522

Property swap Consider Croatia...for a holiday home, an investment property or a change of life

Breathtaking

Bellevue The Hotel Bellevue reborn - a stunning new five star bolthole for Dubrovnik

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Cover:

Detail from untitled painting by Edo Murtic (Hotel Dubrovnik Palace). Photo: Zoran Marinovic

Publisher:

Goran Strok

Managing Editor: Nikolina Vicelic

Taplow, Bucks

Editor:

Adam Ruck

Design:

71degrees: www.71degrees.com

Picture Editor:

Zoran Marinovic

Editorial

Danijela Mihalic, James Farrow, Lovro Baldini, Zrinka Marinovic

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David Allsop gets under the skin of a very English village

Assistants:

Palace Collection

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Contributors:

David Allsop, Diana Bentley, Marija Bikic, Marijana Marinovic, Minty Clinch, Paul Bloxidge, Paulina Peko, Rob McKelvie, Rupert Dawnay

Photographers:

Bozidar Vukicevic, Ivan Bura, Miho Skvrce, Nenad Stanic, Petar Jurica, Tonci Plazibat, Zoran Marinovic, archive of Adriatic Luxury Hotels and Wren’s Hotel Group

Advertising:

Lovro Baldani, Email: lovro.baldani@alh.hr, Tel: 00 385 20 430 500 (Croatia)

Enquiries:

corporate.communications@alh.hr marketing@wrensgroup.com

Renata Strok has filled the Dubrovnik Palace with works by her favourite Croatian artists

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Breathtaking Bellevue

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Dubrovnik’s stunning new 5-star hotel sits on a cliff, and it rocks

Grand Old Lady

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The Grand Hotel Bonavia in Rijeka celebrates its 130th birthday this year

Windsor En Fete Diana Bentley meets Windsor Festival Director Martin Denny G S

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80 GS REVIEW IS PUBLISHED BY GS HOTELS AND RESORTS, THAMES STREET, WINDSOR, BERKSHIRE SL4 1QB. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ©GS HOTELS AND RESORTS 2006

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NEWSGSNEWSNEWSNEWSNE Dick Cheney in Dubrovnik “Thank you so much…we hope we can come and enjoy this lovely hotel and this wonderful country for a longer time” wrote Lynne and Dick Cheney in the visitors' book of the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel after the US Vice Presidential couple stayed at the ALH property on May 6/7 2006. Vice President Cheney was in Dubrovnik for a meeting with Adriatic Charter countries (aspiring NATO members Croatia, Macedonia and Albania) on May 7 at the Hotel Excelsior. The Vice President met Croatian President Mesic at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel and Prime Minister Sanader at the Nautica restaurant. Throughout the Vice Presidential visit the hotel’s activities continued as normal, despite heavy security. On the evening of May 6 the Dubrovnik Palace hosted two wedding receptions and more than 1000 guests.

Local art at Taplow Taplow-born painter Susie Lipman, whose delightful local landscapes illustrate the feature on the Buckinghamshire village in this issue of GS Review, is displaying her work at Taplow House Hotel this summer. “I’m selecting a group of framed paintings for one of the hotel’s reception rooms,” says Miss Lipman, “and will have mounted works and limited edition prints for sale in the lobby. I hope my work will inspire guests to go out and explore the local area, and remind them of an enjoyable stay in Taplow.” Susie Lipman’s gallery Oberon Art is at 67 High Street, Burnham, Bucks. Tel: 01628 600500. www.oberonart.co.uk 6

Dubrovnik Palace wins ‘Travel Oscars’ t the 12th World Travel Awards – described by The Wall Street Journal as ‘the travel industry’s equivalent of the Oscars’ the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel won two prestigious awards: Croatia’s Leading Hotel and Croatia’s Leading Spa Resort. The awards ceremony was held at the Royal Opera House in London on 13th November 2005 and was broadcast live on BBC. The awards were presented to GS Hotels & Resorts Chairman Goran Strok. The World Travel Awards are decided by a poll of more than 150,000 travel agents, tour operators and travel buyers, and are regarded by tourism professionals as the best endorsement any travel product could receive. For the 13th World Travel Awards ceremony, to be held in the Turks & Caicos Islands in September 2006, the

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Dubrovnik Palace Hotel is the first Croatian hotel to be nominated in the category of Europe's Leading Resort, in competition with 19 luxury hotels in Spain, Italy, France,

Greece and other countries. The Dubrovnik Palace has once again been nominated in the categories of Croatia’s Leading Hotel and Croatia’s Leading Spa Resort.

Hotel Kompas - Best on the Adriatic

Hotel Excelsior on Sunday Times Hot Hotels List The UK’s most influential Sunday newspaper The Sunday Times included the Hotel Excelsior among the eleven hottest hotels in the Mediterranean this spring. The Excelsior is the only Croatian hotel on the list, published on February 5th. The others are in Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Sardinia, Corsica and Mallorca.

The 115-room Hotel Kompas, Dubrovnik won the Tourism Flower - Quality for Croatia 2005 Award for the best 3-star hotel on the Adriatic, awarded by Croatian Television, the Croatian Chamber of Economy and the Croatian Association of Hoteliers. The presentation ceremony was held on 21 September 2005 in Opatija and was broadcast live on Croatian Television’s Channel 1. The award came in the category which had the largest number of nominees. Hotel Excelsior won second place in the 4 and 5-star hotel category of the Tourism Flower awards. G s

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NEWSNEWSNEWSNEWSNEWS Where in the world was Matt Lauer? The Today Show, NBC’s popular morning news and talk show watched by millions across the United States, broadcast live from Dubrovnik on November 11th 2005, under the headline 'Where in the World is Matt Lauer?' During a globe-trotting week when he also visited Easter Island, Panama, Innsbruck and Shanghai, host Matt Lauer visited the Adriatic resort and reported live from six different locations in and around the city, which he

described as ‘the new Riviera’. After an interview with Goran Strok, GS Hotels & Resorts Chairman, which was broadcast live from a motor yacht, Lauer reported from the Stradun where he was joined by a crowd of American tourists and Croatian actor Goran Visnjic. The show also featured the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Dubravka Suica, and theatre director Miso Mihocevic. The broadcast was seen by more than 7 million viewers.

Such a perfect day…

ir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa’s wedding and events executive Angela Farrow has arranged over 300 weddings in her four years with Wren’s Hotels, and had her own to organise in March. “Getting married has given me a new insight into the organisation and excitement of the event,” she says. “Every wedding couple is unique and I love hearing their ideas and visions.” Following the example of Charles and Camilla, Windsor is a fashionable place to tie the knot, and Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa lays on a brilliant town wedding beneath the walls of Windsor Castle. For a country house wedding Taplow House Hotel fits the bill perfectly. Frenchwindowed reception rooms open on to a beautiful park and lawns that cry out for a marquee and the classic white wedding. Whether you choose Windsor or Taplow, Heathrow is only 15 minutes away, for overseas guests and an easy honeymoon getaway. Visit the new Wren’s Hotels wedding website: www.country housewedding.co.uk

S Sax under the stars After backing a hatful of winners at Windsor Racecourse, splash out on an alfresco dinner on Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa’s Riverside terrace. A live saxophonist will perform on Monday evenings this summer, to coincide with evening racing at Windsor. The new terrace menu offers fresh and light summer dishes specially conceived for outdoor consumption. Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa: 01753 442422. Race information: www.windsor-racecourse.co.uk

Goran Strok profiled on Discovery Channel The life story and globe-trotting lifestyle of GS Hotels & Resorts Chairman Goran Strok was the subject of a documentary programme made by ITN Factual, the documentary branch of London-based ITN news, for the Discovery Channel's global audience. ‘Europe’s Richest' was a business and lifestyle series of ten 60 minute episodes looking at the stories of some of Europe's G S

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richest entrepreneurs. The only Croat portrayed in the series, Goran Strok was chosen “because he is a pioneer in transforming the Croatian

tourism industry,” said producer Suemay Oram. “The aim was to tell an inspirational story on how he made his dreams come true after a successful transition from the world of sport into business.” Filming took place in November in Windsor and Dubrovnik, and the programme was broadcast in February, in a prime time slot across Europe, Russia, The Middle East and the US.

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Photography by Bozidar Vukicevic

Croatia tennis – Davis Cup

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Croatia tennis – Davis Cup

Winning the Davis Cup in December was the proudest sporting moment in Croatia’s fifteen year history. A new postage stamp commemorated the great victory, and on a special public holiday there was dancing in the street to honour returning heroes Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic.

national

Service he Davis Cup fits awkwardly in the money-spinning world of modern tennis. With only national pride at stake, many players regard it as a distraction from their crowded schedule of tournaments and the race for ranking points. Federer ducked the event this year, claiming he needed a rest. Hewitt found an excuse too, while Henman announced in early 2005 that he had played his last match for his country.

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The Croats take a different view: playing

IVAN LJUBICIC

foundation for Croatia’s success and is the

Croatia’s number one player

best since John McEnroe went 12-0 in 1982.

was born in March 1979 at a

Ivan’s most impressive performance was

small village near Banja Luka,

in the first round, when he won all three

now in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

points in Croatia's 3-2 victory over USA in

When Bosnian Serb forces began "cleansing"

Los Angeles, defeating Agassi in the opening

the area of Moslems and Croats in 1992 the

rubber and Roddick in five sets to clinch the

Ljubicic family fled to Rijeka. With several

tie. In between, Ljubicic and Ancic had

other refugee tennis players, Ivan accepted

beaten the world's top doubles team, the

an invitation to live and train at a club near

Bryan twins, on an outdoor court that had

Turin, but remained committed to playing

been chosen to suit the Americans’ game. Although his coach is Italian

for their country still means something to

for Croatia and won the national junior

them. Goran Ivanisevic set the example of

championships in Rijeka in 1995.

and his fitness trainer

sporting patriotism over a long and

In 1997 he made contact with Riccardo

a Spaniard,

illustrious Davis Cup career. After his

Patti, who remains his coach, and began his

retirement Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic

slow climb up the world rankings.

picked up the torch. These two brought the Davis Cup to Croatia. The final against Slovakia was played out

Marriage may cause some athletes to take their eye off the ball, but it did

in Bratislava in front of a crowd of only

no harm to Ivan

4,000 spectators, but Croatia’s team captain

Ljubicic who tied the

Niki Pilic was in no doubt about the

knot with his girlfriend

importance of the event, which he described

Aida in Monte Carlo in

as his personal Mount Everest. Pilic had

November 2004 and went

previously led the German team to Davis

on to enjoy his best season to

Cup victory in 1988, ’89 and ’93. “This is

date, winning two ATP titles

quite different,” he said afterwards. "What's

and more indoor matches than

important is winning with my own people.

any other player; and finishing in

For us it's an historic moment. Just because

the world's Top 10 for the first time.

some nations are bigger, it doesn't mean they

His 2005 Davis Cup record - 7-1 in

are better than we are.”

singles, 4-0 in doubles - was the

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Croatia tennis – Davis Cup

Making a good fist of it. Ljubicic and Ancic carried Croatia to victory in the Davis Cup, leaving team members Ivo Karlovic and Goran Ivanisevic (pictured opposite, top right, with captain Niki Pilic) on the sideline.

representing his country brings out the best in Ljubicic. With Ancic he won a bronze medal for doubles at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and Ivan recalls this as a key moment in his career. “This was my first big result,” he says. “An Olympic medal means something to everyone, not just tennis fans. You get a medal for your country, not yourself.” Although Ljubicic’s Grand Slam record is not as good as his Davis Cup form, he has made a strong start to 2006, reaching his first Grand Slam quarter final in Melbourne. At Roland Garros he went one round better, losing a close semi-final to

“What's important is winning with my own people. Just because some nations are bigger, it doesn't mean they are better than we are.” Niki Pilic

Rafael Nadal on unstoppable form. In other tour events, Ljubicic has lost consistently to only one player: World

match on Centre Court at Wimbledon,

Number 1 Roger Federer, who has beaten

beating Roger Federer in four sets.

him in four finals in the last 18 months.

The English tabloids immediately

"I don't feel I am doing something

dubbed Ancic ‘Baby Goran’, after 2001

wrong,” Ljubicic says with a smile.

Wimbledon Champion Goran Ivanisevic,

“At Indian Wells I played one of the best

and the similarities are irresistible.

matches of my life ... and lost. It's not

Like Pilic before them, both players were

something I worry about at night. He is

born in Split. They weigh the same, and a

the best player in the world at the moment

mere 2cm separates them in height -

- maybe in the history of tennis. So to lose

Ivanisevic is 1.93m, Ancic 1.95m (6ft 5).

to him in close matches, for me, it's good."

Just as Pilic had nurtured the talent of

That semi-final remains his best grand slam

the young Ivanisevic - housing, feeding

result to date, but no one will be surprised

unexpected consequences. One morning

and coaching him in Munich as a teenager

if Baby Goran’s strong grass court game

last year Ljubicic opened his locker to find

- Ancic practised with Goran from the age

takes him further before long.

the French player Michael Llodra staring

of 10 and even acted as ballboy for his

out him, naked. “What the hell are you

hero during a Davis Cup tie. Small

important successes were in doubles.

doing here?’ asked a surprised Ljubicic.

wonder that the Ancic serve, albeit not

But when Dominik Hrbaty upset the form

"I'm trying to focus for my match and get

left-handed, is reminiscent of the

book to beat Ljubicic and level the final at

positive energy from you,” Llodra replied.

devastating Ivanisevic delivery.

2-2, the pressure of scoring the winning

Success on the tennis tour can have

“You're winning a lot of matches this year."

point fell to Ancic alone. As a top 25 player

home favourite Tim Henman in the

he was the strong favourite against Michal

quarter final round of Wimbledon 2004.

Mertinak, a doubles specialist ranked

Mario Ancic made his Davis

After a long-distance pep talk from

outside the top 150. But Ancic had not

Cup debut as a 15-year-old

Ivanisevic, who had ended the Englishman’s

won a live singles match in the Davis Cup

in 1999, played in the 2000

hopes in the semi final three years earlier,

all year, so there were demons to subdue.

Olympics, and hit the

Ancic silenced the partisan crowd by

“It was good pressure,” Ancic said

despatching Henman in straight sets.

afterwards. “You could be a hero, or the

MARIO ANCIC

headlines in 2002 when he won his debut 10

Ancic found himself matched against

In the 2005 Davis Cup Ancic’s most

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other way around." After an edgy first set

The Next Davis Cup Captain?

he chose the path of glory, taking control of the match to win in straight sets. If Ljubicic was the architect-in-chief of

Goran Ivanisevic (inset, left) came out of retirement at 34 to be included in the squad for the Davis Cup final, and made no secret

Croatia’s success in 2005, Ancic was the

of his readiness to play in the doubles. But Pilic (inset, right) stayed

hero of February’s victory over Austria in

loyal to his successful doubles team, and Ivanisevic had to watch

the first round defence of the title at Graz.

from the sideline as Ancic and Ljubicic carried their country to their

Two days running, in singles and doubles,

first Davis Cup title. "The only time I have been happier was when

the Croatian recovered from two sets down

I won Wimbledon," whispered Ivanisevic, hoarse from three days of shouting. "I place the Davis

to win. The Ancic half-volley winner that

Cup a close second behind my Wimbledon title – the perfect way to finish my tennis life."

saved a virtual match point to Austria at 5-5

Croatia had been hoping for more from its iconic sporting hero. With Pilic retired after

in the third set of the doubles match had

five years in the captain’s chair, Goran the Inspirational was the obvious choice to replace

Austrian captain Thomas Muster shaking

him. "Goran is a great rock of support for us all," said Ancic, in tribute to his idol.

his head in disbelief. “I’ve spent eight and

While Ivanisevic pondered his decision, Ljubicic had to stand in as playing captain for

a half hours watching Ancic this weekend,”

Croatia’s first round match against Austria in February. “It was strange at the beginning,”

said Muster, “and got nothing out of it.”

he said afterwards. “I was sitting on the bench with Mario during the first rubber, and not

From Graz, the team mates headed

having been there before I didn't know what to say.” After supporting Ancic through a four

straight for Marseille. Seeded 2nd and 6th in the Open 13 tournament, they found

hour marathon, Ljubicic made short work of the Austrian second string. Croatia’s next opponents were the clay-court specialists of Argentina, on a fast indoor

themselves on opposites sides of the net

court in Zagreb. The tie had the makings of a replay of the previous week’s Nasdaq-100

one round earlier than last year, when

tournament in Miami where Ljubicic beat two Argentine Davis Cup players, Augustin

Ljubicic won a close encounter. This time

Calleri and World Number 3 David Nalbandian – who had himself beaten Ancic in an

it was Ancic who won the last point – a

earlier round. But Ancic injured his back in practice and home advantage was not enough

maiden victory over his Davis Cup captain.

to keep Croatia’s defence of the title alive, despite two more singles wins for Ljubicic,

“It's tough to play a friend, especially

including a repeat demolition of Nalbandian. When Sasa Tuksar shook hands with Juan

when he’s the best player in the world,

Ignacio Chela after losing the deciding fifth rubber in four close sets, Ljubicic stood down

behind Federer,” said Ancic. GS

as captain. “I want Ivanisevic to do it,” he said wearily. “All the players want him.”

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Photography by Bozidar Vukicevic

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By Dusan Dzamonja

By Armano Jericevic

Dubrovnik Palace Hotel

By Renata Strok

Artists at the palace

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Dubrovnik Palace Hotel

By Mila Strok

By Romana Milutin

First time visitors to the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel may wonder if they have strayed into the local museum of modern art by mistake. Renata Strok - artist, art critic and interior designer – has assembled a remarkable collection of works by more than forty leading Croatian artists. Don’t expect it all to be easy viewing. “I hate likeable paintings,” says Mrs Strok.

