Heading for the heights in Zagreb
It helps that the Zonar Zagreb is operated by the Maistra Hospitality Group, a Croatian company up at the top of the sector in the country. Maistra already has two hotels in Zagreb but its heartland is Rovinj and nearby Vrsar, both on the coast of the Istrian peninsula, where they operate many hotels, apartments and camping sites. Lately they have been expanding into tourism hotspot Dubrovnik too. Thus it is that over the three nights when The Budapest Times is resident in Zonar Zagreb, in its car park can already be spotted vehicles from Bosnia and Hercegovina, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Slovenia, as well as Croatia itself.
And it helps too that in a previous existence Zonar Zagreb was the Panorama Zagreb Hotel, operated by a different group, and so some people will remember it from those days. Originally it opened in 1968 as Hotel Sport, an appropriate name as it is right next to Zagreb Sports Hall.
What’s more, Zonar Zagreb is the tallest hotel in the capital city, reaching up 19 floors.
Not that earlier guests will recognise it now though, not on the inside at least. The building has been totally refurbished with a complete interior design as Zonar Zagreb, and its 242 rooms and 43 apartments, nine meeting rooms, restaurant, lobby bar and rooftop swimming pool and terrace/sun deck are assessed as four-star by Croatia’s Ministry of Tourism.
So everyone has a spectacular view of the city, which apart from in the rooms can also be enjoyed from the panoramic glass lift as it travels up and down one side of the building. It’s ideal to view the apartment blocks, factories, shops, railway tracks and all the other elements that go to making up a large place like Zagreb. When you reach the roof there is also the Cherry Pop pool bar as you overlook the surrounding neighbourhood of Tresnjevka, and beyond to the green hills.
Zonar Zagreb and the other two Maistra hotels in the capital go under the group’s “City Vibes” tag, which could be interpreted as an “urban trendy” sort of thing, with lots of mod design elements and the further claim that it is “a hotel whose pulse follows the rhythm of the city… designed as an urban oasis of rejuvenation”.
The stylish naming that’s been chosen is intended to reflect this, with the Skin2Skin Bar in the lobby, the Skinny Pig à la carte restaurant, the aforementioned Cherry Pop and the forthcoming Official Salmon Deli, which promises superior delicacies and take-out food. Also on the way as the hotel reaches full operation will be the Skinny Pig Steaks, with fish steaks and seafood delicacies and steaks. Oh, and another modish name can be found at the Cheeky Buns gym.
The stylish ideas keep coming, with the Zonar’s 285 rooms also boasting some interesting features. The Hangout Edition Rooms, for instance, have gymnastic rings hanging from the ceiling and a large interactive television that also can be lowered from the ceiling. Then there are the Zonar Spacebath Rooms, which are considered as relaxation zones with baths right next to the windows overlooking the city. The specially designed privacy windows make your naked self invisible from the outside, we are assured.
Or try the Zonar Clouds Suites, at the top of the hotel, naturally, and with a large swing, again for that restful feeling while you gaze down on busy Zagreb. Zonar Reflections Suites are multipurpose for use as a small gym, an office or simply a place of rest in a king-size bed or on the sofa, with a living room and kitchen.
Monochromatic rooms in grey, Zonar Sanctum rooms with wood, vinyl panelling or industrial-style rooms, large windows. Spacious corner suites with panoramic views. Monochrome Tribe Rooms are designed primarily for modern families on tour, being decorated in a contemporary style and consisting of two connected rooms.
Hotel features include 24-hour room service, free wi-fi, laundry and dry-cleaning, in-room safe and coffee maker, and all is non-smoking. Rent-a-bike is planned. Join the MaiStar Rewards Club. Croatia is now in the eurozone.
Whichever room guests might end up in, what can’t be denied is that after just a month in business the overall impression is of newness — the bed linen is crisp, the towels and robes are fresh from the shop, the bathroom gleams and it all feels like virgin territory.
Still, business is building up. The Amazonian ladies at breakfast turn out to be Croatian volleyball players in town for practice, and some girl tennis players arrive from Sofia. Wrestlers and rowers have stayed recently; it must be the proximity to the Sports Hall.
For the staff, most uniforms feature a series of upside-down Vs, like upwards-pointing arrowheads. These represent change, not just change but constant change, we’re told. Ultimately, it means that at the Zonar Zagreb, the sky’s the limit, our informant explains.
Trg Krešimira Ćosića 9, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia