If you’ve been looking to visit Albania, then you’ve likely heard of the remarkable regeneration project of one of its main coastal towns, Vlora. Emerging from a scattering of crumbling buildings, stretches of golden sand and forested coastline, a glitzy and glamorous new destination has risen. Whistling pine groves, rushing waves and the shiver of wind-whipped sands provide the soundtrack to Vlora’s Adriatic Coast -a quietly beguiling stretch of coastline north of the city centre, and home to enchanting Kraal Hotel. A warm and welcoming environment that elegantly combines modern elements with vintage furniture -read: the traditional Oda, a special corner furnished with Albanian carpets, old radios and tools-, ideal for congresses, weddings, music events, romantic weekends and photo shoots.
Kraal Hotel enjoys a prime location in picturesque Plazhi Vjetër, between the port and Zvernec, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. This hotel offering may be only a 10-minute drive to Lungomare, but it feels worlds away from the buzzy restaurants and bars (and summer chaos). The family-owned hotel is a real home away from home, making it the ideal escape any time of the year, St. Valentine’s Day included. The 106 rooms (15 of which are suites) are decorated with thoughtful details and furnitures providing a personal touch. You’re guaranteed a deep sleep thanks to peaceful surroundings and king size beds. For a romantic date with your partner experience the Junior and Suite accommodations, with stunning sea view, jacuzzi, and couple massages included.
Breakfast comprises an impressive buffet of local cheeses, hams, seasonal fruits, cakes, pies, jams, eggs and juices. The restaurant offers a Mediterranean lunch and dinner menu. We recommend you to order the sea crudités, grilled octopus and fish soup. Dishes are based on seasonal and fresh produce and many of the ingredients are sourced locally. In the same airy space as dining area there is a bar. Overlooking the pool, no less, which couldn’t be more perfect a spot for a cocktail. Come evening, drink in the golden hour as the sun sets over the sea. You won’t regret.
The semi-Olympic pool is the perfect place for starting the day, taking part at yoga lessons (in summer) and enjoying the sun. But if it’s a taste of local life you’re after, then head to Zvernec. Here you will find golden beaches, pine forests and traditional fish tavernas. Don’t even think about visiting without a trip to St. Mary’s monastery, a 13th-century church island hidden in the Zvernec lagoon. To get there, you’ll want to take a 15-minute drive to the Pines Forest from Kraal Hotel before walking the wooden platform that connects the mainland to the island. Once back to the hotel, enjoy a drink and listen live music and DJ sets in this exclusive paradise. We can hardly think of a better place to end your day in Vlora.
Find out more about Kraal Hotel
Location: Rruga Gavril Dara, Vlora
Cost: From 50€