Where to Stay in Gjirokastra: Hotel Kalemi

 

When we stayed: May 2015 |  Rate: $40/nightWebsite: Hotel Kalemi

 The Things We Loved

The Hotel Kalemi is a 200 year old Ottoman style house that the owner has put a great deal of care and attention into restoring. From the traditional woodwork, the beautiful carved ceilings, and balconies with amazing views out over the city, this guesthouse was one of my favourite places we stayed. I just love these unique places that are full of charm. Sure they may have a few quirks but the experience is worth a quirk or two.

Hotel Kalemi in Gjiorkastra, Albania
One of a few common areas in the guesthouse that are good for gathering to play cards (which we did) or to enjoy the view from the balcony. And oh those ceilings!

Compared with other places in Albania where electricity can be spotty at times, the Hotel Kalemi has invested in solar panels to keep the hotel up and running as much as possible. The rooms also offered central heat, and some had AC. For our stay we just enjoyed the cool breeze blowing through the windows because I’ll take that over AC any day. Plus there is just something so relaxing about watching the curtains fluttering softly in the light wind. Hotel Kalemi in Gjirokastra, Albania

The rooms, though simply decorated, were unique and cozy and I liked the traditional touches. Hands down though my very favorite part of our room was this…. this AMAZING view.

Hotel Kalemi in Gjirokastra, Albania
The view from the window over the head of the bed.

The Things We Didn’t Love

About the only thing I didn’t like about the Hotel Kalemi was the bathroom, specifically the shower. If you’ve read my blog for awhile you’ll know that we didn’t have luck in Bath, UK with the shower either. What is it with us and odd showers?  The shower curtain didn’t enclose it and the water was pretty hard to contain. But that was only 10 minutes out of an otherwise great stay and it did have hot water and got us clean which, in the long run, is the most important thing. This definitely wouldn’t be a reason for me to not recommend this lovely little place to anyone that might be visiting Gjirokastra.

Location

Situated in an old district of Gjiorkastra, the Hotel Kalemi offers amazing views (as seen in my photo above). It’s really close to everything so you could park your car and then walk to the bazaar area, up to the castle, or to the ethnographic museum. Just be aware of the hills. It’s all uphill to the hotel so if you’ve grown weary from exploring, or have too many bags to carry from shopping in the bazaar, you might want to catch a taxi back up the hill for a few dollars.

Hotel Kalemi in Gjiorkastra, Albania
Relaxing in the garden is definitely something worth making a little time for.

Odds & Ends

Breakfast is included in the rate and was quite tasty so definitely grab a bite before you head out in the morning. While the hotel does have WiFi it’s really only available in the lounge areas so you’ll have to leave your room for that. Not so bad though as these rooms are nice places to relax and maybe even play a game of cards like we did. Also if you are there on a nice day they have a lovely little garden area that’s just right for relaxing and a chat with new friends. Some of the people on our tour did just that while we were off wandering in the town.

 

Have you had the opportunity to stay here? Would you recommend it to travellers to the area?

To read more about our adventures on our tour around Albania, please feel free to check out these posts:

Albania Trip Summary Post

Previous Post: Another UNESCO Site! The Historic Centre of Gjirokastra

Next Post: Kalaja: The Fortress of Berat

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