Articles Croatia


beach_ocean_diego_250329_l.jpgSome call Porec a resort town, but the truth is, there are only a few places to stay within the little town of 12,000. Most of the tourism takes place in the outlying areas, where travelers find places to stay in the rooms for rent among the villagers and spend the nights in the quiet countryside.

Porec sits on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula, far enough north that it escapes the summer heat that descends on the rest of the Dalmatian coast. Porec instead receives cooler summer weather that makes for easy days and pleasant nights all summer long.

Porec is also one of the few Croatian towns that receives winter tourism. Travelers from Italy, Slovenia and Austria come through Porec to tour the natural scenery and to experience the local coastal vibe. Porec used to be part of Italy, the language is still spoken there and much of the signage is still in Italian. Porec, however, is part of Croatia and not yet on the Euro monetary system. To vacation there is cheaper than going over to Italy, so Porec attracts some of the travelers from Europe on weekend trips away from home or vacationers on a tight budget.

Porec is also an easy destination if you just want to jump into Croatia on your way to somewhere else. It’s closeness to rail lines and transport centers that connect with the rest of Europe make it an easy stop for those just passing through and want to get a feel for Croatia or say that they were there.

If you’re stay in Porec is limited by time, the one thing you must see is the Euphrasian Basilica. Named a UNESCO World Heritage sight, the basilica contains unparalleled Byzantine artwork and mosaics for travelers to marvel at. Most of the mosaics are over 1,500 years old and there is evidence of a construction of a similar Basilica on the same land before this one was finished in the 4th century. That ancient building is no longer standing, but it is still quite a rush to think that thousands of years ago, someone stood right where you stand and appreciated works of art tin exactly the same way.

Articles Croatia

Hotel Dubrovnik Palace

beach_tourist_seashore_280414_m.jpgExpensive extravagance is the norm at Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, Croatia’s premier luxury travel resort.

Dubrovnik Palace is the finest of Croatia’s luxury accommodations and bills itself thusly. The winner of the tourism flower award among five star resorts, the hotel was also named Europe’s Leading Resort in 2006.

What makes Hotel Dubrovnik Palace so special? It outperforms its competition repeatedly and out supplies its guests with the kind of amenities that matter to those who have the cash to spend a week on vacation in the finest luxury resort in an up and coming tropical European destination.

Four swimming pools, three outdoor, one indoor, sprinkled throughout the facility, as well as tennis courts, its own scuba diving center, a private beach and a private wooded area behind the hotel add to the resume of this accomplished resort.

The resort also provides a full compliment of bars and restaurants, all seaside, convenient to your room or activities. From the upscale restaurant Lenga, to an a la carte snack cart that you can sample from and take back to your pool or beachside barca-lounger, the food at Hotel Dubrovnik Palace is conveniently located, but it also might be the resort’s weak link.

Does it live up to the hype?

Travelers give the hotel strong reviews and find the resort’s location and amenities often exceed their expectations. A common theme in their criticisms seems to be the food. “Gourmet” becomes “overpriced” when travelers aren’t satisfied with the selection, taste, or quality of the meals. There have been no reports of food-poisoning or similar horror stories, some travelers simply felt the food wasn’t on par with the price they were paying for it.

The service and accommodations, except for the snootiest of travelers, are generally agreed to be top-notch.


Location is one of Hotel Dubrovnik Palace’s most marketable features. Other hotels and resorts can build more pools or offer more free massages, but no other hotel can offer downtown Dubrovnik after only a short bus ride from the hotel.

To be specific, the Hotel sits on the Lapad Peninsula, just outside of Dubrovnik, where there are pine forests instead of ancient buildings. The Dubrovnik Airport is about 10 miles away and the historic part of Dubrovnik is even closer.

Articles Los Angeles

Costa Mesa

costamesapic.jpgCosta Mesa is a suburban city in Orange County located halfway between several popular beaches and Disneyland. The middle class community has been settled throughout most of American history but exploded in population after local families training for deployment in World War II lived in Costa Mesa while they trained at the Santa Ana Army Air Base.

South Coast Plaza Shopping Center generates almost 1 billion dollars at its 322 stores each year. Although not the largest mall in the U.S. the stores generate more money than any other shopping center in the country. Stores draw clientele from all over Orange County to shop at its upscale and ultra-luxury boutiques and many stores report that their South Coast Plaza locations make more money than any other location around the world.

In addition to the mall, the Orange County fairgrounds are located in Costa Mesa, which hosts the Orange County fair, one of the largest fairs in California. The fairgrounds host music and comedy acts during the fair, which receives more than one million visitors each year.

