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Hotel Fjord: Where Hollywood Superstars Would Stay

Petar Djajkovski

It was once a place where the very cream of Hollywood came to relax and enjoy Mediterranean sunshine. Icons like Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor would be frequently spotted on the Montenegro coastline.

It was the golden era of Yugoslavia and the Kotor Bay. Today, still a lot of oceanic yachts and cruise ships find harbor and visit Kotor Bay, but some things are not the same. One example is the abandoned Fjord Hotel, the derelict pearl of the bay.

Hotel Fjords main entrance. Author: Maxence CC BY 2.0

Hotel Fjords main entrance. Author: Maxence CC BY 2.0

 

Hotel Fjord, Kotor. Author: Maxence CC BY 2.0

Hotel Fjord, Kotor. Author: Maxence CC BY 2.0

Panorama of Kotor Bay. Author: Chensiyuan CC BY-SA 4.0

Panorama of Kotor Bay. Author: Chensiyuan CC BY-SA 4.0

Short and unfortunate working hours

The name Fjord came naturally because of the fjord-like shape of the bay it faces. The building was designed by Zlatko Ugljen, a Yugoslavian architect of Bosnian origin, as a five star high profile resort.   In 1986, just couple of years before the Yugoslav War the hotel had 155 rooms, four suites, numerous restaurants and bars, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a conference center.

Although fighting and shooting never reached Kotor, the situation in the country had an impact on it. Business began to fall rapidly, but by some miracle Hotel Fjord managed to stay officially open until 2005. Just one year before Montenegro became a fully independent country.

Hotel Fjord, picture taken from the entrance of the Bay. Author: Antti T. Nissinen CC BY 2.0

Hotel Fjord, picture taken from the entrance of the Bay. Author: Antti T. Nissinen CC BY 2.0

Hotel Fjord as seen from the hill of the bay. Author: Antti T. Nissinen CC BY 2.0

Hotel Fjord as seen from the hill of the bay. Author: Antti T. Nissinen CC BY 2.0

 

The view from the Hotel Fjord, Kotor. Author: Maxence CC BY 2.0

The view from the Hotel Fjord, Kotor. Author: Maxence CC BY 2.0

Modern times

After independence’ a process of modernization for the whole country started. Focusing mainly on the tourist sector and it’s benefits. New investors and urban mafia took the once five start resort out of the picture and focused on building new resorts.

However there was no plan of redevelopment or renovation of any kind for Fjord Hotel. Even though it was open throughout and after the war, it was neglected. So it was emptied of all its furniture, fixtures and fittings, left to dissolve in the growth of the modern city around it. Many new resorts have been built since then and this pearl of Yugoslavian architecture just stands there as a reminder of the glorious past.

The tennis courts are still used by locals. Author: Maxence CC BY 2.0

The tennis courts are still used by locals. Author: Maxence CC BY 2.0

 

Small motive of the modern Yugoslavian architecture. Author: Antti T. Nissinen CC BY 2.0

Small motive of the modern Yugoslavian architecture. Author: Antti T. Nissinen CC BY 2.0

 

Derelict Fjord pool. Author: Antti T. Nissinen CC BY 2.0

Derelict Fjord pool. Author: Antti T. Nissinen CC BY 2.0

Failed redevelopment plans

The hotel had definitely seen and been through a lot. But still it’s not badly damaged or destroyed like many other abandoned buildings. Which begs the question of,  will or will not it be restored and saved.

It is quite possible to save it and it came close to it in 2013 when the current owner of the resort, and Irish investor, announced a plan to renovate it in a cutting-edge luxury hotel. But just before the start of the project the investor was facing criminal charges and the deal was doomed. Locked in a real estate purgatory where it can neither be developed or demolished. A very sad ending to an era that is now lost.