The Albanian capital of Tirana offers an enticing mix of urban frenzy and beguiling cityscapes – and finding one’s bearings starts with choosing the right hotel.
Tirana is the main gateway to visiting Albania’s most popular tourist spots, but to overlook it as a destination in its own right would be a mistake. Sheshi Skënderbej, the city’s vast central square, echoes the grandeur of other European capitals, while its broader architectural landscape ranges from Rationalism and Communist heritage to new developments pointing towards the city’s future. The hotel scene mirrors the visual diversity of the city – and here are six of our favourite places to stay.
Iliria Boutique Hotel
Located at the edge of Tirana’s urban forest, a fast-changing student neighbourhood, this family-run hotel was among the first to open in Tirana in the post-communist era. A recent makeover has lent it a distinctive boutique feel, where pastel cappuccino hues play along with green, blue and yellow notes. The rooms are bright and spacious, and include extra-large suite options. An a-la-carté breakfast is served at the in-house Serafina restaurant, which is particularly noted for its brunch dishes. The yoga and fitness rooms are free to book, while a conference room and a meeting room are also available. From £67 per night.
Emerald Boutique Hotel
Emerald Hotel is located just off the tourist path of Tirana, along a lively street leading straight to Sheshi Skënderbej square. Onyx stone is the dominant element in the hotel’s elegant hall, helping create a tranquil ambience that screens out the surrounding urban hubbub. Rooms range from single to deluxe double, the latter including a spacious balcony through which light pours in. A relaxing lounge bar is available on the ground floor. Tirana’s colourful New Bazaar can be reached in 16 minutes by foot. From £43 per night.
Hotel Boutique Kotoni
Hotel Kotoni is conveniently located in the Blloku district, the beating heart of Tirana’s nightlife and shopping. The area used to be under the control of the Communist elite, and the building itself was home to Foreign Affairs during the regime’s tenure. Its Rationalist-Italian architecture features high ceilings and spacious interiors, matched with a discreet and elegant style. A total of 28 rooms and suites are available, along with a two-floor restaurant serving local and international cuisine, and a conference room. While the hotel is particularly suited to business trips, leisure travellers will enjoy the proximity to Blloku’s many bars and restaurants. From £94 per night.
Gloria Boutique Hotel
Originally a well-reputed restaurant in the city centre, Gloria launched its boutique hotel in 2016. The location is excellent, around the corner from the New Bazaar and within 10 minutes’ walk to notable attractions such as Sheshi Skënderbej and the Pyramid of Tirana. Only six rooms are available, with the same classic furnishing and laid-back vibes found throughout the hotel. The bar, restaurant and pizzeria on the top floor come with an open view over the surrounding neighbourhood. From £70 per night.
Moncafe Boutique Hotel & SPA
Offering a nod to the urban forest nearby, this 4-star hotel features a leafy façade. The sylvan theme continues in the interiors, which exude a chic and intimate atmosphere, enhanced by luxury finishes. Rooms, suites and apartments are available, with each including a balcony. Complete with a SPA, a fitness centre, a bar and a restaurant, the hotel’s services range from wellness and relaxation to culinary indulgence (breakfast is included with every booking). The lively Blloku neighbourhood is only 15 minutes away on foot. From £93 per night.
Situated in a large, newly-built complex a 20-minute walkwest of the centre, Hotel Habitat is a fine option for those keen to get a taste of the Albanian capital. This upscale hotel is characterised by a a classy and luxurious atmosphere across over 30 rooms and apartments, the largest of which is spread across an impressive 130 square metres. A jacuzzi is fitted in the top-range apartment, while every room comes with a large balcony. Inclusive breakfast and an in-house fish restaurant complete the experience. From £58 per night.