Visiting the Igman Mountain is a retrospective journey back into the 1984 Winter Olympics hosted in Sarajevo. The city became the centre of the world that year, greeting thousands with its hospitable and kind locals. The Olympic spirit blurred like a distant memory as a ravaging war engulfed Sarajevo. Igman was the frontline during the war and, for many locals, the path to safety. That may have been why the plateau was nearly forgotten until two years ago when Igman became home to the first renovated hotel. The hotel once again brought international tourists to this stunning plateau. Those who visit Igman can explore the natural beauty that Sarajlijas have long cherished. Igman is also a recognised natural climate healing destination. Strolling along the spruce forests will make you feel reborn and rejuvenated. Hotel Monti is located in Veliko Polje, where cross-country skiing and biathlon matches took place during the Winter Olympics. Renovated biathlon tracks are just a stone’s throw away from the hotel.
In ideal circumstances, you will need around a half hour to reach Igman and Bjelašnica from Sarajevo. We recommend driving from Ilidža at the foot of the Igman plateau to the hotel. Watching over Sarajevo at an altitude of a thousand metres, the karst field is surrounded by rolling hills that reach up to 1600 metres. You can only reach Igman with your personal vehicle or organised transportation. Once you get there, however, a spacious parking lot awaits. The hotel has its own organised shuttle service. Opting for a taxi from the centre of Sarajevo will luckily not cost you a fortune. Public transport is less praiseworthy and unreliable. Sarajevo Airport is becoming increasingly connected to the rest of the world, aptly set in Ilidža, just below the Igman. Among airports in Former Yugoslavia, Sarajevo Airport ranks seventh according to air traffic. It offers excellent connections to the Middle East.
COLD STARTER - Architecture and aesthetics
The hotel lies in Veliko Polje, once home to the Youth Hostel Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Architecturally, the hotel has been completely reconstructed and upgraded, yet still includes some original elements of the former hotel. One of them is the central three-fold pyramidical part, boasting a steep roof that appears like a mountain peak. Although displaying features of the old hotel, the hotel features two new hotel facilities with an elegant wooden exterior facade. Guests can stay in new rooms or enjoy the wellness centre and meeting halls. We believe the architect, Kenan Hadžović, excelled in creating splendid mountain-inspired architecture. The hotel embodies a classic mountain incentive hotel design. The interior design follows the original concept and boasts excellent interior furniture pieces by the Prostoria brand. We hope the hotel surroundings will be finalised soon, as construction is ongoing.
WARM ENTRÉE - The staff and the culinary experience
We hardly have any remarks for the hotel staff. All of them strive to satisfy every need and whim of guests. Even though the hotel hosted a renowned meeting of a regional IT company during our stay, we did not feel neglected in any way. The staff executed both lunch and dinner professionally, recommended the chef’s specialities and were always available. The cuisine is a modern interpretation of Bosnian gastronomy but needs a bit of fine-tuning. Our recommendation is: less is more. The breakfast did not leave us speechless and should feature a slightly broader selection of dishes. Nonetheless, the cleanliness of the hotel is outstanding.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
We stayed in the deluxe apartment that boasts 50 m2. It is a spacious hotel apartment with two separate rooms. We are convinced guests will appreciate the panoramic roof windows that overlook Veliko Polje. Designer-wise, the rooms are a modern interpretation of a captivating mountain hotel style. The heart of the apartment is spruce wood in elegant grey shades. Designer furniture pieces by Prostoria elevate the experience in the company of a wooden floor in cappuccino shades. Although excellent, the bathroom was short on space, and the lighting could be better too. The apartment is superb, and guests will easily spend several nights here, either working or relaxing.
The main meeting hall is set on the ground floor and amazes visitors with plenty of daylight. It can be divided into two smaller rooms. The hall can capacitate up to 200 attendees in a classroom setting. The first floor is home to a pleasant conference room designed like a living room. Meeting planners can organise their event in the restaurant, lobby bar or the hotel surroundings if the weather is favourable. The flexibility of the space is the hotel’s trump card. The hotel seems perfect for demanding incentive groups for up to 50 attendees.
DESSERT – The extras
The world-class spa with an interior swimming pool is modern and spacious, boasting a rich selection of saunas and relaxation areas. The tidiness will ensure you feel zen.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
You may hear noises in your room if a corporate party is organised during your stay. Nonetheless, if the music is pleasant, that may add value to your stay.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
The staff, without exception, amazed us with their professionality. Great hotels are great because of the excellent service, not the architecture.
We did not encounter any sustainable measures within the hotel. Yet, the use of local wood as one of the core design elements is a basis for future sustainable development.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
Monti Hotel & Wellness is a hotel that lives a double life as a top-tier incentive hotel and a family resort hotel. We experienced both sides of the hotel during our stay. Both target groups will feel welcome in the charming hotel, finding their zen spots effortlessly. Even though the hotel borders the boutique category of hotels, its superb interior and design place it among resort hotels. Monti Hotel & Wellness has revived life on the plateau, making it a hotspot for incentive groups. A second hotel already under construction in Igman shows that the owners recognised the potential of Igman Mountain. The owners have proven to be masters in the hotel business. Monti Hotel & Wellness is an excellent incentive hotel that has enriched the hotel offer in Sarajevo.
FINAL GRADE: 4.89 GOLD Resort Meeting Hotel
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60