The Balkan beauty of this former Communist country was closed off from the rest of the world for decades. Now, the doors are open – it’s time to discover the lakes, mountains, beaches and bunkers of Albania. Explore the exotic cityscapes and otherworldly architecture that was the product of a dictator’s dreams. Whether you’re visiting Tirana, Saranda or another destination around the country, here are the best hotels in Albania.
Belgium’s renowned 51N4E Architects were responsible for the recent upgrade of Tirana’s Skanderbeg Square as well as this landmark hotel skyscraper next to it. Architecture aficionados will enjoy marvelling at the new building itself, with its fascinating facade of cantilevered concrete blocks. Choose an upper-floor room and you’ll be rewarded with spellbinding views over the entire city. At breakfast, try the famous local cheeses, breads and sausages.
One for design fans, Buze Boutique Hotel is renowned as one of Saranda’s coolest boltholes. The handsome building is decked in blue stripes, echoing the sea which laps at the shingle beach below the hotel. The colour scheme continues inside, where blues and greys are accentuated by the wooden floors and stone walls. Balconies with sea views complete this pretty picture.
The Life Gallery Hotel is the place to be seen in the mountainous eastern Albanian city of Korce, near to the Greek border. A perfect haven for walkers to base themselves to explore the neighbouring peaks, this handsome house exhibits traditional features of Albanian design, like the porte cochere entrance and window shutters. A handsome grey colour scheme on the outside and a stylish terrace welcomes guests.
Water lovers will want to book into the Elite in Pogradec, which overlooks the famous Lake Ohrid – one of the region’s most storied tourist draws. Albania and North Macedonia share the lake – with the border down the centre – and all types of watersports are possible here. Elite offers rooms with lake views, decorated in warm hues, plus a complimentary daily breakfast is included.
Buzzing Tirana’s cafes and shops are right outside Areela, making this hotel a honeypot for city-dwellers and culture vultures. Albania’s biggest meeting place – the famous and recently refurbished Skanderbeg Square – is just a short stroll away. Stripes, upcycled furniture, houseplants, and plenty of pictures complete the charm of this quirky, metropolitan property.
Albania’s most famous hotel, the Adriatik, is one of the country’s first luxury establishments – it dates back to 1957. A 2018 refit saw it rightfully restored to its former grandeur with a luxurious swimming pool, and the property now boasts two indoor restaurants, three outdoor bars and an outdoor kids playground. Don’t miss the stomach-churning waterslide and the more serene Queen Teuta Spa.
Bright whites, velvet furnishings, pelmets and curtain ties suggest a genteel air to Lot Boutique, making it ideal for Tirana tourists who prefer upscale accommodation. Don’t miss the pasta and risotto in the restaurant, which also caters for vegans – still uncommon in Albania. Some of the city’s oldest buildings are found nearby, and Skanderbeg Square is a short walk away.
With only 12 bedrooms, Vila Verde is the choice for travellers who like a small, quiet hotel with personal touches. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a coffee on the ground floor, and take in the views of Mount Dajti from the top floor bar. Rooms feature crisp, white colour schemes, plus free parking is available downstairs.
A touch of class epitomises the Xheko Imperial Hotel in central Tirana. The hotel lays claim to numerous visits by diplomats, ministers and celebrities, all suitably impressed by the grand Italianate lobby and swimming pool. Head to the rooftop bar after sunset for sushi and cocktails surrounded by a moat-like water feature, or book a relaxing treatment at the spa.
For active travellers, VH Belmond will tick all of your boxes. It has a fitness centre and huge terrace where you can practice your downward dog al fresco every morning. Crucially, it’s right next to the long beach at Durres, where you can rent jet skis and paddle boards. Choose from one of the 103 rooms – or opt for an apartment for more space and cooking facilities. Don’t leave without making the most of the spa with its sauna, Turkish bath and jacuzzi.