The Danube River runs through four European capital cities. One of them is Belgrade, Serbia. Belgrade sits at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. This creates not only beautiful scenery, but a river-based lifestyle and a Belgrade location that is both unique and impressive.
Knowing I’d be visiting, I asked people, either from the Balkans or who have visited, what’s special about the area. They always talk about the people. They tell me, “The magic of Belgrade and Serbia is the people.” One legendary story is about the actor Robert de Niro and why he named his daughter, Drina, after a river in Serbia.
This was to be my first extended trip through the Balkans, and I wanted it to start in Belgrade. Though a few new hotels — a Hilton and a Radisson Blu — have recently opened in Belgrade, for this visit, I had one property in mind: the Hyatt Regency Belgrade, Serbia. I heard marvelous things about this property from my Serbian friends in the states, and couldn’t wait to enjoy the hotel for myself. Here is my Hyatt Regency Belgrade Serbia review.
Getting To The Hyatt Regency Belgrade
After a smooth travel day having traveled to Belgrade from Los Angeles via Warsaw using award miles on LOT Polish Airlines, I opted for a taxi to the hotel. Here’s one quick tip if you’ll be taking a taxi into town from the airport. Before stepping outside and getting your taxi, you’ll need a slip of paper with your destination and quoted fare to hand to the driver.
Stop at the taxi counter in the arrivals hall, tell them where you’re going, and you’ll get a piece of paper with your fare on it. Then head outside and you’ll see the taxi queue. Your driver will ask for this slip of paper, which will eventually become your receipt.
In my case, I only saw taxis that accepted cash, so just be aware of this. Depending on the day of the week and time of day, it can either be a quick 15 minute ride to the Hyatt or a 45 minute ride. Belgrade can often be a very busy, full of traffic city!
History of the Hyatt Regency Belgrade Serbia
The Hyatt Regency officially opened in 1990. The Regency has 8 floors and 302 rooms. Included in the 302 rooms are 40 suites, including a Diplomatic Suite and a Presidential Suite. At this time the hotel is managed by the Lampsa Hellenic Group. If you take a look at the Lampsa Hellenic Group website, you’ll notice a very prestigious list of properties also under their wing.
I’m always curious about hotel renovation schedules, both when the last one took place as well as if there are any renovation plans going forward. The last room renovation at the Regency took place at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014. At that time, management renovated four floors. Another renovation is planned for 2020.
Though the Hyatt Regency Belgrade Serbia is mainly a business hotel, they of course have leisure guests as well. Guests typically include Hyatt loyalists but also many guests that just want to visit this property because of its long-standing excellent reputation in Belgrade. The average guest stay is around 2.2 nights. Given my eight night stay, I really did have time to get to know both the staff and the property quite well.
To give you an idea about both the reputation and guest list at the Hyatt, I need look no further than the week I spent there. During my stay, the 141st assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union took place in Belgrade. Many of the delegations stayed at the hotel and the hotel was at 100% occupancy. The delegations from all over the world made for wonderful people watching!
The hotel is not only buzzing with government functions, but there was a huge wedding being held at the hotel during the week. Great venue for a celebration of any kind, if you ask me!
The Hyatt staff mentioned that guests do use Prive benefits, which I wrote about earlier this year. I was wondering if Hyatt elites favor this property. As I would have guessed, Hyatt Globalists frequent this hotel when they visit Serbia. I asked many of the Hyatt team members to recommend one of their favorite Hyatt properties that I’ve not yet been to, so for all you Hyatt fans reading this, they unanimously recommended the Park Hyatt Vienna!
My Arrival and Check-In
Upon arrival at the hotel, check-in went smoothly. The hotel entryway is like a grand ballroom entrance. It’s an elegant spacious lobby with marble floors. This hotel lobby says “take your time, we’re in no rush here!”
I was upgraded to a lovely corner junior suite on the 8th floor, which is the top floor. The staff had obviously made note of my preferences because there were abundant bottles of water in the room and plenty of extra towels, as well.
As I entered my home for the next week, three sights struck me immediately. One was that because of the floor-to-ceiling window, I anticipated the room having good natural lighting. Second, the desk faced the window, which is my preference in a hotel room. Thirdly, there was very little artwork on the walls. The few pieces that did adorn the room blended nicely with the room color scheme.
