The spark that started hotel Villa Astra came completely unplanned. After the decision to end his business career, Vjeko came to Lovran in search of a house for himself and his family. On this quest, he was drawn by the uniqueness of this area and bought a house in Icici, but was also offered an entire floor in Villa Adela in Lovran which he decided to buy back in 1996 and renovate it into an apartment where he could invite his friends from abroad.
After the apartment was renovated, he invited his previous colleagues to come to Lovran and have breakfast with him and his family in Icici. Upon coming to Icici, his old boss shared that it usually takes him a couple of days to get acclimatized to his vacation destination, but after the walk on the seaside promenade Lungomare from Lovran to Icici, he felt completely at peace.
Vjeko has built on this concept since - reviving old villas and opening their doors to guests who come to vacation but experience transformation: from visitors to friends, from distraction to peace.
The ideal of transformation began with the dream of our founder, Vjeko Martinko, to change his life: from international corporate businessman to host at his personal Boutique Hotel Villa Astra. He found the place for his dream to come true in Lovran, a medieval town nestling in Kvarner, the Adriatic Gulf known for its islands, mountains and pure clean air.
This charming town had been discovered in the late 19th century by Austrian Medical School, entrepreneurs and Italian nobles, who built here neo-Gothic trophy homes like Villa Astra. Here Dr. Eder found his perfect air and climate - between Mount Ucka's botanical secrets and the clear Adriatic - for spa and healthy living alike. All along the lungomare, you can see and smell the tree after which Lovran was named - the laurel, tree of transformation. Here our founder began transforming old, neglected properties into special places to stay. His guiding themes were heritage and tradition, friendship and creativity.
By transforming spaces, your host was also transformed. In his love-job and passion he learned that sustainable business and responsible living depend on open eyes, mind and heart. He learned how to connect old and new, present and future, work and self. He continues to learn and share with others how to expand your consciousness, achieve clarity in your life and tap into your highest human potential. By using the natural energy of this place, and the transformation he experienced, he and his team developed a special transformation program for visitors, guests and friends.
Vjeko Martinko was born near the town of Pregrada in Hrvatsko Zagorje. First ten years of his working career he spent in Croatia. After ten years with a Croatian company, he became marketing manager for a global engineering company, with over fifteen years in that position. Following his successful international job, he embarked upon an ambitious goal to repair and revive old, neglected villas in the town of Lovran, as well as developing an exclusive leisure concept linked to personal growth. His company "Lovranske Vile Ltd". was awarded in 2000 by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Planning and Construction, as a prime example of sustainable development. Vjeko's ideal is to connect tourism and individual personal development through innovative and holistic approaches.
Our intention in hotel Villa Astra is that every guest feels the transformation in this quiet oasis of healthy living at the Opatija Riviera surrounded by natural beauty and unique climate of Kvarner Bay. We want every guest to leave feeling more relaxed, empowered and more creative.
We hope that each of our guests will "come as a guest and leave as a friend."
Every day we witness such testimonies from our guests and friends. Those who come soon recognize and feel the deep peace and relaxation of the villa and garden by the sea. Those who return again and again say that they come because of that. This is our mission we strive to live and that fulfills us.
Our program named "One with Nature - One with Life" is creatd to help you live with your full potential. How mane time did you ask yourself: "Do I have enough energy? Am I satisfied with my life? Do I live in harmony with other people? Am I enjoying this moment? Do I have my connection to the Divine?"
Villa Astra offers individual programs aimed to give insights in to these questions and help you live the deeper dimension of life which we often put aside due to lack of time in our everyday stressful lives.