The Dark Side of Croatia’s Tourism Boom

Hotel Ambasador

During the 1960s, a number of tourist facilities were built in the village of Plat, located just six kilometers from Dubrovnik Airport, which had just opened in 1962. Spread out over three sandy beaches and surrounded by pine and cyprus trees, the facilities were part of a state-owned company and resort called “Hoteli Plat”. Besides the hotels, the property had two outdoor swimming pools, two tennis courts, and two pavilions.

Hotel Plat (now Hotel Orphee) opened in 1968 and immediately became a magnet for tourists. So the decision was made to build a larger Hotel Plat in 1972. It was referred to as “Hotel Plat II” until its name was changed to Hotel Ambasador a decade later. The new hotel had nine floors with 302 rooms, each with its own view of the Adriatic. Guests remember that it was extremely popular during the 1980s, when it always seemed to be fully booked through the summer.

Shortly after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, the two pavilions, swimming pools, tennis courts, and Hotel Ambasador were all badly damaged in an offensive by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). They’ve sat empty ever since. In 1999, Hoteli Plat Plc. renovated Hotel Orphee, which had been spared any major damage, and still receives guests today – half of whom are French.

The Croatian government is seeking investors for the state-run Hoteli Plat, Plc. Last year, the company’s total liabilities were 26,694,382 euros, and in the early stages of bankruptcy. However, as Zeljka Krhac, senior advisor at the Agency for Investments and Competitiveness told Balkanist, the bankruptcy settlement procedure “allows their [properties’] takeover through a proposal of a restructuring plan.” Though it seems like it will be a tough sell, some consider the beaches in Plat the best hidden beaches in Croatia.

Next Page: Motel Plitvice 

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Lily Lynch

Lily is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Balkanist Magazine. She lives in Belgrade, Serbia.