Berat with its typical C18th and C19th Ottoman houses is a World Heritage site. Hotel Mangalemi is situated in the heart of the Mangalem quarter in a traditional style house. This has been carefully converted into a hotel with a lot of character.
The hotel opens straight off the street into the reception with lounge area next to it. We were welcomed with a small glass of raki and a date and nut sweetmeat (both very good) while a porter took our cases to our room. There is no lift and the hotel is a bit of a rabbit warren.
I had a lovely traditional room on the first floor with large windows overlooking the main street. The dark furniture and big bed with a hand knitted cover added to the traditional feel. There was a small fridge with two complementary bottles of water – a nice touch. Albania only gets running water for ten hours a day so houses need large storage tanks. Although the water is treated, tourists are recommended not to drink it.
The bed was very comfortable although I had problems with the pillows. One was too low, but two were too high…
I had a big bathroom with a large shower area. There were plenty of toiletries with a lovely herby smell. It took me a while to discover the towels hidden away in the cupboard under the sink. These were large and fluffy and dried well.
Breakfast was served in the breakfast room down stairs from the reception area. During the summer, it is served in the courtyard at the back of the hotel. There was a basic selection of cereals and fruit juice. As well as the homemade yogurt, there were pots of flavoured yogurts and fresh fruit. There was the usual small frankfurter style sausage and eggs for the cooked breakfast, but again I stuck to the cold meat and cheese with a choice of different breads. Jams were home made and included quince, and plum jam as well as honey. There were also small pots of a local speciality – cold rice pudding with cinnamon. An unusual choice for breakfast but actually very good.
This is a lovely hotel with a lot of character and a refreshing change from the 1990s big block hotels. Some of the rooms are in a separate building overlooking the courtyard. I would have enjoyed longer here.
To find out moe about Albania, what I did and my pictures, look “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/albania/index.html