These are the best boutique meeting hotels in New Europe, according to Meetings Star, the annual ranking and award curated by the editorial board of Kongres Magazine and Conventa.
What are boutique meeting hotels?
Boutique meeting hotels can be labelled as typical incentive hotels, where a personal approach, exquisite cuisine and often intriguing stories result in a combination unmatched by larger and less-personal hotels. They are suitable for hosting events of smaller scales.
TOP 10 BEST BOUTIQUE MEETING HOTELS IN 2022
The majority of evaluated hotels come from the Alpe-Adria region, the triangle between Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. Currently home to the largest number of boutique hotels, specialised in incentive events, Istria stands out in this category.
10. Hotel Plesnik, Logarska Valley, Slovenia
Hotel Plesnik lies at the heart of one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in Europe and the valley’s attractiveness is reflected in the numerous natural attractions and farms that have over centuries have defined the cultural landscape. The valley was declared a nature park in 1987 and in recent years the locals have been striving towards the sustainable development of the natural park and the wider congress tourism. With their hotel the Plesnik family carry on a family tradition that started before the Second World War. It is a good example of a family run hotel with a personal touch and a varied offer, which is one of the formula for success in modern tourism.
9. Hotel Soča, Bovec, Slovenia
Bovec and the Soča Valley are unquestionably among the most photogenic Slovenian tourist destinations. The only thing missing was an instagrammable hotel. Amid the corona crisis, Hotel Soča, built in Bovec by the legendary adrenaline agency Soča Rafting, opened its doors. Not only have they brought grace to the centre of Bovec, but they have also designed the city’s first purebred sports hotel. The hotel seems to have been made for organisers of incentive programmes and represents the heart of team building programmes in Posočje. While staying at the new centre, guests can feel the authenticity of Bovec’s adrenaline story known worldwide. The hotel is the new centre of teambuilding in the Soča Valley.
8. Hotel Falisia, Portopiccolo, Italy
Part of the prestige American hotel chain Starwood, Hotel Falisia is positioned in their Luxury Collection trademark and was the first five-star hotel in all of the Friuli – Venezia Giulia region. Each and every one of the 65 rooms in the boutique hotel tells its own story. They range from 35 to 120m2, the latter being the size of the presidential suite. The hotel offer includes two restaurants, a wellbeing centre and three conference halls. The interior architecture takes its inspiration from the shipbuilding heritage of the area and subtly resembles the inside of a luxury cruise ship. Everything conveys an impression of elegance with a touch of timeless exclusivity.
8. San Canzian Hotel, Buje, Croatia
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.
7. Hotel Tri Lučke, Krško, Slovenia
If you ask about Tri Lučke in Slovenia’s Posavje region, you will experience an explosion of fond memories of a legendary popular tourist and gastronomic establishment from your interlocutor. The vineyards of Sremič high above Krško are a place of special energy, unparalleled views and home to one of the most distinctive Slovenian event venues. Vineyards of Sremič create a backdrop for the elegantly renovated restaurant, conference centre and boutique hotel. The Zorko family decided on an extensive renovation and brought to life an exceptional event venue. Thus, the project is a rounded whole that appears to be tailored-made for smaller boutique events.
6. Hotel Adriatic, Rovinj, Croatia
Hotel Adriatic is a key part of the tourist postcard of one of the most picturesque Adriatic towns. For many years the hotel slowly decayed, but after renovation became the heart and pride of Rovinj city centre and its inhabitants. The hotel was built in 1892 and was initially a café, and from 1913 a hotel. After intensive renovation carried out by Maistra, the building shone in the spirit of heritage and perfectly complements the cityscape. Today, this is the only city hotel that, thanks to the courage and vision of the investors, embodies the idea of a boutique city hotel.
6. Chocolate Village by the River, Maribor, Slovenia
Until 2019, there was no unified answer to where a five-star experience awaits in Maribor. Today, the locals will undoubtedly say it is at the Chocolate Village next to Teta Frida. The resort is synonymous with luxury experiences, and its location along the Drava river seems ideal. The founder of Teta Frida, Uroš Mlakar, stumbled upon a former boathouse in the natural reserve Maribor Lake. Given all houses boast scenic views of Maribor Lake, the location is fit for a movie set and reminiscent of a fairy-tale. The holistic village seamlessly blends with its surroundings. Chocolate Village became an instant hit and one of the central tourist attractions in Maribor with its chocolate factory, cafe and trendy Jack & Joe Restaurant.
