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“Fantastic - will never forget our stay there!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Rilindja Hotel

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Rilindja Hotel
Ranked #1 of 2 Valbona B&B and Inns
Los Altos, California
Level Contributor
42 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fantastic - will never forget our stay there!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2014

I visited Valbona and stayed with Catherine (from Brooklyn) and Alfred at Rilindja with my husband and 27 year old son. I say I stayed with Catherine and Alfred because they are so warm, friendly and helpful you feel like more than a hotel guest - but rather like a dear and welcome friend. And they created an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
Catherine is the hostess with the mostest!! Valbona is gorgeous. Catherine and Alfred have made a facility with lovely, comfortable accommodations of all types. We stayed in the Residence which has private bathrooms, balconies, crisp white linens and towels and is new and spotless. They provide clogs or sandals as you enter the building to help keep the floors splotless. Outside the Residence we found a small herd of sheep with a very happy cow (it was explained to us that the cow and sheep are friends as they grew up together. So lovely!!) The food at Relindja was superb and abundant including home made bread. Trout is freshly caught. One day we had rain which we thought would be a great disappointment as we had planned to hike. However, we still had a great time. Relindja is set up with a lot of common room for playing games, reading or chatting, and we got to know our fellow guests from Belgium, Germany, Croatia and Holland. By the end of the day everyone was joining in, laughing and having a good time. Also, I hike with hiking poles but did not have them because they were lost with my checked baggage by the airline. Catherine lent me a pair for hiking around Valbona and for the hike over the mountain to Theth. Finally, Catherine and Alfred are committed to helping Valbona. They have developed a wealth of information for visitors to the area. Catherine provides much information on her website "journeytovalbona.com" which tells about Valbona but does not even mention Rilindja. Absolutely wonderful stay, and a sincere pleasure to meet Catherine and Alfred.
As for the reviewers who complained about the fact that sometime the electricity went out or some food items were in short supply (we did not experience this), their comments make me laugh. We went to the Albanian Alps to experience an adventure in a remote part of the world, and it is a remote part of the world. Catherine and Alfred provide much more luxury than I expected in such a remote area. Go for adventure, beauty, and interesting people. Don't go with expectations of amenities that you would get in New York.

Room Tip: Catherine and Alfred provide several types of accommodations. There is a campsite and a hotel with...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank pepper003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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96 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    9
    3
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2014

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Valbona. After researching the accommodation options in the Albanian Alps we decided upon 4 nights stay at Hotel Rilindja in Valbona. The very friendly owners Catherine and Alfred booked us into the Rezedenca guest house located 20 minutes walk or 4 minutes drive away from the Rilindja Hotel. Our room in the Rezedenca guest house was basic but comfortable and contained an en-suite bathroom and a spectacular balcony view looking down the Valbona Valley. In light of the alternate accommodation options in Northern Albania this was relative luxury and we were very happy with our choice. The only improvement I would make would be the addition of a heated boot rack or hot room in the ground floor or basement area of the Rezidenca Hotel in order to dry out clothes and boots during wet weather. However, we did manage to dry our clothes by lighting a log fire in a common room on the groundfloor, which during a powercut in a thunderstorm was a nice place to sit in an evening.

Breakfast and dinner was served in the main Hotel Rilindja. The breakfast spread was by far the best we had in Albania, and the home cooked dinner options were really good. We had locally produced lamb and trout and tried several other local authentic Albanian dishes which we enjoyed. I enjoyed the wine (mostly Kosovan). Food and drink prices were very fair and we never left hungry.

The hosts Catherine and Alfred we're fantastic and advised us on everything we needed to know. They helped us plan walking routes and provided laminated trail maps and packed lunches for a very small fee. They have done a great job of marking trails, and opening up routes of varying difficulty. They can also arrange guides for longer trips, which unfortunately due to bad weather we never managed to take advantage of. The mountains are amazing, remote, undeveloped and unspoilt, and really are a must see if visiting Albania.

