Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico

Rovinj is a labyrinth of beautiful streets, that hide many true gems. One of them is definitely the newly opened Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico hotel, located in the heart of the old historic town. Together with my blogger friend Vanesa (Takeoff with love) we stayed there for one night and made a clear plan to visit it once again in the near future.

A little Santorini in the Istrian peninsula: Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico

Even though Rovinj in summer months is packed with tourists, it hasn’t lost its charm. Probably because each and every person in the old town is trying to preserve its true, historic beauty. The same goes for the owner of Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico hotel (who actually comes from Slovenia), who carefully restored the building from 1920s in to a 7 double room hotel. As you can (hopefully) see from the photos, Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico has a luxurious Santorini/Mykonos vibe. Bright and rustical interior and exterior have been restored to its original form, keeping in mind the original cultural and historical heritage of Rovinj, while adding a modern and luxurious touch. A lovely reception with a fireplace, lounge bar, wine vault (with a great selection of Slovenian, Croatian and Italian wines) and an inner garden with a water tank (originating from 1964) have a cosy, yet sophisticated feel. Having delicious breakfast there was truly something. While the open inner garden is stunning in the morning, it fully shines in the evening – the lightning of the space is amazing! Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico is located at 44 Augusto Ferri Street, 3 minute walk from the old city centre, which makes it perfect for discovering Rovinj streets and beaches. The location itself is a reason for the name of the hotel, because the part of the town where it lies was once called “contrada Spirito Santo”.

Room Santa Croce offers a stunning view of the old town of Rovinj

Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico is a luxurious boutique hotel with only 7 rooms, all named after the streets of Rovinj. It will offer piece and luxurious pampering, no matter which room you book. We stayed at room Santa Croce, which is located on the 3rd floor. With 21 m² Santa Croce is one of the smallest rooms at Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico hotel. It is spacious, bright and amazingly decorated with a French bed, skylights, marble bathroom and a small window view of the old town of Rovinj and sea. A perfect choice for a romantic getaway!

Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico hotel
44 August Ferri Street, 52210 Rovinj
website: http://hotel-spiritosanto.com/

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Istanbul znamenitosti

Istanbul is one of the cities that was on the top of my “to visit list” for ages (that probably has a lot to do with my love for history, which was especially deep in Elementary school). This year I got the chance to visit it thanks to an invitation from Turkish Airlines. Flying directly from Ljubljana, Slovenia to the historically and culturally rich city was an unforgettable experience. Straddling two continents, Istanbul is well known for shopping (we actually went there for Istanbul Shopping Festival), delicious Turkish food (you will know what I mean, if you check out my Istanbul vlog), wonderful architecture and magnificent mosques. Originally known as Byzantium (later Constantinople), adopted the name Istanbul in the early 20th Century and remained until now an extremely important link between Europe and Asia.

Location: Istanbul, Republic of Turkey

Time zone: UTC+3

Currency: Turkish Lira

How to get to Istanbul?

Flying into Istanbul, you will land at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. It is a big and modern airport, located in the western part of the city. We flew from Ljubljana directly to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, the flight was 2 hours and 15 minutes long. Flying business class allowed us to fully enjoy the flight. And I should not forget to mention, we also got access to the Turkish Airlines lounge at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, which is known to be one of the best in the world –two floors featuring many amenities, everything from entertainment to gourmet food… However, there is a new airport being built and apparently the new Turkish Airlines lounge will even surpass this one. I can highly suggest you fly Turkish Airlines, I’ve never been disappointed (my previous flight was to Indonesia). They have been, after all, named the best airline in Europe for the past few years with reason.

Top 5 things to visit in Istanbul

Even though you can probably explore the city for days, I rounded up my top 5 things to visit in Istanbul. They may not come as a surprise to some of you, but still… The most iconic places are something you shouldn’t miss. Ancient monuments, dating back centuries are full of historic and religious treasures.

The Grand Bazaar – Kalpali Çarsi: Our hotel (Best Western Istanbul Plus The President Hotel) was located a short walk away from the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, built in 1461. 21 gates, 61 streets and over 4000 shops, you can imagine – a true shopper’s dream and hell at the same time (no way, you can discover it all!). In the maze of shops you will find everything from jewellery, carpets, leather goods, textile, ceramics, spices to various fakes. Visiting the Grand Bazaar, you should consider a short walk to the Spice Bazaar as well.

The Blue Mosque – Sultanahmet Imperial Mosque: is one of the most famous and iconic tourist places in Istanbul. Built in 1616, decorated with blue tiles is today still is an active mosque. It is magnificent and very much worth the visit.
Hagia Sofia was once a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica and from 1453 a mosque. Today it is a museum, you should definitely visit. The building itself is 1400 years old and it’s well known for its massive and magnificent dome.

