With the opening of Le Méridien Lav, Split on December 11,
Starwood Hotels and Resorts last week became the first well-known international
brand to open a property near
Situated on the water, the hotel sits on the beach front,
with gardens landscaped by the award-winning designer Jim Nicolay of
Italian designer Lorenzo Bellini created the hotel's décor,
which flows with the region's warm Mediterranean climate. Beds are draped in a
rich, bright red and the light wood-paneled bathrooms seem inspired by an
Italian outdoor villa, complete with fresh flowers. Amenities may include a
plasma or LCD TV, separate bath and shower and a balcony. Seventeen suites,
including the 394-square foot Presidential Suite, overlook
"The views are absolutely spectacular." notes John G.C. Wood, the hotel's general manager. He recommends the Adriatic Suite and Diplomatic Suites for their beautiful views and comfortable lounge areas.
The hotel is in Podstrana, about five miles from downtown
Though the weather certainly inspires outdoor activity, Le Méridien Lav made sure it wasn't short on entertainment options for guests within its own walls. Christophe Herbert of Principal Concepts designed the casino, which features a casual gaming experience with 140 slot machines and 20 gaming tables. There's also a nightclub and seven restaurants and bars, including fine dining, a brasserie and a champagne lounge. Wood advises agents to book in advance. The hotel also houses a sun-drenched three-story Diocletian Spa, based on Roman baths and featuring saunas, steam baths and whirlpools.
Though Le Méridien Lav is the only luxury hotel brand
currently in Split region, that may change in three years when Regent Hotels
and Resorts is expected to unveil its 120-room luxury hotel in Dubrovnik, about
three hours from Split. Expected to open in early 2009, the Regent Dubrovnik's
plans call for similar features, such as a spa and wellness facility,
restaurants and bars.