By Dusan Dzamonja

EDO MURTIC 1921 – 2005

Until he left us last year at the age of 83, Edo was the towering figure on the art scene in Croatia and we’re lucky to have one of his last great works – the big painting near the fireplace, overlooking the sea. There’s another huge canvas in the restaurant, six metres across. He loved working on that scale. I love the optimism and boldness of his wild, anarchic style. It always strikes me as boyish and I would say to him: ‘how is my little boy today?’ which he liked. Murtic had a rich and adventurous life and he was a marvellous story teller. I could listen to him for hours talking about

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his experiences with the Partisans. He had this wonderful gift of spontaneity, and could paint a huge canvas in a few hours. Lots of other artists tried to copy him, but none succeeded. They tried too hard, while for Edo it was effortless. Nobody had so much confidence in colour! I think for him the canvas was an alternate space – his paintings have no beginning and no end. I hate likeable paintings and these are challenging – they make you think. And they’re exciting – in fact they give me the butterflies: the more butterflies, the better. If he wanted to know what I thought of something, Edo would say: “Renata, how many butterflies today?”

DUSAN (DUSKO) DZAMONJA b 1928

My favourite sculptor! What Murtic achieves on canvas, Dzamonja does in sculpture. Winner of the prestigious Rembrandt prize in 1977, he is another very powerful personality, but much more controlled than Edo: always neat and well organised. His sculptures are very plastic, and I find them quite moving. They invite you in, which may be why his iron tapestry works so well at the entrance to the hotel. We also have a superb Dzamonja sculpture in the lobby. If you like it, you should definitely visit his sculpture park at Vrsar in Istria - an extraordinary experience. Djamonja works a lot with iron chain,

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By Goranka Murtic

By Edo Murtic

Dubrovnik Palace Hotel

By Armano Jericevic

For Edo Murtic the canvas was an alternate space – his paintings have no beginning and no end. I hate likeable paintings and these are challenging – they make you think.

He is completely self-taught and I’ve noticed that he always catches the eye of other artists, which is the best sign. My three pillars came and they all said ‘Mmm, interesting – who is this?’ - just like Henry Moore did when he first saw Dzamonja’s work. Definitely a rising star of Croatian art. ROMANA MILUTIN-FABRIS b 1941

Likeable paintings? Works by (clockwise from the centre) Armano Jericevic, Edo Murtic and Goranka Murtic. Below right: the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel’s art collection is the subject of a monograph by Fedor Dzamonja.

sections of wood and long rusty nails, which he loves to collect from shipyards – as he would say “beautifully rusted”. And he loves the spherical form. I think the sphere is his favourite muse. JAGODA BUIC b 1930

With Murtic and Dzamonja, Jagoda is the third great pillar of that generation of contemporary Croatian artists. Of course you have to be careful how you place the three pillars in relation to each other - they are so strong they can easily swallow each other up. Here we have a beautiful 18th century table between Jagoda and Murtic. It keeps them apart quite effectively! Jagoda is everywhere in the hotel, but perhaps the most arresting works are the monumental vibrant tapestries in the Reception area and Congress Hall. They are all very macho, manly works. You would have no idea they were by a woman. GORANKA VRUS MURTIC b 1937

Let’s not forget Mrs Murtic, who is a painter in her own right, and a very good one! I love this little woman with her huge canvases, like the ones we have in Reception and in the Restaurant. 14

“I can’t paint on a small canvas,” she once said to me; “far too restrictive!” She is very impulsive and can go a bit wild, like her husband although not quite in the same way. And she is another rather macho artist, like Jagoda. So here we have these two great ladies demonstrating the strength of women artists in Croatia. MILA STROK 1916 - 2002

What a complete contrast! We must have at least 15 works by my husband’s mother Mila Strok, such a feminine artist. Her works are all surrealism and sentiment - outpourings of the purest soul. She was a very spiritual person and quite isolated in many ways, locked in her solitude. This comes out in her works, which are full of sadness, nostalgia and lyricism.

Romana is a very well-known artist from Dubrovnik, and a former beauty queen Miss Yugoslavia 1959, a beautiful person, inside and out! She did paintings and tapestries for the Dubrovnik Palace and the Hotel Excelsior before the War, so I’m delighted that we have her in the new Palace – ten canvases in fact. For me they are a breath of fresh air: bright, and as light as a snowflake. Like Romana herself, they fill me with happiness and positive energy, and her femininity stretches across every canvas. GS The Dubrovnik Palace Hotel’s art collection is the subject of a limited edition monograph, Art in Palace, by Croatian artist and publisher Fedor Dzamonja. For more information about this book, e-mail: corporate.communications@alh.hr

ARMANO JERICEVIC b 1964

This young conceptual artist is present everywhere in the Dubrovnik Palace acrylics on canvas, arty lamps and ornaments, all very avant garde. Armano qualified as a dentist, then gave up at the age of 35 and took himself off to Marrakesh, New York ... all over. G s

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Fashion: Brioni

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Fashion: Brioni

“The Brioni suit is not a fashion item,” insists Umberto Angeloni, CEO of the world’s most exclusive tailor. GS Review’s Marijana Marinovic met the man in the power suit at Brioni HQ on Milan’s Via Gesu, which is not fashionable - Heaven forbid! – but a thoroughfare of timeless elegance.

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Photograph by Petar Jurica

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Fashion: Brioni

“Our only secret is quality,” says Umberto Angeloni. The cost of a tailor-made Brioni suit, which can take up to six months to complete, may exceed 20,000 euros. Suits bought off the peg cost 3000 – 5000 euros.

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Fashion: Brioni

hat do Kofi Annan, John Wayne and James Bond have in common? Correct: it’s their tailor. The Brioni suit has been a symbol of elegance for more than sixty years, since Nazareno Fonticoli and Gaetano Savini opened the Atelier Brioni in Rome in 1945. Fonticoli was a native of Penne, near Pescara, and this small town remains the centre of production. Never say factory: at Brioni, every part of every suit is made by hand, with a little help from the sewing machine. On average, 32 hours of work go in to each suit, of which 18 hours are spent on the jacket alone. Brioni Roman Style, as the …. facility is known, manufactures 200 jackets a day. Every suit goes through 186 production stages and 42 ironings. Inside Brioni Roman Style, our first impression is how quiet it is: hardly what we expect of a room where hundreds of manual workers are hard at it. The only sounds are the whirr of sewing machines and the hiss of steam from the irons. This may be because Brioni employees need to concentrate hard. The fabrics are so expensive, nobody wants to make a mistake. Even the buttonholes are hand sewn, and each one takes 12 minutes of close stitching. The top buttonhole is embroidered inside and out, for the

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back of it may be visible if the jacket is worn unbuttoned. This hole requires 15 minutes. Fabrics are kept in special storage facilities and meticulously examined for weaving errors before cutting. The cuts used for VIP clients such as Pierce Brosnan or Luciano Pavarotti have separate storage rooms of their own. Brioni’s 600 VIP customers receive their suits vacuum-packed. They can visit a Brioni shop anywhere in the world for their fitting. Only the most important customers are invited to Brioni’s Milan headquarters for a fitting. Here they are seated in a luxurious show-room and treated to the finest cognac and cigars while their measurements are taken. Brioni applies its philosophy - “Only The Best” - to all aspects of life. At Brioni, quality is not a management technique. It is a creed, a philosophy, and a mission. “Our clients recognize the value of a product that combines tradition, craftsmanship and style”, says 53-year old Umberto Angeloni. The exclusivity of the Brioni power suit may have something to do with its price. Suits bought off the peg in one of Brioni’s 25 boutiques or 400 sales points cost 3000 - 5000 euros. The cost of a tailor-made suit, which can take up to six months to complete, may exceed

VIP customers such as Henry Fonda (above) and Clark Gable (facing page, bottom right) are invited to Brioni’s Milan headquarters for a fitting, and treated to cognac and cigars.

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Fashion: Brioni

Labour of love. Each Brioni suit goes through 186 production stages and takes 32 hours of work. There are 40,000 patterns to choose from.

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20,000 euros. There are 40,000 patterns to choose from, including one with 24-carat gold stitching. Brioni carries more than 200 models in 19 different sizes, including short, extra short, long, extra long, regular, extra large. There are 22,800 possible variations of size. Brioni’s demanding clients have led to the creation of many ingenious optional extras: an elastic strip to attach to the waist line and keep the shirt in place; a special buttonhole for flowers; extra pockets for passport and pen, anti-sweating patches to apply to the sleeve, and a ‘keeper’ to hide the belt buckle. Named after a small group of Croatian islands, the Brioni brand owes its presence on the Croatian market to Goran Strok, a loyal customer and incurable fan. The first boutique opened at the Hotel Excelsior in Dubrovnik in 2004, the second in the centre of Zagreb in November 2005. “Brioni suits are intended for men of power, self confidence and high repute,” says Umberto Angeloni, “such as those who frequented the ultra-chic Brioni islands in the pre-War era. As the name links us to Croatia, it is only logical that we should have shops in Zagreb and Dubrovnik”. The main difference between the two boutiques, Angeloni explains, is that the Dubrovnik outlet is seasonal, like those in Capri, Portofino, Porto Cervo and Marbella, resorts that Angeloni rates on a par with Dubrovnik for cosmopolitan

glamour. Both boutiques offer men’s clothes, because more space is needed for displaying the women’s line. The name Brioni has been associated with men’s suits for 60 years, whereas the women’s brand was launched only five years ago.

Angeloni in conversation Marijana Marinovic began by asking Umberto Angeloni the most basic business question: Who buys Brioni suits? Politicians, kings, aristocrats, businessmen, actors …. anyone with sophisticated taste. What can you tell us about your celebrity customers? As you would expect, our client list is confidential, but I can tell you without giving too much away – or exaggerating - that our suits are worn by two dozen world leaders. Clients who have gone public as Brioni wearers include Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Gerhard Schroder, President Clinton, Prince Andrew, Luciano Pavarotti and Donald Trump. Not forgetting Clark Gable, John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Richard Burton… G s

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Fashion: Brioni

What about 007? Quite right: we made the suits for Pierce Brosnan in all the films where he played Bond – and that meant 80 suits for Goldeneye alone! The new Bond, Daniel Craig, will also be wearing our suits and sporting the Brioni dinner jacket. To me, James Bond is a perfect fit for the Brioni suit: a person of charisma, a style icon, the embodiment of an English gentleman and an international jet setter - adored by women and admired by men. How have you preserved the exclusivity of your fashion house? We are careful not to stray from the identity to which our customers are accustomed. Many brands have succumbed to mass production in their desire to expand in to as many markets possible. They put their names to hotels and restaurants and make watches, perfumes, furniture and home accessories, all of which must be produced quickly in order to sell. Like the product, the name Brioni was built to last. We refuse to make anything in a hurry.

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How do you keep up with fashion? Our only secret is quality. Fashion is temporary and short-lived, quality is unwavering and timeless. Fashion trends for men are based on a business look, and since quality is of the utmost importance to us, we do not change from one year to the next. Over the years our method of production has remained the same: 70 per cent of the suit is cut and sewn by hand, 30 per cent with the help of a sewing machine. We train our tailors at a special centre in Penne, next to the Brioni Roman Style plant. After four years at the Brioni school, a man is a Leonardo da Vinci among tailors - the best of the best. He knows how to make every part of the suit by hand. Another thing that makes us unique: everything is manufactured in Italy, and we insist on only the best materials. Michelangelo's works are masterpieces because he made them but, had he not used marble from Carrara, they would not be as beautiful.

What fabrics are used to make Brioni suits? Until two years ago, Brioni was the only manufacturer using escorial, a unique type of wool that does not wrinkle. However, as men prefer comfort, we also use soft wool, cashmere and silk. How much fabric goes in to one suit? Usually about three and a half metres, but if the customer has the proportions of a sumo wrestler …. as much as eight metres may be needed. What is the fundamental ingredient of elegance in men’s fashion? The three-piece suit is timeless and functional. It is worn by determined and confident men, men of the ‘old school’ who respect tradition, know what they want in life and how to achieve it. The individual’s style is expressed through accessories, and Brioni has much to offer here: handkerchiefs, cuff-links, ties, bowties, gloves, belts, canes…. What are your best markets? Our main markets are the US, which accounts for 30% of our sales, Italy (25%) and Germany (10%). But we sell our products all over the world – wherever business is done. GS

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Hotel Bellevue

Dubrovnik gains a stylish new 5-star address this summer with the re-opening of the Hotel Bellevue. A haven of seclusion and discreet luxury, the Bellevue sets a new benchmark for Croatian leisure properties.

Breathtaking

Bellevue “

ubrovnik knows to expect something a bit different from us, and we haven’t disappointed them,” says Renata Strok, who has directed the design aspects of the project. Visitors who remember the Bellevue of old will find the hotel changed in almost every detail, save for the spectacular clifftop setting 30 metres above Miramare Bay, a secluded sandy cove between the old town of Dubrovnik and the Lapad peninsula. In strolling distance of the gates of the old town, it is a location that deserves an exceptional property. As of Summer 2006, it has one. The new hotel has 93 rooms, including 80 luxury rooms, 12 suites and 1 presidential suite; a spa, fitness centre and a magnificent indoor pool. There are bars and restaurants both in the hotel itself and at sea level, on the Bellevue’s private beach. “Our objective has been to create a true haven,” says Mrs Strok; “somewhere to soothe the soul and stimulate the senses, offering an escape from the busy city.” This vision of blissful sanctuary may not be easy to reconcile with Renata Strok’s definition of the style of

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the new Bellevue as ‘ethno-techno-rock’, which sounds rather noisy. She can explain, however. “Ethno, because we like to use local materials, show off local craftsmanship and give a flavour of Croatian culture through the works of art on display and the decorative style of the hotel.” Those cushions are locally stitched, those paintings by Croatian artists …. Techno speaks for itself: the hotel is absolutely state of the art, with ‘smart room’ technology throughout. “And you’re right: rock … is for rock and roll,” says Renata. “The Bellevue will attract a young and dynamic clientele of high achievers, and we want them to walk in and think ... ‘all right...!’” Naturally the Bellevue invites comparison with the Dubrovnik Palace, which has had plaudits and international awards heaped upon it in the two years since it opened. But in reality the two concepts are quite different. The Bellevue is much smaller, for a start. And the Dubrovnik Palace always had to be a compromise in the sense that it serves both business and leisure clients, whereas the

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Dubrovnik

Bellevue is a leisure hotel for Dubrovnik’s most discerning and affluent visitors. “The point about an urban business hotel is that guests stay for no more than a night or two,” explains Mrs Strok. “You can get away with a trendy concept – the Hip Hotel thing and make it work. Here, people will stay for a week and need surroundings they can live with. A more natural style is essential, and a mood of serenity is what we are aiming for. Anything too gimmicky will not work – they will soon tire of it.” “This will not be a shiny hotel,” promises Mrs Strok. Olive wood, grey granite and other matt stone surfaces set the keynote of textures that are natural and restful to the eye and touch. The Reception area is dominated by a panoramic window overlooking the sea. “The trend in hotels of this kind is to make the lobby in to something resembling a stage set,” says Mrs Strok; “designed to impress with colourful lighting and objects everywhere. This was not for us – we felt a more functional space was required. That is not to say it should not be aesthetically pleasing – far from it. But the

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reception is an area you pass through and in this case look through … out to sea.” To set foot in the Bellevue is to leave the outside world behind. Mrs Strok likens the experience to being on board ship, and this idea of escapism runs through her design concept for the hotel. “Looking out from Reception, you can’t see the city,” she says; “just the sea and a monastery on the rocks visible on the extreme right. The setting is really dramatic, on top of a 30-metre cliff. You look straight out, and straight down to the small sandy beach.” It goes without saying that no design scheme of Renata Strok’s comes without remarkable works of art. Here, on the wall behind the rough olive-wood reception desk, a specially commissioned work by Croatia’s leading sculptor Dusko Dzamonja confronts the visitor and demands a reaction. On the opposite side of the room, the fronds of a palm tree rise up from the floor below. Bedrooms at the Bellevue revisit the sailing theme, with simple furniture and wooden floors such as might be found on a stylish but understated yacht. The balconies have a clear

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Hotel Bellevue

glass balustrade, so there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to block the view. Rooms are further adorned with lithographs and pastels by two top Croatian artists: Fedor Dzamonja, son of the sculptor, himself a distinguished photographer and painter; and Zeljko Senecic, a painter, architect and stage designer. Bathrooms are uncluttered, functional and comfortable, tiled in light travertina marble.

