We’re jumping ahead a little, in terms of reporting on our early summer trip, but we couldn’t resist sharing the latest news on Croatia’s largest marina - D-Marin Dalmacija - in Sukošan, near Zadar, Croatia.
It was already a fairly modern marina, with all the essential facilities, but the huge expanse of empty spaces and grey buildings gave the place an eerie feel and were crying out for rejuvenation. So it was greatly in need of substantial investment when the Dogus Group acquired it a few years ago.
When we visited in June, even with building work still going on, it was already in our top five of the most transformed marinas – Olive Island, Marina Seget, Marina Trogir and another Dogus Group marina, D-Marin Mandalina, also featuring. Now, the work is complete and the Portus Beach Club, on the outer, semi-circular, superyacht pier, is open for business.
A huge artifical beach has been made on the seaward facing side of the semi-circular pier and guests can rent deck chairs, towels and parasols, as well as luxury cabanas that come complete with champagne, ice cream, water and cold towels. There’s also Rum Shack, a beach bar offering a wide range of cocktails and other refreshments.
Portus Beach Club also provides two restaurants, a night bar, kids club and sports facilities. The first floor restaurant offers local specialities and a wide selection of Croatian and international wines. Nearby is a spacious lounge bar designed in Mediterranean style. Both have a spectacular view of the bay and provide an ideal place for a business lunch, romantic dinner or an exclusive event. Enjoy more casual dining in the ground floor restaurant which offers an all day menu of Mediterranean and domestic dishes.
Kids Club offers different kind of fun and educational activities, all with professional supervision, and for everyone there’s music and DJs every afternoon from 4 pm until 9 pm, with Thursday, Friday and Saturday scheduled for live performances.
The investment required for a project of this scale is immense - €6.5 million according to the owners – but it’s just a quarter of the €25 million spent over the last three years which includes the impressive new administrative building, a new entrance, new toilets, a new building for charter and service companies and much improved landscaping. The result is a really classy look and a new sense of purpose for what now has the air of a vibrant marina village in its own right, rather than just an enormous yacht berthing facility! It still does remind me a little of Tracy Island from the Thunderbirds series but now in a good, chic way!
What makes all this work even more impressive is the speed and lack of fuss with which it is accomplished. It’s easy to forget the immense scale of each new project, and that some of the marina is built on land reclaimed from the sea and it’s therefore not that easy to grow verdant lawns and pretty flower beds.
Those who have a copy of our Croatia Cruising Companion won’t find the physical layout (see up to date chart below) and approach very different from the way it was described on page 37 and 38, and the small village of Sukošan still retains its local charm, despite the size of its newer neighbour. The new aerial shot looks very different though from the boat and car park on page 38!
And there’s something about the chunky lights that typifies the scale and purpose of Croatia’s biggest marina, now becoming one of its most upmarket ones.
Many thanks to D-Marin Dalmacija for their assistance with information and images. To go direct to the marina’s website link to D-Marin Dalmacija Overview