Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 28.12.2022.| 13:16
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Have You Heard of Boatels? – There Are Several of Them in Belgrade and Foreigners Are Crazy About Them (PHOTO)

(Photo: Remorker Architects)
With good food and crazy night parties, hotels on water, floating hotels, or hotels-rafts, popularly known as boatels, are another one of those Belgrade “wonders” thanks to which foreigners are coming in droves to the capital of Serbia.

There are not many boatels in Belgrade – they can be counted on one hand, if we don’t count hostels, which are usually visited by backpackers, and there’s only a few of them too.

That is the reason why the accommodation capacities are booked for months ahead, as can be seen on popular rent platforms, considering that this type of accommodation is rare in Europe (except for Amsterdam, where the prices are much higher).

Boatel Charlie is located behind the Palace of Serbia and has been operating for 8 years.

According to the owner, Aleksandar Cvetanovic, there were no floating hotels in Belgrade until recently, and now there are several and almost all of them are on the Danube, except for a handful on the Sava.

– Our guests are business people, families, people who come for a vacation, and they are mostly foreigners, from the whole Europe, but also from beyond, from America and Australia. They are delighted with this kind of accommodation on the river itself, that’s something that they don’t have – our interviewee says.

According to him, accommodation queries are constant, regardless of the time of the year.

– Everything is already booked here, especially now, ahead of the New Year. Since the coronavirus outbreak, everything has changed, people travel more, I guess they fear another lockdown – says Cvetanovic, who adds that guest experiences are very positive and that many frequently return.

He says that Charlie has 8 rooms, each with its own bathroom, and for now, they are only offering breakfast, and the boatel is to get a kitchen in the spring.

Boatel Charlie
Boatel Charlie (Photo: Aleksandar Cvetanović)
They plan to expand the accommodation capacities, because, as Cvetanovic says, 12 rooms is a minimum for a serious, successful business.

According to him, floating hotels are a great investment opportunity for a city that lies on two rivers.

– Our coasts are undeveloped and underused, and this is great potential for a touristic boom – believes our interviewee.

When asked how much one such investment costs, Cvetanovic says that everybody who goes into one such project should not count on anything below EUR 600,000.

– It used to be EUR 300,000, but now, since the coronavirus and the war in Ukraine, the prices of materials and everything else have doubled – says Cvetanovic.

Still, despite that, in the neighborhood, several hundred meters from boatel Charlie, relatively recently, another hotel has sprung up on the water – Joy 5 Hotel & Spa.

As they told eKapija at this hotel, which also has a conference room with 60 seats, the hotel opened in September last year.

(Photo: Gun/ )
It offers guests 20 rooms on two floors and a kitchen with three full meals. The invest, they say, is a local natural person, and they reveal that the accommodation capacities are mostly reserved by foreigners, predominantly business people.

Another floating hotel might be raised soon on the Danube.

This is a boutique hotel with a floor area of 400 m2 in the core city center, the project for which has been prepared by architects of the Remorker Architects studio from Belgrade, at the request of a private investor.

The project entails thirteen small rooms with a view to the river and the city panorama.

A boutique hotel on the Danube
A boutique hotel on the Danube (Photo: Remorker Architects)
The facility, which resembles a log cabin, will be located among tall river vegetation and consists of four individual buildings, with an entrance hall and a fireplace, as the central point which overlooks the Danube river through the tall wall of the glass balcony.

An additional balcony on the second floor will contain a sauna and a spa center.

Finally, another promising floating hotel project has been prepared by the Belgrade-based architecture studio Salt & Water, which even won a prestigious award for it, Millennium Yacht Design Award – MYDA 2015.

The project entails a central floating structure on two levels, with a reception desk, a restaurant, an event room and a café, but what makes this floating hotel special are the luxury apartments-catamarans, which are docked, but can be separated from the central facility.

An apartment-catamaran
An apartment-catamaran (Photo: Salt&Water)
A floating apartment consist of a living room with a kitchen, a gallery sleeping part, a bathroom, a hall and a large balcony, and upon undocking, they can be navigated at a slow speed, which enables the guests to choose the vacations location themselves and explore the surroundings more thoroughly.

According to the project, this type of water accommodation is designed with the intention to turn the attention to the tourism potential of inland waterways, such as lakes, canals and rivers.

As the owner of the Salt & Water studio, Svetlana Mojic Dzakula, said for eKapija, the project was done with the intention to be used in places in Serbia which are insufficiently developed in terms of infrastructure, while featuring fantastic nature.

A floating hotel with apartments-catamarans
A floating hotel with apartments-catamarans (Photo: Salt&Water)
– Mali Zvornik was chosen as a place with a good water surface and abundant greenery, as well as for the fact that this project would not pollute the environment and that it didn’t require serious infrastructure on land. However, the municipality did not commence the development of the project, and in the meantime, we got a great number of queries from abroad, and we are also looking for some form of cooperation on this project, so the offer for investors is still there – says Mojic Dzakula.

She adds that it would be extremely interesting if one such idea were realized in Belgrade too, although there have not been any queries from there so far.

– Floating hotels are certainly a great tourist potential, but it has to be taken into consideration that our rivers freeze over, so the projects have to be done seriously – our interviewee concludes.

B. Petrovic

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