Boutique Hotel Marco Polo Gradac {Family-run}

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Hotel Marco Polo Gradac {Family-run boutique hotel}

The Makarska Riviera has got to be one of Croatia’s best areas for beaches and for a sea-side vacation. If you think that finding a beach-front, and I mean literally beach front, boutique hotel that serves up 5 star meals and service sounds too expensive and out of your budget, think again. Jot down the name ‘Boutique Hotel Marco Polo’. Here you’ll be delighted with 3 star prices with 5 star quality.

Hotel Marco Polo lies at the southern end of the Makarska Riviera in the beautiful tourist town of Gradac. Positioned right on the waterfront, just several metres from the beach and a short walk to the centre of town, Hotel Marco Polo is in a perfect location. 

Local Tip: During peak season (10 Jul to 25 Aug) the beaches are overcrowded, but June &  September you will practically  have the entire beach to yourself

Hotel Marco Polo Gradac - Travel Croatia like a local
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac

Arrival at Hotel Marco Polo Gradac

Smiles all round at this check-in desk. Parking is available, and although not immediately obvious where you should park – just collect a parking card at reception and you are good-to-go. Once the team has ensured your car is parked safely you’ll be given a tour of the premises.

Try to avoid staring at the pool and spa area too long as you may not want to take your bags to your room. Included in the tours, is the lounge area, which is set up like your home. Big comfortable couches with a bookshelf filled with books from all over the globe and a TV if you feel like it.

The history of the hotel is truly that of a family-run hotel. Begun by the current owners father, who as the hotels website says had a;

Great desire to always offer something new to his guests and to excite them by constantly introducing something new with a vision to not only become bigger, but more beautiful, original, approachable, warmer and cozier and eminently unforgettable

Wow. Big statement. But they live up to it.

Hotel Marco Polo Gradac - With a view - Travel Croatia
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac – With a view

Rooms at Hotel Marco Polo Gradac

Kitted out with 25 luxurious rooms, apartments and suites all with air-conditioning, satellite TV, a mini-bar plus complimentary wi-fi, the rooms in Hotel Marco Polo are spacious and extremely well maintained.

Delightfully the rooms are well insulated, meaning with a packed promenade of vacationers, a full restaurant and live music you can sleep peacefully – even in our room which faced the street.

Hotel Marco Polo Gradac - Balcony
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac – Balcony

No need to pay the overpriced rates many beaches charge along the Makarska Riviera for a sun lounge as Hotel Marco Polo provides free sun beds for use during the day. Score!

Room Tip: Pay the extra and stay in one of the rooms with a sea view. Starting and ending your day looking out at the sea when in Gradac is a must.

Hotel Marco Polo Gradac Rooms - Travel Croatia
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac – Sleep tight

Service and awards at Boutique Hotel Marco Polo Gradac

You can’t ask for more friendly hotel owners. Stipe and Tina, along with their team are all smiles and only too happy to help you make the most of your vacation in Croatia. Stipe can be found taking guided tours with guests as well as greeting you for dinner or cocktails in the big community lounge area.The hotel’s slogan is ‘always at your service‘ and from what we saw that is so very true.

In the short period I spoke with Stipe after dinner one evening over a delicious glass of Croatian wine – I was surprised at how many guests were walking past saying goodnight to him. For a guest in the hotel to stop by and have pleasant conversation with the hotel owner speaks volumes about the relationship Stipe has with his guests.

Hotel Marco Polo won the Adrian prize for the Best Small Hotel in Croatia (2009) and was also awarded The Best Boutique Hotel in Croatia (2008). 

Hotel Marco Polo Gradac - Wine
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac

Restaurant Nicolo Polo

The restaurant, Nicolo Polo is where Hotel Marco Polo shines beyond that of a regular hotel. Food is very important to us, so important that a bad meal can send Mr. Chasing the Donkey into a bad mood for hours. No bad mood was had over our two days at Marco Polo. The only regret we had was skipping the 7 course degustation menu – which we did as we were travelling with the baby donkey. It’s a good reason to go back I guess.

Whilst the hotel welcomes children dining at the restaurant, the romantic mood of the live music and flickering candle light means we wanted to eat and leave as soon as possible to allow other guests to enjoy their night. The first courses we did eye-ball from the table across from us made us uber-jealous.

Hotel Marco Polo Gradac nicholo polo
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac – Restaurant

The ala-carte menu we ordered from is unlike almost anything you’ll find Dalmatia. The fusion meals are a well balanced mix of Croatian food and specialities you would expect – but with a great twist. We recommend you try the black squid ink risotto, fresh lobster, oysters, or the lamb pekaa true Croatian specialty. 

