For our three nights spent in the North Macedonian capital Skopje, we stayed at the three-star, 37-roomed “Hotel De KOKA”:http://hoteldekoka.mk/en/.
Opened in 2014, it was ideally located between the old and new towns, above what appeared to be a series of banks. The reception was on the ground floor, with the first and second floor rooms located around the outside. The breakfast-only restaurant was in the centre of the first floor.
Our superior double room with city view was large with blonde wood panelling and matching desk and wardrobe. One side of the wardrobe had only four attached hangers, and the other just a rail although it looked as though shelves have been ripped out. Dominating the room was a wooden pillar which created an indoor seating area with two casual chairs, although it would have benefited from a coffee table as well. However, it was a good place to sit and take in the views of the city through the floor to ceiling windows.
Our room overlooked Skanderbeg Square with its bronze 7 metre statue of Skanderbeg, the famous Albanian warrior, on horseback and a large mural depicting important figures and scenes from Albanian History. Albanians use the square to organise large gatherings that celebrate sporting or cultural and political events in their history. One afternoon we found a stage had been erected in front of the mural and we were treated to a birds eye view of a display of traditional dancing by groups from Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia. Having finished at 6pm, the stage was set again for more modern musicians and we wondered if we were in for a noisy night. However, returning from dinner at 10.30pm, thankfully all was quiet.
The well-equipped room had large TV, kettle, tea and coffee making facilities and a mini bar stuffed with chocolates etc and soft drinks – none of which tempted us. There was a safe (that could be moved) at the bottom of the wardrobe, which meant getting on all fours to use it. The double, creaky bed had bedside tables and reading lights. Wi-Fi was complimentary and the effective air conditioning was necessary, as the sun shone directly through the windows during the day making it very hot.
The bathroom was a reasonable size, but we had to be careful positioning the shower head due to its tendency to flood the floor. However, it was light and bright with plenty of hot water, a decent hairdryer and lots of space for toiletries around the sink which needed our universal plug. Wall mounted shower gel and soaps were available and a note on the door told us that towels and sheets would be changed every two days. Bearing in mind, our stay was for three nights, we’d have been happy to keep the same towels and sheets for the duration.
The restaurant had an informal, modern feel to it but could be slightly chaotic depending on timing as the two girls struggled to keep the food replenished and clear the tables quickly. There were two types of cereal (no muesli), yoghurt in pots and bananas that quickly disappeared as the only alternative fruit was exceedingly ripe bruised pears and bunches of tiny grapes. There was orange juice, bread, toaster, cold meats and cheeses and hard-boiled eggs along with two dips including ajvar, with roasted red pepper. On our first morning, the hot drinks machine didn’t work, the water cooler had run out of water and the two kettles were empty. Both were sorted out eventually and we made cups of instant Nescafe.
City maps were available at reception, along with a water cooler so we could refill our reusable bottle and there was a hot and cold drinks machine.
This was a fairly basic hotel, but the location more than made up for any minor issues we experienced.