The hotel sits next to the former monastery of Saint Bernardin, the symbol of the tourist village. Offering charming views, this part of the Slovenian coast is considered one of the prettiest. The locals tend to emphasise that the place has always been something special. In 1971, the tourist story started when the government, prompted by favourable loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, decided to develop a resort. American architects from the group TAC, founded by the pioneer of modernist architecture, Walter Gropius, were in charge of the design. It is safe to say that the resort has three core advantages: location, location and, once more, location. Only five minutes away from Portorož and Piran, the design survived 40 tumultuous years of transition.
Portorož’s road accessibility is excellent. Air accessibility, though, is slightly more complicated. Currently, this remains the most pressing issue. Consequently, Portorož remains, above all, a regional meeting player. It is an ideal Mediterranean location for congress guests that arrive by car or embark on a slightly longer path via neighbouring airports. The hotel provides enough parking spots while charging stations greet those arriving with electric vehicles. In addition, the hotel is bike-friendly. Thus, it is no surprise taking a walk or bicycling is the best and healthiest option to get to the nearby Portorož or Piran. Hotel Histrion also offers a shuttle service, while the taxi service is equally impressive.
COLD STARTER - Architecture and aesthetics
Altogether, the resort stretches 24 hectares and is, to this day, the largest tourist resort in Slovenia. With its curved shape, the resort engulfs the marina with piers on one side and the sea facing Savudrija on the other. Its facade is reminiscent of a cruise ship. During the last renovation, the architects strived to instil the character of Istria. Guests can observe this style upon stepping foot in the cavernous renovated lobby with dry stone embellishing the walls. A white and grey facade now greets guests instead of the former one in terra rossa colour. The selection of materials includes wooden elements in the colours of Istrian oak that contribute to the overall authenticity of the story. Likewise, traditional Istrian shutters found throughout the facility exude a feeling of tradition. The architecture encompasses elements and details inspired by the sea, salt, lavender and olive trees. To have successfully retained the modernist character is praiseworthy.
WARM ENTRÉE - The staff and the culinary experience
The personnel is utterly kind despite the occasional crowds. You may find yourself waiting in line before reaching the reception. The culinary offer of the resort is rich, diverse and tailored to every taste. The culinary story was aptly named Authentic Istrian Flavours, connecting all four hotel restaurants. We were impressed by the comprehensive wine list on offer in Barka Restaurant.
Breakfast in the main restaurant, Pristan, was surprisingly impressive. The so-called Istrian corner is integral to the offer and takes the breakfast to a higher level. All dishes were fresh, local and authentic, not to mention the world-class white baccala. The breakfast hall is spacious enough to accommodate a fully-booked hotel, albeit service could be a tad faster.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
The hotel offers 276 rooms and is considered the largest in Slovenia. Following extensive renovation, the rooms are unrecognisable, apart from the size, ranging from 18 to 21 m2. The rooms on each floor are divided into different themes: olive trees, lavender and the sea. After a thorough renovation, the shutters alongside stone elements on the walls catch the eye. The wooden floor appears warm and pleasant. Likewise, natural pastel colours add to the excellent final impression. Only adding to the feeling of elegance is the bathroom featuring appealing ceramics. On the whole, the rooms seem chic and thought-out. If you happen to find yourself in a room facing the Gulf of Piran, you can rest assured your stay will not lack breathtaking scenes.
The hotel only offers a smaller meeting hall named Asteria, which can capacitate up to 200 attendees. Nevertheless, within the tourist village, meeting planners can find the largest hotel conference centre in Slovenia. The conference centre boasting 19 halls and numerous accompanying rooms is exceptionally flexible. Its flagship room for events, the Europa Hall, is suitable for up to 1100 attendees and is one of the most iconic Slovenian meeting halls.
DESSERT – The extras
Given Bernardin is a vast resort, there are, unsurprisingly, numerous venues available for hosting events. One of them is the terrace of Barka Restaurant next to the church of Saint Bernardin.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
Having to wait for check-in and check-out is irritating. Waiting time could be shortened with better organisation and approach.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
The superb Benedicta wellness edges out its competition with saunas overlooking the sea, the only hammam in the Slovenian Istria and regionally-inspired massages. For more active guests, over 750 m2 of surfaces await in the Sea Water Park Termaris.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
Following extensive renovation, the largest Slovenian hotel seems tailored to the needs of modern business guests. It represents one of the most welcome surprises on the Slovenian Coast. Hotel Histrion stands out from the crowd with its authentic Istrian story and inspiring interior architecture. It will meet the expectations of its guests in almost every segment. The general well-being was tainted only by the inconsistent staff, who can improve in the future. All in all, Hotel Histrion is a superb meeting hotel that has enriched Bernardin’s congress story.
FINAL GRADE: 4.79 SILVER Resort 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