Mystery Tycoon on Hvar: The Curious Case of Jimmy Lee in Croatia
For the third summer running, Hvar Town's residents experience futuristic yachts and hear of wild parties from a generous host known only as Jimmy Lee.
Residents of Hvar Town are used to celebrities. The rich and famous come from all over the globe to party in one of Croatia's most exclusive locations, drawn by the island's stunning beauty and relaxed attitude to celebrities, but there was something different about the recent visit of a rich Chinese visitor, according to a report inSlobodna Dalmacija on July 19, 2011.
A-List Celebrities on Hvar
Boasting the oldest organised tourism in Europe and with a list of celebrity guests that includes three James Bonds and A-list actors to fill several Hollywood blockbusters, it takes something exceptional to pique local interest in the glitzy town, often referred to as the new St. Tropez. The arrival of the man known only as Jimmy Lee for the third summer running did just that.
Even by the impressive standards of the yachts in the marina, which have included those of Bill Gates, Bernie Ecclestone and Roman Abramovich, the Chinese fleet was something different. The largest boat, Kogo, at 72 metres of luxury was less talked about than the accompanying yacht, Wallypower, whose futuristic 54-metre design resembles a spaceship.
Entertaining in Hvar's Waters
According to a report in Dalmacija News, Wallypower has a top speed of 110 km/h and costs a princely 200 million kuna (about US$ 40m). The yacht appeared alongside Scarlett Johannson and Ewan McGregor in the science fiction thriller, The Island.
While the boats may be impressive, the parties on board have become the stuff of legends. The host is extremely generous, with champagne flowing and a bevvy of local beauties invited on board. Little is disclosed about the events on board, but the private parties were some of the most sought after on his visit last year, where he lavished guests with hospitality during a three-week stay on yachts which included gyms, helicopter pads, garages, a night club and cinema, according to a report in the Croatian Times.
Hvar Island, both Exclusive and Affordable
The island of Hvar has a rich history in luxury tourism, dating back to 1868, when the Hvar Health Society was founded, offering organised health tours for the aristocracy of the Hapsburg Empire. Famed for its climate, lavender, average of 2,724 hours of sunshine a year (making it the sunniest island in the Adriatic) and voted one of the world's ten most beautiful islands by readers of Conde Nast, Hvar has developed an exclusive reputation and is a must-visit on a tour of the Dalmatian coast.
Despite its exclusive tag, it is a popular haunt for backpackers as well, and made the recentSunday Times list of top 100 affordable destinations in the Mediterranean, proving that one does not need a 72 metre yacht to visit the island.