Bushi Resort & Spa, a five-star hotel, is located on the edge of the Old Bazaar at Kjurchiska 21, Skopje, North Macedonia. The hotel is easy walking distance to myriad restaurants and countless shops, and not too far from the center of town on the banks of the Vardar River.
Positioned on ancient trade routes, Skopje is a city with a long history of hospitality at its traditional caravanseri (called “han” in the Balkans). Typical along the Silk Road from China to Western Europe, these hostels for traveling merchants were the original “roadside inns”. Three from Medieval times still stand in the Old Bazaar, including Kapan Han (built in the 15th century).
Bushi Resort guestrooms
I was booked in a standard single room at the Bushi Resort & Spa, but when the valet and I opened the door it was obvious that housekeeping had not prepared the room for a new guest. Oops! After a call to the front desk, the valet whisked me down the hall to a junior suite — definitely an upgrade.
In addition to the bedroom, I had a sitting room with a second flat-screen television. The large bathroom had both a glass-walled shower and a whirlpool tub plus those most European of amenities: a bidet and a bath towel warmer (but no make-up mirror).
Guest rooms have free WiFi, safes, minibar, bathrobes, complimentary shoe polish, and a sewing kit. A free buffet breakfast is included in the price.
I couldn’t find information on the exact number of rooms at the hotel, but I’m guessing about 45 — including an over-the-top-bordering-on-kitsch and highly gilded two-level presidential suite. If you drive in, there’s free parking.
Spa and conference center at Bushi Resort
The SPA Center of Bushi Resort has an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, five massage rooms, seats for foot massage, sauna, Salt Room Sauna, Turkish bath, changing rooms, and showers. There’s no fitness center in the hotel but with all the walking up and down the hills I did in Skopje, I didn’t really miss it.
The hotel’s main conference room, named Vardar after the river running through Skopje, has a maximum capacity of 130 participants in theater-style seats. Each has an electrical outlet and a mini-worktable. The Vardar is equipped with two incorporated translation cabins, microphones, headphones, and the usual screen, podium, flip chart, registration table, and projector. One of the resort’s restaurants, the Çarshia, can be repurposed as a conference room.
Skopje is North Macedonia’s capital
Skopje, with a population of about 500,000, is the largest city in North Macedonia and its political, cultural, economic, and academic center. The Old Bazaar has been the hub of the region’s trade and commerce since at least the 12th century.
The region has been inhabited since at least 4000 BCE, and the remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the old Kale Fortress on the hillside above the Bushi Resort and Spa. Skopje is on the upper course of the Vardar River, and is on a major north-south Balkan route between Belgrade, Serbia, and Athens, Greece.
Both ethnic and religious affiliations of its inhabitants are diverse, including Orthodox Christian Macedonians, Serbs, and Aromanians, Muslim Turks, and Albanians, who are mostly Muslim but have a sizeable Roman Catholic minority (The sainted nun, Mother Theresa, was born here). Because of its 520-year Ottoman past, and the fact many of its inhabitants today are Muslims, Skopje has more mosques than churches.
The center of the city has an unusual set of attractions as a result of “Skopje 2014”, a government project designed to give the capital a “more classical appeal”. The result? Some 176 statues of everyone from the typical Macedonian mother and child to the heroic father of Alexander the Great, Philip II (359–336 BCE).
North Macedonia is part of the ancient Hellenic kingdom of Macedonia. The rest is in Greece, and the two governments tussled over the name for 25 years. The addition of “North” to the new country’s name settled the dispute in 2019.
If you go to Skopje
Skopje is less than 100 miles “as the crow flies” from Tirana, the capital of Albania, where you might like the Privilege Hotel and Spa.
Review and photos by Susan McKee