We stayed five nights at Hotel Monte Mulini in Rovinj. It’s located south of the old town and it felt like it was on the outskirts of Rovinj.
The hotel is a 15-minute walk to the old town and, on paper, it is close enough to the old town to be accessible but the reality is that it’s far enough to the point where I felt the hotel should be an all-inclusive resort.
Visiting the old town for both lunch and dinner is not a realistic venture when staying at Hotel Monte Mulini. This may sound pathetic but visiting the old town for one meal a day was too much of an effort for us.
It’s a 2+ hour time commitment to walk to/from the old town, search for a restaurant, and eat. And if you venturing into the old town for lunch, then this is a long period of time that your sun lounger at the beach/pool is unattended and at risk of someone “stealing” it.
There is a new and beautiful promenade that connects Rovinj old town to the Golden Cape/Forest Park. It’s one of the best things about Rovinj because it provides a way for visitors (and locals) to walk along the coast safely and without motor vehicle noise! It’s very lovely!
The promenade also links three Maistra Collection hotels: Grand Park Hotel, Hotel Monte Mulini, and Hotel Eden.
Hotel Eden is furthest from the old town followed by Hotel Monte Mulini and then Grand Park Hotel. Grand Park Hotel is the only hotel of the three that has a view of the old town and it is magnificent.
Protip: A great spot to watch the sunset is from the promenade in front of the Grand Park Hotel. It’s a double-whammy of views – the sunset and the old town.
There are two restaurants that are attached to the Grand Park Hotel that are open to non-guests and are accessible from the promenade. They are Primi Terreni and Katarina’s Patisserie.
Katarina’s serves up nibbles and drinks during the evening hours and so it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sun dip below the horizon. Primi Terreni has the same sunset view, however, it’s a restaurant so occupying a table without ordering food is probably frowned upon.
Hotel Monte Mulini
Upon arriving at the property, we were greeted by a bellman and a parking valet guy. Reluctantly, we entered the hotel lobby as the bellman unloaded our luggage and the parking valet dealt with our car. Usually, we do the parking and heavy lifting ourselves.
Note: Valet parking is free and possibly mandatory. I do not know where we would parked if it would not have been for the parking valet because the parking area in front of the hotel was at max capacity and I did not see another parking lot.
The first thing we saw when we entered the lobby was the panoramic views of the sea through the double-height windows. There were three sailboats bobbing up and down and few people scattered on the sun loungers at the main pool.
We were swiftly handed off to reception and after a super-fast check-in, we were on our way to our room.
Note: Covid measures at the hotel are 10/10. One example was our experience with the bellman. There were two elevators/lifts in our wing of the hotel. Even though there was more than enough space for three people and a luggage cart, the bellman instructed us to take the first lift and he’d take the second lift.
We booked a deluxe room because that was the only room type that was available at the time of our booking. We paid just under $700/night for our room. I mention this because there are cheaper room types available and the cost of the hotel is a big part of this review.
Our room was on the second floor with a sea view.
The second floor in our wing was just high enough to have views over the tree line. Rooms below the second floor, at least in our wing of the building (north wing), had little or no sea view due to the mature trees between the hotel and the sea.
My first impression of the room was that it was very large but, sadly, the room (and hotel) is starting to show its age, not only with the wear and tear of the furniture but also with the dated finishes.
The sleeping area had a double bed (comparable to a US king bed or UK super king bed), a small couch, coffee table, desk, bench, and area for luggage.
There were floor-to-ceiling windows (excellent blackout curtains!) and a decent-sized balcony with two chairs and a table.
The bed was super comfortable, the wifi worked well, the room was super quiet, and the view was spectacular.
The bathroom was almost equivalent in size to the sleeping area. It had double sinks, tons of counter space, a soaker tub (who uses these things?), a separate toilet room, a walk-in shower, and access to the wardrobe/closet.
Everything seemed great until we turned down the temperature and the air conditioning did not turn on. After three days’ worth of complaints, we were finally told that the hotel controls the temperature of the rooms.
When we arrived, the minimum temperature set by the hotel was 24°C / 75°F. After our second complaint to building maintenance, we were told that they were sending someone to look at the unit, blah blah. It was all a ruse to appease us and delay the issue yet another day.
The outside temperature during the hottest part of the day during our stay was only a couple of degrees above 24°C / 75°F. At night, the outside temperature was lower than the temperature in our room by a lot. Opening the balcony door or the window was not an option due to mosquitoes and occasional music coming from Mulini Beach Bar.
After a couple more complaints, building maintenance finally admitted to us that they control the minimum temperature of the rooms and agreed to reduce the temperature of the rooms in our wing to 22°C / 72°F.
The only time the temperature in our room reached 22°C / 72°F was in the morning. By the time we returned from breakfast, it was back to 24°C / 75°F.
The room gets a rating of 6/10, mostly due to the temperature situation.
Breakfast was included in our stay and consisted of an extensive cold buffet (meats, cheeses, fruit, bread, yogurt, etc.) and hot food that was cooked to order.
Service at breakfast was fast and efficient. All of the food was high quality and well cooked. They even had oat milk as an alternative to cow’s milk!
Breakfast gets a 9/10.
We asked the concierge to [hopefully] secure us three dinner reservations, two of the restaurants were attached to their sister hotel, Grand Park Hotel. The third was a local restaurant that the concierge recommended.
We did not hear from the concierge by the end of the day so I visited the desk the following day to see what, if any, reservations they were able to secure for us.
The concierge desk was empty so I asked reception if there was anyone available and they said they would find someone. I waited over 20 minutes for the concierge to turn up.
The concierge was able to get a reservation at one of the restaurants at their sister hotel but they “never got a response to her email” from the second restaurant. The lack of communication between sister hotels says a lot.
First, it’s 2021. Why isn’t their restaurant reservation system shared between hotels?
Second, try harder. Maybe give the sister hotel a call? Or perhaps walk 5 minutes to the sister hotel and speak to someone in person?
My expectations with European customer service are generally pretty low but at $700/night, I do expect that the concierge will go the extra mile to fulfill guest requests and that the concierge will follow up with the guest in a timely manner.
Concierge gets a 3/10.
Online reviews will give a very clear picture that there are not enough sun loungers at the hotel and it is true. Complaints go back to 2018 and, as far as I could tell, no improvements have been made. The hotel would have to tear out the entire pool area and redesign it in order to fix the problem.
Note: There are additional sun loungers in what I call the “grassy knoll” (located north of the pool area) but these sun loungers are undesirable. They are basically located in a forest of mature trees (lack of sun) and there were a ton of mosquitoes during our visit.
There were also a ton of birds in the pool area. To keep the birds from overtaking the pool area, the hotel discretely strung cables in a criss-cross pattern high above the pool. The birds will not fly through the cables but this does not mean their poop will not fall through the cables. Consider yourself warned.
The pool opens at 9am and that’s when the pool crew begins putting out the plush sun lounger cushions. As soon as the cushions are out, people begin “reserving” their sun loungers.
Peter dropped towels and a couple of bottles of sunscreen on our sun loungers and then we eagle-eyed them from the desk at breakfast.
Our visit to the hotel followed high season but the hotel was still near full occupancy during our visit.
We didn’t experience a shortage of sun loungers (at the pool) or see anyone fighting over sun loungers but I can see both of these things happening in high season. There simply are not enough sun loungers for the number of rooms at the hotel, including the sun loungers in the “grassy knoll”.
The pool area is very small. There are three pools, located steps from each other and one of the pools is only slightly bigger than a residential hot tub.
An average residential pool in the USA is bigger than the biggest pool at this hotel.
The pool area is pathetically undersized for the hotel.
Finally, the pool bar/restaurant.
The cocktails and wine we ordered were good but as with every hotel pool bar, they were overpriced but not too overpriced. Service was efficient, however, we had to go to the pool bar to order drinks. All drinks were served with pasta straws which I appreciated because paper straws are so dumb.
The food from the pool restaurant was average but with the old town being so far away, the pool restaurant and nearby Mulini Beach Bar were our choices for lunch on two days of our stay.
With every drink or food order, we were presented with a paper bill that we had to sign. Upon checking out of the hotel, they gave us a stack of signed bills. Our stack was about a centimeter (half-inch) thick.
Along with adding more sun loungers, another thing that would greatly improve the pool experience would be to allow food and drinking orders via an app.
The pool gets a 7/10 but in high season, it would get a 1/10.
Mulini Beach is down the hill from the pool area. It’s long, narrow, and pebbly. The hotel has sun loungers on the beach but the reality is that anyone can use the sun loungers, adding to the crush of guest-to-lounger ratio.
A few steps from the beach along the promenade toward the old town is Mulini Beach Bar (owned by Hotel Monte Mulini). It’s built on a concrete slab and has ~40 sun loungers. The slab extends along the promenade toward the old town. Again, anyone can reserve these sun loungers.
Hotel Monte Mulini is a good hotel but it’s not good value for money, at least not for the price we paid for our deluxe room. The pool and beach areas left a lot to be desired and maybe this is not a big deal to many guests but the intent of our vacation was less about day trips and sightseeing and more about relaxing.
How does a holidaymaker relax when they have to wake up and rush down to the pool/beach to secure a sun lounger for the day?
If we were to do our visit to Rovinj over again, we’d stay at a B&B or villa in the countryside, perhaps somewhere near Motovun, and take a day trip to Rovinj. We spent very little time in Rovinj, so at the end of the day, it did not matter if we stayed within walking distance to the old town or not.
We would have preferred something similar to what we have done on recent trips to Crete where we had our own space and a private pool and visited small villages nearby for dinner and day trips.