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The bar is a cosy and intimate space, with the bottom half of the African palm tree that visitors will have encountered in reception. “We thought the bare tree trunk, although sculpturally interesting, might be a little stark,� says Mrs Strok. A cluster of bushy young palms planted around the base of the tree soften the effect. As befits a relaxing holiday hotel, the decor and atmosphere of the bar and restaurant

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Dubrovnik

Location Dubrovnik Old City 800m Airport 20km

Accommodation ◆ 80 rooms ◆ 12 suites ◆ 1 presidential suite ◆ All rooms and suites are sea-facing, with bathroom, interactive TV, internet connection, air conditioning, mini bar, direct dial telephone, safe. Most of the rooms and suites have balconies ◆ A la carte restaurant ◆ Beach taverna ◆ Aperitif bar ◆ Beach bar ◆ 24 hour room service ◆ Private beach ◆ Wellness centre with sauna ◆ Fitness club ◆ Indoor swimming pool ◆ Jogging path ◆ Hairdresser ◆ Shops ◆ Underground garage

are essentially casual, with white linen lanterns and table cloths. The outstanding food served in the hotel’s a la carte restaurant speaks for itself. It was one of the more problematic conditions of the permit to redevelop the Bellevue that the stone fabric of an old villa on the site had to be preserved. In the context of the creation of a new luxury hotel, this called for an imaginative solution, and one was found: the façade of the villa complete with front door and shutters makes a decorative partition wall between the restaurant and its kitchen. From one temple of self indulgence to another: silence prevails in the Bellevue’s restful wellness centre. Here and in the fitness area, decorative elements are spare. A skinned tree stained white, standing alone like a petrified pillar … a scattering of antique urns once used as storage jars for olive oil ….. But the indoor pool is an extraordinary

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Ground handling agent Adriatic Luxury Services organises airport transfers by car, bus or boat; plane hire; limousine service; daily sightseeing and special interest activities directly from the hotel

creation, with the living rock of the cliff as one wall and the other all glass - a window on the Adriatic. It is in fact an indoor infinity pool, suspended twenty metres above the sea. Swimming is believing. At sea level, served by the hotel’s private lift or a rough cliff path - described by Renata Strok as “somewhat goatish” - the hotel has a coffee bar and taverna beside the sheltered water. About half of the small bay is the Bellevue’s private beach – a small corner of paradise in the Adriatic jewel that is Dubrovnik. GS

Hotel Bellevue Pera Cingrije 7, 20000 Dubrovnik Croatia. Tel: 00385 20330 000 Fax: 0038520330100 e-mail: sales@hotel-bellevue.hr www.hotel-bellevue.hr

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Champagne Philipponnat

Smaller champagne houses make better wine than the giants of the industry, Charles Philipponnat tells Minty Clinch. “Dealing in thousands rather than millions of bottles means I can give my wines a personal touch.”

harles Philipponnat trots briskly up the steps to survey the heart of his empire, the Clos des Goisses vineyard overlooking a canal off the River Marne. To consumers who know little more about champagne than the fact that they like to drink a lot of it, this narrow bank looks agriculturally challenging compared with the handsome vineyards that stretch towards wide horizons on the rolling hills behind. “Not at all,” says Charles. Here in Champagne, steep, south facing and chalky is the ideal blueprint for a warm, welldrained terroir where the vine can flourish. Clos des Goisses is an exceptional singlevineyard champagne, and it is the steep south-facing slope where we are standing that gives the wine its indelible flavour. A further five hectares of more gently

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pitched east-facing vines provide exceptional blending flexibility. The cooler the year, the greater the percentage of grapes from the steep slope; the warmer it is, the greater the role played by the rest of the vineyard. Charles pauses to inspect the neat corduroy of trellised rows, two thirds Pinot Noir, one third Chardonnay, all immaculately pruned for the coming of spring. His family has been making wine in this area since 1522, but Maison Philipponnat came into being in 1910 when Charles’s grandfather Auguste and great uncle Pierre moved from neighbouring Ay to Mareuil. Twenty five years later, Pierre seized the chance to add to his existing vineyards by buying the Clos des Goisses from the bankrupt Duke of Montebello. Back at Maison Philipponnat, a handsome pink building on Mareuil’s main street, Charles shows off the sparkling new

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winery he installed in 2003. After pressing, the three base wines are put in ceiling-high steel vats. Oak plays its part too, with storage in large barrels adding complexity to the wines, albeit at the expense of freshness. “Some prefer one and some the other”, says Charles, “just as some prefer blondes and others brunettes”. Once the wines are blended, a key task that Charles shares with his cellarer, they are bottled and fermented for a second time in the 18th century cellars below the winery. When grandfather died in World War 1, great uncle Pierre and his descendants took over Philipponnat and ran it until 1997. When the last of them departed, the ailing business fell in to the hands of the Boizel Chanoine champagne group. They were quick to revive the family connection by hiring Charles, who had worked for Moet & Chandon in France and Argentina as

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CEO and President. “Obviously they liked my name”, he says, “but my face fitted as well because I had the legal and commercial background to turn the business around.” In six years he has done exactly that, establishing Philipponnat as a successful medium sized champagne house. Business is

a year is small fry compared with Moet’s 30 million, but Charles believes that smaller houses have the chance to develop wines with a more distinctive personality. “I have total control which is essential because making good champagne requires patience and hard work”, he explains.

“I have total control which is essential. It takes ten years to produce a worthwhile wine, and thirty to develop a superior one.”

as nicely balanced as the wine. France takes 40% of production, and Britain, which leads the world in champagne consumption, has now joined the traditional export markets, Italy and Germany. Philipponnat’s output of 600,000 bottles

“It takes ten years for a house to produce a worthwhile wine and thirty to develop a superior one. Dealing in thousands rather than millions means I can give my wines a personal touch”. Champagne production dates back to

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Champagne Philipponnat

Shaken not stirred. The remueur (right) gives each bottle a daily twizzle to control the sedimentation

the late 17th century when Dom Perignon, the Benedictine Abbot of Hautvillers, developed the second fermentation process that put the sparkle into champagne. More than three centuries later, the methods of production remain highly labour intensive, with all pruning, trellising and harvesting done by hand. Once the wine is in the cellars, the ‘remueurs’ (riddlers) take over, giving the 500,000 bottles stored on site a daily twizzle to control the sedimentation. Charles is a hands-on president, overseeing all phases of production with expertise and exuberance. In the tasting room he plunges in to negotiation with a local barrel salesman who has arrived bearing samples of oak and unappetising clear fluid, apparently aged in the wood. A lively discussion follows as they inspect the wood and taste the liquid. To buy or not to buy? Charles clearly enjoys the cut and thrust of commerce. He also enjoys his daily intake of

champagne, popping corks with enthusiasm. At home with his Corsican wife and four children, he admits to the occasional glass of red, but on Philipponnat territory it has to be champagne with everything: blanquette de veau, pot au feu, oysters, scallops, clams, mushrooms, cheese … if white wine is appropriate, let it be champagne. One of the few exclusions from his long list of suitable dishes to eat with champagne is any kind of pudding. “If you insist, drink Sec or Demi-Sec,” he says sternly. “Brut

with pudding is an English abomination!” In food and wine alike, Charles Philipponnat looks for intensity, variety and the ability to surprise. He finds it hard to pick favourites but when pressed for his Desert Island Drink settles for 1964 Clos des Goisses - in magnum, of course, although there are few left. And after his Last Supper? He can think of no finer end than that of the Duke of Clarence: drowning in a barrel of wine. GS Our thanks to P&O Ferries: (08705 20 20 20; www.POferries.com): and the hotel Royal Champagne, Champillon (+33 3 26 52 87 11; www.royalchampagne.com) for assistance researching this feature. Champagne Philipponnat, 13 rue du Pont, 51160 Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, France. Tel: + 33(0) 3.26.56.93.00; www.champagnephilipponnat.com UK Agent: Fortitude Wines. Tel: 020 8760 0800; info@fortitude wines.com

Charles Philipponnat’s Tasting Notes los des Goisses, 1992: 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, all grown in Clos des Goisses and aged 10 years in the bottle. 1992 was a relatively soft vintage, extremely classical. 12,000 bottles, though the vineyard averages 15,000. The wine is impressively fresh after 14 years, ripe and profound, with a stewed fruit flavour and a long finish. You can drink it with almost anything including red meat stews, though it’s best with game, with black truffle and mushroom sauces. It is robust enough to balance a little fat, for example pan-fried goose liver. Réserve Millésimée 1999: 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay. The young fruit

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has transformed to create secondary and tertiary aromas. 1999 was a subtle year, producing a soft and delicate vintage of 20,000 bottles, though we can make up to 40,000. Because it is aged on the lees, the wine is smoky, with elements of spiced fruit and leather. The Pinot Noir gives it a zing that goes well with poached lobster, roast chicken, or goose or veal with chanterelle sauce. Grand Blanc 1991: 100% Chardonnay. The use of only chardonnay grapes makes a nutty, ripe and spicy wine that goes well with curry and dry

cheeses made with cow’s milk, such as gruyereand emmental. Royal Reserve: 40-50% Pinot Noir, 30-35% Chardonnay, 15-25% Pinot Meunier. This is our top-selling non-vintage champagne: 400,000 bottles a year and 70% of our sales. Intense fresh taste, fruity and surprisingly dense. We harvest our own grapes late and ask our suppliers to do the same, to create greater complexity. Royal Reserve makes an excellent aperitif. It also goes well with seafood, white meat, charcuterie and light cheeses.

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A LEGEND AWAKES...

In the park of the legendary Schloss Velden, located at the western shore of Lake Wörthersee, in southern Austria, a luxury resort is being built and is already making headlines all over Europe. The romantic palace is being upgraded to the standards of an international five star plus luxury hotel. This will include a spacious spa facility, a gourmet restaurant and an exquisite beach club and marina available to future owners of the private residences. For detailed information on this exceptional real estate project as well as for all sales information about your “own personal residence,” contact: Stiller & Hohla Immobilientreuhänder (Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s Great Estates), Tel. +43 (0)662/6585-100. Be there when “a legend awakes …”

RESIDENZEN

SCHLOSS VELDEN

www.residenzenschlossvelden.com


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Elafiti Islands

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Croatia

Tired of the dusty sightseeing trail? Then hop on a ferry and swap sophisticated Dubrovnik for the simple life of the Elafiti Islands. Rob McKelvie plays Robinson Crusoe. ith 1,185 to choose from it can be difficult to decide which Croatian islands to visit. From Dubrovnik the choice is easy, with the lovely necklace of the Elafiti Islands beckoning just a short boat ride from the city. Each island has its own character and charm, but the Elafiti are united in their beauty and the escape they offer from the bustle of life in the fashionable resort city. From the tiny island of Daksa, less than 1km from the port of Dubrovnik, the small archipelago extends north towards the PeljeSac Peninsula, a rugged promontory renowned for its excellent wine. The Elafiti were once part of the powerful Republic of Ragusa (the old name for Dubrovnik), which held sway over a vast area of the Adriatic from the mighty walls of Ston in the north to present-day Montenegro in the south. In their heyday the islands were busy trading hubs, but their prosperity and importance fell away when Napoleon took control of the Republic. The islands sank into a state of slumber that today’s visitors find blissfully relaxing. Only Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan are inhabited, and they have yet to feel the impact of noticeable tourist development. For all but the most determined escapists, these three islands are the most rewarding to visit as they have a sprinkling of facilities, including seasonal summer restaurants offering fresher than fresh local seafood.

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Photography by Nenad Stanic and Zoran Marinovic

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After Dubrovnik’s rich diet of history and culture the Elafiti don’t ask us to engage the brain. Praise be, there is almost nothing to see! Even the most dedicated sightseers soon slip into the lotus-eating way of life, where the simple pleasures take over. Stroll along the island footpaths, enjoying the scents of rosemary and sage; take a dip in some of the cleanest seawater in Europe. And that’s about it. The Elafiti are more or less car-free. You won't even need a bicycle, as the islands are small enough to explore on foot. Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan are all connected to Dubrovnik by ferry and tour boats, but they remain off the main tourist circuit and rarely seem busy. And when the last ferry of the day leaves, the islands slip back from their diurnal state of sleepy enchantment, to sleep.

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Kolocep The smallest of the inhabited Elafiti islands and the closest to Dubrovnik has a population of around 150 and a surface area of only 2.6 sq km. It was once favoured by Dubrovnik's aristocracy, who had their weekend retreats here. There are two small villages connected by a short walking trail: Donje Celo, where the ferry comes in, and Gornje Celo. Donje Celo's old stone houses nestle around a sandy beach, much appreciated by the citizens of Dubrovnik. From Gornje Celo you can branch out on the paths that meander off into the patchy pine forest that covers the rest of the island. Kolocep is popular with snorkellers as there is a coral reef offshore, but you won’t find any shops or hire outlets, so bring your own snorkelling gear. Clothing is optional in the more secluded bathing places.

Lopud Its current population of around 220 may only be a fraction of what it once was when it was the seat of Ragusa's power on the islands, but Lopud still boasts reminders of its grand past, including two ruined forts that gaze sternly out over the Adriatic. The village of Lopud overlooks an attractive beach and has a number of fine houses built for the island’s wealthy ship owners. In its heyday there were more than 20 churches on the island, but traces of only a few remain. You can still visit the old Franciscan monastery, which overlooks the bay where the ferry comes in. Its

Dolce far niente. Even the most dedicated sightseers slip into the lotus eating way of life on the Elafiti Islands.

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Croatia

As part of the powerful republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik), the Elafiti islands were busy trading hubs in their heyday, but their importance declined once Napoleon took control

church, Our Lady of the Cave, has interesting altar paintings that depict both religious and pastoral themes. Lopud's other big attraction is the palatial home of Miho Pracat, the archipelago’s most famous son. The commercial activities of this powerful 16th century shipping magnate helped to swell the Republic’s coffers, as well as his own, earning him the honour of a commemorative bust in the atrium of the Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik. If there are doubts about the exact source of Pracat’s initial wealth - some say he robbed the Cathedral treasury - don't mention a word of it on the Elafiti. Recalling the days when Pracat's ships brought home exotic bounty from their voyages, the surrounding park has an interesting collection of flora, with bamboo and cacti joining Lopud's more familiar décor of palm trees and pines. It is worth continuing up the hill to the fortress ruins that crown the heights of Lopud. The view out over the island and the Adriatic is as fine as any in the Elafiti. From the village a track cuts through palm groves between the island’s two landmark hills to emerge at Sunj, one of G S

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the best places to swim in the archipelago; there are two simple restaurants here in summer. As well as its pine-fringed beach, Sunj boasts a little church full of interesting works of art. The island's 11km coastline has many other sandy coves, offering the chance to get away from other people and relax in surroundings of perfect tranquillity. Sipan Hilly Sipan is the largest of the Elafiti and one of the least developed of all Croatia's inhabited islands. Ferries from Dubrovnik ease into Sipanska Luka, an attractive little palm-fringed village that basks idly in the Adriatic sun. There is little to see and do here beyond exploring among the old buildings and relaxing on the small sandy beach. Crossing the island from Sipanska Luka to the still smaller village of Sudurad is a delightful scenic ramble of some 7km through olive groves, vineyards and over the pine-clad hills of Sipan. Mini-buses sometimes run the route across the Sipanska valley and there are bicycles for hire in summer.

In Sudurad the crumbling former palace of 16th century Ragusan shipowner Vice Stjepovic sports two towers that stand proudly among the ruins. Better preserved is another 16th-century building, St Mary's Church, out on its own a few kilometres from the village. Like much of the Elafiti, it seems to be fighting a half-hearted battle against the encroaching vegetation. GS

GETTING THERE Ferries run regularly from Dubrovnik's main port of Gruz to Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Kolocep, 50 minutes to Lopud and 1 hour 30 minutes to get to Sipan. The frequency varies from one ferry a day during winter to four a day in summer. As well as scheduled ferries, a variety of tourist boats also flit out to the islands at the height of summer, some combining visits to all three islands in a day’s excursion.

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Classic Car Rally

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Classic Car Rally

An armada of sixty classic sports cars assembled on the sea front at Opatija for the start of the 17th Classic Marathon rally on September 11th 2005. The Dalmatian Dash offered a taste of the pleasures of old-fashioned motoring, reports Volvo driver Paul Bloxidge, a regular Classic Marathon competitor. he Dalmatian Dash, as the 2005 Classic Marathon was dashingly if not altogether accurately named, took us on a six-day tour of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, using sections the route of the famously gruelling Sofia-Liege rally from the 1960s. In previous years we had done the Dolomites, the Pyrenees and the Alps. The 2004 Classic Marathon in Norway - the Viking Raid - won an international award for the best historic rally of the year. Tackling the Balkans was certainly a bold step for the organisers Jeremy Dickson and

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our ‘route master’ Keith Baud, who did an immense amount of work on research trips before the event. The journey to Opatija meant that many people decided to ship their cars, as I did, or use the German motorail service to Rijeka, rather than drive out. This all adds to the cost of an expensive sport, but it was definitely worth it. The driving was superb. Five rally stages took us from Opatija to Zagreb, Sarajevo, Split, back up the coast to Opatija again, and finally over the mountains to Ljubljana, where we did our last day’s driving. On the way we passed many eloquent wartime landmarks: sniper’s

alley in Sarajevo, the Holiday Inn where the BBC stayed, and the bridge in Mostar, which is now a tourist attraction. The scenery was wonderful throughout, but most of the time on a rally you’re going so fast you have no idea where you’ve been at the end of the day. The usual routine is not terribly complicated: drive from 0830 in the morning to 0730 in the evening, then spend half and hour under the car trying to make sure it will work in the morning, then have dinner, drink too much and go to bed. My impressions of Slovenia are of a very alpine country, as neat and tidy as Austria.

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“… in Croatia it was the friendliness of the people and their interest in the rally that stood out. We’d be doing a manoeuvres test in a car park in front of hundreds of spectators. This is not something we’ve experienced before.”

In Croatia, the beautiful women of Opatija – a second Monte Carlo on the Adriatic – made a profound impression on many of my fellow competitors. The sea views were nice too, as we came down from the mountains towards Split and saw the Adriatic like a mirror below. But my lasting memory of Croatia is the friendliness of the local people, and their level of interest in our rally. We would be doing a manoeuvres test in a car park in front of a crowd of hundreds of cheering spectators. This is not something we have experienced before, and it makes for a great atmosphere. The scenic climax of the rally was undoubtedly the drive over Slovenia’s highest pass, the Vrsic (1612m), between Bovec and Kranjska Gora – an amazing stretch of road with 26 hairpins on the way up, 22 coming down. From a rallying point of view, the whole area was a delight. The roads are empty and underused – it was like rediscovering the pleasures of motoring in 38

Britain 30 years ago. It is part of the challenge of these rallies that the roads are not closed, and you never know what’s round the next corner – it could be a tractor, a steam roller or a group of cyclists. But a lot of western European routes are now too busy for enjoyable rally driving. The Dalmatian Dash gave us plenty of exciting mountain driving - we must have done at least 300 miles on loose gravel. The maps were a slight problem: they often marked roads that weren’t there, and failed to show good ones that were. In one place they marked an airport on the wrong side of the road. Luckily we had no serious incidents, although there was a narrow escape when an Austin Healey 3000 T-boned a bollard on a mountain hairpin, with a big fresh air drop beckoning. Somehow he carried on, and finished the rally. The field was 60 cars dating from the 1920s to the 1970s. In theory 1974 is the cut-off date, but there are always a few younger cars.

