Friday, June 17, 2016

Novi Sad, Serbia: Staying at the Fortress – Hotel Leopold I

There is no better place to stay in Novi Sad than at the fortress hotel in Petrovaradin. The citadel is known as the Gibraltar of Danube in the olden times.

When I first saw the hotel online (Hotel Leopold I), I just knew that it is the place to stay in the city. And I was very right. The hotel’s setting is not only dramatic offering cultural insights and historical revelations, but it also bids fantastic sweeping views of the Danube River and Novi Sad.

My room facing the Danube River and Novi Sad.

Hotel Leopold I on top of the Petrovaradin Fortress.

The fortress hotel is just 100 metres to the Varadin Bridge and approximately 10-15 minutes walk to Novi Sad city centre. There is a short cut from the fortress leading to the bridge via a brick tunnel and stairway. I arrived here with the car so I took the longer route passing through impressive ramparts and embankments of the 17th century old fortress.

I normally walk to the city centre, and going back to the fortress I prefer to take the taxi because it is fast. You pay about 110-120 Dinars (RSD) which is quite cheap.

The staff were very jolly and friendly. They welcomed me with the traditional Serbian drink – Rakija, and some strawberry jam. They told me that the alcoholic shot and the jam goes together. I didn’t know that jams can be a great accompanying item for alcoholic drinks?

They also gave me the history of the hotel in a rolled paper tied with a red ribbon. I learned that the hotel is named after the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I of Austria who instructed the fortress to be built. The actual building of the hotel used to be the accommodation quarters of the military officers.

I have to say that I quite liked my room; it is very traditional, elegant and Baroque. The red and yellow beige colour theme were very dominant and paired well with cream white and gold palette accents. When I arrived a welcome letter and a Serbian sweet pastry was waiting for me in the small sitting room. The gesture is very much appreciated but I couldn’t finish even half of the sacchariferous thing because my tastebuds revolted. Give me something salty and spicy anytime, please?

The only thing that is a bit of a minus for this room are the windows. They were not big enough. Too bad because you have the Danube River and Novi Sad views before you.

Breakfast was quite a royal experience. It was served buffet style with champagne as an option, side by side with coffee, tea and juice. A big leg of ham was displayed on the table. The Serbs, I noticed, love their own locally cured ham, as well as their pork cracklings! Pork cracklings are huge in the Philippines where I was born. So it is a surprise to me to see that they are very well received in Eastern Europe as well. I have seen them so far in Slovenia, Croatia and now in Serbia.

Also, I am thankful for the well equipped hotel staff for keeping my Mac charger and cooperating smoothly with the hotel I stayed at in Belgrade. They managed to reunite me with my Mac charger that I accidentally left behind! Thank you so much!

Passing through the ramparts and embankments of the fortress with the rental car.

Welcome rakija drink + jam.

The red-carpeted corridor to the rooms.

What do you think of the room?

The Serbian too sweet pastry and welcome letter. They also gave me a separate rolled paper tied with a red ribbon. Written on it is the histoy of the hotel .

The view to the Danube River and a part of Novi Sad. Helaas, this was a greyish late afternoon.

Doing some research work about Serbia in bed =)

One of the salons in the hotel.

Having a selfie moment here at the royal staircase.

My first breakfast plate. You have a lot to choose for breakfast, from meat, cheeses, vegetables and bread options.

My second breakfast plate. It was a bit strange though, they did not have proper tea cups so I used a coffee cup instead. It could be that most people do not drink tea in the morning in Serbia? 

This is the reception of the hotel.

Entrance of Hotel Fortress Leopold I. Parking here is of course free of charge.

Someone has clearly travelled back in time to the Habsburg dynasty!

Travel Period: March 2016
Destination: Novi Sad (Vojvojina), Serbia

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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