The city of Costa Mesa literally makes up the middle area between Disneyland and the beach. Like the rest of Orange County, it consists lots of shopping centers and chain restaurants but it is also the best place to find cheap accommodation away from the inflated prices of the beach and out of the Disneyland bubble that fills Anaheim with theme park addled families recovering from their adrenaline rushes.

Costa Mesa is a perfect place to stay if you’re looking for more variety out of your Los Angeles vacation than spending all of your time just at the beach or Disneyland. Costa Mesa is not oriented just for tourists or streamlined so that you spend all of your time spending money in an amusement park. It’s a place to stay for those who want to see a little more of Los Angeles and spend some time taking in the sights around the rest of the city after they can no longer handle the roller coasters or the waves for the fourth day in a row.

View Larger Map

Articles Croatia

Zagreb’s next top hostel

bunkbedkid.jpgOne of the newest hostels in Zagreb, Fulir Hostel has only been open since 2006. That makes its meteoric rise and its perch atop the hostel market in that city all the more impressive. Ranked at the top of most of the Internet booking websites, Fulir Hostel also has rabid endorsements from travelers and a great looking website to recommend it.

Fulir Hostel’s most impressive bit of evidence to recommend it is its location. Just 50 meters off the main square in Zagreb, the hostel is convenient to the center of the city and part of the central downtown atmosphere. The hostel’s visitors create the scene as much as they enjoy it and you’ll find that the hostel itself is as much a part of the downtown culture as anywhere else.

Articles Croatia

Hotel Kompass

cliffs_rocks_beach_280096_m.jpgBy most accounts, Hotel Kompass is Croatia’s nicest three star hotel. The hotel combines an amazing view with decent services and amenities to produce one of the best travel experiences available in Croatia on a mid-range budget.

Hotel Kompass is located near Dubrovnik, on the Lapad peninsula with a view overlooking the bay. The hotel regularly receives rave reviews and is a popular way to get semi-luxury accommodations on a budget.

The differences between Hotel Kompass and a luxury resort are slight. Where a resort might be described as “massive,” Hotel Kompass is “charming,” where a resort might be “pristine,” Hotel Kompass is “well-kept.”

When it comes to the food in the restaurant however, the reviews are more mixed. Some ring with recommendation and endorsement, comparing the food to the finest stuff in Italy’s best kitchens and gushing about the selection.

Others, find the food repetitive, the buffet limiting and the service average. Hotel Kompass may not have the finest kitchen to offer, but for budget travelers the food choices will likely be manageable and a far cry above what is usually offered in youth hostels.

Quick Facts

Hotel Kompass has 115 rooms over 5 floors.

Prices start at 94 euros a night.

Hotel Kompass is a three star hotel.

Accepts American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa.

There is a heated indoor pool and a heated outdoor pool as well as an accessible beach from your hotel.

Hotel Kompass is probably the best compromise you can make between a high-class resort and a youth hostel or budget hotel. While the service reflects the manageable over all price–there are fewer extra frills than a resort–the location, view and accommodations are just as good as a higher priced resort.

Articles Los Angeles

The Beverly Hilton

losangeles_hollywood_rodeodrive_1002286_l1.jpgThe best location, the best views, the best service… the superlatives accompanying the Beverly Hilton are many. But the best prices? Not so fast.

The Beverly Hilton may be one of the world’s finest examples of “getting what you pay for” out of a hotel, or anything else. Yes the towels are plush and your balcony overlooks the LA Country Club or the mansions of Beverly Hills. Your breakfast comes in on a tray and leaves the same way after you’ve eaten it. Your car is valet parked upon arrival. Your credit card is required.

Luckily for the hotel, the availability of the Penthouse is more of a concern than the price of the room for most of their guests. Rooms run around $200 a night, but go up sharply if upgrading to an Oasis room or one of the Tower suites.

Much of what you pay for at the Beverly Hilton, however, comes to you outside of the room itself. The location of the hotel is second to none for those looking for a place within walking distance of spots like Rodeo Drive and the rest of Beverly Hills. Visitors report feeling important and cared for in what can be an intimidating city.

Quick Facts

The Beverly Hilton consists of 570 rooms on 8 floors and was built in 1952.

The in-room amenities include a flat screen TV and high speed Internet.

Pets under 25 pounds are allowed in the pet suites with a $10 per day extra charge.

There are two pools, one indoor, one outdoor.

The Beverly Hilton is located at 9876 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills, at the intersection of Trenton and Wilshire. Call the front desk at 310-274-7777.

View Larger Map