The suite had a peaceful quiet feeling and indeed this turned out to be true throughout my stay. I knew it would be easy to work through my jet lag in this comfortable suite.
Let’s dig in to the particulars of my stay, I have lots to share with you.
How I Paid For My Stay at the Hyatt Regency Belgrade
I’ll admit that I waffled back and forth about how to pay for this stay. At one point, I had a reservation using the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit. I made this reservation long before Citi gutted that credit card benefit.
At one point, I had considered using the cash and points rate. In the end, I decided to pay cash for the stay as the all-cash rate turned out to be the best deal for me. The rate was around $110 USD so using all points or cash and points would not have given me a very good value for my Hyatt points.
The Hyatt Regency Belgrade is a category one award night property. One night is 5000 points, so cash and points rates would be 2500 and half of whatever the cash portion is for the night.
Because I paid cash for my hotel stay, I gave Pruvo my reservation to monitor for price drops. Always remember to use Pruvo when you pay cash for your hotel stays.
Using my Hotel Room Scorecard I broke down the individual elements of my Junior Suite at the Hyatt Regency Belgrade, which scored a 35 of 40 points.
For me, because I love to walk, this location is ideal. It’s on the New Belgrade side of the river. If you don’t enjoy walking as much as I do, you won’t rate this location as highly as I do. Why? Because many of the tourist sites are in the city center. From the Hyatt, that requires a walk over a bridge.
I did walk to the city center and back three times and averaged 8 miles a day of walking. For me, that means I enjoyed myself immensely. Obviously when the car traffic is heavy, walking across those bridges is not as enjoyable. The locals do walk across the bridges though, so it’s something that’s commonly done.
However, there are things about the hotel’s location to love! Let me see if I can convince you. I rarely prefer to stay in the thick of the city center unless the hotel in particular is one I want to experience. The New Belgrade side of the river is definitely the quieter more low key side. But if you like nature, and charming areas of a city that as a tourist you might not get to see, welcome to what I came to see as the gem of Belgrade, an area called Zemun.
From the Hyatt it’s easy to walk through the park and out towards the river. It’s beautiful with walking, biking, and running paths, tree-lined streets, and wide open green spaces.
It’s quiet during the week and wonderfully alive and humming on the weekends. There are river-side restaurants and cafes, kids amusement parks, vendors selling ice cream (the Serbs eat ice cream every day all year long) and popcorn.
Downtown Zemun is vibrant with outdoor markets. This isn’t a travelogue of what to see, do, eat in New Belgrade but no matter where in Belgrade you stay, if you don’t walk along the Danube to Zemun, you are missing a huge highlight of the area.
You can walk for an hour or you can walk for hours. I walked north to Zemun and back to the hotel three times and totally fell in love with the area.
There are public buses right outside the hotel as well as the trolley lines making access to all areas of Belgrade and Zemun quite convenient. You can get to the Belgrade action without this hotel being in the thick of things. For me that’s an ideal combo.
The room faced east and has wall to wall and ceiling-to-floor windows. There were no buildings blocking the park view. Good natural light flooded the room all day long.
There was no overhead lighting by the bed. Instead, there was a standing lamp in one corner and dim wall lighting on each side of the bed. The desk and work area had good lighting from a desk lamp. There were also two standing lamps on each side of the couch as well as living room and entryway table lamps.
I actually liked all the standing lamps because I work when I travel. I need a desk and good lighting and in this suite I was able to move the floor lamps around to suit my needs.
The bathroom had two separate lighting systems. When both were turned on, it was super well-lit giving the bathroom area more than sufficient lighting. Why is it though that more often than not the bathroom in a hotel room is the best lit space?
Window Access (4/5)
Would have been nice to have a window that opened, even a bit. It’s so rare that a hotel window opens and yet it’s still the first thing I look for when I enter a hotel room. So rare when I see one, but makes such a difference. Even in winter, I love to start my day by opening the window.
It was good, though, that for a city hotel, even if in the less dense area of New Belgrade, there actually weren’t any buildings facing my side of the hotel, so it felt like no one could look in and I was able to keep windows and curtains open all day.
Bed Comfort (5/5)
I really liked this bed! If you follow my hotel reviews you’ll know that I almost never say that. It wasn’t just because I was going through jet lag, either. Even when the jet lag was well behind me, I slept really well and thought the bed was great. Just the right firmness.
