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Four of the best boutique hotels in Belgrade for 2022

Bold and brilliant hotels are channelling the lively spirit of the Serbian capital.

Published 11 Mar 2022, 06:00 GMT
The vibrant decor at the Mama Shelter Hotel in Belgrade. Here, you'll find stark, blocky, neon-framed mirrors, ...

The vibrant decor at the Mama Shelter Hotel in Belgrade. Here, you'll find stark, blocky, neon-framed mirrors, cartoonish lampshades and kilim-style rugs recalling the Balkans’ Ottoman history.

Photograph by Mama Shelter

Belgrade is buzzing. The Serbian capital is going from strength to strength as a city break, helped in no small part by its legendary nightlife, which means hoteliers know their beds — when you finally collapse into them — need to be seriously comfortable. Step forward a string of new, modern properties that have revolutionised the city’s hotel scene.

1. Mama Shelter

There’s been a glut of openings in Belgrade pre-pandemic, and they’re still going strong — November 2021 saw the opening of a Hotel Indigo from IHG — but hotels like Mama Shelter have led the charge. Amor Jalil, a protege of acclaimed designer Philippe Starck, devised the 125 rooms, while Paris-based designers Dion & Arles have gone for a typically zany Mama style with the decor. Read between the lines, though, and this bold aesthetic also manages to tell the story of Belgrade: beyond the cartoonish lampshades are kilim-style rugs recalling the Balkans’ Ottoman history, while the brutalist buildings that went up during the communist era find resonance in subtle details, such as stark, blocky, neon-framed mirrors.

As with all Mama Shelter properties, there’s a focus on the food and drink, with Ottoman-style wicker thrones in the restaurant, live DJs in the bar and a sprawling roof terrace where you’ll find piazza-style seating round a firepit, as well as tables offering views of the city’s skyline. Who needs to party all night when you have this waiting for you? From £106. mamashelter.com

The deluxe double room at The Babe, Belgrade.

Photograph by The Babe Hotel

2. Hotel Botanica

This arty hotel takes inspiration from the natural world. With names like Lavender, Amaryllis and Iris, rooms have paintings of flowers on the walls and plants on the bedside tables. Meanwhile, you’ll find mini living artworks of moss in the corridors, foliage by the lift and the lush public areas swaddled in green. From £54, room only. botanicaarthotel.rs

3. The Babe

Just four rooms and one apartment make up this elegantly modern hotel in Senjak, near the Belgrade Waterfront. It might be small, but it’s gem of a place, with palm trees flanking a Chesterfield sofa in the lobby-cum-lounge, and you can even book out the whole property. From £127. thebabehotel.com

4. Saint Ten

Set in the elegant Vračar neighbourhood, this hotel is as sumptuous as its Small Luxury Hotels of the World membership suggests. Rooms are boutique-luxe, with plush headboards hitting the ceiling, a palette of taupes and neutrals, and glass-walled bathrooms. There’s a mini sauna and spa area, as well as a glam restaurant, L’Adresse. From £144. saintten.com

Published in the March 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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