Below is an extract from the feature we wrote for this year’s Superports, a Boat International annual guide to superyacht marinas around the world. It’s good to see Croatia taking such a large chunk of the space dedicated to news for the year ahead!
State owned ACI runs 21 of Croatia’s fifty plus marinas. Dubrovnik, Split and Korčula are favourite locations, as is Pakleni, close to Hvar town, and Vrboska also on Hvar island. ACI Marina Skradin is popular, not just for its proximity to the spectacular Krka water falls, but also for its rare combination of salt and fresh water. In Istria and Kvarner, in northern Croatia, ACI Marinas Pula, Opatija, Umag and Cres all have their special attractions including Pula’s magnificent Roman amphitheatre and Opatija’s grand villas and promenades.
ACI’s latest investment programme started with the replacement of all the pontoons at ACI Marina Cres, work which is now complete. Soon, a twenty second marina will be added to the network with the completion of a new marina in Slano, near Dubrovnik, which will cater for yachts up to 25 metres in length. In autumn 2016, work will start on ACI Marina Opatija to extend the marina and provide 42 dedicated superyacht berths for yachts up to 60 metres or more. Next will be a major extension to ACI Marina Dubrovnik to provide an additional 45 berths for superyachts, and a reconfiguration of the traditional stone building on site, an old summer palace, into a 5-star boutique hotel.
ACI Marina Pomer, for smaller yachts, is having a major facelift, due for completion by summer 2016, and ACI Marina Rovinj, also currently for smaller yachts, will undergo an extensive reconstruction and upgrade of facilities, starting in late 2016, which will provide 22 berths for yachts between 27 and 30 metres and should result in it becoming ACI’s flagship and first five anchor marina, as categorised (and rarely awarded) by the national regulating authority.
Also on the agenda for 2016 is the roll out of a gastro project which started in 2015 with the grand opening of “Navigare”, a newly-refurbished restaurant in ACI Marina Milna on the island of Brač. Key elements are a modern interior design concept and consistently high catering standards focusing on traditional local cuisine with a modern twist. ACI Marinas Pomer, Cres, Slano, Žut and Piskera are next in line for a gastro makeover that will eventually be introduced in all 22 marinas.
Also in Croatia, D-Marin continues with an impressive program of upgrades and improvements to its marinas. Their flagship superyacht marina, D-Marin Mandalina in Šibenik, has 79 dedicated superyacht berths out of a total of 429, can accommodate yachts up to 140 metres in length and continues to receive the highest industry accolades. In July 2015 D-Resort Šibenik opened in the heart of D-Marin Mandalina and features a luxury hotel with 63 rooms, six suites and three exclusive villas with private pools. There’s also a spa, gym, shops, four bars, and two à la carte restaurants. In summer 2016 there will be a new Beach Club with VIP cabanas, an additional swimming pool, open air fitness and beach food court. Just along the coast, Croatia’s largest marina, D-Marin Dalmacija is adding an exclusive Beach Club with restaurants and a kids' area, as well as a Piazza with pub and fashion stores.
In central Dalmatia, independently owned Marina Kaštela, was a rare new marina for Croatia in the noughties. Superbly located just five kilometres from Split airport, close to the historic city of Split and a short sail or ferry ride from the alluring islands of Brač, Hvar and Vis, it’s a popular base for superyachts. In contrast to the bright lights of Split and Hvar town, the immediately surrounding area is classic traditional Dalmatia – stone houses, family restaurants, tucked away beaches and historic castles. The closest castle (kaštel), just a short walk from the marina, was built by nuns and is probably the best of the handful of castles in this cluster of villages collectively known as Kaštela.
In 2015, Marina Kaštela added the Nautic Restaurant above the reception area in the main building, which, with space for over 300 guests, should make it popular for weddings and other events and will take the pressure of the existing restaurant. 2017 will see the opening of an indoor swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, pizzeria and sailing club. Further improvements planned for the future include a 200-ton travel lift, on site pump-out system and a hotel and congress centre. The 420 berth marina features modern equipment, up to 400 amp power and depths of 8 to 10 metres alongside the breakwater dedicated to superyachts. The marina owner has always taken his community responsibilities seriously and sponsors a number of local organisations as well as hosting on site a smaller marina for local boats, and a rowing and sports club.
Another piece of good news from Croatia is the roll out of European Coastal Airways’ affordable sea plane service with scheduled flights that make connections along the coast and between the islands much quicker and easier. De Havilland Twin Otters carrying up to 19 passengers whizz owners and guests from an international airport to their destination island in minutes. Currently, Split is the main hub for flights to the islands but there are also connections from Zadar, Pula, Rijeka and Ancona in Italy, with more to come.
Thank to ACI Marinas for today’s photo of Marina Palmižana on the island of Sv Klement near Hvar island.
And if you’d like your own copy of Superports 2016, here’s the link: Boat International EStore - Superports 2016