Located just around the corner from the historic medieval clock tower on the main city square of Kotor, Montenegro, the Hotel Vardar is an up-to-date five-star accommodation with all the bustle of a busy city center just outside its doors.
Kotor is an historic port at the end of the Bay of Kotor on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. The walled part of the city, mostly dating from the centuries when it was under Venetian control (about 1420 to 1797), is a compact warren of narrow lanes skirting impressive stone villas and public buildings.
Hotel Vardar has outside dining area
Outside the Hotel Vardar is an inviting dining terrace. Inside you’ll find all the amenities you expect in a European hotel.
My corner guest room had a comfy bed, free WiFi, desk, safe, flat-screen television, and mini-bar (I did miss having a coffee maker, but that creature comfort has disappeared with the advent of the pandemic).
There was a noticeable lack of available power outlets in the room, however. Travelers these days need to recharge their devices overnight, and I had to unplug a couple of lamps to accomplish that task.
In the closet were robes, slippers, a safe, and my favorite “extra” — a shoe horn with an extre-long handle.
Glamorous marble bathroom
The enormous bathroom had both marble walls and floor (green on the floor, and beige, brown and green on the walls), not to mention a bidet alongside the toilet. The glass-walled shower included a rainshower plus a hand-held nozzle. Amenities, by Bio Citron Naturals, included a vegetable soap with organic lemon extract (the scent? divine!).
The lack of a coffee maker in the room was somewhat made up for with the lavish breakfast buffet included in the room rate. There were several hot choices, lots of cold (including fresh fruit) and even a basket of clearly labeled gluten-free “bread”.
A Turkish bath, sauna, and workout room are on site, but since I was there for just two nights, I didn’t check them out. Instead, I spent my time wandering this medieval old town that’s a double UNESCO World Heritage Site: it is part of Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor and Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar.
Kotor has storied past
Centuries old, this port city on the Bay of Kotor began as an Illyrian settlement, then became Roman town. It has one of the best-preserved medieval old towns on the Adriatic. It was claimed at various points in history by Serbia, Bosnia, Hungary, and (of course) Yugoslavia before gaining independence in May 2006 (when the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was dissolved).
A landmark in the old city is the Cathedral of St. Tryphon. Consecrated in 1166, it is one of two Roman Catholic churches.
The town of Kotor has a mere 961 inhabitants, but the larger boundaries of the city encompass a population of 13,510. Although in 1900 it was majority Roman Catholic, these days Kotor is overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian.
The Adriatic Sea — a northern arm of the Mediterranean — separates the Balkans from the Italian peninsula.
To Book a room at Hotel Vardar
If the city’s too crowded with cruise ship passengers for your taste, check out Hotel Splendido just down the coast a bit.
(Review and most photos by Susan McKee)