I’ve honestly lost track of how I found out about the Meneghetti Wine Resort and Hotel. Whether I read about it in the Relais & Chateaux book or on Stacie Flinner’s blog, I cannot remember. All I know is that it rose to the top of my hotel bucket list pretty quickly. When they offered a significant booking discount on Black Friday, I snapped it up for one of our annual spring trips. (We ended up taking a two-week trip through Croatia by car.) The Menghetti Wine Hotel surpassed all of my expectations. I’m already counting the days until we can go back. The Menghetti is the perfect hotel for a honeymoon or other romantic vacation.
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Getting to the Meneghetti Wine Resort & Hotel
To get to the Meneghetti, you will likely need to fly and drive. Low cost and legacy carriers fly into Pula (40 minutes), Zagreb (3 hours), Zadar (4 hours), and Split (5 hours). Dubrovnik is more than 8 hours away by car. Depending on the border situation, you could fly into Trieste (2 hours) or take a ferry from Venice to Rovinj. As always, I use Rome2Rio to evaluate my options for transportation.
I highly recommend renting a car if you intend to stay at the Meneghetti for more than a few days. Its remote location is perfect for getting away from everything, but it’s also perfect for making day trips to towns throughout Istria. The roads are very smooth, traffic is very light, and there is a lot to see and do. I found the drivers to be very low-key and courteous.
We stayed at the Meneghetti as part of a two week road trip through Croatia. It was our third stop between Zadar and Zagreb. We stayed five nights and it still wasn’t enough to see and enjoy everything in the area. It falls on the Olive Oil Route (it’s totally a thing), and there is no shortage of delicious places to explore in the surrounding area. You can easily visit Porec, Rovinj, Pula, and Motovun as day trips. We were able to take advantage of several walking tours throughout Istria without having to get up too early. Similarly, we enjoyed late and delicious dinners in the surrounding towns and didn’t have any trouble driving back to the Meneghetti.
If you want to stay close to the Meneghetti, we had the most memorable dinner in Croatia in Bale. Twice.
Room 104 – Superior Room in Villa Meneghetti
We stayed in a superior room in the main building of the resort. It was certainly the largest of the rooms we had in Croatia with a large bathroom and plenty of workspace. I loved the contrast between the modern, minimalist decor of the rooms with the traditional stone buildings of the resort.
The soft coastal hues of the room contribute to ultimate relaxation. It reminded me a lot of our rooms at La Torretta in Cinque Terre. Our room felt very open and airy, even with a king-size bed. I had to take a couple of zoom meetings during our trip, and I had plenty of workspace available. Our room did overlook the restaurant and outdoor dining area, but we never noticed any noise. The air conditioning worked well, though we were more than happy to leave the windows open for fresh air.
The bathroom was absolutely lovely. There was a large vanity with a single sink, a large walk-in shower, and you could open the window for morning breezes. The room was equipped with beach towels, fluffy spa robes, and flip-flops, which made going to and from the spa a breeze. Everything was perfectly branded with the Meneghetti name. Even the bathroom amenities were branded Meneghetti. They were some of the few that I brought home with me from this trip.
The Meneghetti offered turndown service each night. The surprises left by the staff varied from chocolate truffles made by the renowned pastry chef, a locally made relaxation and night balm, and a refreshing lemon-lavender drink. I loved the surprise element of turndown service (an underrated luxury!), though if I had to choose, I would choose the truffles every night.
For what it’s worth, if you really love the resort, you can buy a place here. The Meneghetti also had information in our rooms about purchasing private villas on property. These villas offered some units with private pools. I imagine it would be a lovely place to spend time in any season, but especially summer and fall.
On the first floor, there is an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, and individual treatment rooms. There are also two outdoor pools available for guests to use. The spa was open from morning until evening, so we were able to spend quite a bit of time there. It was the perfect way to take a break in the middle of the day and recharge in the evenings.
What I really appreciate about the Meneghetti is that the spa facilities are free to use yet they never felt crowded.
Generally, when I stay at a spa resort, I try to book specialty treatments, rather than just a basic massage. I think this allows me to experience local products and enjoy new experiences. While staying at the Meneghetti, I booked the Islands in the Stream treatment. This combination body scrub and massage was life-changing. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so relaxed.
