This is an unusual review as we ended up not actually staying at the Hotel Astoria Budva! (although did we did use their restaurant, bar and beach facilities...)
Back in February 2013, I booked and paid for (in full!) a double room at the Budva Astoria for 2 nights in August 2013. This was done via www.booking.com.
When we arrived in the late afternoon for our first night's stay, the guy on reception could not find the booking, but eventually tracked it down in his system, but explained that due to a computer error the hotel was full and there was no room for us that night.
We reluctantly agreed to stay our first night at the Astoria Budva's sister hotel 25 km away in Kotor. There was no offer to drive us over, although the Astoria did offer to pay our car-park charges. We were allocated a lovely big room in the eaves of the hotel - the Iota room. It was very comfortable indeed with excellent air con and a wonderful view, however the wifi kept dropping out which was very irritating. (When I asked, the manager said that the wifi is designed such that it disconnects you automatically after 10 minutes online, to prevent too many people using the system at the same time and making it slow: how very unsatisfactory!) Loud music played outside until 1am - sleeping before this time would not have been possible without ear plugs. In the morning we were annoyed to be awoken at 7.30am by a member of the house-keeping team walking into our room - very odd. We had eaten a modest dinner in the Astoria Kotor's restaurant which was good quality and well-priced. In the morning I expected that the 40 or so euro bill would be taken care of by the hotel. This was clearly not the Astoria's plan, and after a short discussion the receptionist called the hotel manager whom we spoke to in person, and she eventually agreed to waive the small food bill.
We learned that no room was going to be available at the Astoria Budva for our second night, and that the Astoria had therefore booked us a room in the 4* Budua Residences, very close to Budva Old Town. (Budua residences is a modern, holiday apartment block - not actually a hotel - which provided decent, if characterless, accommodation, and was staffed by an extremely friendly receptionist. It was fine, although of course, nothing like what we had planned, booked and paid for six months earlier).
Astoria Budva did organise car parking, arranged for us to take breakfast the next morning in its restaurant, and reserved us a spot on the beach for the day, free of charge. I asked to make a reservation for dinner at the roof-top restaurant that evening, but was told it was already full up, and this would not be possible. I was greatly annoyed, as providing a restaurant table is surely the very least that the Astoria could have done to people whose holiday they had messed around with that much!
Astoria's private beach at Budva is great for swimming, although umbrellas are tightly packed together and loud Serbian pop music beats out all day long (why??), preventing true relaxation. It costs 20 euro per person per day - even for hotel residents - which should be borne in mind when budgeting for your trip (= 280 euro for a couple staying for a week!)
The Astoria Budva has a huge terrace restaurant and bar which is open to the public, just as you walk into the Old Town. It was heaving! The menu is exactly the same as at the Astoria in Kotor, although 25km apparently makes all the difference, so the prices in Budva are higher! We ordered cocktails which had been delicious the night before in Kotor, but were not in Budva. My Long Island Iced Tea was the wrong colour, tasted of lemons and lacked alcohol. I complained and asked for it to be changed. What I got back was a very alcoholic, brown drink, which looked the part, but certainly did not include the spirits listed on the menu. It was disgusting and I was being ripped off. The assistant manager apologised but did not offer to take this off our bill. Avoid this bar/restaurant.
Zlatko on reception was extremely apologetic throughout our 'non-stay' and was clearly distressed on our behalf because of the disaster that had befallen our planned stay at the Astoria Budva. He also kept trying to get us a place at the roof-top restaurant ( the lovely-looking one on the hotel website) and eventually succeeded. This dinner was a great experience - lovely romantic setting, delicious food and wine, exceptionally good service. I recommend this as the place to go for a top quality meal in Budva. Just make sure you make the effort to organise your reservation in this restaurant in advance - don't think that being a hotel resident will guarantee you a table.
Breakfast we took on the beach. It is chosen from a menu and includes a savoury option, a sweet option, a juice and hot drink. The quality was good and the service was friendly.
In conclusion, our experience of 'staying' in the Astoria Budva was a stressful and vexing one. Despite Zlatko's charm and helpfulness, the overall response by the Astoria management team to their error which impacted us greatly, was really poor. Not a single free drink or dinner were we offered. Budva is a bafflingly-popular resort - brash, tacky and largely ugly (the small bit of old town, aside) - and Astoria knows it does not have to try too hard and it will keep on being fully-booked. Because of our experience, I would not choose the Astoria again, but in fact, I would recommend that everyone avoids Budva completely, and instead goes to one of the many truly lovely places that abound in Montenegro.
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- Also Known As:
- Astoria Hotel Budva