More Luxury Hotel Chains Enter the Western Balkans
Resent news indicate that the Western Balkans are finally attracting some significant investment from luxury hotel chains like Four Seasons, One&Only, and St. Regis.
In Croatia, Four Seasons have signed a deal to build a luxury resort on Hvar Island. Set to open in 2019, the 120-room Four Seasons property will be located near Stari Grad – a historic town and a major ferry port.
In the center of Split – the largest city on the Dalmatian coast, the Hotel Ambassador has been purchased by the heir to the Birkenstock shoe empire – Klaus Alex Birkenstock, who is expected to invest more than €13 million in the property, due to open in early 2018.
Late last year, Marriott announced plans to open several hotels throughout Croatia (including in the capital Zagreb) under various brands by 2020. This interest in the country makes sense, given Croatia’s growing economic strength and its appeal as a major tourist destination.
Further south along the Dalmatian coast – in Montenegro, One&Only is now building a deluxe resort which will include 140 rooms, villas, residences, and a marina. This will be their very first resort in Europe.
Luxury hotel chains are also investing in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Marriott already has two properties in the city – a Residence Inn and the Marriott Courtyard. A new Westin property is scheduled to open later this year.
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts are planning developments in Belgrade – the capital of Serbia. The St. Regis Belgrade and The Residences at The St. Regis Belgrade are due to open in 2019. The St. Regis Belgrade will occupy the first nine floors of the super-modern Belgrade Tower building and will offer 125 elegant rooms and suites overlooking the city or the Sava River. Once completed, the Belgrade Tower will feature an observation deck as well as 220 luxurious residences ranging from 750 to 1700 square feet.
This significant influx of capital into the Western Balkans shows that investors are finally noticing the significant improvement in the region’s brand identity and its potential as a travel destination.