The first five-star hotel on Hvar will open its doors in the summer of 2019. The opening of Palace Elisabeth, hvar heritage hotel is awaited with great anticipation as it is the first hotel of this kind on the entire island. The history of the hotel dates back to the 13th century when the Duke’s palace was built during the Venetian rule. The frontal part of the palace faced the south and it was bordered by four towers. It was located on top of today's Loggia and its east tower was converted into a clock tower. The initial palace was burned down and was rebuilt in the early 16th century.
Due to Hvar’s favorable climate, salty sea air and mild winters, the Hygienic Society was founded in 1868, which marked the beginning of winter-health tourism and prompted the building of the first modern health hotel which required significant funds for completion.
The Duke’s palace was demolished in 1881 due to deterioration and in its place the first health hotel was built according to the design of Viennese architect Bernard Schwarz. It was completed in 1898 and opened in 1899 under the name Spa Hotel Empress Elisabeth, since the Austrian Empress Elisabeth ‘Sisi’ was a generous sponsor who financed the hotel’s construction.
Spa hotel of Empress Elisabeth (Kur-hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth) had an overall of 26 rooms, i.e. 35 beds, a dining room, a café in the old city hall and a reading room, and its facilities were extended in 1935. It was tastefully decorated and furnished with furniture purchased in Trieste. The house rules of the hotel, printed in 1905 in Croatian, Italian and German, warned guests of general hotel cleanliness, prohibited smoking in the dining room during lunch, gambling at the hotel, forbid the entry of dogs and other animals, prohibited drying and hanging clothes through windows, etc.
From the start, the hotel was a great success, which brought numerous guests from Austria, Germany, Czech Republic and Hungary, which helped Hvar become an important tourist destination on the Austrian Riviera, and the catch phrase ‘Austrian Madeira’ dates from this period.
Upon completion in 2019, the Palace Elisabeth, hvar heritage hotel will incorporate original Austrian and Venetian elements from the era of the famous Austrian Empress Elisabeth, who was well known for her exceptional travelling lifestyle. In addition, due to the hotel’s rich history and tradition, it will also bear her name.