I tried a few different pillows from the hotel pillow menu, so there are plenty of options for pillows. Wish hotels would do the same with options for mattresses, too!
The bathroom layout and features work very well. By hotel standards, it’s a big, well-lit bathroom. The bathroom has marble floors and a large bathtub. There was a separate walk-in shower area.
There are two sinks and the counter space is more than ample for sundries. The shower had great water pressure, though the water temperature was often erratic. This large tub would have provided a relaxing soak. There was a bathroom door for privacy, which isn’t always the case in hotel rooms.
Interior Appointments and Furnishings (5/5)
The interior appointments and furnishings worked really well for me. Perhaps because it was a corner suite it felt spacious, and well laid out. The furniture was both practical and comfortable. The carpet was in good shape. The room design and color schemes created the kind of bedroom suite one might want at home.
One pet peeve I have in hotel rooms is that they often lack a full length mirror. This suite had one in the entry way, which to me is thoughtful placement for a mirror.
The desk had two desk chairs. I can’t remember the last time a hotel room had two desk chairs. And they were comfortable and adjustable. I mention that they were adjustable because strange but true, many hotel desk chairs are not. As a health and fitness professional, good ergonomics when I work at a desk are important to me.
The TV screen was placed innocuously in the living room, which I appreciated since I don’t use the TV in hotel rooms. There was a pocket door that closed between the bedroom and the living room, which is often not the case in a suite. The closet provided ample space and there was a motion activated closet light. Very smart idea.
There was very little artwork on the walls, which is something I liked about the room. Because everyone’s taste in artwork can vary so much, I like quiet walls.
There were many plugs and outlets well-placed throughout the room. There was one outlet on each of the bedside tables. The desk had universal plugs and USB charging ports. The bathroom counter had several outlets as well. There was a TV in both the living area and the bedroom.
Snack and Minibar (4/5)
There was no room in the fridge/minibar for your own items. However, there was excellent counter space above the minibar. The book case and counter space not only gave that corner of the suite a nice design, but also added a lot of counter space that’s often lacking in a hotel room.
There was an Illy espresso machine on the counter. Strange but true, I couldn’t figure out how to use it, which wasn’t a big deal for me. Firstly, I’m not an Illy espresso fan. Secondly, the lounge was down the hallway and the espresso there was perfect. Below the counter and to the side of the minibar were drawers filled with cups, saucers, and a kettle. Nice touch for tea drinkers.
One item I found in the drawer below the minibar was a small flashlight. What a practical item to offer guests. I’ve never seen that before. Now that I’ve seen it though, it really should be an offering in every hotel room!
Hyatt Regency Belgrade Service
Let me say upfront that the service at the Hyatt Regency Belgrade is second to none, top notch, and all around excellent. Before my arrival, I needed assistance with two separate travel related issues and received wonderful service from both the Rooms Manager (and her staff), and the bell desk team.
Let me offer my experiences as examples of the high level of service you’ll receive at the hotel.
During my stay, my cousin would be joining me for a few nights. I reached out to the Rooms Manager to tell her this and to check on the possible room upgrade that I might receive as a Hyatt Globalist elite member. The upgraded room would have given me plenty of space for both of us.
Long story short, the hotel was fully booked that week, so up until the last minute there was no way to know about the upgraded room. That being said, the Rooms Manager kept in great contact with me, told me at the very least there would be a couch in my room and that if possible we could bring another bed into the room. In the end, a corner junior suite opened up and my cousin and I were perfectly comfortable in the suite 🙂
The bell desk team at the Hyatt is an impressive group of well seasoned professionals. Many of the guys have worked ten or more years at this property. I had travel plans after my stay in Belgrade that required researching possible options to get to my next destination in the Balkans. I found the options confusing. Even my friends in the states who speak Serbian tried helping me sort things out. However, I still wasn’t able to figure out the best option and how to make contact with the transportation services in Belgrade.
The bell desk men became my transportation heroes!
Both before I arrived in Belgrade and while I was there, they handled everything. Without their help I would still be in Belgrade trying to figure things out. Not that a few more weeks at the Hyatt would have been awful, but you know what I mean!
Hyatt Regency Belgrade Lounge
As a Hyatt Globalist, I was given access to the Executive Club Lounge. Spoiler alert, this is a lounge to top all other lounges. In fact, it felt more like the most wonderful hotel living room imaginable. Is there such a thing as a hotel living room or has this hotel created a whole new category of space?
