Middle Age Miles

Mini-Review: A Quick Hotel Visit to the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik

hilton imperial dubrovnik review visit
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik

This article is part of our Trip Report – Our Summer Holiday in Dubrovnik and Beyond

When we’re traveling at Middle Age Miles, one thing we enjoy doing occasionally is dropping in for quick visits at hotels that interest us and that might be useful to share with our readers.

On our Dubrovnik trip, we couldn’t help but stop by the beautiful Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. The air-conditioned hotel and its bar provided a perfect oasis on a very hot day. Plus, we got a bit of a look at one of the few hotels in Dubrovnik that might be available on points through our most familiar loyalty programs.

Here’s a quick mini-review of what we were able to see during our visit to this historic and lovely hotel.

Location

As we’ve noted earlier in this Trip Report, we stayed at the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera, which is several miles outside of Dubrovnik. We really liked its location, but every trip into Dubrovnik proper required an Uber ride of about $20 and 25-30 minutes in each direction.

For those who want or need to be right in town, though, the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik is in the heart of the action. The hotel is very conveniently located, about 2 blocks west of the Pile Gate western entrance into Old Town Dubrovnik, so it’s very easy walking distance. It’s also a very short walk to the Fort of St. Lawrence (Lovrijenac) and the Dubrovnik West Harbor where you can find water activities such as sea kayaking. There’s also a tourist information center between the Imperial and Pile Gate and a collection of local tour guides, so it’s a very convenient place to book activities.

The hotel sits atop a small hill, and we suspect that south-facing rooms on the upper floors would have spectacular view of the Fort of St. Lawrence and the Adriatic Sea.

Here’s a map showing the location of the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik:

Short History

The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik has a rich history, dating back to its original opening in 1897 as the first major tourist-friendly hotel in Dubrovnik. The then-“Grand Hotel Imperial” was the place to be in Dubrovnik for many years, and its storied history included British King Edward VIII and his American girlfriend Wallis Simpson dancing in the hotel garden in August 1936, a few months before the King abdicated.

In 1991 and 1992, the hotel was severely damaged from shelling during the Yugoslavian Civil War (Croatian War of Independence), including at least one attack when some refugees at the hotel were killed. Afterwards, the hotel was closed for several years, ultimately being completely reconstructed and becoming affiliated with Hilton during that time.

Grand Hotel Imperial on fire during November 1991 attack
[image courtesy essenceofdubrovnik.com]

The hotel reopened in 2005 as the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. The south facade of the hotel still reads “Grand Hotel Imperial” in tribute to the hotel’s rich history.

Hilton has a nice document with more details on the history of the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, which you can access here.

Points Availability

The “standard” points rate for the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik is 70,000 points. During the winter, rooms may be available for fewer points, but this is also a time when hotel rates are much lower, so you’d want to check the particular day of your stay to determine whether a paid rate or an award night would be a better deal.

Unfortunately, the Imperial appears to be one of those hotels that plays games with points availability. Rooms are readily available on points during the low winter season from November through April. Then, beginning in early May, there is almost no points availability.

Here are the details, as of March 21, 2019:

March 22 through May 5, 2019 – There is award availability almost every night. In fact, there’s only one date, April 11, with no rooms available on points. Many nights in March and early April are available for less than 70,000 points, with a low of 24,000 points on Sunday, March 31 (room rates are as low as 95-96 Euros that night).

May 6 through October 31, 2019 – There is almost no points availability for this period of nearly 6 months, during the high summer season. Of the 179 nights during this period, only 10 have any points availability. Most of the available nights were one-at-a-time here and there, although there was one 4-night block available if you check in on June 29 and check out on July 3.

November 1, 2019, through the end of the schedule (March 22, 2020) – Miraculously, award availability is wide open beginning November 1 (after there was not one night of award availability during September or October). Every single night from 11/1/19 through the end of the bookable schedule on 3/22/20 is available on points, except for 3 nights leading up to New Year’s Day (December 29, 30 and 31 are unavailable).

We’re not sure if there’s ever any points availability for the summer season. Perhaps they make a room or two available for points bookings right when the schedule opens or sometime shortly thereafter. Or perhaps they open some availability last-minute if the hotel isn’t sold out. But it looks like a wide 6-month swath of award blocking here, sadly.

In terms of getting the most value for your points at the Imperial, there were a few nights at the end of April and the beginning of May, and again throughout the entire month of November, when room rates were 350 Euros per night or more (roughly $400+ per night). At these rates, a 70,000-point booking would exceed our baseline value of 0.5 cents per Hilton point. In addition, the scattered nights during the summer with award availability had paid rates exceeding 500 Euros (about $565). Booking one of these nights at 70,000 points would provide the only truly outsized points value at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik.

Our Visit to the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik (with pictures)

Middle Age Miles sister Cymber, Philly and I spent between an hour and an hour-and-a-half at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, early afternoon on a very warm Tuesday. We spent most of our time in the nicely air-conditioned bar area cooling off and getting a drink and some snacks. I also explored a bit to see what I could see of the hotel and take some pictures.

Neither the bar nor the hotel common areas were crowded at all during our visit. Service at the bar was attentive (that said, most of the time, no one else was there). We paid with our Hilton Aspire card and earned 14x Hilton points on the transaction.

The main entrance to the hotel is on the west side, which is the side furthest away from Old Town Dubrovnik. You climb a set of stairs from street level up to the hotel entrance. There’s also a driveway at the entry for drop-off, with a valet and bag porters readily available.

View of the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik from the southwest. The main hotel entrance is toward the far left side of this picture, up the stairs from the street.

When you enter the hotel, the check-in desk is immediately to the left. The concierge stand and a small sitting area are to the right. This area has a high ceiling with some impressive chandelier-style light fixtures and is nicely appointed, but it’s much smaller than we expected.

Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – check-in desk
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – concierge stand and small sitting area in the lobby
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – Philly and Middle Age Miles sister Cymber in the hotel lobby, with very cool chandelier light fixtures above and the check-in desk in the background
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – Middle Age Miles hanging out in the hotel lobby

Beyond the lobby was a long hallway running the length of the hotel. To the right were another long, narrow sitting area with tables (it’s a separate room adjacent to the bar, but you could sit there if you were having drinks from the bar), the bar itself, and the Executive Lounge. To the left were restrooms, a staircase leading down, and eventually a corridor to a few ground-floor rooms.

Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – larger sitting room adjacent to the bar
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – decorative shelving between the main corridor and the larger sitting area
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – bust of Conrad Hilton, for a “Connie” award in 2010
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – Middle Age Miles sister Cymber at the bar
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – entrance to the Executive Lounge (hours 7:00 am until 11:00 pm)
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – stairway down from the main corridor
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – hallway off the main corridor leading to some ground-floor rooms

We also got a look at the outdoor patio restaurant on the south side of the hotel, which looked like a very nice place to be on a cooler afternoon or evening.

Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – patio restaurant
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – patio restaurant

Finally, when we left the hotel, we got a nice view of the eastern side of the hotel, which proudly displays its Hilton branding.

Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – east side of hotel with Hilton branding

We hope you’ve enjoyed the mini-review and pictures from our visit to the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. It looks like it would be a marvelous place to stay in Dubrovnik – beautifully appointed and in the heart of the action near Old Town. Unfortunately, during the summer holiday season, paid rates are high and points availability is virtually non-existent. If we could catch the right deal, though, we’d love to stay here sometime and enjoy all that the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik has to offer.

Have you stayed at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik? What did you think? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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