President Pantovcak Hotel, Zagreb – Review

`Nothing is a problem` at the President Pantovcak

It would be easy to overlook the President Pantovcak Hotel, its exterior nestled between the peeling stucco and graffiti-strewn fronts of residential properties. The hotel is located in Zagreb, the Croatian capital city also often overlooked by tourists keen for the popular towns of the Dalmatian Coast.


We arrived in 37Ç?­C heat to a city boasting leafy boulevards opening onto squares, rich with locals enjoying coffees and beers in the evening sunlight. The hotel is located at the top of a steep hill off British Square in the Pantovcak region of Zagreb. We fortified ourselves for the walk up the hill with the thought of a cold beer on arrival, and we weren`t disappointed.


A formidable wooden door opens onto a cool exterior, contemporary in design and, blessedly, air conditioned. Tina greeted us and immediately offered us a drink which we had in the lounge of the bar. The hotel is small and modern, a minimalist white and brown interior saved with eclectic pieces of modern art and mis-matched chairs.


It soon became clear that Tina was running the show; a kind of Croatian Polly from Fawlty Towers. She showed us to our room which was wonderful; cool and white with ceiling to floor French windows. These opened out onto a balcony overlooking lush foliage; a quiet haven in a city of a million people.The room`s décor was modern and simple. Soft furnishings in brown were finished with silks and velvets in gold to lift the tone.


The hotel is bijou and with only seven rooms you feel you have stumbled on a secret not many people are in on. This is enhanced by the tranquillity and personal service. When we asked what time dinner was served, Tina`s reply came – `Nothing is a problem`. When it came to it she was cooking it herself, and the chef`s absence meant that pumpkin soup was the only starter offered, but it was delicious; rich in texture and flavour and finished with cream, pumpkin oil and seeds. This was complemented by the heavy bread popular in Croatia, and a selection of Croatian meats.

My partner chose a local wine to accompany her main course and the rich Vranac was served in a wine glass like a goldfish bowl- portions are generous! The wine was good with a deep/ rich colour and a flavour of berries. The Croatians use oil in most of their cooking and this was overpowering at times, yet the food was tasty and the service impeccable. The grilled chicken main was improved with grilled vegetables, the courgettes and peppers harvested locally. All was enhanced with a cold glass of OÇ?¶óujsko, the local beer, slightly bitter, perfect in the Croatian heat.

The ambience of the President Pantovcak cannot be faulted, mellow piano music blended with the distant sound of children playing as we looked out over the valley. The city seemed miles away, yet was on our doorstep. If you visit the President Pantovcak Hotel, you will discover a gem that feels personal to you. Just don`t let too many others in on the secret.

Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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