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A sweet spot for Croatia’s unsung capital

Tasty: A strong visual style is seen in the communal areas and bathroom (below)

OFTEN overlooked in favour of its celebrity siblings, Dubrovnik and Split, the Croatian capital’s grand squares, baroque palaces and enigmatic cathedral twinkling in the below-zero frost will wow even the most winter-wary. Hilton has already fallen under its spell, opening its 151-room Canopy hotel in the old Union chocolate factory opposite Branimirova, Zagreb’s original street-art wall. It’s also moments from the Typhlological Museum, a fascinating insight into the world of blindness (£2.40, tifloloskimuzej.hr).

Surrounded by high ceilings, velvet furnishing and brick walls with retro graffiti, my check-in is helped by ‘enthusiasts’ — Canopy’s friendly, knowledgeable team kitted out in Lee jeans, smart shirts and nicely ironic bow ties. I’m given bars of local Bajadera praline chocolate as a nod to the hotel’s confectionery heritage.

The room

I’m staying in one of the Just-Right rooms, a sleek little bolthole dominated by a wooden chequerboard-style bed canopy — a wink to the Croatian flag — which, like the Nikola Tesla blueprints in the hallways and retro advertising graffiti, adds to the hotel’s atmosphere. All rooms have oversized showers and Nespresso machines, while breakfast is served either in a grab-and-go bag delivered to the room or via the artisanal buffet in ReUnion, the trendy all-day restaurant.

The tribe

On the communal breakfast table I’m joined by a starry-eyed couple from London on a romantic weekend. And by the looks of the crowd ordering orange Pirate Jennys — a signature cocktail made with tequila and carrot juice (£6.70) — Canopy Central is already proving to be a popular addition to Zagreb’s famous bar scene. All guests are invited to ReUnion for a daily tasting (5pm to 6pm) with Croatian wines or beers and local snacks.

Local vibe

Hop on a free Canopy bike and explore the city’s tree-lined boulevards and pop into the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, a quirky genre wildly popular in the 1960s (£3, hmnu.hr). And don’t miss the brilliant Museum of Broken Relationships (£6.15, brokenships.com) in Upper Town’s Kulmer Palace, a moving exhibition of personal objects from spurned lovers.

Just-Right rooms from £116 (incl breakfast), canopy3.hilton.com. British Airways flies direct from Heathrow to Zagreb from £43 each way, ba.com, infozagreb.hr