The San Canzian hotel is a stone’s throw away from Buje, a small town positioned above the picturesque vineyards of northwestern Istria. Due to urbanisation, the small village of Mužolini Donji was losing inhabitants. Thankfully, it was discovered by Leopold Botteri, a former journalist for Slobodna Dalmacija and a revolutionary when it came to the production of olive oil in Croatia. The hotel’s position on top of a rocky Istrian valley is truly scenic, full of romantic views stretching out to the sea. Important is also the fact that the village is positioned right in the middle of Istria’s culinary coral reef, where bad food is hard to find. The owners have embedded that into every pore of the new hotel.
The town of Buje lies around 10 kilometres from the beach connecting Umag and Novigrad. It is easily accessible via the main Istrian motorway. Most guests arrive with their own vehicles, but they provide a shuttle service with one of their luxury cars. A spacious car parking is available, from which a golf cart will take you to the heart of the San Canzian complex. The closest airport is in Pula, a good 75 kilometres away and Trieste Airport is also really close (80km). Air connectivity is improving each year and Istria is becoming increasingly accessible as a tourist destination.
COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics
The owners of the San Canzian village have managed to keep everything in its original frames, paying incredible attention to detail, while having a good taste for modern hotel amenities. It seems as if the hotel has been there since the very beginning. It blends nicely with the green Istrian hillside, thanks in part to the architect Boris Ružić. Boris was in charge of the hotel’s design, excellently combining aesthetics with functionality and mixing a traditional Istrian style with modern materials and colours. The merging of antique and modern is inspiring. It’s the reason why San Canzian is so special and different. The concept of a spread-out hotel complex has been polished to perfection in San Canzian.
WARM APPETIZER - Staff and catering
A month after the grand opening, the staff team is already well coordinated. If excellent cuisine is the hotel’s flag, great service and kind staff are its coat-of-arms. The culinary offer in San Canzian alone would need a separate Hidden Congress Guest reportage. The breakfast is an experience, a gourmet journey through samples of local culinary tradition. Everything is local, fresh and of the highest quality. Noel restaurant is on another level and if I had to write a separate report on it, the scores would include nothing but superlatives. One of the best Croatian barman, Karlo Ferenčak, heightens the experience when he serves you drinks and so does the signature coffee in the morning. Top-notch cuisine is the heart and soul of the San Canzian story.
MAIN DISH - Conference hotel service
The hotel rooms are minimalistic but hide some interesting details. The grey walls have a soothing effect, the perfect background for graphics by the famous artist Duje Botteri from Split. Restored pieces of old furniture combined with designer chairs and cool lighting create a really pleasant atmosphere. The bed is great and you are bound to sleep like a baby. The bathroom, where oak wood is the main theme, rounds up the hotel room experience nicely.
You won’t find a classical meeting hall in San Canzian. You can privatise the hotel restaurant and the picturesque surroundings of the hotel are full of inspiring places for events. The hotel provides some interesting experiences like cooking classes or rides with oldtimer cars, which are a great starting point for other incentive or team building programmes. We think these programmes will be developed even more in the future.
DESSERT – The extras
The outdoor pool and a small sauna are samples of what’s to come in the new wellness centre, which they are planning in the next phase of development. Swimming in the pool with views of the Istrian countryside is a real joy.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
The lighting in the bathrooms could be better and there are some constructional inconsistencies, but they do not disrupt the overall positive impression.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
The story of a hotel village, which grew from a strong passion and love for everything local, would never have happened if development had been taken over by a classical hotel developer. All credit to Leopold Botteri and his team for the courage to create such an outstanding hotel story and its realisation.
OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
The rooms, the architecture, the food… everything is on the highest level. Even by Istrian standards, where there’s a sea of quality hotels, San Canzian stands out. Incentive groups might not be put in the forefront at the moment, but we believe that will change after the main tourist seasons. For incentive groups of up to 20 people, the hotel is the perfect choice. The concept allows for privatisation, immensely appreciated by meeting planners. Thanks to the amazing culinary offer and above-standard technical equipment, the future for San Canzian in the event sector is also really bright.
FINAL GRADE: 4.88 GOLD BOUTIQUE MEETING HOTEL
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60