Vila Bled, Slovenia Review
Vila Bled, Josip Broz Tito’s former official summer residence and guest house, is on the shore of Lake Bled in the Slovenian Alps. It became a hotel in 1984.
WHERE IS IT?
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The hotel’s décor includes lots of local wood and classic mid-twentieth century furnishings. Our room was a large suite overlooking the lake. Each room has a different layout. The living room in the suite had comfortable bright blue plush over-stuffed furniture and a large wooden desk with matching chair. The bedroom was done in upscale 1950s modern.
Service was competent but odd. While there were no porters to help with luggage, if you wanted to explore Lake Bled by boat, they gave you a boat. The front desk manager doubles as the concierge and was very helpful with dinner arrangements, swimming pool access, and similar issues. Despite the lake-front mansion ambiance, the Vila Bled is not large (20 suites and 10 standard guest rooms) and the wait at the front desk was never more than a few minutes. At first I was surprised by the lack of low-level staff at the hotel, but as I better understood the strong economy and crossroads nature of Slovenia, the reasons became clearer.
We received passes to the pool complex at the Golf Hotel, owned by the same group. The pool was incredibly modern and most patrons were Eastern Europeans on holiday. The Golf Hotel was 1 km from Vila Bled and would have been walkable, had we not been laden with swim gear and laptops.
There is a tourist tax of €1.01 per night (this is not a typo).
Vila Bled’s restaurant was a good choice for dinner accompanied by excellent service. Although the menu was mostly typical Central European fare, there was a wider selection than one sometimes sees in smaller cities, including duckling, pheasant, and fresh fish from both the lakes and the Adriatic. There was also an assortment of game and other meat dishes. A reasonably priced wine list with an interesting selection of local and imported wine is available. The local specialty is kremsnita, a cream cake which was decidedly not my favorite dessert.
ROAD WARRIOR SUPPORT
The wooden desk and chair were comfortable for working but at the time of our stay, there was no WiFi at the hotel (which is why laptops were taken along on trips to the Golf Hotel’s pool). It is now available throughout the facility at no charge.
Vila Bled is an ideal spot for an international meeting or conference thanks to the secluded Belvedere Pavilion, based in part on a design by Jože Plecnik, which offers breathtaking views of the lake and island.
The Vila Bled was great, especially if you remember the 1950s, as it is a time capsule for that decade. If you want to sleep where Marshall Tito once slept (and park your car where he parked his), this is the place.
Cesta svobode 26, 4260 Bled
Telephone: + 386 4 575 37 10
Yale Braunstein is a contributing editor at Executive Road Warrior magazine.