Monks have always had a knack for finding the most fantastic locations. The Franciscans that built a monastery in 1483 on the northern coast of the Dalmatian island of Lopud were no exception. Fast forward more than five centuries, and by the 1990s, the Medieval Croatian monastery and adjacent 16-century fortress were abandoned and in ruins. Luckily, influential art world figure, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, was in the area and on a mission to collect and protect Croatian artworks at risk of destruction due to the war.
More than two decades of restoration later – done slowly and carefully on architect Frank Gehry’s advice – the monastery is now called LOPUD 1483. It’s an ultra-luxurious five-suite bolthole that’s a mash-up of holiday home, exclusive residence and art gallery. Overseen by Zagreb-based architect Rujana Markovic, the sensitive restoration work has resulted in a divine space that’s perfect for recharging and contemplation. The five bedrooms’ thick stone walls and exposed wooden ceilings recall LOPUD 1483’s monastic past, while the priceless artworks from the Thyssen-Bornemisza family collection (one of the world’s most significant private art collections) offer soul-food of a different kind.
Elsewhere guests will enjoy: the garden planted by Asa Andersson, a Sami shaman who has revived the monks’ outdoor offerings; the fortress’ rooftop space, made for stargazing; the refectory in which the executive chef will serve up the most delicious meals; time spent with world-class wellness practitioners and movement teachers; private boat and yacht tours of the Dalmation coast; and exclusive tours of Dubrovnik, some 10 kilometres away.