Nicolo Polo has an extensive wine list,  at very reasonable prices. Even if you’re not a hotel guest I recommend lunch or dinner on the terrace to enjoy the shimmering-turquoise views.

Each night the restaurant has a different theme, so check the blackboard to see what tickles your fancy.

Hotel Marco Polo Gradac breakfast - Travel Croatia
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac – Breakfast with a view

Pepo Polo Pool and Spa

Skip the crowds on the beach, and lay by the hotel pool. Reserved for hotel guests this is the spot to be for total peace and quiet. Grab a drink from the bar, claim a comfortable lounge chair and relax away.

Mix up your week long vacation with a visit to the hotel spa with a massage or if you like, work up a sweat in the gym or use the jacuzzi & sauna.

Hotel Marco Polo Gradac - Travel Croatia
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac – Pool and Spa
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac Pool - Travel Croatia
Hotel Marco Polo Gradac – Poolside drinks

Activities with Boutique Hotel Marco Polo Gradac

Available only to hotel guests are the Roberto Polo activities. Hotel Marco Polo are so committed to making sure you have a great time – Stipe had a boat made from his own designs, found a skipper and co-ordinate guest-only activities aboard. A full list of options can be obtained on arrival, though this list gives you a taste.

We enjoyed a cruise on our trip, and could not have asked for a better day on the water. I recommend you take the best excursion run by the hotel.  The wine tour of the Peljeลกa Peninsula tours have been operational for the past 8 years, and are guided by the owner (Stipe) himself. A day on the water and wine = winning combination. 

Don’t want to be on the water? No problem; the hotel also has a air-conditioned minibus that you can take in the sites around town – and even into Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Where to find Hotel Marco Polo Gradac

Obala 15, 21330
Gradac, Makarska Riviera
Phone: +385 (0) 21 697 502 | Like Marco Polo on facebook
Check Availability

Any vacation in Croatia is not complete without a little beach time. You can get beach-time anywhere in Croatia, what the Boutique Hotel Marco Polo offers is an all-round Croatian experience. From the hospitality, dining and relaxing we did I can be sure you’ll have an unforgettable experience too.

We want you to know: We were provided the room without charge in return for this review. All thoughts and opinions are given honestly and without bias. Some photos were provided by Hotel Marco Polo.

More on the Makarska Riviera


Comments (25)

  1. Hello, on behalf of Christa, Host of The Sunday Traveler, I was stopping by to check out your article. Looks ans sounds great! I’m always in favor of a 5 star stay 3 star pricing. Everything looked so inviting and everyone sounds very friendly. I will certainly have to keep this place in mind. Thanks!

  2. Oooh this place looks super beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚
    we totally found Makarska to be overcrowded thru July tho’ the beach was insane! We were picking our thru people & towels to get to the sea & back we were soaking them! Oops ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Oh yes, July and August is SO crowded here. That is why I always tell people come May-June and September. So so much better. Come back next year, you’ll see ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. Looks like the kind of place Ethan and I would enjoy and the tasting menu sound delicious, too bad you didn’t get a chance to try it.

    BTW, is there any backstory about the hotel’s name regarding Marco Polo? I did some research for a post on Marco Polo earlier this year and there is quite the debate as you probably know between Croatia and Italy about where Polo was born (you know if he existed, haha).

    1. I know! We were so envious of the tables around us. Lucky we love our son…. just he he he

      Yes! The history of the name is actually from the current owners Father, Nicolo – you can read their family / hotel history here.

      Although so so so many people in Croatia are convinced he was born on Korcula – which even if true was under Venetian rule at the time. So everyone wins ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You have such a way with words, SJ and with the beautiful pictures to reinforce them..we would love to stay at this hotel. Everything you’ve listed sounds amazing from the food, wine, activities to that inviting room. I love locally owned places like these compared to the hotel chains because there’s so many personal touches. Here’s hoping you two return for a romantic getaway soon.

    1. Thanks kind of you Mary thanks. This hotel belongs to an association of family run places in Croatia – they all seem to have such a charm about them. We are loving enjoying them and sharing them with you all.

  5. That place looks fab! The food… The drinks… The rooms… everything! Could really go for a trip there!

  6. WOWZA, this hotel looks amazing – the food, the wine, the pool and the views Bookmarking for sure to stay here when we get back to Croatia – wow!

  7. What a fantastic spot! The boat rides sounds about perfect, with some wine on the water. Hope I can make it back to Croatia soon to give this place a try.

  8. Wow! That hotel looks stunning. Do you think it would be a good place to stay for solo travelers as well?

    1. Totally!! This place has a very friendly vibe – and the tours they run would be perfect for you to have a chit chat and meet people.

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