All in all, we can't wait to return to Hotel Rilindja for a longer stay and see more of Valbona and the mountains.

Room Tip: Upper floors of the Rezidenca guesthouse offer an amazing view. If travelling by car beware that the...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Josh_B_uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2014

I recently visited Albania for two weeks and my stay at Rilindja in Valbona was definitely the highlight of my trip. The location at the start of the valley floor is stunning - with mountains surrounding the hotel. I stayed in the Rezidenca and the room and view were excellent. The food was also some of the best I had in my entire trip in Albania. Additionally the service from Alfred/Catherine and their team was excellent. All in all a great stay in a great hotel!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Shane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 June 2014

My husband I stayed 1 night.

My initial emails to Catherine where answered promptly. We stayed in the Rezidenca which was very clean. However, it was frustrating to have to take shoes off each time you entered the hotel, as shoes where not allowed. I presume this was to do with protecting the floor of the hotel.

The most frustrating thing was that the restaurant ran out of food - the night we where there the restaurant was busy. The service was extremely slow, the food expensive, and the restaurant ran out of potatoes (which we had ordered) and chocolate cake (which we wanted for desert).

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Londongirl132
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Farnborough
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 May 2014

Our two night stay in Valbona was wonderful - the spectacular scenery, the peace and quiet, the delicious and excessively plentiful food at Rilindja.
We stayed in the Rezidenca guest house, also run by Catherine and Alfred, about a 20 minute walk (a beautiful walk) from Rilindja where we ate breakfast and dinner. The rooms were comfortable and the views astounding. All were en-suite, most with a good sized balcony. Downstairs there was a small room with an attached kitchenette where you could sit on the floor cushions and make tea or coffee.
Catherine and Alfred have done (are doing) a great job of making the area accessible to tourists, with well-marked trails and all the information you could need. She has a website www.journeytovalbona.com which tells you all about the local area and walks. Take good walking boots or shoes.
Catherine is very much involved with the local school and gratefully receives all donations of stationery or books. The children willing attend an extra morning (Saturday) where she teaches them English.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sueFarnborough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2014

Our stay in Valbona was wonderful - the unbelievably jaw-droppingly spectacular scenery, the delicious and excessively plentiful food at Rilindja, the unexpected delight of finding somewhere so fabulous and so secluded - I would recommend it to anyone.

We stayed in the Rezidenca guest house, also run by Catherine and Alfred, about a 20 minute walk (a beautiful walk) from Rilindja where we ate breakfast and dinner. The rooms were comfortable and the views astounding.

Catherine and Alfred have done (are doing) a great job of making the area accessible to tourists, with well-marked trails and all the information you could need.

I'm torn between wanting everyone to know about this wonderful place, and wanting nobody to find it so it stays as quiet and peaceful as it is now. We're already planning our return, and I'll have the lamb!

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jane D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Israel
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2014

Hi guys, my wife & i stayed at the Rilindja Hotel/motel and it was the best time we had for a long time. feels like a part of the nature and the family is amazing. if your looking for an expirence and a great time. stay there ! you will not regret it!

Room Tip: ask for a room with a blcony. the view is amazing !
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank danielshira
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rilindja Hotel

Property: Rilindja Hotel
Address: Rruga e Bajram Currit, Valbona, Albania
Region: Albania > Kukes County > Valbona
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Valbona
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Valbona is the place to "Get Away from It All" - We have no Cinema, Discos, no streetlights no Gas Station not a single store and until recently no telephones. What we do have are the mountains, the clear blue river, more rare animals and plants than anywhere else in Europe, meadows full of wild strawberries and forests full of Hazelnuts and a pure deep silence broken only by the noise of the river burbling onwards. Opened in 2005, Rilindja (“Rebirth” in Albanian) was named for our dream of sustainable tourism and is the oldest operating hotel in Valbona. ... more   less 

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