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Vjeko Martinko director of Hotel Villa Astra in Lovran celebrating his 70th birthday in October 2017
By Nenad N. Bach and Darko Žubrinić
Published on 10/16/2017
Vjeko Martinko, director of the Hotel Villa Astra in the town of Lovran, Croatia, celebrated his 70th birthday with his friends and colleagues, including his schoolteacher Ana Ujević. As always, Vjeko is full of energy, fresh ideas and challenges for the future. The celebration was held in a peaceful and very pleasant environment of the hotel and the surrounding beautiful park, filling us with a special energy and enthusiasm. Hotel Villa Astra is one of the trademarks of Croatian private entrepreneurship, offering its guests a unique place for creative rest in a friendly atmosphere, where one feels like at home.

Opening the doors to guests who come to vacation but experience transformation: from visitors to friends, from distraction to peace

Vjeko Martinko with his schoolteacher Ana Ujević Vulas and other colleagues and friends, at the Hotel Villa Astra in the town of Lovran.

Watching acrobatic movements and skills of Dana Augustin (see her below on the left) in a very pleasant park in front of Hotel Villa Astra. Dana was born in the town of Ičići near Lovran.

Branko Fučić to Vjeko and his collaborators, in 1996: Life is a game, beautiful game, but not a triviality

Vjeko Martinko with Ana Ujević Vulas, his schoolteacher.
She is a daughter of Mate Ujević, distinguished Croatian lexicographer.

Vjeko Martinko prepared a lovely autobiographic exhibition in the Hotel Villa Astra to Ana Ujević Vulas, in which some of his works from childhood
have been shown, as well as his homeworks in Croatian language, written more than 50 years ago and corrected by Ana Ujević Vulas.

On the left, Slavica and Drago Banović, good friends and collaborators of Vjeko Martinko, originally from the city of Vukovar.

Željko Lalić and Ana Ujević Vulas at the Hotel Villa Astra

Natasha and Volodimir Balyk, fantastic music family living in the town of Lovran, playing for Vjeko at Hotel Villa Astra

Happy birthday to Vjeko Martinko from the readers of the CROWN!
Mr. Martinko is wearing a beuatiful and very elegant suit made by Gena-Trogir co., directed by Boris Burić Gena.

During the solemn celebration of Vjeko Martinko 70'th anniversary in his Hotel Villa Astra in the town of Lovran, October 2017.

Vjeko Martinko, director of Hotel Villa Astra, singing some of favorite songs from his native region of Hrvatsko Zagorje on Croatian north,
accompanied with excellent klapa Nevera (The Tempest) from the vicinity of Lovran.

Vjeko Martinko on the right, 4th April 2017, interviewed by Marijan Ožanić for his show Argumenti (Arguments)
at the HKR (Hrvatski katolički radio, i.e., Croatian Catholic Radio)

Vjeko Martinko interviewed by Marijan Ožanić in March 2017

Vjeko Martinko, poduzetnik, primorski turizam

Gost emisije je poduzetnik Vjeko Martinko koji je 1996. prekinuo uspješnu međunarodnu poslovnu karijeru, vratio se u Hrvatsku i posvetio novom poslovnom i poduzetničkom izazovu u malom primorskom mjestu Lovranu, na Opatijskoj rivijeri kraj Rijeke. Obnovio je 1996. godine stare, zapuštene austrougarske vile, pretvarajući ih u nova elegantna mjesta za odmor. Tema vodilja njegovog poduzetničkog projekta je tradicija i baština, prijateljstvo i kreativnost.

Interview of Vjeko Martinko, in Croatian

Hotel Villa Astra - Philosophy

The spark that started hotel Villa Astra came completely unplanned. After the decision to end his business career, Vjeko came to Lovran in search of a house for himself and his family. On this quest, he was drawn by the uniqueness of this area and bought a house in Icici, but was also offered an entire floor in "Villa Adela" in Lovran which he decided to buy back in 1996 and renovate it into an apartment where he could invite his friends from abroad.

After the apartment was renovated, he invited his previous colleagues to come to Lovran and have breakfast with him and his family in Ičići. Upon coming to Icici, his old boss shared that it usually takes him a couple of days to get acclimatized to his vacation destination, but after the walk on the seaside promenade "Lungomare" from Lovran to Ičići, he felt completely at peace.

Vjeko has built on this concept since - reviving old villas and opening their doors to guests who come to vacation but experience transformation: from visitors to friends, from distraction to peace.

About us

The ideal of transformation began with the dream of our founder, Vjeko Martinko, to change his life: from international corporate businessman to host at his personal Boutique Hotel Villa Astra. He found the place for his dream to come true in Lovran, a medieval town nestling in Kvarner, the Adriatic Gulf known for its islands, mountains and pure clean air.

This charming town had been discovered in the late 19th century by Austrian Medical School, entrepreneurs and Italian nobles, who built here neo-Gothic trophy homes like Villa Astra. Here Dr. Eder found his perfect air and climate - between Mount Učka's botanical secrets and the clear Adriatic - for spa and healthy living alike. All along the lungomare, you can see and smell the tree after which Lovran was named - the laurel, tree of transformation. Here our founder began transforming old, neglected properties into special places to stay. His guiding themes were heritage and tradition, friendship and creativity.

By transforming spaces, your host was also transformed. In his love-job and passion he learned that sustainable business and responsible living depend on open eyes, mind and heart. He learned how to connect old and new, present and future, work and self. He continues to learn and share with others how to expand your consciousness, achieve clarity in your life and tap into your highest human potential. By using the natural energy of this place, and the transformation he experienced, he and his team developed a special transformation program for visitors, guests and friends.


Vjeko Martinko was born near the town of Pregrada in Hrvatsko Zagorje. First ten years of his working career he spent in Croatia. After ten years with a Croatian company, he became marketing manager for a global engineering company, with over fifteen years in that position. Following his successful international job, he embarked upon an ambitious goal to repair and revive old, neglected villas in the town of Lovran, as well as developing an exclusive leisure concept linked to personal growth.

His company "Lovranske Vile Ltd". was awarded in 2000 by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Planning and Construction, as a prime example of sustainable development. Vjeko's ideal is to connect tourism and individual personal development through innovative and holistic approaches.


Lunch near the swimming pool at the Hotel Villa Astra, October 2017.

Origami created by Yoko Nishii, Japanese pianist fluent in Croatian language, during her visit
to Hotel Villa Astra in Lovran in 2016, upon the invitation of Vjeko Martinko.

Formated for CROWN by Darko Žubrinić
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