Dvorec Gregorčič sits at the heart of the idyllic Šmarjeta village, across the church of Saint Marjeta. The renovation of the birth house of the explorer and expert in ornamentation, Jože Karlovšek, was envisaged by the entrepreneurial family of Gregorčič. Before their extensive remodelling, the house was home to the Cviček restaurant and, later, the Žura restaurant. Forming the centre of village activities with its fountain of Cviček, a renowned local wine sort, the mansion shares a holistic bond with its surroundings. In addition, the boutique hotel complements the destination’s rich tourist offer, spearheaded by Šmarješke Toplice.
There is no other way to reach Šmarjeta than by car. When exiting the highway, you only have to travel five kilometres before arriving at the authentic hotel. There are numerous parking spots for hotel guests in the centre of the village. Guests arriving in Slovenia by plane can choose between two larger regional airports, Zagreb Airport (70 kilometres away) and Ljubljana Aiport (103 kilometres away). Sustainably-minded guests can, alternatively, board a train and travel to the nearby traffic crossroads in Novo mesto. Šmarjeta is an ideal starting point for pleasant hiking trips and biking whilst admiring the rolling hills of Dolenjska amid vineyards and orchards.
COLD STARTER - Architecture and aesthetics
Dvorec Gregorčič comprises a baroque building and a modern extension, where a genuine Anuška landed – a plane where guests can opt to stay the night if they happen to be aficionados of peculiar airglamping. The exterior of the original building was meticulously restored, seamlessly blending with the baroque church and renovated square. Likewise, the new building appears elegant and harmonious. The plane fixed on the roof stirs opinions, yet, it most certainly catches the eye. Jože Karlovšek’s bust greets guests when glancing at the facade, while his ornaments per excellence sway the interior. Traditional furniture elements intertwine with ultra-modern and elegant furniture inside. Overall, the hotel oozes a feeling of luxury, thus perhaps deserving a star more given its architectural excellence.
WARM ENTRÉE - The staff and the culinary experience
It is evident that the hotel staff comes from far and near. Their common denominator is kindness and, on occasions, clumsiness, which will improve with a bit of practice. The restaurant’s offer is diverse and includes hand-picked meat and fish products, vegetarian dishes and local cuisine. We were impressed by the tasteful dishes. However, we missed a wine list and a better representation of the seemingly forlorn local cuisine, which is otherwise incredibly rich. Thus, as the region’s tradition dictates, we opted for the safe choice of the local Cviček by Cvelbar. We were surprised by the reasonable prices. The average breakfast did not enthral us, though. We expected a slew of local products in a region famed for its meat, excellent cheese, honey and dried fruit. Saving money on this part of the offer will tremendously disappoint guests who prefer boutique hotels. Luckily, they do not have to look far for inspiration within the region. In our opinion, the hotel can significantly improve its breakfast offer.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
All rooms are unique, and it is hard to write a general evaluation of the rooms. Everything depends on the room you will get. If you wish for a particular type, it might be best to reserve the preferred one via their website. All rooms boast minimalist styles, world-class beds and original lighting. The loungers are incredibly fascinating, reminiscent of designer pieces by famous Slovenian designers. In our room, marble was perhaps a tad too omnipresent. Albeit welcome during the summer heat, it appears cold and sterile. Hence, make sure to book a room that suits your taste and thus avoid surprises. We also expected a slightly roomier shower and a cosmetical detail here and there.
Even though the hotel does not offer conference capacities, the restaurant can be transformed into a smaller hall, thus creating space for 40 attendees. The hotel offers a compelling offer for incentive groups. They can indulge in gastronomic delicacies in the fine-dining restaurant or relish the wine room. Combined with an impeccable gastronomical offer, Dvorec Gregorčič is among the most exciting Slovenian boutique incentive hotels.
DESSERT – The extras
The inviting square of Šmarjeta occasionally surprises guests with live concerts. It is also home to the wine fountain of Cviček. For 8 EUR, guests receive a tasting glass with a chip for four tastings. Moreover, guests can try various products made by local providers in the shop nearby.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
We wish the hotel offered products from the collection of Jože Karlovšek as business gifts.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
The pool on the hotel terrace is a welcome addition that enables relaxation and refreshment on hot summer days. We also recommend visiting the Wellness Ornament.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
The brilliantly envisaged hotel was renovated flawlessly. Yet, the best boutique hotels are recognisable for their superb gastronomic and additional offer. The hotel is splendid, but there is room for future improvement.
FINAL GRADE: 4.75 SILVER 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