Voyagers Voice has interviewed the Murizzi family, owner of VM Resort & Spa , a five stars resort in Golem. Golem is a touristic destination located along the coastline in Central Albania. It is just 30 minutes’ drive from Tirana’s airport. The Murrizi Family has always worked together since the founding brothers were young. They started off opening restaurants and cafes, and eventually, the resort! Murrizi Family are from humble beginnings and have worked hard as a family to be where they are today. They love what they do and strive for all their customers to have an unforgettable experience at the resort.
Golem, as a touristic place in Albania, has many hotels. Where does your hotel stand out compared to others?
Well, there is a lot of competition among all the hotels. I think that our resort stands out compared to others because has a family aspect for kids and for everybody, with friendly staff, as you can read it in Google’s reviews.The Resort has everything. It has a beach bar with in a big beach space, much bigger than other hotels. It has also a spa, a swimming-pool, a restaurant with all-inclusive service and exquisite rooms with sea views. I would definitely say that our resort has everything that all customers’ needs.
Indoor swimming pool of the 5 stars hotel in Golem, in Albania
Which nationalities are the tourists who most stay at your hotel?
Well, mostly are from Eastern Europe such, for example, from Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, Kosovo. But they also come from Germany and Italy.
5 star hotel in Golem, in Albania seen from the high
Albania, touristically the unknown country
Although Albania is an “unknown” country for the vast majority of tourists, have you ever had any famous international celebrity in your hotel?
I don’t know if I can call them celebrities, but a lot of important people have visited our resort. We had many ambassadors from different countries and one of them, the Ambassador from Bulgaria, is our regular customer. We also had a lot of famous singers and actors from Albania and Kosovo.
Why should international tourists choose Albania instead of other Mediterranean countries with more experience in the tourism sector, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, among others?
Albania has everything to offer. It is a lovely country with a beautiful beaches and mountains, picturesque towns and villages, a lot of historical monuments to visit and many other incredible things. Albania it is an affordable luxury because it is much cheaper than other Mediterranean countries. As an unknown country and as a new destination, Albania is more authentic and less overcrowded touristic country.
What is the best time of year to stay in Golem?
We are open all year round but I would say that the best time to stay in Golem is the summer. Our Resort is on a beachfront, therefore with the hot and pleasant weather that runs from the end of April to the end of October, we are always busy.
hotel facade in Golem,in Albania with outdoor pool
Albanian culture and its cuisine
What are the Albanian dishes served in your restaurant most appreciated by your guests?
The dishes that we served in the Resort are from Mediterranean cuisine, mostly from Italian one. We also served Albanian traditional dishes, so that our customers can try them and know a little more about Albanian culture. As we are on the beachfront, the dishes that we prepare are mainly seafood.
Albania is a tourist destination that is now developing. Have your foreign visitors increased compared to the past?
Yes, compared to the past, the tourism has increased a lot and we are also full booked now in winter on weekends. People stay at the Resort to be in the Spa or to enjoy live music and parties that we organise.
Since the Internet, the world of reservations has totally changed. Through the technological revolution, customers directly book the hotel through OTAs (Online Travel Agencies). Do you think that this type of system has benefited you or perhaps on some occasions it has also harmed you, since it is always an intermediary that charges its commission?
Since we opened this business, we have been working with Jona Travel Agency, which was very helpful and also with Booking.com. Even if they charged us a commission definitely, I would say that it worth it.
Hotel management during the pandemic
In the news on TV and in the press, a hotel in Spain to promote itself hired an influencer, giving her two months of a free stay at her hotel and paying her a good salary. In exchange for each day, the influencer had to promote the hotel through of videos and posts on their social networks. Have you also ever done such an “aggressive” promotion or do you prefer to promote yourself in a more traditional way using your own social media profiles?
We did not do that kind of aggressive promotion. But from the past, I can remember that we have sponsored some local influencers just with a free stay in exchange for their contents.
How has the management of a hotel changed during the pandemic?
To be honest, the management of the hotel during the pandemic didn’t affect us at all, because this is a familiar business and a lot of members of the family works here. Of course, in 2020 we have been closed and for the pandemic reasons we had some restrictions as there were everywhere.
Does the hotel have facilities for people with reduced mobility?
Yes, of course. We have two lifts and also inside in the room the shower is accessible for the travellers with reduced mobility.
Hotel room in Golem, In Albania
Hotel recycling policy
Does your hotel have a recycling policy or other environmental sensitivity policies?
We take care of recycling seriously because, as a family, we run a recycling company called Alba Recycling. Currently in the Resort we are recycling plastic and paper but soon we would like to expand the recycling policy also to other materials.
What is the biggest stress of a hotel owner?
Good question! The biggest stress of an owner is the staff. In summer season we have many people (about seventy) who are working in the Resort, The staff management is difficult to handle.
What is the strangest requirement you have ever had from a customer?
I can list you a lot of strange things. On my mind comes one customer who wanted the lobby toilette (the public one) all the time to be cleaned by our staff. Before the customer entered the public toilet, he wanted our staff cleaned the lobby toilet and the same when he left the toilet.
If you plan to visit Albania, stay at Golem, as it allows tourists to be no more that a 3 hour drive from each end of Albania. Tourists can explore all corners of the country.
In short, if you want to know more abpout the culture about Albania, look at Holiday Albania.
However, if you want to know more about the culture of art of other countries, look at our Blog.
Author: Roseanna Milburn (Holiday Albania)