I'm just back from nearly two weeks in Budva, Montenegro.
Before I go any further let me make it very clear. I love Montenegro. I love the people. The weather's fantastic (most of the time). The food is great. Go there - you won't regret it ..
Unfortunately not everything in Montenegro is wonderful .. some things are just plain terrible.
Prime example of this is Vila Grand in Budva.
I had the misfortune to stay there for 5 nights.
According to booking.com's description of it:
With a spacious vine-covered terrace and air-conditioned rooms, Vila Grand is situated in the city centre, less than 50 metres from the beaches of Mogren, Pizana and Ricardova Glava. The villa has a swimming pool.
Equipped with high-quality furniture made of wood, all rooms at Vila Grand have a satellite LCD TV, refrigerator and compact bathroom. Most rooms have a balcony overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
Regional meals are served in Vila Grand’s restaurant. The terrace offers a romantic setting for a glass of wine.
Budva’s city centre is known for its Meditteranean-style architecture. The 24-hour reception staff can recommend numerous trips to explore the Budvanska Riviera.
Wow! Doesn't that sound lovely?
Unfortunately the reality is anything but pleasant ..
I booked online with my credit card and had to make a deposit of 20%. I don't really like having to do that, but once I'd made the booking I was then committed to the location, as I'd already made a payment.
Getting to Vila Grand wasn't easy. Yes, it is very close to the centre of the town, but the map on booking.com positioned it somewhere else, while the street address was somewhere else entirely.
When I finally arrived I should have smelt a rat..
To start with the guy at "reception" who was apparently the owner did not speak a single word of English. I don't speak Serbian. Usually, however, I can communicate using hand gestures etc., this time that was pretty much impossible.
The room turned out to be quite small and very basic. I could live with that..
The bathroom, however, turned out to not really be a proper bathroom. The "shower" was basically a hole in the middle of the floor beside the toilet in front of the sink ie. you were meant to just stand there and somehow hose yourself down. And of course the water wasn't hot. I'd hate to have been there in the colder winter months!
Of course there wasn't any soap, though the entire "hosing" process itself was pretty awful, as the plumbing seemed to be quite dodgy and the floor never actually drained properly.
As for towels etc., they were never changed. Not once.
The room wasn't cleaned once the entire time I was there.
And the keys to the room and front door of the building had to be carried at all times. Why? Because the 24 hour reception did not exist.
When I wanted to check out I had to hang around for nearly half an hour and ended up ringing the owner on his mobile, which I'd got accidentally.
They only took cash and of course did not give me a receipt!
And as for the meals and the terrace .. they're pure works of fiction. The only facilities the place had was a small coffee machine, which probably didn't even work..
As for the wifi .. I didn't know you could get 1 meg down .. well I have vague recollections of it . ..