Meneghetti Wine Tasting & Olive Oil Tasting
With the Meneghetti Wine Resort nestled among olive groves and vineyards, you can’t ignore the opportunity to try Istrian wine and olive oil at the Meneghetti winery. We knew the wine would be good when we found it on the menu at a Michelin restaurant in Dubrovnik. When we asked our waiter about it, he told us that Meneghetti was one of the best wineries in Istria, if not Croatia. I was excited because I had booked a wine tasting with our room.
When we checked in, we were advised that we could book our wine tasting anytime between 11:00am-7:00pm. This flexibility was much appreciated. We opted to schedule our wine tasting in the late afternoon before heading to dinner. We had no trouble booking a same-day reservation during shoulder season, but you might want to book in advance during the summer. We noticed that the Meneghetti restaurant stayed quite busy, even when the hotel was quiet.
The wine tasting is held in a separate building on the Meneghetti property. It’s a short walk from the main building. There’s an ancient olive oil press in the courtyard, which is absolutely fascinating to see. (When you tour the modern production facilities on the Istrian Olive Oil Route, you’ll be amazed how far it’s come!) I always find it difficult to imagine how people came up with such innovative ideas when technology was so minimal. It’s safe to say that I don’t have that level of creativity!
We were able to try 5 of the Meneghetti wines and 4 olive oils during our tasting. We were able to try to the sparkling wine, a few of the whites, and a few of the reds. I really enjoyed the Malvazija, and I’m not typically a white white person. Their red wines are great, too. The wine and olive oil is served with local salamis and cheese. They also offered us bread with our olive oil tasting, which we now know is a very American thing to do.
We enjoyed the entire experience so much that we tried to recreate it one afternoon at the Meneghetti restaurant. (Just book another Meneghetti wine tasting. It’s worth it!)
Important to note: Croatian wines, and especially the Meneghetti wines, are not widely exported. You’ll want to order while you are at the resort. You can also order once you are home from Wine & More (different than Total Wine and More in the US).
Other Meneghetti Wine Resort Amenities
With so many day trips on our agenda, we weren’t able to take advantage of all the amenities offered by the Meneghetti. We tried to do as much as we could, but there is only so much time in a day… especially when you spend so much time at the spa. The great thing is that we left enough out that we have to go back, right??
Meneghetti Beach Club
One of the things that I regret the most is not walking or biking down to the beach club to check out the Adriatic Sea. The entire Croatia coastline seems breathtaking. I’ve never seen more beautiful water anywhere. When we were in Porec, it felt like you could see the bottom of the sea in every direction. Given the quiet location of the Meneghetti, I would expect that this beach would be less crowded than others in Croatia. While the sunsets we saw in Bale weren’t quite as breathtaking as the ones we witnessed in Zadar, they are still lovely since you are on the western coast of the Adriatic and your views are unobstructed.
Meneghetti Restaurant & Hotel Bar
Our room rate included breakfast, and I’m sad to say that we only took advantage of breakfast once during our stay! That said, breakfast was absolutely delicious! My eggs were scrambled with traditional Istrian sausage, the pastries were incredibly fresh, and there was a bread basket (perfect for trying those Meneghetti olive oils).
Because of all of our day trips, we did not take advantage of lunch or dinner at the Meneghetti. The restaurant stayed extremely busy during our stay, so I am confident in recommending it. We did have mid-afternoon snack of traditional Istrian salami and cheese, along with Meneghetti wines. Everything utilized local ingredients and was made in-house, so it was incredibly fresh. (I was really, really impressed with Istrian cuisine.) While it was not open while we were there, these is a poolside seasonal restaurant and bar, Oliveto, which overlooks the vineyards.
One of my biggest regrets is not having dessert at the Meneghetti restaurant. When we checked in, they made a point to share more about the pastry chef and how talented she is. We did, however, receive some of her chocolate truffles as part of our turndown service one night. My mouth still waters when I think about how incredible those truffles were.
My second regret is not taking advantage of the Meneghetti Bar in the main building. The bar is located off the reception area and gave off a cozy, romantic vibe. I could imagine curling up with a drink and reading about other Relais & Chateaux properties that we would visit. It’s a lovely place for a nightcap, and I’m sad that we never took advantage of that. It just means we have to go back…
Things to Do near the Meneghetti Resort
As mentioned above, the Menghetti Wine Resort is perfect for day tripping throughout Istria. Within an hour, you can see some of the most beautiful sights and enjoy some of the most incredible food. While I covered a lot of these adventures on my post on things to do in Croatia, I’ve shared a few more photos and more details below.
