Holiday Homes: Why the Four Seasons is pouring millions into Hvar, Croatia’s answer to the white island
Hvar, in Croatia, seems to have it all: great weather, a fabulous coastline and a cool, relaxed ambience.
Popular with the island’s young clubbers as well as the high-end sailing set, it’s even being hailed as a potential successor to Ibiza, all of which is attracting increasing numbers of property buyers and investors.
It helps that access to Hvar is first class; there are regular direct flights to Split airport and, if the two-hour journey via the ferry is too long, there are fast sea plane or speedboat transfers.
Designer brands are making an appearance in the island’s capital, also called Hvar, as are new boutique hotels aimed at the smart set, such as Little Green Bay a few miles from town or Hidden House in the quaint harbour of Stari Grad.
Spiro Trgo, owner of local agency Trgostan, says enquiries for Hvar, along with the neighbouring island of Vis and the historic coastal city of Split, are on the rise. “This year should be at least 15 to 20 per cent better than last year.”
However, the property market can often come up short. Homes for sale are rare and you’ll struggle to find the glamorous villas you might find elsewhere on the Med. But if all you want is a bolthole, small and simple one and two-bed apartments can be found from around €80,000.
Higher quality homes, such as renovated, two-bedroom village houses, cost from around €220,000. “Buyers are increasingly looking for completed projects, rather than restoration jobs,” says Trgo. “And there is a lack of quality three to four-bedroom properties with sea views or pools.”
However, the situation is about to improve. International brand The Four Seasons recently unveiled plans for Brizenica Bay, a glittering five-star resort with residences that will take tourism and investment on Hvar to a whole new level.
“It’s not only the first project of its kind in Croatia but also the best of its kind,” says Beckett Tucker, head of sales and marketing for the project. “This level of quality and service doesn’t exist here at the moment, yet it makes sense in a market as attractive as Croatia; a location close to European cities, with great people and professional services.”
The development will occupy a 17-hectare site filled with pine and olive trees overlooking a beautiful bay. There will be a 120-room luxury hotel and 59 branded residences, with all the high-end facilities you’d expect, including a spa and fine dining, pools and beach clubs. A new waterfront boardwalk will put the resort a ten-minute stroll from the bars and shops of Stari Grad.
Properties on offer range from one and two-bed apartments priced from €580,000, to large, contemporary-style three- to five-bed villas, starting at €1.8m. There is an added 25 per cent VAT, refunded should you choose to rent out your home via the hotel.
A separate, non-branded development of townhouses and villas is also planned by developer, Arqaam Capital. “We wanted to offer additional product at a lower price,” says Tucker, who believes the Four Seasons name can add a minimum of five per cent premium to the sales price of a property.
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Residences won’t be released for sale until next year but eager buyers are already reserving units. If Hvar is destined to become as popular as Ibiza, buying now could be a sensible investment decision, and Brizenica Bay is a beguiling spot. “There’s a lifestyle on Hvar that you can’t find anywhere else,” says Tucker.
Visit brizenicabay.com or trgostan.hr