The Maslina Resort in Croatia celebrates natural materials and Japanese design


Designed by Paris-based studio LAM, the Hvar resort evokes the changing shapes and shades of its unique island habitat.

Courtesy of Claire Israel

On the sunny, pine-fringed island of Hvar in Croatia, the stylish Maslina Resort by Paris-based LAM Studio seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor spaces to create a modern, balanced oasis. The new five-star eco-friendly resort channels the serenity of its unique natural surroundings through the use of local textures, natural materials and Japanese design concepts.

Designed by LAM CEO Léonie Alma Mason, the 50 suites, three private villas and expansive gathering spaces evoke a sense of communion with the immediate outdoors – from the soft nature-inspired color palette to the organic linens and custom wooden bathtubs. The common spaces, adhering to the theme of “conscious luxury”, are open and simple spaces with selected objects that play with the sunlight of the island and mimic the changing shadows of the surrounding pine forest.

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Courtesy of Claire Israel

From the start, Mason’s goal was to demonstrate a deep connection between the meticulously designed hotel and the rugged, effortless beauty of its surroundings. Inspired by her own childhood memories of Hvar’s “beautiful contrasts” – her family summered on the island in the late 90s, just after the war – Mason’s design pays homage to the salty breeze of the Adriatic Sea, the local geological features and the towering pines that make the region unique.

Located off the Dalmatian coast, Hvar is next to the island of Brač, known worldwide for its white sand stone, which has been quarried since ancient times and used in the construction of many large structures in the world, including the lobby of the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York. Embracing the local pride for this magnificent natural resource, Maslina’s lobby features a reception desk made of sculptural twelve-tonne Brač stone. “I went to choose the exact piece from the Brač stone quarry,” Mason explains. “Due to its enormous size and weight, we had to bring the piece into the empty concrete space first, before any other architectural elements were completed. It was a significant challenge.” Although cracked , the huge stone was repaired using Japanese Kintsugi techniques.

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Courtesy of Claire Israel

A similar fusion of natural elements, Croatian materials, and Japanese forms can be found throughout the hotel. In the restaurant, long custom-made banquettes lined with black vertical wooden planks evoke a bamboo forest at night. Pine green glass light fixtures (from Italian lighting brand Karman) suspended over polished black lava stone tables match the dark hues of the forest floor, and black terracotta tiles with delicate ridge patterns fish evoke the movement of pine branches. The hotel’s bathroom sinks, custom-made with local Masliniza stone, match the exotic Iroko wood bathtubs, specially designed by LA.M Studio and custom-made for the hotel . “The softness of pine wood makes it unsuitable for public places, so we have sourced woods that can be used indoors and outdoors, with the sea air and the sun. Iroko wood adds warmth and continuity that extends into the commons, library and bar.

Ethereal white curtains tame the light in common areas, their rise and fall drawing attention to the sea breeze, and classic Cuban chairs provide simple comfort in the lobby, wine club lounge, and spa. In the freestanding 7,500-square-foot spa, an ornate latticework of bamboo paneling (made on-site by French company Déambulons) hangs below the spa’s huge glass ceiling, casting intricate shadows on the building’s monumental staircase. Touches of vintage brass lend the hotel traces of old-world European glamour: “By chance, I found some amazing Italian vintage brass light fixtures from the 60s at the Stari Grad town hall in the village right next to the hotel. This find inspired the addition of bronze mirrors, corduroy and clear glass pendants.

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Courtesy of Claire Israel

A frequent traveler and multinational herself, Mason says she seeks authenticity in the places she visits — a truly intimate local experience — in addition to elements of luxury. “I imagined someone like me, attentive to detail but looking for free and easy movement from inside to outside. I imagine guests going barefoot from the beach to their hotel room on a sunny day, enjoying the terra-cotta floors with both feet.

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