Ljubljana means The Beloved One
And there’s no better place to take your Beloved.
All the signs point to it: as well as our capital’s evocative name, Slovenia is the only country in the world that has the word ‘love’ in its name. No wonder a good friend recently asked me for some suggestions when he decided to surprise his wife with a romantic long weekend away. I knew that it wouldn’t be a problem – Ljubljana would offer a wealth of perfect possibilities. Here’s the result of my search for the ideal venue:
Ljubljana’s hidden places for lovers
I started my search among the small boutique and designer hotels in the city centre, deciding that that the Old Town’s intimate little streets and alleyways were where I would find the ideal destination. Preferably in an old house that had been lovingly restored and furnished, with a cosy atmosphere and all the luxury that’s vital for such a weekend treat.
I was spoilt for choice! I can’t mention every one of the places that I found, but by setting myself some strict guidelines, I finally managed to narrow my selection down to six.
My criteria were: coziness, originality, a good location in the Old Town, the flair of the building’s design and decor, immaculate attention to every detail, and the highest standards of personal service.
Hotel Galleria; the haven for dreamers
I discovered this four-star gem in a tranquil and picturesque part of old Ljubljana, just at the foot of Ljubljana Castle Hill and within easy strolling distance of the charming city centre and the banks of the Ljubljanica River with its famous triple bridge square.
This boutique hotel’s intimate, warm and tranquil atmosphere put them firmly on my list. Whether having a delicious breakfast á deux in the Secret Garden, or sipping a glass of delicious Slovenian wine in the beautiful lobby, your every moment there will be marked by a happy memory. Being a big romantic myself, The Galleria is my personal first, most honest choice of all what I discovered.
Hotel Vander: Old and New in a passionate embrace
Nestled away from the roar of traffic, Vander Urban Resort has been created from four atmospheric old townhouses in a terrace nestling under Castle Hill, on the banks of the Ljubljanica River.
Behind the ‘bourgeois house’ facades, the properties have been redesigned with contemporary passion and flair to provide 20 impeccably-curated rooms offering every comfort.
Tear yourself away from your room to make the trip to the roof terrace for a magnificent panorama of the city – where you’ll see everywhere the Slovenian love of the old and constant search for the new. To top it all, the hotel has one of Ljubljana’s best restaurants and – last but not least – a delightful rooftop pool with panoramic views of the Old Town.
Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa: the place to spoil your darling
When a grand gesture is called for, head for the Antiq Palace Hotel. Housed in a 16th-century building, formerly home to some of Ljubljana’s noblest families, the hotel offers its guests luxury accommodation in exclusive suites of 100 square metres or more.
The rooms have been sensitively renovated to retain the building’s original spirit, with some rooms containing remains of original frescoes, and others featuring original period furniture. And to provide the most modern methods of pampering and relaxation, there are exclusive wellness and sauna facilities.
The Adora Hotel: small, warm and friendly.
By contrast, the friendly little Adora Hotel offers a pleasant, family-style environment in a sympathetically-renovated old townhouse.
The Adora is located in the old square below Ljubljana Castle, in the middle of a network of small, charming streets. It has ten attractive, modern rooms, each offering a peaceful haven in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Spend some time in the pleasant lounge and bar, perhaps with a glass of excellent Slovenian wine, or take tea or coffee on the pretty garden terrace. Then stroll out to enjoy the sights of the city, among the area’s excellent inns, picturesque bars and exciting shops.
The Art Hotel: a hidden corner in a busy city
I came upon the Art Hotel in a pedestrian-only area within the historic centre of Ljubljana – only a step away from the buzz of nightlife and all the major must-see tourist sights. Stay here and you’ll experience the city in a most unique fashion – as if you’re one of the few lucky locals who still live in the centre.
The hotel is hidden in a tall, narrow alley, quaintly named ‘Soteska’, which translates as ‘Gorge’. The building is beautifully renovated, and surrounds you with an intimate, warm and welcoming atmosphere at every turn. The hotel’s well-stocked and cosy bar and beautiful, secluded terrace completed its ‘lover-friendly’ score.
The Cubo: how to be cosy as well as extraordinary
How to provide all the services of a large hotel but with the intimate atmosphere that can only happen when the staff can pay individual attention to each and every guest? It’s a difficult feat, but Cubo pulls it off!
Cubo is housed in a historic, protected building that has been repurposed as a hotel with a fresh, modern design that provides an impressive yet harmonious contrast. And here, service absolutely comes first. I could feel the staff’s dedication and warmth as they welcomed their guests as if to their own homes.
And finally, I sampled their extraordinary restaurant, All I can say is, whoever stays at Cubo would be making a big mistake not to eat there, too.
I think my friend has chosen the right gift for his darling, and I’m confident that he’ll find a wonderful hideaway among my six suggestions. Who knows – maybe he could try them all? After all, each one is a unique experience, and there’ll be lots more birthdays and anniversaries to come.