Even though we could have continued from Nis, Serbia all the way to Kotor, Montenegro, we decided to spend the night in Podgorica. This way we wouldn’t get into town late or be on buses for the entire day.
I looked into what hotels were near the Podgorica bus station and was happy to find Terminus Hotel. Andy and I made jokes about Terminus, the name of a place featured on the TV show The Walking Dead before we booked our room.
Getting to Podgorica, Montenegro
Getting from Nis, Serbia to Podgorica, Montenegro was easy. We had a bus which was nicer than our previous bus which we both appreciated. Similar to other border crossings in southeastern Europe, we had to stop at the border even though both countries were part of the EU. We are pretty sure this is because of the influx of immigrants coming from Syria, but are not 100% sure.
When we arrived in Podgorica, we walked across the bus terminal to get to our hotel. It was quite possibly our most convenient lodging location throughout our entire trip.
Even though we booked a double room we were upgraded to an apartment for no charge. I was pretty excited about this because even though we would only be in the room for a short period of time, it’s always nice to get a free upgrade.
It looked like we had a large king size bed with a single blanket but in true Eastern European style, we were deceived. The bed was 2 twin beds pulled together and under the upper blanket there were 2 smaller twin size blankets. This was a disappointment, but something that we have come to expect.
I’m not quite sure why they called the room an apartment as there was no kitchen. Personally I would classify the room as more of a suite since it was quite large.
The bathroom was clean and had everything that we needed. The shower had great water pressure and plenty of hot water. I was pretty excited to take a nice, long, hot shower since I had an extremely short shower the day before in Nis, Serbia.
Even though our room was slightly over budget, we justified going over as we had breakfast included in our room rate. When we arrived we were pretty impressed with the breakfast spread. In addition to the expected items like pastries, rolls and fruit, there were also several hot foods options as well.
There were a number of items in our room which are included at higher-end hotels and not things that we had seen on our trip in quite some time. We had slippers, a shoe shine, toothbrushes and toiletries. While we didn’t need any of these things, it was nice to stay in a place that provided them.
Our main goal was to stay near the bus station. Terminus Hotel is located within the bus terminal making it extremely easy for us to catch a bus in the morning.
The apartment would have been nearly perfect for us had we not had an issue with the front desk.
When we checked in, they took our passports for processing. This is standard process for international guests at a hotel so we didn’t think much of it. While we normally get our passports back immediately after a copy is made, they said they needed to do some other things first and we could pick them up later. After about an hour in our room, we went to the front desk to get our passports back. As I got them back from the front desk, the agent told me that I could not take them with me. He told me how they needed to stay at the front desk until we checked out. I noticed that these were not even locked at the front desk and told him absolutely not. He tried to make me feel better by showing me others who had left their IDs at the front desk and pointing to a security camera. Neither of these made me feel OK with the situation at all.
After getting on the phone with the manager, I got her to agree that we could take our passports back to our room if I paid for the room in full. I honestly only think that she agreed to it because I was livid and not backing down at all. I knew that if anything happened to our passports that the hotel would not take us to the US embassy nor would they pay for the expedited passport processing fee or cover any pre-paid rooms that we had booked. Plus, there was absolutely no reason that they would need our passports all night.
When I brought up the issue I had with the manager at check out, she kind of brushed it off. She mentioned to me that there have been issues with people leaving their passports in the past as well, but didn’t seem interested in remedying the situation at all. When I pointed out that the passports, if they needed to be kept at the front desk, should be locked up, not placed behind the printer the manager giggled. I found this both irritating and unprofessional.
I would like to recommend the hotel since the location was great, the room was clean and breakfast was good, but the whole passport issue put a sour taste in my mouth. If I were to return to Podgorica, I would look to stay elsewhere, even if it required a longer walk.