Hotel Manastir, Berovo is not just an ordinary hotel; it is a hotel that tells stories, not only because of its timeless beauty, but because of your memories of it, which become moments worth remembering and retelling.
Manastir is a boutique hotel in the mountain, located in the heart of the cleanest area of Macedonia, Maleshevo, in the city of Berovo. The hotel is located at 900 meters above sea level – the best altitude for the human health according to the WHO, along the river Bregalnica, overlooking the forest that fills your eyes and soul, next to the monastery of St. Archangel Michael, which is a significant sacred place, from the 18th century.
Berovo is nestled in an oxygen corridor, one of the four existing in Europe and has the highest concentration of oxygen in the air in the Balkans, so it is called “Oxygen Bath”, and the Maleshevo region by its natural appearance, is known as the “Little Switzerland”.
Today you will hear the story of Hotel Manastir from Dina Mucunska, the general manager of the hotel. The story begins with the opening of the hotel in 2004, when her father and Vlado (who during their long-term cooperation became part of their family, not just a colleague), guided intuitively, according to what they thought was right … the natural instinct and the mountain that surrounded them, gradually created an offer that is entirely in the spirit of the sustainable development. Of course the business development was important for them too, but only through the prism of caring for the natural environment and the well-being of the local community. The hotel has grown steadily over the years. They started with 10 accommodation units, and now they have 32 and one separate villa “Vodenica” with a large yard, a restaurant for 220 people, terraces, seminar halls, SPA, children’s playground, sports facilities, park and bar by the river.
For years they have maintained an average rating of around 9.2 on the platform booking.com, which speaks of the outstanding quality of their offer and service.
You will feel the greatness of the Macedonian tradition reflected in the architecture of the complex, in every piece of stone and wood, in every decoration and detail of the entire interior. Everything is procured from local resources and made by locals and craftsmen, such as the many carved chandeliers of Slobodan, Slavcho’s tin pots, the tapestries and the knitted tablecloth of my mother and grandmother, the tapestries and fabrics of the skilled housewives from Berovo … The hotel employs only locals that go through an education to acquire the skills they need for their work responsibilities so they become part of the team of “Manastir”, whose spirit of collegiality brings great credit for our progress. That process is not simple at all, but we are persistent and manage to create very valuable and good workers. The local home-made specialties and drinks served in the restaurant of Hotel Manastir, are one of our specialties. They are prepared from ecological and organic food grown on Berovo fields and farms, such as the cheese and bulamach (it is a traditional dairy product produced from the indigenous breed of sheep “ovchepolka”, whose breed “pramenka” is grown in the Maleshevo region. The name comes from the Old Turkish word “bulamach” which means porridge, a thick mixture, a kind of cheese spread) from Aunt Vesna, with whom we have been cooperating for almost two decades, and the potatoes from the village Dvorishte produced by Vancho.
The collected fruits from the surrounding forests, wild strawberries, wild blackberries, raspberries, currants, blueberries, from which Ilcho and his family prepare the most beautiful homemade juices and jams, which are a special delicacy, I shouldn’t forget Vancho’s honey, nor the delicious mountain boletus edulis ( penny bun), the many herbs used as spices and for teas, of which our virtuoso chefs led by Borce, following the example of their grandmothers and mothers’ cooking, prepare the traditional restaurant specialties, with the unique taste, which you will surely enjoy with all your senses.- says Dina.
They have an excellent cooperation with the local musicians of traditional instruments who are exceptional artists, and also with the local folklore group “Dimitar Berovski”, which is composed by many young girls and boys, and the head of the group is Methodius. They often include music and dance performances in the cultural and entertainment programs, in which they directly support their work, which is especially interesting for the foreign guests. Also, over the years, they have encouraged the cooperation with the local craftsmen, such as Grandma Ana – the weaver, the woodcarvers Ljupce and Ljupco, the tinker Slavcho, the smith Sejdo, the cooper Slavcho, the miller Kaftan.
The team of Hotel Manastir has the honor and also the pleasure to organize visits to these craft workshops for the guests, where they can hear their story, to see how they make the handicrafts, and of course if they like they can buy a souvenir.
Dina says that they extremely care about the nature, as we are all part of it and we want to live in love, good health and harmony in our community, so in 2013 they founded the citizens’ association “MSC (Mountaineering sports club) Maleshevska Korija”, with which they have marked many hiking and mountain biking trails, but also they regularly organize recreational events in nature and encourage the healthy living habits in people. Otherwise, very often, every Saturday they offer their guests mountaineering and mountain biking tours, which are also suitable for people who do sports for recreation, and also they have 25 high quality mountain bikes for those who want to rent.
The mountain tours are organized in cooperation with local guides, young enthusiasts such as Kire and Kate, and some of them are currently attending prestigious training for UIMLA standard mountain guides.
According to Dina, one of their most interesting offers is the visit of Grandpa Kjiro’s sheepfold, which is often combined with hiking. The food offered there is a special privilege for the guests, because the lamb, pies, meat, dairy and garden products are grown in the vicinity of the sheepfold and they are served to the guests in the middle of the mountain which is a rare opportunity, especially for people from the urban environment. The monasteries of St. Archangel Michael and St. Bogorodica Balaklija (St. Mary Balaklija) have a special place in this whole offer. The Monastery of St. Archangel Michael, located next to Hotel Manastir, attracts the attention with its interesting legend and workshop for high-quality mosaics, and the monastery of St. Mary Balaklija is known for celebrating the feast of the Great Mother of God, but also for the workshops for natural cosmetics and oils and homemade monastery lokum (Turkish delight).
As an integral part of all this beauty is the lake, which is a wonderful experience for fishing, for walks along the trail around it, but especially if you experience it on a kayak or SUP board, it will remain in your memories forever.
We have been building this whole offer since 2004, which is suitable for individual guests, but also for group arrangements as part of team building programs, fun gatherings and seminars. Thus, Hotel Manastir became a pioneer and core of the tourist offer in the region (many villas and other small boarding houses started to follow our path, and even several other hotels were opened), and we grew into unique caterers with such a complete and quality offer in our country. These days I can proudly say that we are perceived in the public as someone who takes most of the credit for the development of the entire tourist destination Maleshevia. The cooperation with many local producers, small businesses and service providers, means a lot to us for the quality we offer, but it means even more for the development of the local community and its economic growth.
At the same time, our purpose is to show through our example that the hard work, the perseverance, the honesty and the dedication bear fruit and we can contribute a lot in creating better local living conditions for all of us. – says Dina.
We are waiting you to share with you all our beauties and to let you experience them, something worth remembering, which will bring you many more times to visit us and have the pleasure to be our guests.