The Istria Olive Oil Route
Don’t limit your olive oil experience to the Meneghetti. Istria is home to many of the best olive oils in the world and we brought a lot of it home. Why haven’t we heard about this? Most Croatian olive oil producers are small compared to the production that happens in Spain, Italy, and Greece. The production is smaller because Croatia harvests its olives earlier. Less olives = less olive oil. Croatian producers believe that harvesting early yields better quality oil.
We found that many of the local producers were happy to share a lot about their production and olive oil with us. In some places, we were able to see the production facilities. In other places, we learned more about how the blends of olive oil are created. In all cases, we were taught how properly taste olive oil and were able to better understand the differences between mass produced olive oil and the local Croatian olive oil.
Truffle Hunting in Istria
Istria is truffle country. You can book a truffle hunt on your own or through the Meneghetti if you want to learn more about how these delightful treats are harvested. If you can’t squeeze that in, head to Pietro & Pietro in Motovun to try all the truffle products. They have chopped truffles, truffle creams, truffle oils, truffle chips, truffle cheese… well, you get the picture. They also have a local cherry liquor that is delicious. (Yes, we brought home truffles and liquor.)
Rovinj Day Trip
It’s tough to choose my favorite Istrian city. They are all gorgeous in their own right. That being said, I loved Rovinj. Rovinj has a classic Venetian look with a stunning harbor, winding streets that you can’t get lost in, and bright, colorful houses. We really enjoyed taking a walking tour of Rovinj to learn more about this beautiful coastal city though. Our guide, Goran, led us through Rovinj – from its initial founding, to its move across the “canal,” to its present-day challenges in keeping the city vibrant as people move to the suburbs.
Goran provided us some great recommendations for various restaurants and products throughout Istria. Everything we tried that he recommended ended up being outstanding. As a local, he really knows the area, so don’t be afraid to ask him for recommendations!
Check out this post for more things to do in Rovinj!
Pula Day Trip
Rovinj preserved its Venetian influences and Pula preserved its Roman influences. At first glance of the amphitheater in Pula, it’s tough to tell if you’re in Rome or Croatia. (The Pula amphitheater is better preserved than its Roman counterpart.)
We booked a walking tour of Pula to explore the Roman influence over the city. This tour covers almost all of the original city of Pula, as well as the “new” city.
The tour starts with a trek up to the fortress to better understand Pula’s position on the Istrian peninsula. (This is important to understanding how it remains so well-preserved.) There are a lot of Byzantine and Roman artifacts to see. The tour would be worth it just to see the mosaics. None of them are covered in the guidebooks.
The tour also covers part of the “new” town, where you can see the Austro-Hungarian influence and visit the market. Our guide was able to provide area restaurant recommendations in both parts of the city, as well as more recommendations for things to do and see.
Porec Day Trip
If you do one thing, go to Porec to see the basilica. The Basilica complex was built in the 4th century and it is a sight! While the church is a lot smaller the Basilica San Marco in Venice, I found it even more breathtaking. You don’t have to book a guide; we had trouble finding one. That said, your entrance ticket provides a guided visit through the entire basilica complex, including the bell tower, the Bishop’s Palace and the incredible views of the Adriatic Sea.
We did spend a bit of time wandering through Porec, but everything was overshadowed by the beautiful mosaics of the basilica.
Final Recommendations for the Meneghetti Wine Resort & Hotel
While visiting the Meneghetti Wine Resort, you have to head over to Bale for a meal at La Grisa. Not only is the food absolutely incredible, but the staff is absolutely wonderful as well. I had a truffle pasta here that changed my life. No truffle pasta will ever come close to this one, I’m convinced. They also have a chocolate soufflé with fresh ice cream that is worth the wait. We went twice during our stay, and I could have eaten there for every meal.
Istria is home to the most tasty souvenirs in Croatia. Don’t forget to bring home wine, truffle cheese and olive oil. (If you can’t make it to the shops along the olive oil route, La Grisa sells an incredible olive oil, too.)