Pharos Hvar Bayhill Hotel
This renovated 1960s hotel stands on a pine-wooded slope above the harbour in trendy Hvar Town. With 202 rooms, an informal café-restaurant, an outdoor pool and views onto the Adriatic, it offers affordable contemporary style, fun, comfort, quirky details and an easy-going atmosphere.
- Jane Foster, Destination expert
Set amid pine trees on a small hill, a 10-minute walk down to Hvar Town's lovely harbour and a five-minute walk to the Bonj les Bains beach. Hvar Town on the island of Hvar is served by catamaran from Split (journey time 1hr) and Dubrovnik (journey time 3hr 10min). The island's main port, Stari Grad, is served by ferry.
Style & character
Informal, fun and vibrant – suited to budget-conscious visitors in their twenties and thirties (it pitches itself as a 'millenial hotel'), most of whom visit Hvar to enjoy its beaches, water sports and hyped summer nightlife. An open-plan concept runs throughout the property, starting from the light and airy lobby, which gives directly onto the all-day restaurant, and overlooks the outdoor pool – fans of modernist architecture will appreciate the project's clean lines and elegant simplicity. Mismatched furnishing adds a relaxed mood, with comfy sofas, cushions and beanbags, while details in primary blue or yellow (suggesting sea and sunshine), add colour.
The grounds are planted with magnificent old olive trees, towering pines, palms, cacti, pink and white oleander and fragrant lavender bushes.
Service & facilities
Staff are cheerful, helpful and professional, and will help arrange local transfers, activities and excursions, though you may have to wait in a queue at reception before you get to speak to someone. In the garden, there's a free-form pool with a stepped wooden deck lined by sunbeds, parasols and beanbags, a pool bar doing cocktails, snacks and DJ music, and outdoor exercise equipment. In front of the hotel entrance, there's a stand hiring out bicycles and quads by the hour.
- Fitness centre
There are 202 rooms and suites, in half-a-dozen modernist blocks, connected by tree-lined paths.
Rooms are smallish (the building dates from 1963), but have been cleverly redesigned, so they don't feel cramped. White and pale grey predominate, and each room has one entire wall painted either primary blue or yellow and mounted with a television. Open closets provide shelves and space for hanging clothes. Bathrooms have tiled walk-in showers, decorated with Pop Art images by Roy Lichtenstein, and are stocked with Anyah eco spa toiletries. Most rooms open onto balconies, and the best ones look onto the pool, pine trees, and the sea beyond.
Food & drink
The open-plan restaurant centres on a walk-around bar area, and has a cheerful buffet dining space, and a covered terrace overlooking the pool. Perspex chairs and mismatched mugs (blue, yellow or red) add colour, as does the food itself – buffet breakfast is varied and seasonal, including fresh fruit, juices, cereals, yogurts, sausage, bacon and eggs, and warm croissants and pastries. The space does all-day drinks and light meals – such as salads, pizzas, burgers and a modest selection of meat and seafood dishes – while the small pool bar serves bathers and plays (loudish) music from 10am-7pm.
Value for money
Double rooms from €65 (£58) in low season; and from €200 (£179) in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Children are welcome, though the 'party' vibe around the pool (with music till 7pm) might be a bit much for some. Rooms can accommodate one extra bed or a cot. Suites are more spacious, and come with a double bed, plus a sofabed. For families with slightly older children, interconnected rooms give more privacy.