The re-birth of a legendary hotel in Belgrade

Built in 1908, MOSKVA Hotel is a landmark architectural building in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. With probably the most central location in the city, Moskva hotel is situated on leading highstreet Terazije, with half of the rooms overlooking this highstreet and half overlooking the park and river Danube.

For the past decade, the hotel has suffered from derelict, ”stamped” with a bad reputation of a ”communist” hotel of a very low standard. Even the name of the hotel has had a negative connotation to Serbians, with a negative association. Few, however, are aware that the hotel used to be the favourite hotel of Michael Douglas, Andrew Wayna, Brad Pitt and many other celebrities when they used to stay in Belgrade, especially in the 1970′s when lots of Hollywood movies were shot in Serbia thanks to the lower costs.

The hotel was privatized and began a major renovation two years ago, a process which has gone almost unnoticed by locals and foreign travellers especially, most of them driven away by the negative reviews of the hotel before the renovation that are still all over the internet. I must say the new hotel owner is also to be ”blamed” for not understanding the importance of marketing in general and online specifically,

Upon entering the hotel, I had a very welcoming feeling, classic architecture, yet warm and with a very much vibrant spirit. One could not help but feel the grandeur of the hotel and only imagine its glorious history. Unlike most renovations of similar hotels in former communist countries such as Serbia, the Moskva Hotel has not only regained its former glory as a landmark hotel, a meeting place of the elite, especially intelectuals and artists, but it has also managed to transform itself into a ”hot spot” for the younger generation and this could be noticed in its legendary cafe where a group of youngsters were chatting and playing on their mobile phones and laptops, side by side with elderly people reading the daily press and sipping their cup of coffee, as they used to, many of them, for decades.

All rooms and suites have been renovating preserving the original architecture and interior design to the smallest details, including the beautifully polished wooden floors. Some of the king size rooms on the first two floors have very high ceilings. The 20 duplex suites are unique in architecture, with a small, yet cosy living room and the bed on an upper landing, giving an extra sense of privacy. However, the most impressive are the two presidential suites, of which my favourite was the one overlooking the Danube and the park. All rooms are equipped with high speed wifi (complimentary) and new generation LCD screens.

As for services, the restaurant (including breakfast area) and the cafe are of the highest standard. So is housekeeping and room service. There is room for improvement on the front desk and the hotel must add a dedicated concierge as it used to have in its former glory. Pricing wise, the Presidential suite per night is at the same price as a standard room at the Hyatt Hotel.

Whenever in Belgrade, Moskva is an ideal place to stay,  not only for comfort and facilities as well as its unique location but also to understand and feel the spirit of the city and, for a moment, relive its glorious past,