A 1977 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow Convertible had the misfortune to overheat after an hour of the first day and had to be shipped back to UK. It must have been terribly galling for the owners, but to their credit they hired a car and followed the rally in what is known as the Hertz class. There are two categories of competition – Masters, and Clubman’s, which follows an easier route with less arduous times to be met. Within each category there are various classes, depending on the age and size of vehicle. My rally car is a Volvo Amazon 123 GT which I bought as a box of bits and a rust wrap. Virtually nothing in it is original. The Volvo served us well on the Dalmatian Dash. Our only problem was the fuel pump: the car kept feeling as though it was running out of petrol. I knew it wasn’t, so we gave the pump a kick and carried on. It cost us 20 valuable seconds though. I bought the Volvo in preparation for a proper endurance event such as Peking to Paris or London to Cape Town. I also have a fixed head Jaguar XK 140 which I stripped down for rallying; and a 1975 Porsche 911 which is gorgeous – the ideal car, in my opinion. Porsches are always the fastest in the rallies and in our class - under G s

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2 litres, post 1965 - I’m often racing against Porsches. I entered the rally with my son James, an excellent navigator. This is my way of pulling rank: the way I see it, I spend ages putting the cars together and mending them, so I want to be the one that bends them. And I do love the driving …... So James does the navigating, which calls for quick mental arithmetic and presence of mind when you’re driving against the clock, to the split second. A key element of the day-to-day challenge is the Regularity test. For a section of the route, often as long as 40km and usually on roads that are difficult to drive and navigate, competitors are required to maintain exact average speeds. This average is not constant: for example, we might be required to drive the first 6.8km at an average of 49kph, then maintain 52kph until 12.3km … and so on. Marshals at two or more

secret checkpoints along the way time us as we go past, and penalise us by the second if we are early or late. ‘Regularity’ success depends on an accurate distance recorder (measuring to 1/100th of a km), stopwatches, and speed/distance/time tables. All that, and find the correct route and drive it. Imagine trying to maintain a 52kph average through 29 snowy hairpins in a 50 year-old car at night, and you get an idea of the challenge. When everything is going well you need to be alert and have a certain agility of mind to do the sums. When things start going wrong, you need mechanical ability as well, although the organisers provide sweep crews who follow the rally and spend all night getting cars back in shape. While we’re eating dinner and drinking wine, they’re underneath a pre-War Bentley, trying to mend the springs. These crews are the unsung heroes of the

Which hole does the oil go in? Rally drivers need mechanical ability and mental agility as well as driving and navigation skills. Bottom right: Paul Bloxidge and son James with their Volvo at the end of the Dalmatian Dash in Ljubljana.

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event – amazingly good at what I call bush mechanics: improvising repairs and getting the local blacksmiths to weld and forge new parts over night. Winning doesn’t alter the price of bread: the results are purely for gratification. But of course there are fierce rivalries, and coming up against the same people year after year adds to the fun. Without doubt, the sporting highlight of our rally was a trial on a figure of eight track at Logatec in Slovenia. Our main rival, a recognised hotshoe, was a faster car than us and at the half way stage we were level. I said to James ‘there’s no way we can beat them,’ but then our rivals made a mistake and collected a five second penalty. James said: “Look here, dad, if we take it easy and pace ourselves, we can win this.” “We haven’t come all this way to take it easy ...” I replied, possibly in more colourful language. The red mist descended, and we ended up beating our rivals even without the penalty, and won our class. GS

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Grand Hotel Bonavia 1876 - 2006

The Grand Hotel Bonavia has been an institution in Rijeka since the age of gas lanterns and sailing ships. Its beginnings go back to the Trattoria A La Buona Via, and outstanding food remains a cornerstone of the hotel’s reputation.

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Bonavia he Grand Hotel Bonavia stands at the heart of Rijeka, Croatia’s second city and leading sea port, and enjoys a place of honour in the history of Croatian tourism. Since it opened more than a century ago, generations of satisfied customers have returned to this grand old lady of Adriatic hotels, secure in the expectation of a warm welcome, excellent food and professional service. The hotel has its origins in the golden age of Rijeka, a trading port ideally placed to participate in the industrial revolution, close to the heart of Europe. Under Austro-Hungarian control, the city grew rapidly during the fourth quarter of the 19th century and became one of Europe’s leading business and cultural centres. This growth followed the creation of important rail connections in the early 1870s: Rijeka was linked to Vienna and Budapest via Ljubljana and Zagreb in 1873, and to Trieste the following year. The port of Rijeka was also growing rapidly, and saw the installation of the first oil refinery in the region. Shipping companies were established, banks made their appearance, and an electric tramline traversed the entire city, which boasted 9 cinemas and 22 consulates. Rijeka was also well known for its ‘moretto’ gold jewellery, which was in demand across Europe. Craftsmen such as Rollandi and Gigante founded successful

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businesses supplying the royal court in Vienna and winning prizes at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. This enterprising city of travellers and traders naturally emerged as an early centre of the hospitality business, with lodges, inns and restaurants for visitors from all corners of the world. There were taverns for sailors where the traditional game of “mora japoneze” was played. At the dawn of the 20th century Rijeka had 20 hotels and 65,000 inhabitants, while the country's capital Zagreb had only three hotels for its population of 75,000. One of these twenty hotels was the Nacional, which had been founded in 1876 with a simple trattoria, ‘A la Buona Via,’ opening soon after. This restaurant quickly won a reputation throughout Istria for good food and hospitality. The precursor to today’s Bonavia was a spacious three-floor residential building constructed by Ignacio Bonetic in 1885 and later converted into a hotel. The first thorough reconstruction of the hotel was carried out in the 1930s. The facade was stripped of decoration, a layer of stone was added to the ground floor and two more

stories were added to the three existing ones. The Bonavia had central heating in its rooms, a telephone at the reception and a lift. Electric lighting had been in place since the turn of the century. In 1952 the Bonavia had 64 rooms and 97 beds. A six-story structure was added to the building in 1959, greatly increasing its capacity. This work, in a striking

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Grand Hotel Bonavia 1876 - 2006

Long gone are the days of gas lamps, carriages and crinolines, but some things never change. The Bonavia is still a focus for the public life of the city.

Habsburg hub. Rijeka was a town of traders and travellers and had 20 hotels at the end of the 19th century, compared with Zagreb’s three.

avant garde style by the design team of Lucic, Franlic and Sulowski, was supposed to take two years to complete, but it was not until April 27th 1965 that the new Bonavia welcomed its first guests, with the bar and ground floor still unfinished. This was the only hotel building or rebuilding activity carried out in Rijeka between 1945 and 1998. After more than a century of successful operation, the Bonavia was purchased in

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1995 from its many shareholders by Goran Strok, a Croatian businessman based in Britain. The Bonavia was his first hotel acquisition, followed by other capital investments in Great Britain and Dubrovnik, which recovered from the war-torn 1990s to enjoy economic revival and a renaissance in its tourism. More than three decades after its last major renovation, Goran Strok launched a thorough reconstruction of the Grand

Hotel Bonavia in 1998. A total of 10 million euros was invested in the hotel’s reconstruction - one of the largest recent investments in the heart of Rijeka. When it was re-launched in 2000, the Bonavia set a new benchmark for business hotels in Croatia, with accommodation of the highest quality, three multi-functional conference halls and a level of service that is widely acknowledged to exceed its fourstar category. High standards are a matter of professional pride to all members of staff, who are the body and spirit of the hotel. Stylish throughout, with elegant

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Grand Hotel Bonavia 1876 - 2006

Doing the business. Relaunched in 2000, the Bonavia set a new benchmark for business hotels in Croatia.

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furniture and original paintings, the hotel has 114 bedrooms, 6 suites and a presidential suite named after Rijeka’s most famous son, the pre-industrial entrepreneur Ljudevit Adamic (1766 – 1828). True to its past, the Bonavia remains dedicated to excellent gastronomy. As the hotel’s head chef likes to remind his team: “the Bonavia has been famous not only for caviar, salmon and lobster. At least as many distinguished guests have joined the queue for our turnip and beans with ribs.” The Bonavia’s regulars are gourmets who know that the experience is not complete if they have not tasted the scampi, or the home-made green pasta with prosciutto and mushrooms. The Bonavia’s Black Forest and Sacher cakes are every bit as good as the Viennese originals, or better. The hotel’s worldclass gastronomy was confirmed when Pope John Paul II visited Croatia in 2003: all meals for the church dignitaries were prepared at the Bonavia. More than a century on, the Bonavia welcomes a new generation of travellers. Although it has a long history, facilities and standards are under continual review, to keep

up with the pace of technological innovation in the hotel industry and the changing demands of international business travellers. Long gone are the days of gas lanterns, crinolines and carriages, when sailing ships transported wine and oil between Adriatic and Mediterranean ports. The Rijeka of today may have little in common with the town of 1876, but some things never change. The Grand Hotel Bonavia remains an institution at the heart of the city’s life: a place for feasting and dancing and intimate tete a tete dinners; a place where people meet, fall in love, get married and have fun. Vivat Bonavia! GS VIP VISITORS

The Grand Hotel Bonavia has welcomed royalty, statesmen and celebrities from many countries and walks of life in its 130 year history. Staff members are trained to respect the privacy of their guests above all else, but treasure their memories of visiting stars such as Tom Selleck, Ottavio Missoni, Natassia Kinsky, Peter Falk, Kirk Douglas, Belinda Lee, George Scott and Ali MacGraw. G s

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Goran Strok...in conversation

Cheerleader for Croatian tourism, accidental diplomat, absentee grandfather. “I do it out of passion for my country,” says the indefatigable GS Hotels & Resorts Chairman Goran Strok. “It’s my way of bringing something back.” roatia is no longer a secret,” says GS Hotels & Resorts Chairman Goran Strok. “Its beauty, the islands, celebrity visitors … we read about it everywhere. But what people sometimes fail to grasp is this: as far as the business of tourism is concerned, Croatia is an emerging country. This is where we have been able to lead the way, thanks to our English connections and my broader experience internationally. The task is to upgrade everything to crème de la crème quality, and bring the tastes of the world to Dubrovnik and Croatia. “So if you ask me, am I proud of what we have done in Dubrovnik, the answer is yes. I can’t think of a better way of describing that achievement than the comments of the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and IFC (International Finance Corporation) when they came to visit us in Dubrovnik: that we have created the Croatian brand. “This is what I spend much of my time doing: selling Croatia, by inviting and hosting statesmen, celebrities and businessmen; by doing TV interviews to promote Croatia to American viewers; by introducing the Mayor of Dubrovnik to the Queen in Windsor, or – in my daughter Vanja’s case - persuading the fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph to come to Dubrovnik for a major fashion shoot..” Goran Strok’s expertise and high media profile make him an eloquent spokesman for his native country. In November, when NBC’s Today Show broadcast live from Dubrovnik, he was Matt Lauer’s first interviewee and explained his love of the city to an audience of 7 million viewers across America. In February the Discovery Channel broadcast an in-depth profile of Strok in its ‘Europe’s Richest’ documentary series, describing the GS Hotels & Resorts Chairman as 'a

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pioneer in transforming the Croatian tourism industry’. Of course, it is not all front-of-stage activity. “In Dubrovnik we are setting up the Adriatic Luxury Hotels Academy,” says Strok. “Visiting professors from Lausanne, Paris and other international hotel schools will lead courses for local trainees,” Strok explains. “Another priority is staff accommodation. When I have built flats for our managers in Dubrovnik, I think my mission there will be complete!” US Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to the Dubrovnik Palace and Hotel Excelsior in May 2006 brought more front-page exposure to the jewel of the Adriatic. Naturally, Goran Strok was present to extend a personal welcome to the Vice Presidential couple, who stayed at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel and by their own admission fell in love with Dubrovnik, the hotel and the works of art in its Presidential Suite. There had been fewer fanfares when a leading member of the Saudi royal family – HRH Prince Mitab bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz – stayed at the Dubrovnik Palace with his family in 2005, but Goran Strok singles this out as one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.

“If you’ve visited Dubrovnik in summer, you will guess that they were not our only VIP guests. Far from it - at one stage we had Prince Mitab and the King of Jordan, who came for a meeting with the President of Croatia; and John Malkovich who has family roots in the Adriatic and was here for ten days on holiday, relaxing and exploring with his family, and, like so many other visitors, house hunting. “It is gratifying that so many and such

Palace Guests. Goran Strok’s recent VIP guests in Dubrovnik have included John Malkovich (below, left), Vice President Dick Cheney and Michael Palin (below right). In February he visited Saudi Arabia and met the King (opposite, cutting from Al-Jazirah 16/2/2006)

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Goran Strok...in conversation

Flying the flag for brand Croatia diverse people of distinction are captivated by Dubrovnik. And we in turn could not but be impressed by the Saudi family, who behaved with the utmost respect for everyone, from the President of Croatia to the waiter in the restaurant. “One day when we were talking, Prince Mitab received a call on his mobile phone and, after a short conversation, apologised profusely to me: ‘it was my father (the King), wanting to know what Croatia is like. I told him it is beautiful: a country of green mountains surrounded by the sea.’ “At a meeting we arranged, Prince Mitab told President Mesic he liked Dubrovnik so much, he had decided to spread the word around and send Saudis on holiday here. ‘From now on it won’t be Sicily or Sardinia, but Dubrovnik,’ he said. “At the end of his visit Prince Mitab G S

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invited me to Saudi Arabia with my family and, charmingly, my best friend. It was not the easiest timing for us but I sensed that this was no casual invitation, so I went with Renata and my best friend from school. “Seeing Saudi life was an eye opener for me. Far from the closed world we expected to find, we met only kind and hospitable people, their faith and culture intertwined in the most impressive way. To us outsiders, their way of life seemed remarkably well integrated. “Among many memories that we will treasure from our Saudi visit we saw a camel race and the most beautiful thoroughbred stables I have seen. But the ceremonial highlight of the visit was my meeting with the King, to whom I delivered a formal letter from President Mesic. For a businessman,

this was a fascinating insight in to the diplomatic process.” Another visitor to the Dubrovnik Palace was the Mayor of Ohrid in Macedonia. “He too was impressed by what we have done,” says Goran Strok. “I was able to visit Ohrid and had useful meetings with the Prime Minister of Montenegro and the President of Macedonia. “Whether our investment hopes come to fruition or not, put Ohrid on your must-visit list: it’s stunning - a fascinating old town on a mountain lake, full of historic interest, with amphitheatres, monasteries and icons; and perfect for outdoor holidays of diving, biking, hiking and fishing. The trout is superb, and you won’t find clearer spring water anywhere. Ohrid is only 40 minutes by plane from Dubrovnik - in the old days people used to combine the two destinations in a classic two-centre itinerary, a week in each. “Make no mistake, Ohrid needs to be put back on the map, as does Montenegro. And we mean to do it!” GS 45


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Sabrage

The noble art of sabrage – decapitating a champagne bottle with a sword - came to Windsor in October. GS Review Editor Adam Ruck joined the ranks of Sabreurs.

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heads delegation of high-ranking officers of the prestigious international Confrérie du Sabre d’Or (Brotherhood of the Golden Sabre) came to Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel on October 7th for a Sabrage dinner. While a piper played on the hotel’s riverside terrace, elegant ladies in long dresses sipped champagne and admired the sword play of their dashing escorts. Novices performed their first sabrage, experienced Sabreurs won promotion to Chevalier status, and as many fizzy bottles were drained as decapitated. “Vous avez fait le geste … geste qui vous ouvre les portes de notre confrérie!” solemnly intoned the Order’s UK Ambassadeur Julian White – a wine merchant in real life - before dubbing each new Sabreur with a tap of the sword on each shoulder. The Confrérie du Sabre d’Or is dedicated to sabrage, an impressive party trick that is much less difficult than it looks and serves no purpose at all, beyond than that of bringing people together for a party and promoting the consumption of champagne – noble objectives, indeed. “It’s a bit of fun really,” says Julian White, “and a good excuse to recycle some champagne bottles.” What better way to launch a party on a note of spectacular celebration? Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel

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had been welcomed in to the fold of the Confrérie as an official Caveau de Sabrage four months before, in celebration of the hotel group’s tenth anniversary. Goran Strok, founder and Chairman of GS Hotels & Resorts, became the first Sabreur and was presented with a sabre by ChevalierCouncillor Clare Logue. The hotel’s Food and Beverage Manager Barry Skinley was the new Caveau’s Maître-Sabreur, ready to offer sabrage to hotel guests. The ceremony goes down particularly well at wedding receptions, where the bridal couple can perform a joint sabrage before attacking the wedding cake with the sabre. With its grandiloquent language and knights in flowing cloaks and extravagant plumed hats, the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or sounds like something out of a Dan Brown novel. Surely, its origins must stretch back to the Crusades or beyond? Enthusiasts tell us that sabrage came in to fashion in the Napoleonic age, when swashbuckling cavalry officers came back from the wars with an appetite for the high life and a flair for grandiose exhibitionism. But the Confrérie itself is exactly twenty years old. It was founded by a small group of champagne enthusiasts including Jean-Claude Jalloux, the owner/ chef of a small gastronomic auberge, La Grange

aux Loups, near Chantilly in Picardy, a region better known for horses and aerated cream than champagne and sword play. M Jalloux is now the supreme head, or Grand Maitre, of the Order. To the surprise and delight of its founders the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or caught on, and now has more than 20,000 members who get together and enjoy joyous sabrage moments in Caveaux de Sabrage all over the world, from New York to Bora Bora and Bali, via Sir Christopher Wren’s House in Windsor. Like the flamboyant and gratuitous gesture of Sabrage itself, joining the Confrérie is an easy way to impress your friends. All you have to do is pay a small fee, knock the head off a bottle, and you’re in. Have another go, and you may win promotion from humble Sabreur, tout court, to Chevalier Sabreur, with more diplomas to pin on the wall. How good is that? The Confrérie du Sabre d’Or The Order’s initiation ceremony is the intronisation (investiture) as a Sabreur. This is performed at a Caveau by its Maître-Sabreur. The new Sabreur pays the sabrage fee, plus the price of the bottle of champagne, and after a successful sabrage receives not only the contents of the bottle but also a certificate, a diploma, a copy of the Confrérie's Rules and an invitation to join the Confrérie Club. “Nobly, you separated the cork from the bottle that imprisons the precious

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“Why, then … the world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open.” (Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II, Scene II).

