I find the hotel’s quietly smart entranceway without difficulty. Various family members work at the hotel, and the welcome is personal, genuine and professional, without being overbearing. The building was originally built in 1929, but it has been extensively reconstructed, and the interior is thoroughly modern, with neutral colours and a high-quality, boutique-style finish, with wood, stone, steel and glass elements. The interiors are given some individuality with sculptures, drawings and photographs by the Serbian artist Gabriel Glid.
The hotel sits on a fairly quiet residential street in Belgrade’s old city, within walking distance of all the main sights, shopping areas and restaurants. It also has a pleasant neighbourhood feel rather than a touristy one, with several squares nearby, and one-off cafes and restaurants.
My room faces a beautifully quiet internal courtyard and feels like a compact studio apartment. There’s a Bang & Olufsen TV system, a private work area with a designer lamp and excellent Wi-Fi. The bathroom is compact, with a shower, but no bath. I sleep very well. There’s a Nespresso machine and a good-sized minibar. The property has 20 rooms in total (all different, without being eccentric), and some of the suites have balconies.
Cleaners are gracious and friendly; restaurant staff cheery and helpful.
The hotel caters to tourists and business guests. I’m travelling just outside the main tourist season, and the breakfast is filled mainly with business types from elsewhere in Serbia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
There’s an attractive ground-floor cafe that does a good cappuccino (I enjoy sitting by the window and looking out at the almost-Parisian street scene) and an excellent buffet breakfast comprising hot and cold items, from salad to imaginative Serbian specialities that will set you up for a long day of sightseeing. It’s open throughout the day for snacks, but the menu on these occasions is rather limited, and I find myself going out to nearby cafes such as the uber-trendy Supermarket, just round the corner. The hotel’s room service is provided by Supermarket, too.
The comfort of the room, the area and the ambience. It’s a rare place where I almost feel too much at home: I’m sad to leave.
The downstairs areas are slightly disorientating, and a few times when I come out of the restaurant or turn right at reception, I end up on a different floor to the one I expect. Some of the floor panels are made of glass that looks like it has been shattered and is about to collapse beneath you, but apparently this is part of the design. It’s great to be able to open a window to fresh air, but sometimes when I did this I could smell cigarette smoke from other guests. There’s no gym or spa, but there’s a facility close by that guests can use.
A slick, smart and sane place to stay, in a fascinating and very affordable city. You could find somewhere cheaper, but it may be more Iron Curtain than hypoallergenic sheets.
The bottom line
Rooms cost from €130 (Dh641) per night, including tax and breakfast. Hotel Townhouse 27, 56 Maršala Birjuzova Street, Belgrade (www.townhouse27.com; 00381 11 202 2900).