Skopje and the Republic of Macedonia are a city and country trying to hold on to their identity. The people are friendly and the city is evolving daily to rediscover who they are. You see Macedonia, or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is in dispute with Greece over the right to be called Macedonia, due to the historical and cultural significance of the name. Yet, the people of the Republic of Macedonia are proud about their young developing country since declaring independence in 1991.
For our first trip to the Republic of Macedonia, we find ourselves enamoured and at times confused by the styling of the city. Skopje, as one of our guides aptly suggests has copy/paste syndrome. In a city where Mother Teresa was born and lived for the first eighteen years of her life, you will find a multitude of enormous statues and monuments found in other countries. Like the bronze bull statue from Wall street, to the Macedonian “Arc de Triomphe” Porta Macedonia. Skopje seems to borrow landmarks from other countries and erects them somewhere with the city.
Nevertheless, this quirky syndrome and love of statues adds to the intrigue and charm of Skopje. During the first part of our stay in Skopje we are at the Hotel Vlaho, which proves to be a lovely boutique hotel about 2.5 kilometres from Skopje’s City Centre and the large Alexander the Great statue.
With seventeen rooms and six apartments, the Hotel Vlaho offers five different types of accommodation. The hotel is located in a handy area within walking distance from the centre of the city. The surrounding suburb also has various supermarkets, bars and local restaurants around.
We found the best way to get to the hotel from the central bus station is to hop onto the number 5 bus and head to the Kapistec Bus Stop about 6 stops from the bus station. Skopje, has a card system for their public transport (much like the public transport cards in Australia). Although, the green kiosks are hard to come by, there is a large yellow container like building in the central station that you can buy or top up cards. I recommend not using the automatic machine in the bus station, as it is easily vandalised and may not distribute your card after payment. This happened to us, but after some phone calls and talking to the manager of the transport system, we finally were given a replacement card. Avoid the hassle and buy from the manned kiosks.
On arrival to the Hotel Vlaho, we are greeted straight away by the staff at the reception desk located at the front doors. Behind the reception desk is a comfortable lounge area, with a drink fridge and television. We did spend some time in this area during our stay and found the area pleasant. The hotel offers each guest a coffee on arrival which can be that kick-start you need after a long tiring journey.
After check-in, we hop into the lift and head up to our deluxe room. The deluxe room contains a double bed, a large television, coffee and tea facilities, a desk and bar fridge. The room is quite spacious and we drop our gear and freshen up.
The adjoining bathroom is modern and clean, and the shower is a decent size with water pressure and quantity of hot water being excellent. Rooms are serviced daily by the hotel staff where the cleanliness is maintained.
The hotel offers breakfast with your stay, with the restaurant downstairs from the reception area. Breakfast is served daily from 07:00 a.m – 10:00 a.m with a fair option of food choice available. It’s an all you can eat buffet, so you can eat as much as you like.
The apartments are across the road from the hotel and there is an outside patio area in the driveway to relax in. For those arriving by plane, the hotel offers an airport transport service. Make sure you contact the hotel before arrival to organise your lift.
We enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Vlaho. Although a little outside of the main city centre, it was an easy 25 minute walk into the old bazaar. Alternatively, we also caught the bus into the city which takes about 10 minutes. A kiosk is located near the bus stop, which the hotel staff directed us to. The rooms are clean and comfortable, with a working air-conditioner and a stocked mini bar. Good for those midnight snacks. On a couple of occasions, we had to wait for housekeeping to finish cleaning our room, but it wasn’t an issue with the lounge area downstairs.
Overall, Hotel Vlaho is a decent place to stay, so book your holiday today and tell them Simon from Ourworldinreview sent you!
Additional Information for the Hotel Vlaho
Address: St. 9-ti Maj No.3, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Tel. +389 2 6092 301 / Fax. +389 2 6092 303
Mobile: +389 78 257 439
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