24-Hour Room Service: Hotel Vila Bled, Slovenia
Saturday 29 December 2001
Surrounded by parkland, it is isolated but only a short walk from the village of Bled and right on the lakeside, with its own boathouse and private bathing area.
You could easily miss the Vila Bled, so carefully is it hidden among the trees. Surrounded by parkland, it is isolated but only a short walk from the village of Bled and right on the lakeside, with its own boathouse and private bathing area.
The best rooms are those on the third floor with balconies overlooking the lake. The 20 suites also have lake views. If you want to feel part of history, stay in the presidential suite – the one that Tito used. There is an assumption that if you stay here you will look elegant, and while beachwear is fine by the water, you would feel out of place in the restaurant dressed in casual clothes.
Lake Bled is famous for the tiny island in the centre, which is reached by rowing boat or pletna, the Slovenian version of a gondola: the hotel has one of these, and a boatman to go with it. Once on the island, it is traditional to visit the church, pull the rope to ring the bell, and make a wish.
Location, location, location
Hotel Vila Bled is at Cesta Svobode 26, SI-4260 Bled, Slovenia (00 386 45 791 500; www.vilabled.robas.si).
Transport: A five-minute taxi ride will take you to Bled's bus station, from where an hourly bus service serves the capital, Ljubljana. The hotel has its own free limousine. Time to airport: The nearest airport is in Ljubljana, a journey of half an hour by road, but Bled is also easily accessible from Klagenfurt in Austria and Trieste in Italy, which has cheap flights from Stansted on Ryanair (08701 569 569, www.ryanair.com).
Are you lying comfortably?
Definitely. The decor is very 1950s, so don't expect anything ornate. But the rooms are comfortable, with plenty of storage space, and bathrooms are well-equipped.
Keeping in touch: There is a phone in every room, a fax is available at reception, and there is a computer with internet connection for the use of guests.
The bottom line
Double rooms start at $155 (£110); $135 (£96) from November to April, excluding Christmas and New Year. Singles cost from $115 (£82); $95 (£68) in low season. Prices include breakfast.
I'm not paying that: The Park Hotel (00 386 45 793 000) is in Bled village has doubles from €91 (£56.50)and singles from €78 (£41.60), including breakfast. Or to experience the local lifestyle, try farm accommodation – very popular in Slovenia. At Lukanc, in the village of Selo (00 386 45 765 211; www. slovenia.cc/pen_lu
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