You expect to find a strong emphasis on design at boutique hotels costing you hundreds of dollars a night. When you come upon a delightful one like Colors Inn Sarajevo though—where standard rooms go for $150 or so—it’s a delight.
Sarajevo will likely bring one of two images to mind if you’re old enough: the Winter Olympics of 1984 or the long 1,425-day siege of the city by the Serbs during the Bosnian Conflict of the 1990s. Just a block from the Colors Inn is a memorial to all the children killed in the conflict.
The peace agreement was signed in late 1995, but it’s fair to say the city is still in healing and rebuilding mode. Some key buildings have been restored with international aid, while others are still waiting. There are numerous signs of life, however, and many visitors find it an immensely attractive and walkable city to explore. There’s a pedestrian street running down into the oldest historic section, which is a mix of Ottoman and later era buildings.
It’s a pleasant walk to the Old City from Colors Inn and you might need a good walk after the tempting breakfast buffet here. It may just be the prettiest spread I’ve ever seen, with a mix of tasty sweet and savory morsels set up for the best visual impact. You can go super-healthy and have lots to pick from or load up on carbs for a day of activity.
The restaurant itself is a visual delight as well, with forest elements tastefully integrated into the green-tinged design. A leaf motif here, actual spruce tree logs there. It’s whimsical and fun without going too far into fern bar territory.
The colors theme actually starts on the outside, where different shades around the windows alternate colors on the building. It stands out on a block that’s mostly gray. Even the stairwell here is interesting.
Inside the hotel, large wallpaper murals of Sarajevo predominate, with dramatic lighting and tiny LED bulbs overhead providing more drama. The hallways are dark when you first step into them, but then sensors turn up the illumination.
Electronic keys open rooms that are a tad larger than the norm in Europe, with space enough for you and your luggage. One small closet is integrated into the wall just outside the bathroom and there’s a shelf big enough to hold a checked suitcase by the entrance door. There’s ample counter space in the bathroom, where there’s an oversized sink, a bigger shower stall than usual, and nice toiletries.
Rooms have comfortable beds with padded headboards and the reading lights are adjustable. There are multiple outlets around (220v) and the Wi-Fi signal was strong during my stay in the room and the restaurant. The colors in the guest rooms are more subdued than in the public areas, combining with blackout curtains to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Staffers speak enough English to get you what you need and they can arrange local tours and excursions or call a taxi. They can also arrange airport pick-up if you line it up in advance, or there’s parking on site if you’re renting a car.
The hotel is in a bustling area that’s close to multiple cafes, restaurants, bars, and a shady park. On the same street are three pizza places and a couple bakeries, plus a convenience store.
This is a well-run, nicely designed hotel in a good location in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Rates start at a reasonable US$142 . Book direct with the property with a reservation form or get immediate confirmation online at Hotels.com or Booking.com.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted at Colors Inn while touring through Bosnia and Herzogovina for book research.