The Topkapi palace was once home of the Ottoman sultans and today a place where you can enjoy walks through beautiful gardens, amazing views and many historical treasures.

Bosphorus Cruise was probably one of the most unforgettable experiences for me. The Bosphorus Strait separates Istanbul in half, as well as represents the link between Europe and Asia (it has three bridges). Taking a boat from one coast to another, you will enjoy the sea breeze and the view of the old palaces and mansions lining the shores.

Where to shop in Istanbul?

As I previously mentioned, we visited the Istanbul Shopping festival during our days in Istanbul. It’s is no exaggeration marking Istanbul as “the shopper’s paradise”, you can find everything from antique shops, markets to luxurious boutiques and large shopping malls there. 7th Istanbul ShoppingFest started with a ceremony at the Grand Bazaar and was set up at 9 shopping malls across the city of Istanbul: Akasya, Capitol, Emaar Square Mall, Forum İstanbul, İstinye Park, Kanyon, Palladium, Venezia and Zorlu Center. In Turkey they take their shopping seriously (the number of shops and malls is outstanding, you can pay with credit cards everywhere, even in the markets…) and Istanbul is for sure the centre of it. If you’re anywhere near being a shopping maniac, you should definitely consider visiting Istanbul during the time of Istanbul ShoppingFest.

Make sure you check out my Istanbul vlog as well!

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Each year I find some great pieces on summer sales. This year I stopped by Tom Tailor and found the perfect off-the-shoulder dress in pastel blue (hurry up, the sales are quickly coming to the end!). Even though I already own a similar one, I still believe there’s no such thing as “too many off-the-shoulder pieces” in your wardrobe (especially this season!). Details on the sleeves make this overall simple dress a bit more interesting. You just grab a colourful bag, put some sandals on and you’re ready to rock this summer!

outfit: Tom Tailor
photo: Katarina Veselič

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Zlati grič Slovenija

Although I love exploring the world, foreign countries with their versatile landscapes and different customs, tasting the local cuisine, … this year I have discovered a hidden gem right in my backyard! My home country, Slovenia, is small but charming. I’ve realised that I don’t know it as well as I thought I did, so I said a big “yes” to the invitation on a gourmet-oenological trip without hesitation.

Subterranean charm of a European wine cellar: Wine cellar Zlati Grič

Our first stop was the underground wine cellar Zlati Grič. We drove through a small winding road between the vineyards, stopped in front of a modern and architecturally sophisticated building, subtly built into existing stone in a way that it almost blends with the landscape. As it is completely underground with its roof overgrown with grass one could never guess the building is 3500 square meters big and has a capacity of 1,3 Mio. litre. Modern equipment and sophisticated appearance place the wine cellar Zlati grič among the most eminent cellars in Europe. I was impressed by its clean design and with 30C+ outside I really enjoyed the pleasantly cold interior. After a brief tour, we stopped for the wine tasting and let ourselves be spoiled. We tested a significant part of their wine selection. The fact that white wine is a staple of the region was especially pleasing to me. Pairing tasty cheese with different varieties of wine including sparkling wine, our taste buds were truly pampered. I must admit, I drank a lot… After all, good wine should not go to waste 😉

Sparkling wine ripens among the walls of the mighty Ziče Carthusian Monastery: the sparkling wine cellar Zlati grič

»Mighty« is the best word to describe Ziče Carthusian monastery. Upon arrival I was left speechless. If I ever considered a big wedding (probably not, but still), this would be on top of the list for the venue pick. We had an honour to walk the arched cellars of the monastery, where 60,000 bottles of white and (my favourite) rosé ripen.

Swing a golf club before you sit down for a gourmet experience

Wine region is also the home of the golf course Zlati Grič, for which I can without exaggeration (and despite my poor knowledge) say that it is one of the most beautiful, truly idyllic golf courses in Slovenia. The lively playground is subtly embedded in the surroundings consisting mostly of vineyards. It is visited by experienced golfers as well as sport novice (me being the latter). The masters of the Zlati Grič Golf Club gave us a short golf lesson and showed us how to hit the stick. After sports activities, there was a snack waiting for us at the field, and later we drove to the Grič Restaurant, located at the top of the hill. Ending the day with delicious food, which perfectly matched the wines of the Zlati Grič, we chatted away into the sunset with a wonderful view of the scenic landscape.

photo: Ajda Sitar and Matej Narek
outfit: Dorothy Perkins dress, H&M hat, Deichmann shoes

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