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nectar slumbering within.” Sabreurs can seek preferment to the rank of Chevalier at a Chapître where they will perform sabrage in front of an assembled crowd, be invested as a Chevalier of the Order by the GrandMaître or the Ambassadeur, and receive the regalia and certificates. Dinner, dancing and further novice sabrage follow. After five years as a Chevalier, a member can become an Officier by performing sabrage on a Magnum of Champagne at a Chapître in the presence of the GrandMaître. After five years as an Officier, a member can become a Commandeur by performing sabrage on a Jeroboam of Champagne at a Chapître. For more information about Sabrage and the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or, visit: www.confreriedusabredor.com

Sabrage - Do’s and Don’ts Don’t point the cork of a bottle at a valued person, animal or object. If you are in the habit of opening champagne in the normal way, this ought to be second nature. It may be more to the point to say: watch what you do with the sabre on your backswing. You don’t want to behead the dahlias or cut down a chandelier. Never attempt to sabre a bottle that has not been properly chilled (between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit is right) or a bottle that has been shaken. Only Formula One drivers shake champagne. It leads to wastage. Never hit the bottle with the sabre: the trick is to slide the sabre along the neck of the bottle. After sabrage, the top of the bottle and the cork are likely to be sharp, and must be handled with care. Drinking form the bottle is not advisable. French and British made champagne bottles are the best for sabrage. Any genuine champagne should be fine, but beware bottles that do not conform to the typical shape: they may crack or break in the wrong spot.

The art of sabrage – step by step abrage is surprisingly easy. All you need is the heavy sabre that is gathering rust in your kitchen knife block, and a good action akin to a one-handed backhand slice at tennis. The long, heavy sabre gives the best results, but if you don’t have one handy when a bottle of champagne needs opening, your heaviest kitchen knife will do. Use the blunt side of the blade for sabrage. Take a chilled bottle of champagne and hold it with the thumb of the hand you don't write with in the recessed base of the bottle. Your fingers will cradle the underside of the bottle. Gently remove the foil - all of it, not just the cork part. With the cork pointed in a safe direction, gently remove the wire cage. Assuming the bottle has been chilled and not shaken, the cork will stay in. Using the hand you write with, slide the nail of your thumb around the top of the bottle's neck, just below the area where the wire cage was attached. This part is called the annulus. You are looking for the bottle's seam. There are always two to a bottle, though some are hard to find. Where the seam meets the annulus is the weakest spot of the bottle. It is so weak, in fact, that with experience a skilled Sabreur can perform the task with a butter-knife or even the foot of a champagne glass Now turn the bottle so that this weak spot is facing you on top. This is the spot where you will make contact with the blade Hold the sabre and place its blade on the shoulder of the bottle. The bottle should be about two thirds of the blade away

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from the handle. Be sure that the angle of the bottle is such that the fluid is just short of touching the base of the cork in the bottle. A lesser angle will cause spillage, and a greater angle will make the sliding of the blade less natural. The action is critical to successful sabrage. It is not strength or force that is required, but momentum and followthrough: you need to maintain the motion beyond the point of impact. If you stop the motion at the annulus you risk cracking the

bottle along its length or chipping the rim. Do not hesitate, and do not use your wrist in the action – all the motion is from the elbow. Simply slide the blade along the bottle's neck as though the point of impact lay beyond the cork. Not too hard imagine the motion of waving away an unwelcome insect. Et voila - Santé! GS (Thanks to Maitre Sabreur Eric Benn of The Bubble Lounge, New York). G s

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28/6/06

Is time running out for the Neusiedler See?

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Dubrovnik Palace Hotel

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Sculptor, painter, culinary magician... the head chef at the Dubrovnik Palace believes it takes a large helping of love, spiced with a seasoning of art, to be a good cook. Marija Bikic admires the many creative talents of Tomislav Gretic.

Presidential

Sweet he 33-year old head chef of the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel is a master chef of the new generation. “Although my first ambition was to be a sculptor, my love of cooking goes back to my childhood,” says Tomislav Gretic. “My parents were both outstanding cooks.” His first job was in the Hotel Laguna in Zagreb, then aged 19 he applied for the lowliest job in the kitchen of the newly opened Sheraton, and got it. “The head chef was German, and for the first time that I learned about diversity in tastes and colours, and the basics of serving and decorating. Mediterranean dishes were ‘in’ at that time and he encouraged us to develop our individuality. I remember cooking with combinations of meat and fruit, such as beef with a sauce of fruits from the forest.” It was while working at the Sheraton that Tomo had the chance to combine his talents – sculpting and cooking – for the first time. In preparation for a great banquet to celebrate the christening of the Habsburg prince in the Croatian National Theatre, he made ice sculptures to accompany the culinary masterpieces. From Zagreb, Sheraton offered a transfer to Dubai. “Arriving at the airport was serious culture shock,” remembers Tomo. “I barely survived the first week, but ended up staying three years.” He advanced rapidly and helped develop and launch one of the most famous restaurants in Dubai: Azia de Cuba. After three years, Tomo returned to Zagreb and took a six-month career break. The next step in his career was a luxury Swiss chateau-hotel, the

Photography by Zoran Marinovic

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‘If you’re not careful, food can easily destroy the taste of a complex wine ... Sometimes we would work on a menu for a month’

Dolder Grand in Zurich, which features on every list of the world’s top hotels. He worked under Walter Doubmeyer, one of the world’s leading experts on French Bordeaux, and learned to adapt his dishes to complement the famous wines. “If you’re not careful, food can easily destroy the taste of a complex wine,” says Tomo. “Sometimes we would work on a menu for a month. Dinner at the Dolder could cost as much 8000 kunas.” Working at the Dolder Grand brought Tomo into contact with celebrities of all descriptions - rock stars, actors, aristocrats, presidents. “They all had their foibles, and you never knew what to expect,” he says. “Tina Turner is down to earth in her behaviour and has simple tastes – she likes light meals such as fish and shrimps.” Mick Jagger was friendly and appreciative and ordered roast duck and pheasant for dinner...“at two in the morning!” Tomo and a team of chefs were on 24 hour standby when Bill Clinton visited for a presentation of his book. True to his heritage, Clinton ordered hamburgers. It was not always so easy. The endless demands of one superstar singer, whose name Tomo refuses to mention, included 52

hand-made cornflakes. “Can’t you guess who?” he challenges. After swapping Swiss elegance for Sheraton’s business clientele in Egypt, Tomo’s next move was to Dubrovnik. “When I set foot on the Stradun with my girlfriend, who is also a cook, we fell in love all over again - with Dubrovnik! We accepted without hesitation and we’re delighted to be here, working with such a dynamic young team at the Dubrovnik Palace.” This artist-chef who loves to unwind by immersing himself in his favourite hobbies – photography, painting and sculpture - has only one regret. A 16 hour working day leaves no time for his other muses. GS

Beef tenderloin in tomato sauce (serves four) 800g beef tenderloin 400g pears 250g tomatoes 50g basil 10g pine nuts 10ml balsamic vinegar olive oil, salt and pepper

Preparation: Cut the tenderloin in to 4 steaks of 200g, season with spices and grill to taste. Put the pears in a preheated oven (200C). Chop the tomatoes in cubes and cook in a large pan in olive oil. Remove from heat, add pine nuts and finely chopped basil. After 20 minutes take the pears out of the oven, slice horizontally and pour the tomato sauce over the slices. Bring the tenderloin and pears together, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

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Julian Rachlin & Friends Chamber Music Festival. Dubrovnik, August 29th – September 2nd 2006

Janine Jansen and Julian Rachlin have been described as the Posh and Becks of the violin world. The violin virtuosi enjoy the chance to spend a week together in Dubrovnik at the end of summer.

would you

Like to play at my festival? lassical music’s most glamorous couple met at a music festival in Norway in August 2002. "I saw this shy, pretty girl, and moved in straight away,” says Julian Rachlin. “Three days after that festival, my Dubrovnik event was on, so I invited her to play in the last concert. The Brahms Quartet became a Brahms Quintet.” If Rachlin’s was the bigger name then, 28 year-old Janine Jansen has since caught up, helped in no small part by Decca’s shameless pin-up marketing of her talent. Her performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto at the opening night of the BBC Proms in the Albert Hall last July had the critics drooling. And her Chamber Ensemble recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons has been one of the hits of the year, more than 75% of its sales going to the iPod generation of classical downloaders. Jansen is an established star in her native Holland, winning a gold disc for her CD sales and appearing in glossy magazines as often as classical music ones. She even has a chamber music festival of her own, at Utrecht in December. Chamber music comes naturally to one

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who grew up in a family of musicians. "My grandfather conducted the church choir, my father was his organist, and I was singing in the choir before I could read,” says Jansen. At home there was music all the time, with harpsichords, a piano and an organ filling the house. “My elder brother played the cello, and I wanted to play it too, but the family needed someone on a different instrument. I soon knew it was going to be the violin, but that didn't stop me doing normal things, like playing soccer with the boys." When she presented her Vivaldi Four Seasons at London’s Wigmore Hall last autumn, it was no surprise that her father and brother were playing in the band. As was Julian Rachlin, supporting her on viola. In Dubrovnik Janine Jansen is content to play second fiddle. This is Julian’s show. As well as the usual programme of concerts in the Rector’s Palace and a free concert in the Jesuit Church donated by Rachlin to the people of Dubrovnik, this year’s festival will include a concert at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel on August 31st. The image of a normal girl who enjoyed playing soccer with the boys may give a better clue to Janine Jansen’s down-to-earth

personality than soft-focus publicity images. And it gives the couple common interests beyond music. Lithuanian-born Rachlin, who has lived in Vienna since he was a child, is a self-confessed sports fanatic who values his friendships with Austrian stars such as Nikki Lauda and former tennis champion Thomas Muster. “Lots of artists are football fans,” says Rachlin, who has made no secret of his hopes to play a guest star role when Austria hosts Euro 2008. “You only have to think of Domingo, Carreras and Pavarotti. There are obvious parallels between sport and music - we’re all in the performance business. I have had interesting discussions about training with Muster, and there are similarities between our approach.” Julian Rachlin’s favourite preparation for a big concert tour is to play for an audience of invited guests at his friend Bela Koreny’s Broadway Bar in Vienna. “It’s very cramped and smoky in there - a much tougher environment than a concert hall,” he says; “and I get more nervous. If it works there, it will be fine in concert!” Julian and Janine insist that their relationship is unclouded by professional G s

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competition. "It just isn’t an issue,” says Jansen. “We're both very passionate and direct in our playing, but we play differently. Julian has more vibrato: his playing is more Romantic.” The couple seem happily unaffected by their rock-star status. "Perhaps we can help get away from the idea of classical music being stiff and self-important,” says Rachlin. “By simply playing the music we love, we can create a new way to communicate with audiences." Like many other professional couples, their greatest problem is finding time to devote to each other. "We try to play together as much as possible,” says Jansen. “If I'm not working, I fly to see his concerts and he flies to see mine. It costs a fortune in flights." When their busy careers take them in opposite directions, at least Julian Rachlin and Janine Jansen can look forward to their late summer week in Dubrovnik. It brings them together, and it takes them back to 2002, when a Brahms Quartet became a Quintet. GS For programme details and tickets for the Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival, visit: www.julianrachlin.com and www.agevent.biz

PRAISE FOR JULIAN RACHLIN

PRAISE FOR JANINE JANSEN

“Drop everything and book a ticket to see Julian Rachlin. This phenomenal young violinist is the type of player who comes around once in a generation, and should not be missed.” The Australian

"One of the most wonderful and harmonious talents I have come across.”

“Each lilting semi-quaver sounded deeply felt, heart and fingers conjuring up that warm, old-fashioned Russian fire from his wonderful instrument. But the musical line still flowed, virtuosity gently restrained by good sense.” The Times “The greater the virtuosity demanded by Tchaikovsky, the clearer becomes the sound. The first movement was so brilliantly performed that the audience could not hold back their immediate applause.” Main-Echo

Vladimir Ashkenazy

“Decca would like you to pick up the Jansen for her sex appeal, or so suggest the photos in the shamelessly provocative CD booklet. But close your eyes and Vivaldi’s four chestnuts, played with just a few terrific friends who share a taste for period style mixed with Romantic exuberance, are a complete musical joy for even the jaded.” Los Angeles Times

“A magically skittish performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. How did Jansen dare to play so very quietly in this huge arena? Risky, but captivating.” The Financial Times

“Her interpretations seem to flow as naturally from the heart of the music as water from a spring.” The Times “The only things that surpass the Dutch violinist Janine Jansen's beauty are her musical skills” The Observer

“Each lilting semi-quaver sounded deeply felt, heart and fingers conjuring up that old-fashioned Russian fire from his wonderful instrument. But the musical line still flowed….” The Times

SIR ROGER BACK FOR MORE

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore returns to Dubrovnik this summer to participate in the Julian Rachlin & Friends Chamber Music Festival. Last year the actor who made his name playing super-sleuths Simon Templar (The Saint) and James Bond participated as narrator in The Carnival of Animals by Saint-Saëns in a concert donated by Julian Rachlin to UNICEF. This year Sir Roger will narrate another popular masterpiece of music for children, Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, in the Rector’s Palace at 9pm on Saturday 2nd September. The former Bond has worked for UNICEF since he was introduced to the charity by his friend Audrey Hepburn in the early 1990s and uses his visits to Croatia to raise awareness and funds for UNICEF’s activities there. 56

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on the list of ways TO ENJOY MEMBERSHIP REWARDS Visit www.americanexpress.hr or www.americanexpress.com

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Taplow

The Thames between Taplow and Maidenhead; Boulter’s Lock.

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Forever England

efore you set off for the historic Buckinghamshire village of Taplow, a word of advice. Allow plenty of time. The first signpost will send you on an extensive tour of the outskirts of Burnham. Having passed quaintlynamed Hag Hill Lane and a few clueless intersections, you will find yourself back where you started. Now try again, aiming for a slender green spire just visible across a landscape of low paddock fences behind which sleek horses graze idly. After a copse of sturdy beech trees and a barrier of white kissing gates, luck and perseverance may bring you to the heart of

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Illustrations by Susie Lipman and Sheila Horton

Country villages are hard to find in the busy M4 corridor. Tucked away between Maidenhead and Slough, Taplow is more elusive than most, but repays the efforts of discovery. David Allsop finds Buddhists in the stately home, nudity in the village hall and barn dancing on the green. the most charming village in the Thames Valley. It’s not that the good people of Taplow are unwelcoming. But if they have set out to discourage coachloads of tourists by uprooting a few signposts, who can blame them? Mathew Griffin, general manager at Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa in nearby Windsor, was born in Taplow and acknowledges its independent spirit. "It’s extraordinary to find this island of English village life between Slough and Maidenhead,” he says. “Turn off the A4, drive up the lane that leads past Taplow House Hotel to the

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Waking the dead. Excavating the burial mound of Saxon chieftain Taeppa in the grounds of Taplow Court (below) unearthed a wealth of archeological treasures

village, and you could be in the depths of Somerset. It’s as though the villagers have built a wall around Taplow. To get an idea of what it would be like if they hadn’t, look at Burnham, which has been completely swallowed up by Slough." One of the chief wall-builders is Eva Lipman, a Taplow resident of nearly 40 years and stalwart of the Hitcham and Taplow Preservation Society, whose members are always on the look-out for development schemes to thwart. Her artist daughter Susie has a gallery on Burnham High Street. “Thanks to my mother and her friends, Taplow has hardly changed since I was a child,” says Susie, who finds inspiration in the landscapes of her childhood. The fete is the same every year, with tombolas and gum-boot throwing competitions, and on the Saturday nearest to June 21st Taplow lets its hair down for the midsummer barn dance, with burger stalls and men with loudhailers enjoining revellers to find a partner and dosey-do. Why are Taplovians so averse to the encroachment of the modern age? Susie Lipman knows the answer: “it’s because so many of them commute to London. They want to return to the countryside, not suburbia.” Taplow is proud of its history. The name is thought to derive from ‘Taeppa’, a Saxon chieftain whose burial mound in the grounds of Taplow Court was opened in 1883 and proved to be the most spectacular Saxon find in Britain until the discovery of Sutton Hoo in 1939.