5. Aman Sveti Stefan, Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Set on an islet off the coast of Montenegro, and carved from the remains of a 15th-century settlement, the Aman Sveti Stefan is more of an exclusive village than a luxury resort. 51 old-stone cottages were carefully renovated and transformed into a state of the art rooms and suites, and the Villa Miločer – the former summer residence of the Yugoslavian Royal Family- welcomes guests to eight light-filled suites and a manicured garden overlooking the waters of the bay. Together, these historic properties occupy an 80-acre patch of Montenegro’s wildly beautiful coast, including three idyllic swimming pools and a trio of pink-sand beaches that are among the most beautiful on the Adriatic. Aman Sveti Stefan is a luxurious choice for the most demanding congress guests.
4. Boutique Hotel Alhambra, Mali Lošinj, Croatia
At Čikat bay where the sea is emerald green and the smell of ancient pines is intoxicating, lies the luxurious Boutique Hotel Alhambra & Villa Augusta, members of Virtuoso and prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The hotel and villa harmoniously blend the historic charm of sophisticated Art Nouveau architecture with contemporary design into a unique space that exudes warmth and discreet luxury. Surrounded by a meticulously designed park, each detail, from the rooms to the beach, has been crafted to provide guests with maximum comfort and ultimate pleasure. The hotel offers two superb meeting halls for boutique events.
4. Mama Thresl, Leogang, Austria
Saalfelden Leogang is situated at the heart of the Austrian Alps and is home to the largest skiing resort in Austria, Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang, with 270 kilometres of ski slopes and views to die for. Hotel Mama Thresl sits right next to the bottom gondola station Asitzbah, which takes skiers to the very heart of this skiing paradise. In the last couple of years, the area has also become popular with bikers and hikers. Saalfelden Leogang has over 720 km of mountain bike routes and 480 km of valley cycle paths. Adding to the classical offer are numerous creative incentive stories that can be tried and tested all year-round. In Leogang, being bored is something they haven’t heard of.
3. Sunrose 7 – Heritage Boutique Hotel, Bohinj, Slovenia
If we were to judge solely by Hotel Sunrose 7, Bohinj is set for a tourist rebirth. The once legendary Hotel Markeš was built in 1890 during the construction of the Bohinj tunnel. The hotel became known as a prestigious hotel that hosted the elite of that time and even members of the royal Austro-Hungarian family. After the Second World War, the downfall began. A local favourite, the Črna Prst restaurant was on a downward spiral until family Čokl took it under its wing. The family takes credit for the first tourism renaissance in Bohinj with the opening of Eco Hotel Bohinj. With their investment in the centre of Bohinjska Bistrica, the destination shifted focus to more authentic tourism with a high added value.
2. Wine & Heritage Hotel Roxanich, Motovun, Croatia
At the foot of enchanting Motovun hill, a renowned Istrian winemaker Mladen Rožanić fell in love with the architecture of a former cooperative wine cellar from 1902. Who thought that an old wine cellar would become the heart and foundation for one of the best boutique hotels in Istria. The building offers magnificent views of the green Mirna River Valley on one side and medieval Motovun on the other. Even though the hotel provides the town with some modern contrast, the Wine & Heritage Hotel Roxanich stays true to Istrian roots and encapsulates all of the region’s attributes.
WINNER: 1. Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery, Bale, Croatia
The hotel, a member of the elite Relais & Châteaux hotel collection, became one of the most polished and complete regional wine hotels in 2022. With a new wine cellar and tasting area, Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery evolved from a luxurious hotel with an award-winning restaurant to a unique venue for events. The estate bets its story on the authenticity of its terroir. Most importantly, the hotel ensures guests indulge in wines and gastronomy according to their sustainable zero-kilometre principle. Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery stands out from the crowd with its guest-oriented concept, excellent service and refined wine story.
Read the full Hidden Guest evaluation here
Join the gala award ceremony and congratulate the winners
The gala ceremony for the winners will be held during Conventa, taking place between 1 and 2 February 2023 in Ljubljana. In this category, the following certificates, divided into three sub-categories on the premise of achieved points in the hidden guest evaluation, will be announced:
22 GOLD certificates – final score from 4.81 to 5.00
19 SILVER certificates – final score from 4.61 to 4.80
3 BRONZE certificates – final score from 4.41 to 4.60
The Meetings Star Award has been awarded for the past thirteen years by the editorial board of Kongres Magazine and Conventa to the best destinations, meeting hotels, venues and meeting professionals. Since its inception, the selection has become a recognised accolade by event organisers and the industry. It is considered one of the rare awards based on comprehensive criteria and ratings by hidden congress guests, whose visits are unannounced. They are industry professionals with rich experience in event organising and extensive knowledge in the hotel business. Furthermore, the assessors have verified references in ensuring the quality of their work in the meetings industry, thus ensuring clients get objective insight and the reliability of the methodology. Our hidden guest assessors strive for objectivity and aim to be fair, meticulous, reliable, well-organised and pay attention to detail, evaluating 654 tangible criteria.