Without meaning to start with the obvious, Hotel Splendid is big. Well, that should be Hotel Splendid Conference and Spa Resort, to give the place its full title, and that extended moniker is merely a hint at the size to come. The hotel looms over the small town of Bečići, casting a shadow of grandeur across the Eastern Adriatic, huge from afar and huge from within. Bečići is relatively unremarkable, a town of fewer than 1,000 inhabitants that seems to exist for tourism, but nobody has any pretensions about this. Bečići might not sparkle, but it does provide an excellent option for anyone looking to explore Budva without staying in the hustle and bustle of the bigger town down the coast.
There is history at Hotel Splendid. Opened in 2006, it was actually the first five-star hotel on the eastern stretch of the Adriatic Sea, and it remains one of the most famous and popular hotels in all of Montenegro. It can feel a little dated, but there is charm in that. In fact, the less-sheened aspects of the hotel may be its best part.
First Impressions of Hotel Splendid
The wide-open lobby greets new guests, making everyone abundantly aware that size matters here. There is an old-fashioned glamour to Hotel Splendid, sometimes positive, other times less so, and it isn’t difficult to assume that little has changed since its opening in 2006. The lobby cafe seems to stretch for days, while the entrance is accompanied by a couple of upmarket shops selling accessories and suitcases. All of this is fine, of course, but a little on the cold side of things. The view of the sea blows away that initial sterility, a view that touches the horizon, reminding guests of why they came here in the first place. You can have all of the utilities, amenities and accessories you want, but the majesty of the cerulean sea is undefeated.
Hotel Splendid is grand in every sense of the word. It straddles the line between family holidays and business conferences, where nervous men in suits stand in line next to excited children and exasperated parents. Hotel Splendid has been the resort of choice for celebrities visiting this part of the coast, with Madonna and Angelina Jolie among its past guests, and trying to imagine either waiting in line behind a tired family of four makes for a curious image. The concierge takes care of the luggage, everything is laid out, and nothing is left to chance. Hotel Splendid does everything so that its guests don’t have to think. For some, this is precisely what a five-star vacation is all about. For others, it can be claustrophobic, although there is little chance of the latter in such monumental surroundings.
Rooms at Hotel Splendid
Hotel Splendid has 322 Superior rooms, four Junior suites, nine Family suites, four Wellness suites, a Penthouse suite and a Presidential suite, so anyone staying in one of the superiors should expect a certain functionality to the experience. This isn’t necessarily a negative, but expecting little flourishes of uniqueness across 300+ rooms is naive. Human creativity only goes so far, after all. The rooms are a decent size, touching on all the usual spots, with comfortable beds, sizeable desks, well-stocked bathrooms and a sofa for lounging.
The bathroom has both a shower and a bathtub, although the former is a little on the fiddly side of things, making temperature regulation more difficult than maybe it should be. Once you get settled, it is absolutely fine, but there is a sense that you shouldn’t have to grapple with such things in a five-star hotel.
A complimentary bottle of water is received on arrival, much-needed in the sweltering Montenegrin summers, although guests must pay for using the coffee machine. This is common throughout Montenegro, although it doesn’t make it okay. A stay at Hotel Splendid isn’t cheap, and adding €2 for mediocre coffee in the room is excessive. But then, the balcony, the view, the majesty. Paying €2 for mediocre coffee doesn’t feel so frustrating when you can enjoy it on the terrace, with the stunning Adriatic stretching out in front of you.
Food and Drink at the Hotel Splendid
Hotel Splendid isn’t short on food options, another advantage afforded to the property by its size. There are four bars and three restaurants onsite, with everything from local classics to Asian-inspired dishes available in the latter and a broad range of spirits, cocktails and soft drinks in the former. Breakfast at Hotel Splendid continues the theme, although the sheer number of guests can make it feel a bit like feeding time at the zoo.
The breakfast hall has plenty of space and a quite staggering array of food, as hot and cold eats are piled onto plates in a buffet environment. The food is well prepared and fabulously consistent, but a certain quality is sacrificed in the name of quantity. This is entirely understandable; there are more than 340 rooms in the hotel, after all, but the luxury veneer fades somewhat in the breakfast hall. If you expect gourmet eggs and delicately arranged salmon, you will be disappointed, but that’s on you. Hotel Splendid’s breakfast is all about comfort food in staggering quantities.
Services at the Hotel Splendid
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the operative word to describe the services at Hotel Splendid is “big.” In fact, you could change that to “biggest.” The hotel proudly offers the largest spa centre in Montenegro, which claims to be the first full-service spa in the country, where traditional ideas collide with modern techniques. The results? Everything you’d expect from a fantastic spa, in short. The spa has indoor pools, a bio-sauna, a more traditional stone sauna, a Hammam, a relaxation lounge, and more, to go with a conveyor belt of services and treatments. Hotel Splendid is a popular getaway for couples, and the spa menu echoes this, offering couples massages and special packages.
If your visit to Bečići is more business than pleasure, the largest conference venue in Montenegro awaits. Up to 800 people can fit into the room, although smaller meeting rooms are on hand when things get serious. The Casino Royal allows everyone to let their hair down once deals have been signed, and the Rooftop Helipad is perfect for dramatic arrivals and departures. Yes, we said “rooftop helipad.” That was not a typo.
All of these services are popular, of course, but nothing comes close to the swimming pools for the majority of the guests. When the weather is good, there is no better way to spend a day at Hotel Splendid than lazing by the pools with a good book as the kids splash around and amuse themselves, running under the cascades, over the bridges and making the most of their time by the water. If the little ones aren’t interested in the pools, there is a kids club to keep them entertained. Hotel Splendid has everything a family on vacation could need.
Our Opinion of the Hotel Splendid
Truthfully, your enjoyment of Hotel Splendid will depend entirely on what you want from your vacation. For families, this is undoubtedly one of the finest hotels in the country, maybe even the finest. The facilities are expertly set up for parents and children to make the most of their time together, whether by the pools, the sea or elsewhere. The hotel is also notable for its business elements, although these feel more like an add-on than a major selling point. Few guests choose their hotel based on the size of a conference room, after all. The spa is fantastic and appeals as much to individual travellers as couples and families, although the size of the hotel might put off solo nomads. Unless they need somewhere to park their helicopter, of course.
Disclaimer: This review was conducted independently, and the trip was entirely self-funded by the reviewer. Note: All opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. Please be aware that this article contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through such links may result in a commission for the publisher at no additional cost to you.