Staying at the Camera Felice With a Small Dog
When it comes to staying in capital cities, we have learned that it is often best to be a few minutes’ walk away from the centre. This is particularly true if you want peace and quiet or have a light sleeper like we do. (Yes, Mom, looking at you!) Too often, our sleep in big cities has been ruined by loud party goers or a surprise drum beat from a local night club just a little too close for our “early to bed, early to rise” selves.
So we were happy to find the Camera Felice in Zagreb. Not only is the price great, it’s also pet-friendly with no extra fees and is a good 20-minute walk from the downtown core. No worries if walking is not your thing: the #6 tram stops just one street over and will take you straight downtown in less than five minutes. And, yes, the tram in Zagreb is pet-friendly too!
First, don’t worry if you struggle to find the place. Even our cab driver had to call to get a handle on where it was. Luckily, Dino, who runs the place, is a gem. He will happily chat with the driver or with you if you are a little lost.
Second, don’t expect the place to have a hotel façade. Camera Felice is more like an Airbnb kind of place than a hotel. We prefer it that way, but because Camera Felice is categorized as a hotel, it’s confusing when you arrive and there is no sign over the door or on the doorbells! Just look for the café and the door next to that is the one you are looking for!
Before I get into the actual apartment and rooms, I must take a moment to talk about Dino. What a guy! Not only was he always in a cheerful mood, but he was also so insanely helpful that I have no words. Seriously, between him and Toni from our sailing trip, I am starting to wonder if all Croatians are just super duper amazingly nice!
Dino helped us when phone services were down in Zagreb and BIKED several blocks to get us a cab to the airport … at, like, 6:00 a.m.! He happily let us into his personal living quarters to get maps and plan our routes, including what tram to take, the cost, and where all the great pastries were along the way! HA! I like how the man thinks!
Let’s see, what else? He helped us find a 24-hour pharmacy to get cough syrup for Mom who was at the worst of her cold at this point. (I blame the wet day spent in Šibenik and Krka, even though it was totally worth it.) Dino also went with Dad to return our rented car because he knew it was a confusing maze to find the place and he worried that Dad would have trouble getting the right tram back.
Dino was … well, he went far far beyond the call of duty. He was insanely amazing. A++ in our books.
Okay, so now we can get on with the apartment and rooms!
We rang the buzzer and Dino greeted us, insisting on carrying at least one suitcase up the steps. (No elevators.) It’s like being invited into the “real” Zagreb. It’s where people live.
Dino escorted us up the steps, and opened a large door that lead us to a series of other smaller sliding doors.
Behind each door is a private room. Dino showed us into our room and quietly explained what needed to be explained about the room, then handed us our keys and his cellphone number.
We were immediately charmed. Twice. We stayed one night on our way to Dubrovnik and then three nights at the end of our trip, so we saw two rooms! Such bold and bright colours! Even with the photos we had seen online, we didn’t expect that. It was just so playful.
The chandelier in the first room alone was totally fun!
And the beds were super comfortable. Technically, they are two single beds pushed together for a couple and pulled apart if not. It did not seem to bother the bipeds at all. Me neither, for that matter!
And we loved the little balcony. Even if it was a bit chilly to use, we did. We sat there one evening with some fresh organic olives, cheese, and wine from a cute organic shop just around the corner. We watched the tram go by and people walking their dogs.
And wow, were people ever walking their dogs!
Turns out there is a serious dog park just across the street, behind the pretty government office buildings.
Huge grassy expanses and loads of dogs playing off and on leash. People seemed good about picking up too.
The best part about the room was the large and spacious bathroom and the fact that everything was very clean.
Wi-Fi was good and free. It did drop once but, in all fairness, it dropped in the entire city of Zagreb so it wasn’t something that our host could control. No matter how frustrated he was for us. We also had a nice little fridge where we could store some food. And although a bit tight, we had a little table with two chairs where we could sit down and eat a cold meal if we wanted to. We chose to have breakfast and dinner this way but eat out for lunch.
There is a great kettle with a nice tea selection. We travel with our own coffee and a travel coffee press so it was nice to have the kettle. Alternatively, the little café just outside the front door had good strong coffee (espresso) as well.
Heating and cooling worked well. We turned the heat up on our return to Camera Felice as the temperatures had dropped to around 8ºC. Mom was ill and was glad to be able to spend a day in the nice cozy little room getting better before having to fly home. We were so grateful to have our little haven in Zagreb.
In review: Staying at the Camera Felice with a small dog is absolutely something we would recommend. Good location, great rooms, good amenities, lovely bakery, and a grocery store (organic!) and coffee shop in the neighborhood. And a dog park across the street. Everything you could want,and a bonus: Dino. Someone who truly understands customer service.