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Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery, Istria

Just back from: Meneghetti Wine Hotel, Istria

Tranquil estate, luxury wellness & lush vineyards

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5 May 2023 by Norire Arakelyan

Wexas’ Norire Arakelyan reports on his recent visit to one of Croatia's unique hidden gems – Meneghetti Wine Hotel. Discover why it is the perfect getaway for those looking for relaxation, luxury and a taste of lstrian food and wine.

Flying into Pula airport – on Croatia's Istrian peninsula – the journey to the hidden Meneghetti Wine Hotel was just a short 30-minute drive. In truth, there are many ways to reach this hidden retreat. In the summer months, you can choose to fly into Pula or Zagreb in Croatia, Venice or Trieste in Italy, or Ljubljana in Slovenia depending on your preference of airline. Once you arrive though, the rest takes care of itself. Located in a secluded area of forest, the 19th-century Meneghetti Wine Hotel is a country estate mansion built within tranquil Mediterranean gardens and surrounded by delightful vineyards and olive groves. As soon as you arrive, you get a sense that you are going to be well looked after. The highly attentive staff along with the luxuriously rustic accommodation, and three inviting swimming pools make for an irresistible combination.

When it comes to accommodation, Meneghetti effortlessly combine a contemporary personality with the traditionally Mediterranean soul of the property. You can choose from 50 luxurious rooms, suites and residences, all of which are complete with either antique furnishings or modern and elegant style. We were lucky enough to be offered a one-bedroom residence for the duration of our stay, Most of these are two-storey and come with a private terrace with garden, an open plan dining and living room as well as views of the pool and lush gardens. One of the first things you notice as you arrive at the hotel, though, is just the sheer serenity of the property. Of course, this is largely due to the fact that there are only a handful or guest room and residences dotted around the grounds. But, whether you're in the hotel, soaking up the sun by the pool, walking around the grounds or relaxing on your balcony or terrace, you can enjoy totally uninterrupted peace and quiet. For even more space and privacy, Meneghetti also boasts the option of villas with their own private pool.

Beyond the vineyards and olive groves, Meneghetti is only around half-an-hour walk from a wild hidden beach, where you can spend a day basking in the sun and swimming in crystal clear waters. We simply hired a bike from the resort for a short leisurely ride down the signposted path to the coast – make sure you reserve the use of a bike in advance. The chances are, like us, you'll find the beach completely deserted – the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon. During the summer months the hotel also offers the nearby Boho Beach Club. Elsewhere, about half-an-hour drive north of the hotel will see you arrive into the heart of historic Rovinj. This is where we found ourselves on one of our exploration days, spending the day wandering the narrow cobbled streets of the picturesque old town. Packed full of cafes, restaurants and galleries, there's plenty to see and do. The St Euphemia Cathedral is certainly worthy of a visit. At 61 metres high, it is the highest church tower in Istria.

For something a little more local, the beautiful town of Bale is just five miles from Meneghetti. You’re also ideally placed for day trips to Brijuni National Park and nearby Pula – the latter definitely worth a visit for its beautifully preserved Roman amphitheatre. However, my personal favourite was our day dedicated to truffle hunting and tasting. An organised excursion sees you venture into the forest with experienced, trained truffle hunters and their dogs, giving you a first hand experience of the special techniques used to search for these mysterious, highly valued, mushrooms that hide in this region's forests. After you've picked them, back at the restaurant it's time to enjoy them anyway you like – seasoned on a delicious pasta dish or maybe as a garnish on soup.

Undoubtedly, the crowning glory of Meneghetti is in its food, and particularly its wine – it's not hard to see why either. Sourcing the majority of its ingredients from the local region, the hotel also takes advantage of its own produce, boasting its own vegetable garden, olive groves and extensive vineyards. It all makes for delicious, healthy and fragrant Mediterranean cuisine which showcases the best of the Istrian region. Spend your days sampling the region's finest wines and olive oils with exclusive tasting sessions in the tasting room. Make sure you try Meneghetti's own award-winning olive oil with some home-baked focaccia. When it comes to dining, you can enjoy the delightful Mediterranean atmosphere of the outdoor fine dining restaurant which offers traditional Istrian dishes with seasonal and local produce, creative desserts and an exceptional care and attention to detail from starters right down to the pairing of the property's own award-winning wines. Olive oils are also carefully selected and served with each course.

Finally, a stay at Meneghetti would not be complete without a well-earned trip to the spa. There was just enough time to spoil ourselves with a private relaxing massage and use of the indoor pool. The spa centre also offers nurturing body treatments, sauna and fitness area. If yoga is more your thing, feel free to choose between a private or group class operated several times a day.

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Meneghetti Wine Hotel

Meneghetti Wine Hotel, Istria, Croatia

7-night luxury holiday from £2,265 pp incl. flights & transfers

For those with a love of food and wine, this countryside hotel hits the mark with comfortable rooms, a fine dining restaurant, and a wealth of facilities. It is easily one of Istria’s most desirable places to stay.

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