The bell from Trogir’s city tower strikes twelve. The sun shines on the old town, inviting the tourists to take a short break because, after sunset, many of them eager for discoveries and new experiences will revisit them. Curious, they will walk the streets, peeking through half-open wooden windows whose lace curtains hide the intimacy of Trogir families and the charming spirit of the surrounding restaurants.

That is so good, what a pleasant smell! The fish is grilled somewhere nearby! I follow a street lined with stone houses, built several centuries ago.  Curious, I enter through a wooden door to one of the most beautiful stone courtyards still only seen in nobles families’ houses.

I have to sit and enjoy the sumptuous court’s ambiance. I imagine tender tones of the harp and dancing ladies dressed in lavish crinolines in arms of sleek nobles. Delicacies from the richly set tables sweetened their mouth and stolen kisses in one of the dark corners of this courtyard.

That place is magical! Happy people are sitting around the tables full of excellent food. Lobster on buzara, grilled white fish, shrimp wrapped in bacon, black cuttlefish risotto, pasta with seafood. Meat, grilled, cooked in a real Dalmatian sauce.  I can’t even talk about imaginatively prepared cakes, especially Dalmatian rožada, because while I’m just looking at it, I want to feel its caramelized taste in my mouth. I feel so good while my imaginations wander through,  from the past to the present.

Unbeknownst to me, thanks to the fantastic smell of grilled fish, I came to the well-known restaurant and hotel Monika, located in the noble, Cega family house’s historic ambiance. The restaurant, with its fifty years of gastronomic tradition, does not lag behind the rich past.

I wonder who owns this hotel and restaurant, who had the strength to make this splendor in the middle of the old urban city and restore it to its former aristocratic splendor? Each piece exudes with luxury and carefully selected details,  with a specific style and taste.

It would be best to meet Jasminka Vranješ, the owner who belongs here with her charming and engaging behavior. Only a woman with an uncompromising will, inexhaustible energy, professional experience, and personal wisdom can build this “empire.” She had the pleasure to refurbish this space for herself and guests worldwide who have been faithfully returning to her for half a century.

She started putting together her catering story back in the seventies with her husband Vinko. In an instant, she had to continue their familiar story on her own, fighting like a lioness, all to make their dreams come true. “There have been ups and downs, crisis years, but I always went forward, believing in myself. If I had succumbed to bad thoughts at any moment, my dream would never become shattered.” She did it! She kept her promise!

In the beautiful authentic the ambiance of the old Trogir stone court, there is an open part of the restaurant with a hundred seats, accompanied by an interior space, specially decorated for romantics who want a unique atmosphere and intimacy.

Visiting the hotel means experiencing Trogir as it once was, the style and way of life of the Cega noble family, whose tradition collapsed in a historically turbulent and relentless moment. But new times have brought new opportunities as well. Jasminka had a mission! Renovated the house and gave it back the look and sophistication of a noble home. “For twenty years, I bought part by part of the house. When I put all the torn parts back under the same roof, I started renovating the space. After three years, I opened a hotel with sixteen spacious rooms, decorated in a synergy of a traditional and modern style”.

Luxurious, soft beds covered in red satin and velvet dominate the space, facing the windows that each overlook their part of the old town. Unique charm is given by refined, imaginative decorations that fill the rooms, giving them dreamy warmth and harmony. The terrace between the roofs of Trogir houses and the view to the surrounding city gardens, the old town, and the bell tower of The Cathedral of St. Lawrence intertwined with the blue sky and sea is a new experience that I will remember for a long time.

Jasminka has given her whole life into the restaurant and hotel, past, present, and future. “I have nurtured this hotel as a child, giving all my best. I can see that I am successful by the guests’ reactions who are delighted with what they feel. I am happy and grateful when I see a smile and shine in their eyes; it means that I have fulfilled my mission. ”

Even today, after fifty years of working,” My every new day is my new beginning, I work there with equal passion, paying attention to every detail.  There is a vast love for work, long-term  staff, and this building that I have renovated, to the pride of myself and the city of Trogir!”

She has successfully built and edited, but she has always primarily cared for the guests’ wishes, desires, and comfort. Grateful for the hospitality, welcome, and goodwill, the guests give it to her back with kind words and selfless attention, proposing that everybody must experience it in person.