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Princess Dolgorouki commissioned Lutyens to build a villa for weekend river parties in a setting suitable for exiled royalty … Some of the items unearthed - jewels, arms, and a pair of glass ‘claw beakers’ can be seen in the British Museum. Why Taplow? The magnificent view from the top of the barrow, commanding a broad sweep of the Thames, answers the question. From here, the rulers could look out over their people. A nearby memorial cross marks the site of early Christian baptisms by St Birinus, in Bapsey Pond. Taplow’s great houses provide a commentary on English life, past and present. Taplow Court, a multi-gabled example of the Jacobean-revival/French Gothic style, is now the UK headquarters

of SGI-UK, a lay Buddhist charitable organisation. The house is open to the public on Sundays, and the grounds are usually open to strollers. Once the seat of the Earls of Orkney, Taplow Court later became the home of Lord Desborough – otherwise known as William Henry Grenfell, master of an impressive range of sporting disciplines including rowing, fencing, tennis, cricket and mountaineering. His eldest son was the war poet Julian Grenfell who died in action in 1915. Not far away stands Nashdom, a splendid riverside villa built for Princess Alexis Dolgorouki in the early 1900s. The Princess, plain Miss Wilson before she married her Russian prince, commissioned Edwin Lutyens to build a house for weekend river parties in a setting suitable for exiled royalty. After the Princess died in 1919 Nashdom became a Benedictine monastery and a home for nurses from the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital located in the

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grounds of nearby Cliveden. It has now been converted into apartments. Taplow House, a turreted Georgian mansion that was a gift from King James I to the Governor of Virginia and boasts the finest tulip trees in England, and Cliveden, one of England’s grandest stately homes, compete for Taplow’s quality hotel business. Formerly the home of Lord and Lady Astor, Cliveden will forever be associated with one of the great political scandals the British love so much. For it was around the swimming pool at Cliveden in 1961 that the late John Profumo, Secretary of State for War, met the 19 year old ‘showgirl’ Christine Keeler, who was also ‘dating’ a Russian attaché at the time. Cliveden accepts that it cannot escape its past and describes itself as ‘dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure, power and politics for over 300 years’. Modern buildings also have their place in Taplow, whose residents may have been alarmed when an architect named Eric Lyons turned up in the mid 1960s and announced plans to build one of his fashionable ‘Span’ developments. Fortunately Lyons knew what he was doing, and Cedar Chase is a fine example of his skill at blending modern homes into an historical setting. On Taplow’s southern perimeter, Brunel’s railway bridge over the Thames, built in 1838, was among the Victorian engineer’s most notable achievements. Its brick arches are the widest and flattest in the world, with a span of 128 feet for a rise of just 24 feet. For all that it exudes an air of determined tranquillity, vigorous sporting life also burgeons in Taplow. There is an active sailing club on Taplow Lake, Taplow United is a force to be reckoned with in the East Berks League, and most summer weekends Taplow Cricket Club – established in 1850 – plays on its original ground opposite Taplow Court. This is village cricket as it has always been played – with passion, pain, beer and laughter, in a quintessential English setting of long shadows on a tree-lined oval. The club’s founder members are commemorated in the simple wooden pavilion. Skindle, Simmond, Tubb, Briginshaw …. stout yeomen all. Mill Lane leads down to the river via a steep footpath where children bring their G S

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toboggans in winter. The Jubilee River flood defence scheme is a creation of the mid 1990s. This wetland habitat teems with wildlife, encouraged by bird boxes, bat roosts and otter holts along the river bank. On the other side of a pedestrian bridge, past the New Taplow Mill, the boathouse of the Maidenhead Steam Navigation Company has luxury riverboats available for exploration of the Thames between Henley and Windsor. Taplow’s most unexpected attraction adorns the walls of its modest village hall. A huge mural painting, 42 feet long by 7 feet high, celebrates more than 1000 years of local history in colourful and entertaining detail. Taplow resident Sheila Horton spent about 800 hours painting it over three years in the early 1990s. Scale, she explains, has been altered to fit the sweeping nature of the grand design. “I decided to paint it rather like a tapestry, carrying the scenes and events and characters around the room on every wall.” Nothing has been omitted. That noble profile is Julian Grenfell, with a poignant

couplet or two; there is Windsor Castle on fire …. and Terry Wogan doing the honours at the midsummer ox roast … a game of cricket …. and, inevitably, two middle-aged men and much younger women cavorting naked on the lawns of Cliveden. You won’t find a more colourful evocation of the rich eccentricities of English village life. In fact, you may not even find this one. GS Susie Lipman’s work is on display at Oberon Art, 67 High Street, Burnham, Bucks. Tel: 01628 600500. Signed giclee prints and original paintings are available for sale. www.oberonart.co.uk

A painted tapestry. Sheila Horton’s murals in Taplow Village Hall took the local artist three years, and 800 hours’ work, to complete.

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Fashion: Hilary Alexander

You don’t have to be rich to be fashionable, says The Daily Telegraph’s Fashion Editor Hilary Alexander.

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passion for fashion eading British fashion writer Hilary Alexander visited Dubrovnik to shoot a series of fashion stories for The Daily Telegraph last autumn. A renaissance garden in Trsteno and some of the most beautiful Dubrovnik palaces were an enchanting backdrop for fashion editorial, she told Paulina Peko during her stay at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel. “I had read about Croatia’s natural beauty and culture in the press at home,” says Hilary Alexander. “I loved the sound of the islands and Dubrovnik, and it’s a corner of the world which I had never set foot in before. Then I started talking to Vanja Strok (of fashion designers Gharani Strok) about Croatia and Dubrovnik. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and when she offered to arrange accommodation at the Dubrovnik Palace, that settled it. “Everything Vanja told me about Dubrovnik was true – and more! The weather has been wonderful and I think the old town centre is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The streets are clean, and their white stones as brilliant as the buildings in the old town, where the architecture is quite wonderful. And, better still, there are no McDonald's or Coca Cola signs anywhere. What a relief! It’s rare to find a city whose history has been so well preserved. Let’s hope Dubrovnik can

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safeguard its heritage and not squander everything in the stampede for development.” During her stay Hilary shot five fashion stories with photographer John Swannell, model Sarah Thielmans, make-up artist Tony James and fashion assistant Natasha Cowan. Each story had a different theme: sheepskin designs based on the autumn/winter 2005 Gharani Strok collection; supermarket fashion; a farm story, full of tweed outfits, shot in Konavle; and a velvet-themed story shot in Trsteno. “Fashion is big news these days,” she says. “I have been working at the Daily Telegraph for two decades, the last 12 years as fashion editor. In that time I have become a fashion addict and fashion has become the fourth largest industry in Britain, worth £13 billion a year. So it’s not just escapism, or frothy irrelevance. It’s serious business.” Hilary is a fashion stylist as well as an editor and critic, and brings equal passion to both jobs. “I love being a stylist because I adore clothes and fashion creations,” she explains, ”but at the same time I am also passionate about writing, and I think that’s what brings my fashion writing to life.” Relaxing off duty after five days on the fashion shoot, Hilary Alexander is wearing an antique silver necklace and a newly acquired chandelier earring dangling from one ear. She

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Fashion: Hilary Alexander

“Why should designer clothes be reserved for the rich? Department stores offer what I call fast fashion. If the newest look is military jackets and Cossack hats they can call up their factory and these will be on the shelf inside a month.”

Ready, aim, fire. Against a variety of backgrounds in and around Dubrovnik, Hilary Alexander shot five fashion stories in her five day visit

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adores old jewelry, particularly ethnic pieces, and chooses clothes in a similar style. Her favourite fashion designers are John Galliano and Dries Van Noten. Hilary has been voted Fashion Journalist of the Year twice in the last five years. The award is decided by fashion industry professionals and their recognition has been all the more satisfying to her, considering that her editorial is not published in a glossy fashion magazine, but a daily newspaper. Hilary’s reputation is such that her take on the latest fashion show can shape the future of young designers trying to enter the fickle fashion scene. Preparing the styling for her fashion spreads, she likes to mix expensive designer clothes with much more modest items from department stores. It’s what she calls ‘fast fashion’.

“In the last 20 years, fashion has been democratized,” she says. “The industry used to be controlled by a few big-name designers who decided on the look and the colours for the next season. Today you can buy clothes that look like designer clothes, but are inexpensive, and I love that. Why should designer clothes be reserved for the rich? Fashion should be for everyone. “A lot of department stores offer what I have called fast fashion, because the clothes can be produced quickly. If the newest look on the fashion scene is, for example, military jackets, they can call up their factory for copies of military jackets, and these will be on the shelf inside a month. Everyone can feel they are fashionable and trendy, and as a fashion addict I am all for that. “Of course it’s good to have designers who inspire us and create the best designs. All of us dream about driving a Ferrari, but most of us drive mass-produced cars.” Hilary Alexander has already offered her prescriptions for the season. After a velvet winter, with Russian style details such as Cossack hats and military jackets, spring and summer will bring feminine dresses and wide belts that accentuate the waistline. “The waist is in, hips are out!” she says. GS G s

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Croatia Property

Rupert Dawnay and his wife Katia Zaninovic did not hesitate when they had the chance to buy the house of their dreams on the Dalmatian island of Hvar. The refugees from leafy Surrey now run a property-finding agency for overseas investors.

h Property t y wife calls the office in our house in Hvar the Dream Room. I’m not sure if she is referring to the view from my desk – out over the sea and a belt of dark green islands - or the fact that I spend too much time daydreaming when I ought to be working. If you ask me, the house itself is a dream come true. From an elevated position, Villa Marchi looks out over the port of Hvar, on the Dalmatian island of the same name, famous for its wine and lavender. From my office window, the appeal of Croatia is obvious and irresistible: magnificent scenery, a crystal clear sea, and the wonderful Mediterranean climate. Who could ask for more? But there is more: the Croatians are friendly and welcoming; their food is healthy and full of regional variation; and property prices are …. if not quite as low as they were, still cheap by comparison with rival Mediterranean boltholes or the place we used to call home. Whether you are looking for a new life, a holiday home or a pension plan, Croatia offers remarkable value. Our decision to swap the riverside charms of East Molesey for a Dalmatian island was made easier by the fact that my wife comes from Hvar. My own knowledge extended no further than Dubrovnik until the war brought Croatia to our TV screens. In the immediate aftermath of the war, Croatia could hardly give its property away. The ‘market’ was barely

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recognisable as such and estate agents were few and far between. If a foreigner wanted to buy a house, the only way was by word of mouth: you would put the word out, and in due course a local would come up with something. Whatever the price was, it was sure to be low. Hands were shaken and some months later, after signing a contract on a single sheet of paper, you would hand over your Deutsche Marks and take ownership of your property. Now Croatia’s secret is out. Confidence

has returned and desirable sections of the coast are in the grip of a property boom. If prices in the country as a whole have more than doubled over the last few years, in some areas the rise has been greater. Dubrovnik is the most expensive location: property in the old town commands up to 4,500 euros per sq metre. Hvar is one of the most popular Property swap. Rupert Dawnay and family exchanged the riverside charms of East Molesey for the Villa Marchi (below) in the fashionable island town of Hvar (opposite).

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“From my office window the appeal of Croatia is irresistible. Magnificent scenery, a crystal clear sea and the wonderful Mediterranean climate. Who could ask for more?”

Dalmatian islands and property here can sell for as much as 3,500 euros per sq metre. The other main area of investment interest is Istria, especially the triangle of Porec, Umag and Motovun. Prices here are a little lower than in prime locations in Dalmatia, perhaps reflecting the shorter summer and less inviting winter climate. Istria and Opatija are easily accessible overland from western Europe and accordingly popular with Austrians, Germans, French and North Italians. Dalmatia and the islands are the great favourites of the British, with their love of the sea and sailing; and more Italians, who arrive by ferry from their Adriatic ports. The islands are inviting in summer, and most are well served by ferries and tourist excursion boats. Outside the season connections are less frequent; reaching your destination can take a day or more. G S

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The silver lining to this cloud is the unhurried pace of life that the islanders enjoy out of season. Even a fashionable island such as Hvar has been spared the development boom that has gripped some parts of the mainland coast. Of Croatia’s more than 1000 islands, the only two with commercial airports are Brac and Krk, which is linked by a bridge to the mainland near Rijeka. The arrival of the low-cost carriers is this year’s big news, with EasyJet now flying to and from Split and Rijeka, and Wizz to and from Split and Zagreb. The likely impact of this is a hotly debated topic: will the arrival of unruly visitors take Croatian tourism down market? It will certainly fuel the property market, by improving Croatia’s accessibility to home owners and house hunters. With prices rising fast, everyone wants a slice of the action and there are property 67


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for the family dinghy and waves lapping at the doorstep. The complications that come with an old house include making sure the ownership is properly registered; getting permission for building works; finding builders and knowing how much your investment will be when all the works are done. Buying a modern house or apartment is the easier option, but even this may not be as simple as it sounds. Has the house been legally built? Unless you buy a new property, the chances are it will need refurbishment or at least redecoration. The problems of dealing with builders are universal: in Croatia as in the UK or (I suspect) anywhere else, the experience is never less than difficult and can be a nightmare. It is true that in Croatia there are builders who when asked for a quote reply that they’ll let you know the cost when the

Buying a Croatian property is an experience rich in hurdles: more marathon steeplechase than sprint ... have patience, and there is every chance of a happy outcome.

specialists at every café table. In Split alone, there were more than 90 registered estate agents last year, and double that number of unregistered operators. In a young market, standards of professional conduct are erratic, to say the least. Con artists sell land and houses that are not theirs, and double-sell properties. Another common practice is for buyer and vendor to use the same lawyer, which raises obvious problems of conflicting interest. These pitfalls make it all the more important to deal with a reputable agent and a good lawyer, both working only for you in the transaction. Unfortunately, as in the UK, there are

no qualifications needed to set up as an estate agent. Choosing a d.o.o. - limited company - is no guarantee but does suggest a serious business not a fly-bynight operation. Ask around and use the internet to benefit as much as possible from the experience of other buyers. Many investors dream of owning a traditional old stone house perched on a coastal hillside with panoramic views of the Adriatic and sunsets to die for. Or a house by the water, with a rocky mooring

CROATIAN PROPERTY INVESTMENT The extras: Estate agents’ fees: 2% - 4% of the purchase price. Stamp duty: 5%. Lawyers’ fees: around 1%. Don’t forget: incidentals such as translation and setting up a company to buy the property.

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work is finished. But things are changing fast, as smart builders adapt to the demands of the market. Choose a company that seems well-organised, is registered and has specialists in all aspects of the work required. The jack-of-all-trades one-man band is much more likely to let you down, however tempting his quote. If dealing with builders can be frustrating, the intricacies of Croatian bureaucracy are all but unfathomable to the outsider. Suffice it to say that dealing with officialdom is not always as straightforward as one might hope. Like building work itself, completing the formalities of a property transaction seems to take for ever. Buyers and sellers often exchange contracts subject to sorting out G s

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the paperwork in the fullness of time. To point the finger at lawyers might seem foolhardy, but reports of under the table dealings are not uncommon. This is not to say you should go armed with fat brown envelopes: there are good lawyers around, and some firms that specialise in handling property matters for foreigners operate in a direct and proper manner. The difficulty is in finding such firms, and this is where the consultancy I have founded aims to be of service. Balustrade Estates is a property finding agency and a single point of contact for outside investors, offering impartial advice and expert guidance in the complex and time consuming process of searching, negotiating and seeing an acquisition through to completion. Buying a Croatian property is an experience rich in hurdles: more marathon steeplechase than sprint. Enter in to it with

your eyes and ears open, have patience, and there is every chance of a happy outcome. Croatia is everything you could want of a second home, and more. This wonderful country will generously repay any hard work required to establish a base there. GS

Croatia, we help with all stages and all aspects of the purchase:

BALUSTRADE ESTATES: The complete

◆ Finding appropriate properties

service for property investment in Croatia

◆ Reporting on ownership and title of short-listed properties

Founded by an Anglo-Croatian couple with 28 years’ professional experience having worked with leading international estate agents Hamptons International, Balustrade Estates is a property finding consultancy and one-stop support agency for investors in Croatian real estate, offering impartial advice, professional expertise and local knowledge. Guiding and working exclusively for the buyer, we take no fee from any other party and therefore have no conflict of interest. After finding your dream home in

◆ Preliminary consultation re location, pricing etc ◆ Advice on legal aspects of property investment

◆ Negotiating with vendor/estate agent ◆ Liaising with legal representative and monitoring progress ◆ Reporting regularly through to completion ◆ Sourcing architects, building contractors and craftsmen ◆ Property management and letting Contact Rupert Dawnay at Balustrade Estates: 00 385 989561810; www.balustrade-estates.net

The View from Zagreb AnaMarija Veljic handles property sales in Zagreb for Ozana, one of Croatia's leading estate agencies.

f anything, I would say that the market in Zagreb is stronger than the seaside, in the sense that it is much more soundly based. Asking prices may not be quite as high as in places like Dubrovnik, but demand is strong, prices are rising and everything that is built is sold. The problem on the coast is this: on the one hand, foreigners expect cheap property in the front row beside the sea; on the other hand, local people are asking unrealistically high prices. So there is a great gap - a lot of interest, but not much activity. The newspapers are full of this paranoia that the coast of Croatia is being sold out to foreigners, but I tell people not to worry: it's not true!" Ozana was founded by AnaMarija's father Aco Veljic 15 years ago, in the early days of a free market. Based in Zagreb, the agency handles property

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lettings and sales throughout Croatia, and specialises in luxury residences and offices for diplomats, international agencies and business leaders in Zagreb. Tel: + 385 (0)1 4684703 Fax: + 385 (0)1 4684752 e-mail: realestate@ozana.hr website: www.ozana.hr 69


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Wren’s Club

Wren’s Club fitness trainer Kyle Andrews spent much of 2005 training a middle-aged businessman to row across the Atlantic. This year he trained himself for a first London Marathon. GS Review caught up with him between circuits.

