I’ve never met anyone who has a bad word to say about Croatia. I’ve also never met anyone who has been to Rabac, a northern Croatian seaside town that’s closer to Venice than its capital Zagreb. But that didn’t stop us from booking a week at the newly opened 4* Family Life Bellevue Resort Hotel, on an all-inclusive basis. We travelled in June 2017.
The opportunity to visit a new restaurant or hotel has always appealed to me. Unless it’s the opening of a new McDonalds or one of those cheap takeaway places called something like Nandoes or Pizza Hat. However the only time I’ve ever been to the opening of a new restaurant it was a mix bedding in new staff, processes and facilities and a resulted in a frustrating experience.
Our stay at he Family life Bellevue Resort Hotel in Rabac was no different, however it was easy to forgive the teething problems as the beautiful setting, wonderful staff and excellent children’s entertainment combined to make for an enjoyable family holiday.
In case you don’t want to read the full review, here’s a summary:
The good bits
- The Bellevue Resort Hotel is in a beautiful and brilliant location that encourages you to leave the hotel and explore
- The kid’s club was well run with lovely staff
- The food and refreshment was superb
The not so good bits
- We stayed early on in the hotel’s life and we experienced teething problems. Will this be the case when you go? Perhaps not
- The kid’s pool area is too small for the size of the hotel
Let’s set the scene for this review of the Bellevue Resort Hotel by taking in the stunning setting of this hotel.
Overlooking the calm, blue sea of the Kvarner Bay, the Bellevue is nestled between craggy rocks that perch over the seafront and a forested area behind.
This area of Rabac is undergoing a multi-million Euro transformation with apartments, hotels and restaurants being built alongside the seafront. However the redevelopment didn’t create any distractions or ruin the setting in any way.
Between the hotel and the beach is a public walkway that takes you directly into the small port of Rabac town. If you’re lucky, and have some spare Kuna (the local currency, just in case you weren’t aware), there’s a tourist train that will take you there and back, although we couldn’t quite work out where it stopped and what time it got to its various stops.
Depending on the ages of your party, and how often you stop along the way, the walk to Rabac town takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Or perhaps more if you’re really, really slow. Along the way are a few small restaurants, ice cream shops and gift shops to stop the kids from complaining too much.
Rabac is a small but very cute town with plenty of character to keep your camera happy. There are a number of trips that you can book and take from the town, including one on a submarine, which has glass walls, allowing you to take in the sea life from below the deck.
The rooms at the Bellevue Resort Hotel
We booked a family room, which was made up of adjoining rooms; one for the boy and one for the adults. The child’s room had two single beds, a TV a dressing table area with a fridge, while the adults had a double bed and access to the bathroom. Both rooms had a balcony area with table and chairs and a dryer to hang up clothes or wet towels.
Our room faced the service road that leads to the hotel’s main entrance, however this wasn’t busy and although the view of the road and forest won’t win any awards, unless it’s for a dull view competition, it wasn’t a problem.
The bathroom design was one of those where the main door becomes the door of the toilet, should it be occupied. The shower was strong, however the difference between the water being freezing cold and scalding hot was a slight notch on the handle.
The rooms were a decent size and well appointed, with a kettle, tea and coffee provisions supplied. We only found one TV channel that was in English, BBC News, which didn’t particularly please the boy; however we don’t go on holiday to watch TV.
One of the things that attracted us to the Bellevue Resort hotel in Rabac was the facilities for children. An active kid’s club, which operates in the morning, afternoon and during some evenings, as well as a kid’s play area and dedicated pool with slides are great selling points for the hotel.
The reality was an overcrowded kid’s pool, with guests slinging down their towels before breakfast, meaning no free loungers from 9am and for the rest of the sunshine soaked day. We took a number of trips to the slides, as they’re great fun, however there wasn’t anywhere to leave towels or anything you had taken with you, as everywhere was occupied or wet.
There are four swimming pools at the Bellevue Resort hotel, with a large pool that has waterslides, alongside two smaller, and therefore quieter, pools. The access to loungers at these other pools was much better with plenty of availability throughout the day.
The kid’s club at the Bellevue Resort hotel
The kid’s club was good and run by mainly trained British and Swedish staff. Various activities kept the kids entertained and in air conditioned rooms away from the heat of the sun. One evening, the kid’s club put on a Chocolate Party, which our four year old couldn’t wait to attend. We’re still not 100% sure what this involved, except to say that when we collected him, his cheeks were smeared with chocolate.
In turn, this allowed my wife and I the opportunity to have a quiet evening in the restaurant and then a drink at the hotel’s wine bar.
Parents could book limited spaces at the kid’s club from 9am each morning and the queue for this snaked outside the hotel and along one of the service roads. My wife would get there at 8:30am to start queuing and was never first in line.
It’s worth repeating that our stay was a little over a month after the hotel opened. It was clear that they were still working out how best to manage these situations and the management were actively looking to improve its processes.
There’s an entertainment room, situated towards the back of the hotel’s grounds, which provides evening shows for the kids. Free popcorn and a bar provide the all inclusive refreshments and a small stage in the centre of the room is where the kids get entertained. Staff put on a number of shows throughout the evening, encouraging interaction from children who are just learning to walk through to those who think they’re too cool to laugh at the jokes.
Our boy loved the shows, although they do become repetitive and after three nights, he was more interested in running around the room, chasing some of the other kids he’d made friends with. That doesn’t take anything away from the fun and energy generated from the massively enthusiastic and smiley entertainers.
We booked a trip, through the hotel, on a pirate ship, which was an old wooden galleon style boat. This was a half day trip, aimed squarely at the kids, and was a lot of fun. As well as the games that the staff put on, we had the opportunity to spot some dolphins swimming across the bay, which made our son’s trip. And ours, to be fair.
The food & drink
The Family life Bellevue Resort hotel comes with one main restaurant, which is on two levels, and services buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lower restaurant doesn’t have the same number of food stations but is quieter with a more generous outdoor seated area, making it a more appealing, and less manic, place for us to eat.
We thought the selection of food was excellent and don’t worry if they run out of freshly made pizza from their pizza oven, as the chefs will quickly whip up more for you. Breakfast was fully stocked with everything from fresh fruit, cereals and pastries through to cooked meats and eggs.
There were plenty of drinks to choose from, with decent machine coffee available throughout the day as well as beer and wine on tap. Quite literally, as these were self serve taps in the restaurants. Pouring out lightly chilled red wine from a tap was a first for me and was perfectly drinkable.
During our stay, we were given a voucher to have an evening meal at the taverna restaurant, which is inspired by the local cuisine. The food and service here was excellent and provided a good distraction from the somewhat manic buffet. In fact we had too much food here, such is its generosity.
There are other restaurants in the complex, however these aren’t part of the all inclusive package. There’s a steak restaurant, which we went to for my wife’s birthday. It opened only a couple of days before we went and I don’t think they had really worked out how to operate a restaurant. Therefore, it’s difficult to really rate this place as I’m confident it will have improved by now.
The best review of the Bellevue Resort Hotel in Rabac is whether we would stay there again and the answer is a quick and easy yes. The bedding in issues will be solved and the beauty of the setting and abundance of facilities will shine through.
Our holiday at the Bellevue Resort hotel was operated by TUI. For more details about the hotel, visit: