Hvar Nikki Beach Resort: Biggest Project on Croatian Coast or...?
The proposed Nikki Beach resort near Sucuraj is touted by some as the biggest tourism development on the Croatian coast, which is news to the local mayor.
A multi-million euro investment in what has been touted as the biggest development project on Croatia’s Adriatic coast was thrown into doubt on Sunday August 21 2011, when the local mayor claimed to know nothing about the development.
Luxury Resort for Eastern Hvar
Nikki Beach, one of the world’s leading resort brands, whose other interests include the Miami Herald, are advertising a 800,000m2 luxury resort on the eastern part of the island of Hvar, claiming it will transform the region, project, according to an exclusive report in the national Sunday, Nedjelni Jutarnji.
Hvar, arguably Croatia’s most popular and exclusive island, is heavily weighted towards its Western tip in terms of tourism, population and infrastructure. The main draw is Hvar Town, famed for its exclusive tourism, celebrity magnet and fabulous nightlife. Other historical towns on the northern coast – Stari Grad, Vrboska and Jelsa – have much to offer the tourist looking for a more tranquil base, but the island changes aspect after Jelsa.
Tourist Potential on Hvar
From a relatively populated island, Hvar becomes a stunning but deserted land east of Jelsa, without mains water in the few almost abandoned villages that exist on the tortuous winding 56km road to the eastern port town of Sucuraj. The main tourist traffic on what has been described as the worst national road in Croatia is transit traffic from Dubrovnik, taking advantage of the short ferry crossing from Drvenik to Sucuraj. The ferry saves tourists driving to the main port in Split, but involves a hairy 77km drive to Hvar Town upon disembarkation which can take up to two hours.
With land available and the east of the island in need of a financial and population injection, the purchase of 800,000m2 of land by an international consortium, which includes Edge Capital from Norway and the Nikki Beach hotel chain presents a massive opportunity to develop the east of the island, provide employment and create what has been heralded as the ‘new St. Tropez.’
According to the Nikki website, the chain is planning to offer 90 exclusive rooms and suites by award-winning designer Gatserelia Nawar & Associates. The resort, including spa, pools is to be located in 80,000m2 of land adjoined to a rare sandy beach (Nedeljni claims the land is 800,000m2).
All this is news to Ivan Vitali, mayor of the picturesque town of Sucuraj, under whose jurisdiction the land comes.
“Which biggest project on the Adriatic?” asked Vitali. “I have no idea what you are talking about. We have had some contact from potential investors, and that is all. We have not had concrete contact.”
Should the development happen, it will not only be a massive boost for the island’s economy, particularly in Sucuraj, but would represent by far the largest realised project on the island in recent times.
Given the beauty, reputation and potential of Hvar, numerous investors took options and even bought land in the Croatian property boom of 2004; to date the largest realised development was 11 villas in the small hamlet of Malo Selo, still unfinished and subject to legal dispute over valid building permits.