Awesome oarsman ob Eustace and Peter Williams left La Gomera in the Canaries on November 27th 2005, and reached English Harbour, Antigua on February 6th 2006, after 68 days 1 hour and 3 minutes at sea. They didn’t win the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Race: against the likes of double-gold Olympian James Cracknell they were never likely to. But they did it. If the gruelling 2,550 mile Atlantic crossing was a formidable challenge for 42 year-old Managing Director Rob Eustace, who had never lifted an oar in his life, it was an equally unusual assignment for Wren’s Club fitness trainer Kyle Andrews, who helped Rob prepare for the world’s ultimate nautical challenge.

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“It was the girls who got us together,” says Kyle. “My wife Donna, who works in a salon in Windsor, was colouring Rob’s wife Jo’s hair – it must have been last April - and they got chatting …” We may imagine the conversation, filling the time while Mrs Eustace’s foilwrapped tresses absorbed new lustre. Jo: “so, what is it that your Kyle does...?” Donna: “He’s a personal trainer.” Jo: “That’s interesting - my husband announced the other day that he’s going to row across the Atlantic …” Donna: “You’re not serious! Who does he think he is - Christopher Columbus?” Jo: “I know. The thing is, my Rob isn’t like other blokes. When he says he’s going to do something stupid, you can’t rely on

him to come to his senses in the morning.” So Donna and Jo got Kyle and Rob together, and put the message across that if Rob was to go, he needed to take a more scientific approach to his preparation. In fact, he needed professional help. Kyle Andrews takes up the story. “Rob was training, when he had time,” he says, “but he was losing weight fast and that’s what Jo was concerned about. That, and his rather blasé approach to an extraordinarily ambitious enterprise - ‘don’t worry, I’m a fit guy … army background … etc’. When training for an endurance event, Kyle explains, people encounter different problems, depending on their personality. Boredom is often the greatest danger. “I had to think about adding variety to

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Rob’s training programme, to keep him interested for six months. It’s a lonely business, running, cycling and rowing on your own.” Rob and his transatlantic team mate Peter Williams lived too far apart to train together. In fact Rob’s greatest problem was not boredom, but simply finding the time to train. “He’s an incredibly busy guy,” says Kyle, “often working an 11-hour day, with children to fit in to what little leisure time he has left. Rob would often find himself getting to midnight and realising he hadn’t done any training. So he would sit on the rowing machine for two hours in the middle of the night. There was a real danger of burn-out.” The trainer devised a special programme

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of circuits at Wren’s Club. “It’s the perfect environment for personal training,” he says, “ because of the excellent equipment and the fact that it’s quite an exclusive club, and relatively quiet during the week. So we were able to work on the flowing one-hour circuit that I felt he needed – building up momentum progressively, and keeping it going without any breaks. You can’t achieve that in many health clubs.” Physically, the priority was to work on Rob’s muscle flexibility and his posture, and build up the strength of his chest. “We worked on this with a range of exercises - flyers, pullovers, and chest presses with a core stability ball. It’s all quite standard stuff, but Rob wasn’t doing any of it on his own.

“I also encouraged Rob to have sports massages at least twice a week. It was an important way to reduce the risk of injury while training. This meant he could train more frequently and achieve more.” In September Rob was ready for the Windsor half marathon and finished in an impressive 1 hour 41 minutes. “He did really well,” says Kyle, who came in five minutes ahead of his client. The issue of weight loss would not go away. “It was difficult to get Rob to eat enough,” says Kyle. “He would burn about 1400 calories in a 90 minute rowing session and literally would not have enough time to replace all those calories.” Kyle was a chemical engineer before he turned to fitness training, and took a close

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“For a marathon you need a pair of legs, a strong core and a will to succeed. From the hips up, it’s all dead weight.”

interest in Rob’s diet from the start. “There’s nothing sinister about it,” he says. “Basically we used protein shakes such as Maximuscle, a powder you add to milk or juice.” In early November, Kyle Andrews was in the crowd that waved Rob and Peter off from the riverside quay at Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa, at the official launch of the Mark III International team. “I thought they looked a bit wobbly and I had my doubts,” he says. Over the next three months, Rob Eustace and Peter Williams proved the doubters wrong. All that training had paid off. Training for the Marathon

Wren’s Club manager Lee Willock and trainer Kyle Andrews raised more than £2500 for charity in the London Marathon on April 23rd. “The furthest I had ever run before was 18 miles,” Andrews said afterwards, “so it was no surprise when I ‘hit the wall’ at 19. After that it was just a case of somehow struggling on to the end.” This he did successfully, finishing four minutes inside

his target of three and a half hours. Marathon running presents a quite different challenge from endurance rowing, and training has to reflect that. “For a marathon you need a pair of legs, a strong core, cardio-vascular fitness and a will to succeed,” says Kyle Andrews. “No upper body strength is needed - from the hips up, it’s all dead weight. So a key part of my training has been to lose weight: the less I have to carry, the better. Every time your heel hits the ground, the impact on your hip and through your leg is about three times your body weight. “Like so many people, I have an old knee injury from football, which marathon running is bound to aggravate. So a lot of my training is not running but non-impact cardio-vascular exercise: the cross-trainer machine in Wren’s Club and cycling. This reduces the risk of injury while training, and reduces the impact of training, so that I can train more. Most people run too soon. I advise them to lose weight first.” One other word of professional advice. “Have your gait properly analysed.

Transatlantic Triumph. Broadcaster Ben Fogle and double gold Olympian James Cracknell were the first pair to finish the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Race (in 49 days, 19 hours, 8 minutes) but had to settle for fourth place.

Sportsfeet of Maidenhead do it and make a special insert for your trainers. It’s not cheap, but definitely a good investment. And there are discounts for Wren’s Club members.” GS Wren’s Club at Sir Christopher Wren’s

House Hotel & Spa, Windsor. Tel: 01753 864186 or visit: www.sirchristopher wren.co.uk/membership.htm Atlantic Rowing Race 2007

The next Atlantic Rowing Race starts from La Gomera, Canary Islands in November 2007 and will finish approximately 55 - 60 days later in Antigua, West Indies. For more information about the race contact the organisers: Woodvale Events, Pridhamsleigh Farm, Nr Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Devon TQ13 7JJ. Tel: +44 (0) 1364 644432. Fax: +44 (0)1364 644 232 e-mail: info@woodvale-events.com or visit: www.woodvale-events.com The 25th Windsor Half Marathon

takes place on 24th September 2006. There will be a special anniversary celebration and awards presentation in November at Windsor Castle with HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Women's 8km Race will be held on Saturday, September 23rd. Visit: www.runwindsor.com SportsFeet UK 52B Queen Street,

Maidenhead, Berks, SL6 1HY. Tel: 01628 778512 or visit: www.sportsfeetuk.co.uk 72

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Eton, 20th - 27th August 2006

World Rowing Championships:

“Jolly boating weather, And a hay harvest breeze, Blade on the feather, Shade off the trees, Swing swing together, With your bodies between your knees” as the Battle of Waterloo, as the Duke of Wellington probably never claimed, really won on the playing fields of Eton? Perhaps not: the Duke was an idle and dreamy boy who took no part in organised sport in his teenage years as an Eton schoolboy in the 1780s. Be that as it may, many a battle for world supremacy will be won, and lost, at Eton this summer, when more than 1000 athletes come to Dorney Lake for the World Rowing Championships in late August. Dorney successfully hosted the Rowing World Cup in May 2005, attracting a crowd of 7,000 and a European TV audience of more than 8 million for the final day. Dorney will also be the setting for the rowing and flatwater canoeing events in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Dorney Lake is a 400 acre site owned by Eton College. Its creation was the brainchild of a group of Eton College teachers in the 1960s, who felt that a

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Blade on the feather special 'still water' rowing course would offer useful advantages over the Thames with its currents, traffic and varying widths. Forty years on, their dream has become reality: a year-round facility offering safe rowing in all

a day at the races Make your visit to the World Rowing Championships (20th – 27th August) a special occasion with the help of Taplow House Hotel. After a full English breakfast at the hotel, we will shuttle you to Dorney Lake and supply a lavish picnic lunch. At the end of the day return by shuttle to the hotel, where champagne and strawberries will be on the table. £60.00 per person. Taplow House Hotel, Berry Hill, Taplow SL6 0DA. Tel: 01628 670056.

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weathers. After many years of planning discussions and consultations, construction began in 1996. The Boathouse was opened in June 2000 by Kate Hoey, Minister for Sport & The Arts. The original aim of constructing a high-quality rowing course for Eton College pupils has been far exceeded. Dorney Lake is acclaimed as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the world and has various added attractions: a park, arboretum and nature conservation area; a fully-equipped gym for training and indoor rowing, and access for all community sectors. GS For tickets to the World Rowing Championships, visit: www.wrc2006.com or telephone: 0870 272 1872. G s

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Fashion: Gharani Strok

Fashion designers Vanja Strok and Nargess Gharani never needed careers advice. As school friends they knew exactly what they would be doing – making sexy frocks for women of all ages. “But we’re more comfortable in T-shirts and jeans,” they tell Paulina Peko. anja Strok and Nargess Gharani have made their friendship and shared love of fashion the springboard for a successful business partnership. Their designs have won critical acclaim since they took London Fashion Week by storm in September 2001, and icons such as Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue, Scarlett Johannsen, Angelina Jolie and Liv Tyler demand Gharani Strok for their appearances at jet-set events and on the covers of glossy magazines. The two friends have lost none of the creative passion that fired the early days of their collaboration. Its origins go back more than two decades, to the day when Nargess - Iranian-born, black haired found out that there was a new girl with curly hair at her school in Surrey: Vanja, a Croatian brunette. They said fond farewells when Nargess left school, only to meet again at art college, where they became inseparable friends. They had so much in common ... above all, an eye for beautiful things and a love of fashion. “There is no clear-cut division of labour between us,” says Nargess, the natural spokeswoman of the two. “We complement each other in every phase of the work. We both pick the fabrics and decide which colours we'll use for the collection. I know it sounds improbable, but designing the clothes together is not a difficult process: we have the same taste! “One of us selects the material and colour, the other approves or (occasionally!) disapproves, then we both start drawing. When the designs are finished we put them on the table and choose the shortlist. Neither of us could say this dress is "mine", the other is "hers": we create, improve and finalise everything together.” “Being able to trust each other completely is essential in business,” says Vanja. “Nargess and I grew up together, we were in the same class at school, fell in love and had our children at the same time. Even when we go shopping separately, we end up buying the same clothes!” Gharani Strok collections are full of breezy, sexy designs of subtle sensuality. Dresses were the foundation stone of their fashion brand,

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Fashion: Gharani Strok

two’s company

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and still play a big part in every collection. “The dress is a must-have in every woman's wardrobe,” says Nargess, “although we don't wear them much ourselves. Not being party girls, we spend more time in jeans and T-shirts.” Since their debut at London Fashion Week in 2001, Gharani Strok’s reputation has grown with every collection, and the label seems to be everywhere now: on the street, in magazines, on TV, at social gatherings and in the wardrobes of fashionconscious celebrities.

After making their name with signature bright rainbow-coloured prints, Gharani Strok’s Autumn/Winter 2006 Collection, presented at London Fashion Week in February, marked a change of direction … towards the dark side. Chocolate, slate grey and black was the muted palette of a bad-girl fashion vision inspired by Bonnie & Clyde and Patti Hearst, icons of Sixties rebellion. “We design wearable clothes for all women,” says Nargess. “We’re proud of the fact that our clients vary in age from

What the press say AUTUMN/WINTER 2006

SPRING/SUMMER 2006

“Tulip skirts are everywhere this season but never sexier than here”

“Miss Moneypenny sex appeal takes over from the trend for pretty, eyegrabbing prints, disco ball sparkles and sophisticated hippy chick styles…”

“Gharani Strok has a skill for reinvention - neither getting bogged down in seasonal trends, nor ever getting them wrong. It's the one you can always show off about owning.”

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“inky prints on mini kimonos were unmistakably Strok sexy. The Gharani Strok girl will be the one leaving the boys agog in her wake next summer”

14 to nearly eighty.” This age range may yet expand. With children of their own, Vanja and Nargess do not rule out the possibility of launching junior Gharani Strok lines. In fact, after branching out in to shoes, jewellery, maternity clothes and an interiors line, there is no telling where their creative interests will lead next. “Our interiors line was hand made,” says Vanja, whose mother Renata is a talented interior designer. “All the fringed pillow cases, bed throws and blankets were hand-stitched.” Vanja and Nargess have launched Gharani Strok boutiques in Zagreb and Dubrovnik, and now sell their fashion lines in shops and sales points around the world. They may have only just started on their career path, but already they have come a long way together since they hatched the first plans for the glamorous fashion house they would build. In a letter she wrote to Vanja as a schoolgirl, Nargess prophesied that one day they would run a successful business together. The example of these two young and beautiful women shows that with enough determination and hard work, dreams really can come true. GS G s

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Windsor Festival: September 19th – October 1st 2006

High-Performance

Festival

Windsor's late summer festival of music and the arts attracts international star performers and has seen a fourfold increase in visitors in the last four years. Diana Bentley meets Festival Director Martin Denny.

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indsor’s timbered inns and cobbled streets, its cozy houses and emerald surrounds, form the charming setting for that spirited romp through romantic and marital intrigue, `The Merry Wives of Windsor.’ Written at the personal command of Queen Elizabeth, it was the only play Shakespeare set in contemporary England, and it continues to delight audiences more than four hundred years after its first performance. Visiting Windsor’s late summer festival of music and the performance arts, we may detect the same zestful spirit living on beside the Thames. This year’s Festival celebrates a landmark birthday of another long serving Queen Elizabeth.

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The Windsor Festival began life in 1969 with Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Hunter as Artistic Advisors and has since attracted artists from around the world. Attendance numbers have soared recently, the festival attracting 13,000 visitors last year. “That’s a fourfold increase in the last four years, which is tremendous,” says Martin Denny, who has been Festival Director since 2001. “We’ve got a wonderful set of venues, a great supportive audience and Windsor is well known because of its associations.” The Festival’s success is also a tribute to the Director’s efforts to assemble a beguiling range of events. “Our core programme is classical music and literature but it’s becoming increasingly broad with street music, films, comedy, opera and jazz G s

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Windsor Festival

Wonderful venues. Access to the Royal Chapel, Windsor Great Park and Cumberland Lodge adds to the appeal of the Festival. Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel (below) hosts a literary lunch

The Festival is aided by more than 100 volunteers who carry out a range of jobs from stewarding attendees to catering for the artists. Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa in Windsor hosts the Literary Lunch each year. “We’re lucky to be in this town, with all its history and artistic traditions,” says Christian Devaux, UK Operations Director for Wren’s Hotels. “But most of the time we take it for granted. We love being part of the Festival. In our busy lives it’s a great opportunity for all of us to pause and connect with our cultural surroundings.” This year the theme of the Festival is the 80th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music, and Poet Laureate Andrew Motion have been co-commissioned to

“He capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes verses, he speaks holiday, he smells April and May.” (Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, Scene 2)

included,” says Denny, a local resident and former chorister of St. George’s Chapel. As well as classical concerts, last year’s Festival had Michael Palin talking about his journeys around the world, a lunch with traveller Alan Whicker, a tour of some of Windsor’s 50 pubs, a story telling session with children’s author Lynne Chapman and a talk about the last days of King Henry VIII. Not to mention Heritage Walks along the Thames in the footsteps of famous characters associated with the river, a walk around Eton College and another exploring Wartime Windsor... There are Festival venues in the town centre and throughout the the Royal Borough. “We try to open up local places like the Royal Chapel, Windsor Great Park and Cumberland Lodge,” says Martin Denny. G S

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create a new music and choral work to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. After its first performance at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on Sunday April 23rd, it will be repeated on Wednesday September 27th at an evening concert. Musicians appearing this year include the trumpeter Alison Balsom whom Denny describes as a `rising star,’ and pianist Danny Driver. “Lord (Douglas) Hurd will talk about the Queen’s Prime Ministers – ten have served during her reign so far - and we’re taking aspects of her life and reflecting on them. Actor Richard E Grant will talk about making his first film and journalist and broadcaster Kate Adie will be speaking about her career,’ Denny reports.

The Heritage Walks have proved especially popular and more are planned this year. Hester Davenport, author of `Writers in Windsor’ and chair of the local history group, last year guided the Literary Heritage Walk which traced the links between Windsor and such luminaries as Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens. “Shakespeare must have known Windsor well,” she says, “because the Merry Wives is full of local references.” The Garter Inn referred to in the play is now the Heart & Garter opposite Windsor Castle. Dickens once stayed there. The great Victorian novelist also fell in love with the Queen and visited Windsor when she married. “It caused him much torment - or so he said at the time,” says Hester Davenport. This year, inspired by the celebrations for the Queen’s 80th birthday, the local author is leading a walk based on curious incidents that have occurred in the town in the last 80 years. Denny scours the world for talent for his Festival, but has no favourite events. ‘I enjoy everything!’ he says, with genuine enthusiasm. GS The Windsor Festival 2006. Tuesday 19th September to Sunday 1st October. Telephone: 01753 714364 or visit: www.windsorfestival.com 81


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Friends of GS

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Lord Taylor of Blackburn (President of GS Hotels & Resorts), Renata Strok, Former US Ambassador William Montgomery (ALH Board Member), Gunther Striedinger (CEO, Hypo Alpe Adria Bank) and Goran Strok (Chairman, GS Hotels & Resorts) at the Royal Opera House in London for World Travel Awards Ceremony.

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Sir Roger Moore with Croatian artist Jagoda Buic and Goran Strok at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel.

