by Terry Anzur
Montenegro: Forgotten Hotel Fjord
Once upon a time it was a thriving resort hotel in a prime location on the breathtaking Bay of Kotor.
Nowadays, the Hotel Fjord stands abandoned.
To a visitor, it’s a spooky relic of the time when Montenegro was part of the former Yugoslavia.
But to local residents, it is also a symbol of something else: the unkept promises of a foreign owner to restore the hotel to its former glory.
I first learned of the Hotel Fjord from blogger “Kami and the Rest of the World.”
After reading her post on Alternative Kotor, I put it on the must-do list for my trip to Montenegro.
Would it be hard to find?
Would guards keep me away?
Demand a bribe?
Confiscate my camera?
It turned out not to be complicated at all.
I literally stumbled across the Hotel Fjord on my first evening in Kotor.
Walking back to my rental apartment after dinner, I noticed the sign and the dilapidated fence.
There were no “keep out” signs.
In fact, local residents use the once-grand entrance as a parking lot.
The numerous gaping holes in the fence beckoned me to come closer.
According to Kami, the five star-resort in the brutalism style was designed by a noted Bosnian architect.
Guests in 155 rooms could enjoy restaurants, bars, a conference center and an indoor swimming pool.
It opened in 1986.
By 2005, war in the Balkans had taken its toll on tourism and the Hotel Fjord closed its doors.
The concrete walls have since been stripped bare.
Wiring and elevator equipment are long gone.
Weirdly, the clay tennis court seemed to be maintained in good condition and was hosting a lively doubles match at the time of my visit.
I wandered the hallways, being careful to step around the broken glass from the smashed-in windows.
I imagined honeymooners from the Yugoslavia times enjoying the rooms and balconies.
Weary socialist workers on holiday, admiring the views of the Kotor Bay and the Old Town.
And children running down the hallways that still have traces of faded blue carpeting.
Built to Last
Renovating this dinosaur will be quite a feat.
A European friend of mine is fond of saying that there is no jackhammer capable of destroying Yugoslavian concrete.
The existing layout, with its tiny, dark rooms and dark bathrooms, doesn’t really lend itself to the luxury standards expected by visitors in the present day.
Governments come and go.
Wars begin and end.
But some things were built to last, for better or worse.
The Hotel Fjord is, quite possibly, one of them.
If traveling by air, foreign visitors land at either Podgorica Airport (TGD) in Montenegro’s capital or Tivat Airport (TIV) on the coast.
Cilipi International Airport (DBV) in nearby Dubrovnik, Croatia, is also an option; it’s just about 15 miles from Montenegro.
Train service is also available.
A tourist visa is not required for stays under 90 days. For more information, check out the U.S. State Department’s Montenegro page.
The State Department has issued a travel alert for Americans visiting Europe.
The Montenegro Tourism agency has more information on border crossings and visas.
I visited the Hotel Fjord, I observed best practices for reporting on private property and was prepared to leave the instant I was asked to do so. If I had seen anyone in authority, I would have asked for permission to look around.
There didn’t seem to be any expectation of privacy here, and the graffiti made it seem like a weird tourist attraction, open to the public. After writing this post, I can see why bloggers get addicted to abandoned places.
For more in-depth advice on visiting Montenegro and the rest of the country, check out LONELY PLANET’S MONTENEGRO guide from Amazon.com.
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What did you do on your visit to Montenegro? Did you explore Hotel Fjord? Share your favorite tips in the comments section below!
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