The lounge is located on the 7th floor. From the rooms on the eighth floor, you walk down the hall and enter the lounge from a staircase leading to the middle of the lounge.
The lounge has floor to ceiling windows which overlook the mall across the street and downtown Belgrade. The lounge also looks into the park leading to the river. You can also watch the Belgrade trolleys as they head across the bridge into downtown. Lots to see from the lounge, yet it always feels like you’re in a private dining room.
The lounge varied, as all lounges do, in how busy it was. Given the 100% hotel occupancy during my stay, and the fact that lounge access can also be purchased as an upgrade, the lounge never felt busy. It served very well as an alternative space when I felt like getting work done and working outside my suite.
The lounge was never staffed by fewer than two people. It’s interesting to note that the fantastic lounge team is also trained to be part of the hotel front desk and concierge team. Not sure I’ve ever seen this dual training before. It makes such good sense. You might think that means that the hotel might be short staffed because people do double duty. That’s not at all the case. The Hyatt Regency Belgrade is a VERY well staffed Hyatt property.
I was very impressed by the lounge staff. Their professionalism shined brightly. Their enthusiasm and genuine caring about each guest’s experience in the lounge, the hotel, and in Belgrade, as well, is what I imagine Hyatt would want to showcase in each of its hotels.
Okay, enough about the space and the staff. You’re wondering about the food in the lounge, I know!
Breakfast was a huge assortment of what I’d called European offerings: breads, cheeses, meats, olives, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, pastries, and cereals. There was always a hot food station with eggs, meat, and Balkan inspired savory treats.
Being it’s Serbia, there were also traditional offerings such as kaymak (a creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream) and other spreads with pimentos and eggplant. If you’re feeling adventurous, your palate will not be disappointed. I personally developed a kaymak addiction!
Though the Hyatt refers to their evening menu as snacks, I’d call their evening menu a delicious assortment of dinner items!
There was soup, which I really enjoyed, along with two other hot food items. I sampled lasagna and various chicken and meat dishes. The assortment of desserts, never less than four to choose from, were too good. If you enjoy cheese and fruit after your main meal, the lounge offered a nice variety.
There was a buffet selections of creative, tasty salads, as well. Potatoes are a staple in the Serbian diet. It was fun to see all the ways the chef created different potato based salads, and I left with a few great recipes!
Alcohol is complimentary in the lounge, so be sure to sample the local brandy and enjoy the local wines and beer. I hope after reading my lounge experience you understand why I said this is a lounge to top all other lounges.
Hyatt Regency Belgrade Spa
The hotel’s spa is called Club Olympus. It has a lap pool, fitness center, whirlpool, sauna, and steam rooms. When a hotel has a spa, I always like to check it out. I almost never have time though to use the facilities, though. I’m sorry I didn’t get to use the pool, but I did do something I’ve not done before.
When I was in the spa looking around, a hotel guest was leaving and telling the receptionist what a great massage he had. Then I happened to be walking by the hotel front desk and I saw the same guest talking to them about the massage. Hmm, maybe this was an omen. I found out which masseuse he used and after hearing the front desk staff go on and on about the massage staff in the spa, I decided to take a massage.
It was a great idea, very well priced for a hotel spa, and I’d do it again! Don’t forget to avail yourself of the spa facilities!
Three letters describe the concierge team….W.O.W. As concierge teams go, this team ranks in the top three of teams I’ve interacted with. As I mentioned, many of the lounge staff are doubly trained as concierges and many of the front desk team function as concierges, too. I made a myriad of requests and asked for help deciding where to go and where to dine. All my requests were handled wonderfully well.
The restaurants they suggested were great. Even their suggestions about what to order from the restaurant menus were perfect. Just take my advice and rely on them for whatever it is you’re needing. They help from the heart, which is what separates the great concierge teams from the good ones. You won’t be disappointed.
Given all the hotel stays I accumulate in a year, some of the rooms and hotels end up being good, some are great, and some become memorable. The Hyatt Regency Belgrade Serbia created a special memory for me and would absolutely be my choice when I go back to Serbia.
Any hotel stay starts with the people, and then gets filled in by the particulars of a room, lounge, and location. From the top down, this hotel has it all. The staff teamwork is impressive and they enjoy working for Hyatt and creating a great experience for their guests. You may arrive as a guest, but you’ll leave as a friend!
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