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John Malkovich and his wife Nicoletta with Goran Strok at Vala Beach, Dubrovnik Palace Hotel.

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Croatian president Stjepan Mesic with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Goran Strok at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel.

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11 Croatian tennis player Ivan Ljubicic with his wife Aida at the Grand Hotel Bonavia.

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12 Croatian jazz legend Bosko Petrovic with Renata Strok at the Hotel Excelsior.

From Dubrovnik to Windsor, GS Hotels & Resorts properties are a social focus and a stage for the great, the good and the glamorous. We thank you all for your support and look

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forward to seeing you again soon.

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Friends of GS

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Fashion Designer Vanja Strok with her husband Christian Devaux, director of Wren’s Hotel Group with their son Orlando at the Gharani Strok opening in Zagreb.

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Celebration dinner at the Dower House, Windsor: ALH and Wren’s Hotels teams with journalists.

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US Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne with Goran Strok at Dubrovnik Palace Hotel.

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Certificate of appreciation from the White House to the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel for support during the stay of Vice President Dick Cheney.

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14 15 13 Goran Strok meeting the King of Saudi Arabia. 14 Croatian President Stjepan Mesic with HRH Saudi Prince Mitab bin Abdullah bin Aziz. 15 Daily Telegraph Fashion Editor Hilary Alexander at the Sunset Bar, Dubrovnik Palace Hotel.

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Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader with Grand Hotel Bonavia staff.

10 Croatian actor Rade Serbedzija with singer Tereza Kesovija. 16 Croatian actor Goran Visnjic with Goran Strok in the Old City of Dubrovnik. 17 Michael Palin with Goran Strok at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel. 18 Goran Strok, Sir Roger Moore and violinist Julian Rachlin at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel.

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Portfolio

Two exquisite por tfolios, one unique hotel company... Hotels full of character, elegance and comfor t in historic locations of outstanding beauty in England and Croatia

www.gshotelsresorts.com E N G L A N D

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SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN’S HOUSE HOTEL & SPA W I N D S O R ,

E N G L A N D

THE FACTS

An Elegant Grade II listed town house overlooking the River Thames and in walking distance of Windsor Castle.

Address: Thames Street, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1PX Email: reservations@wrensgroup.com Website: www.sirchristopherwren.co.uk Reservations: 00 44 (0)1753 442421 Fax: 00 44 (0) 1753 442490 Location: London Heathrow 15 mins, London Gatwick 1 hr, Central London 45 mins by rail, road via M3, M4 or M25 No of Rooms: 96 bedrooms, including 9 suites and 5 apartments Rates: standard double room Inc breakfast, VAT from £135 per room per night Conferences: 7 rooms, individual room capacities from 8 to 100 Weddings: 3 rooms licensed for civil ceremonies from 8 to 100 Parking: many public car parks within 2 minutes walk of hotel Special Features: al fresco riverside dining & champagne bar, Wren’s Club fitness, beauty and spa

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heltering beneath the ramparts of Windsor Castle, Sir Christopher Wren’s House enjoys a setting of remarkable beauty overlooking the River Thames at Eton Bridge. Once the family home of the famous British architect Sir Christopher Wren, the hotel holds a unique place in English Heritage. It is conveniently located for Heathrow, central London and all the attractions of the Thames Valley, including Legoland and Royal Windsor Racecourse. The hotel has been meticulously restored and offers guests every comfort and outstanding service in a quiet town-centre location. Strok’s Restaurant and Martini Bar offers a fine dining experience in a romantic riverside setting, best appreciated over an al fresco dinner on a fine summer evening on the hotel’s champagne terrace. Meeting rooms offer state of the art facilities

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for the business traveller. Wren’s Club, the hotel’s superb fitness and health facility, is a place to exercise, relax and be pampered. At the heart of Royal Windsor, Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel and Spa is the perfect choice for business or pleasure. G s

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THE CHRISTOPHER E T O N,

B E R K S H I R E

THE FACTS

A boutique hotel of comfort and style on historic Eton High Street and within a short walk of the centre of Royal Windsor.

Address: High Street, Eton, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 6AN Email: sales@thechristopher.co.uk Website: www.thechristopher.co.uk Reservations: 00 44 (0)1753 852359 Fax: 00 44 (0)1753 830914 Location: London Heathrow, 15 mins, London Gatwick 1 hr, Central London 45 mins by rail, road via M3, M4 or M25 No of Rooms: 33 bedrooms, including 3 junior suites Rates: standard double room Inc breakfast, VAT from £100 per room per night Parking: Private car park Special Features: Use of Strok’s Restaurant and Wren’s Club spa at Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel & Spa

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former 17th century coaching inn with a colourful and varied history, today’s Christopher is a newly refurbished boutique hotel of clean and simple design. The building has been enhanced by contemporary interior design using natural materials and organic colour schemes. The Christopher is situated in a prime position on the main street of Eton, a beautiful and historic village linked to Windsor by a pedestrian bridge over the River Thames. Local attractions including Eton College and Windsor Castle are in walking distance of the hotel. Slightly further a field lie leisure attractions such as Legoland and Royal Windsor Racecourse. Guests can relax in the security of the Christopher’s stylish bar and enjoy a wide

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choice of drinks. All Christopher guests can take full advantage of the facilities of Sir Christopher Wren’s House Hotel and Spa, including Strok’s Restaurant and complimentary use of Wren’s Club’s fitness centre and spa. 87


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TAPLOW HOUSE HOTEL & RESTAURANT T A P L O W,

B U C K I N G H A M S H I R E

THE FACTS

A stunning Georgian retreat set in six acres of beautiful gardens and boasting Europe’s finest tulip trees.

Address: Berry Hill, Taplow, Buckinghamshire, SL6 ODA Email: reception@taplow.wrensgroup.com Website: www.taplowhouse.com Reservations: 00 44 (0)1628 670056 Fax: 00 44 (0)1628 773625 Location: London Heathrow 15 mins, London Gatwick 1 hr, Central London 40 mins by rail, road via M4 or M40 No of Rooms: 32 bedrooms, including 2 four posters and 3 suites Rates: standard double room Inc breakfast, VAT from £100 per room per night Conferences: 7 rooms, individual room capacities from 10 to 100 Weddings: 2 rooms licensed for civil ceremonies Parking: Private, secured car parking up to 100 cars Special Features: grounds ideal for corporate events, open air entertainment, marquees and summer gatherings

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n the edge of one of the loveliest old villages in the Thames Valley, Taplow House stands within beautiful grounds that offer rare seclusion in this busy part of England where space is at a premium. Bedrooms and suites are individually furnished and decorated to offer the period charm and great comfort of a British country house. Superb function rooms, an excellent restaurant and state of the art business amenities add to the hotel’s versatility and all members of staff pride themselves on achieving a high level of attentive yet discreet service. Situated in a locality famous for the magnificent forest of Burnham Beeches, Taplow is proud of its own great trees. These include Europe’s oldest and largest tulip tree, planted by Elizabeth I. The grounds remain

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essentially unchanged from their original design created by celebrated gardener Springall, and provide a haven of tranquillity for visitors.

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EXCELSIOR HOTEL & SPA D U B R O V N I K ,

C R O AT I A

THE FACTS

Croatia’s pre-eminent hotel, in a privileged location with uninterrupted views of the historic walled city of Dubrovnik, the island of Lokrum and the sparkling Mediterranean. Address: Frana Supila 12, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia Email: info@hotel-excelsior.hr Website: www.hotel-excelsior.hr Reservations: 00 385 20 353 353 Fax: 00 385 20 414-214 Location: Dubrovnik Airport 20 mins, Split Airport 3.5 hrs, Zagreb Airport 50 mins flight No of Rooms: 164 rooms including 18 suites Rates: standard double room inc breakfast, VAT Eur 209 – 319 Conferences: 5 multi functional rooms, capacity from 15 to 500 Weddings: 1 room licensed for civil ceremonies Parking: Private car park Special Features: large indoor pool with jaccuzi and whirlpools, steam bath, sea bathing terrace, prime location minutes from the old city

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he Excelsior has long been acknowledged as Croatia’s finest hotel. Superb facilities, an unrivalled location and excellent service make the Excelsior the perfect place to stay in Dubrovnik. Built in 1913 and completely renovated in 1998 all 146 bedrooms and 18 suites provide guests with every modern amenity. Spacious terraces with a stunning view of city and sea form part of the overall experience in a setting that is both intimate and fashionably Mediterranean. Dining is always a memorable experience at the Excelsior, with a rich choice of Dalmatian and international cuisine in the elegant Zagreb restaurant. The Taverna is a more informal restaurant with a reputation for the best food on the Dalmatian coast. Whether you prefer swimming in the hotel’s

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magnificent pool or meeting in the state of the art conference centre, the Excelsior will meet the needs of today’s discerning leisure or business traveller. Hotel of the Year 2004 on the Adriatic Coast as announced by Croatian Economic Chamber and Croatian National Television. Listed among the eleven hottest hotels in the Mediterranean for 2006 by the UK's leading weekly newspaper, The Sunday Times. 89


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DUBROVNIK PALACE HOTEL, CONFERENCE CENTRE & SPA D U B R O V N I K ,

C R O AT I A

THE FACTS

Croatia’s finest resort hotel, conference centre and spa, with magnificent panoramic views of the Adriatic.

Address: Masarykov put 20 – 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia Email: info@dubrovnikpalace.hr Website: www.dubrovnikpalace.hr Reservations: 00 385 20 430 000 Fax: 00 385 20 430 100 Location: Airport 30 minutes, Old City 10 minutes, 30 minutes by boat No of Rooms: 308 rooms including 36 apartments and suites Rates: standard double room inc. Breakfast, VAT Eur 159 – 317 Conferences: 10 multi functional rooms up to 1000 attendees Parking: Private car park and garage Special Features: Hotel beach, 3 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, diving centre, spa and beauty centre, tennis courts, 4 restaurants, 4 bars and additional 3 conference bars, night club, children club, hairdresser, gallery, shops

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ituated a short drive from the historic Old City of Dubrovnik, The Dubrovnik Palace Hotel, Conference Centre and Spa was opened by the President of Croatia in 2004. Its reconstruction by GS Hotels & Resorts has been the largest tourism project in Croatia in the last thirty years. No expense has been spared to provide the best in luxury accommodation, food of the highest quality and state of the art amenities. At the destination known as the Jewel of the Adriatic, the Dubrovnik Palace is the new benchmark property. Surrounded by pinewoods, the hotel offers seclusion, shade and a cooling breeze in summer, and enjoys magnificent views of the Mediterranean. The property is set directly on the water’s edge and offers excellent sea bathing and scuba diving directly from the hotel. Great food in a wide range of styles is served in the hotel’s three restaurants, and there is a bar

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for every mood. With its own nightclub, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre and an outstanding spa, the Palace is a fully-fledged and self-contained holiday resort. International business travellers will find the Palace equipped with all the latest communications and conference facilities, to anticipate their needs and guarantee an effective and relaxing stay. The hotel works equally well as a base for exploring Croatia’s beautiful Dalmatian coast. The Dubrovnik Palace Hotel has won the “Tourism Oscar”, the prestigious 2005 World Travel Awards, in two categories: Croatia’s Leading Hotel and Croatia’s Leading SPA Resort. In 2006 the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel was nominated for three prestigious World Travel Awards in the categories of Europe's Leading Resort, Croatia’s Leading Hotel and Croatia’s Leading Spa Resort. G s

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HOTEL KOMPAS D U B R O V N I K ,

C R O AT I A

THE FACTS

Situated on the Lapad bay and overlooking the crystal blue Adriatic Sea, the Kompas is the perfect base for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday in Dubrovnik. Address: Setaliste kralja Zvonimira 56, 20 000 Dubrovnik, Croatia Email: sales@hotel-kompas.hr Website: www.hotel-kompas.hr Reservations: 00 385 20 352 000 Fax: 00 385 20 435 877 Location: Airport 25 mins, old town 10 mins by car, 25 mins by foot No of Rooms: 115 rooms Rates: standard double room inc. Breakfast, VAT from Eur 80 – 190 Weddings: 1 room licensed for civil ceremonies, wedding packages Parking: Private garage Special Features: Beach, indoor & outdoor pool, 2 restaurants, café bar and bistro, gym, sauna, jacuzzi, massage and games rooms

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lthough primarily used for summer holidays, the Kompas has much to offer throughout the year and is an ideal base for exploring the beautiful city of Dubrovnik and its surrounding area. The hotel is open all year and offers modern facilities, a high level of service and a traditional welcoming atmosphere. Its location is ideal for sea bathing and relaxing in the sun, and the hotel is well equipped for small business meetings and seminars. The Kompas is well known for its fine cuisine and the warmth of its hospitality. It offers the best national and international dishes in a choice of two restaurants and terraces. Regular guests at the Kompas enjoy leisurely afternoons by the open-air swimming pool and swim in the clear Adriatic from the beach, only

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a minute’s walk from the hotel. In the cool of the evening, take a gentle stroll around the bay on the lovely promenade. The Hotel Kompas has won the 2005 Tourism Flower - Quality for Croatia Award for best 3star hotel in Croatia, awarded by the Croatian Association of Hoteliers, Croatian Television and the Croatian Chamber of Economy. 91


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HOTEL BELLEVUE D U B R O V N I K ,

C R O AT I A

THE FACTS

Dubrovnik gains a stunning new 5-star address with the re-opening of the Hotel Bellevue in Summer 2006. Step inside, and leave the outside world behind.

Address: Pera Cingrije 7, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia Email: sales@hotel-bellevue.hr Website: www.hotel-bellevue.hr Reservations: 00385 20330 000 Fax: 00385 20330 100 Location: Airport 20km, Dubrovnik Old City 800m No of Rooms: 80 rooms, 12 suites and 1 presidential suite Rates: standard double inc breakfast and VAT from Eur 300 - 360 Parking: underground garage Special Features: indoor pool, private beach and taverna, spa and wellness centre, private excursions/ airport transfers through Adriatic Luxury Services

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haven of seclusion and discreet luxury, the Bellevue enjoys a spectacular clifftop setting 30 metres above Miramare Bay, a sandy cove between the old town of Dubrovnik and the Lapad peninsula. The breathtaking sea view is the hotel’s design concept: a panoramic window dominates the reception area, and bedrooms have balconies with clear glass balustrades to make the most of the view. A showcase for local materials, art and craftsmanship, the hotel has ‘smart room’ technology throughout, a spa and fitness centre, and an extraordinary indoor horizon pool suspended between the cliff face and a glass wall 20 metres above the sea. As well as the hotel’s aperitif bar and gourmet restaurant,

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there is a beach bar and taverna at sea level served by private lift. About half of the bay is the Bellevue’s private beach – a small corner of paradise in the Adriatic jewel that is Dubrovnik.

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GRAND HOTEL BONAVIA R I J E K A ,

C R O AT I A

THE FACTS

A city hotel of international standing at the centre of the Adriatic port of Rijeka, only a few minutes from the elegant coastal resort of Opatija.

Address: Dolac 4, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia Email: bonavia@bonavia.hr Website: www.bonavia.hr Reservations: 00 385 51 357 100 Fax: 00 385 51 330 243 Location: Rijeka Airport 25 mins, Zagreb 1hr 45mins, Trieste (Italy) 1hr 30 mins, Ljubljana 2 hrs No of Rooms: 121 rooms Rates: standard double room inc. Breakfast, VAT from Eur 150 - 195 Conferences: 3 rooms, individual room capacities from 16 to 260 Weddings: 1 room licensed for civil ceremonies Parking: Private car park and garage Special Features: Outstanding restaurant, al fresco terrace, café bar

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ommanding a place of honour in the traditions of Croatian hospitality, the Grand Hotel Bonavia overlooks the centre of Rijeka, an international trading port now best known for its Lent Carnival celebrations, which are among the biggest and most colourful in the world. At the heart of the commercial and financial districts of the city, the Bonavia is an outstandingly elegant and well equipped business hotel that welcomes new visitors and business travellers to one of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating countries. Highly reputed for more than a century, the Bonavia's restaurant offers exquisite dishes of international and national cuisine as well as local specialties and is also well known for the elegant wedding ceremonies

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and professional catering services it provides. The Bonavia is proud to be one of the first hotels in Croatia to offer guests unlimited free broadband internet access in every room and in all public lounges. The Bonavia has its own Jazz Club and is only ten minutes drive from the palaces and gracious promenades of Opatija, the most elegant resort on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast. 93


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ADRIATIC LUXURY SERVICES D U B R O V N I K ,

C R O AT I A

THE FACTS

Croatia’s only Destination Management Company, based in Zagreb and Dubrovnik and covering all Croatia.

Address: Kardinala Stepinca 21, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia Email: als@als.hr Website: www.als.hr Telephone: 00 385 20 437 288 Fax: 00 385 20 437 283 Services we provide: ◆ The finest hotels in Croatia ◆ Transfers, excursions and special interest travel products ◆ Conference, meeting, incentive visits ◆ Exhibition and special events ◆ The most exclusive BMW luxury cars ◆ Flight only ◆ Complete travel solutions and packages ◆ Itinerary planning

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driatic Luxury Services was founded in 2002 to offer luxury transfer services (by land, air and sea) as a part of the leading hotel company in Croatia, Adriatic Luxury Hotels. As international interest in Croatia has grown, ALS has expanded the scope of its operation. It is now one of the leading incoming tour operators in Croatia, specialised in serving the luxury market. Covering all the most important Croatian resorts, ALS works with a selection of hand-picked properties and service suppliers. ALS also offers expert travel advice and organises excursions and tailor made touring itineraries combining the most interesting places in Croatia, the best hotels and restaurants and convenient travel arrangements. The agency’s top priority is to offer personalised and effective service at all times.

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