Hotel Narcis in Brezovica
Photo: Ibrahim Berisha (RFE/RL)

The ‘Ghost Hotels’ Of A Kosovo Ski Resort

After the collapse of a massive investment plan, empty hotels patrolled by security guards have become symbols of uncertainty for the future of one of Kosovo’s most picturesque ski resorts.

Ski lifts in Brezovica in 2014.

Kosovars once had high hopes for the development of Brezovica, a settlement in the mountainous south of Kosovo blessed with sweeping slopes and puffy snow. Today, as plans for the resort remain unclear, some of Brezovica’s largest hotels are inhabited only by security guards.

Narcis, one of the largest hotels in Brezovica.

In April 2015, Pristina signed a contract with a French consortium for a massive 410 million euro investment into the rundown mountain resort of Brezovica. The project apparently stalled in 2016 when the French investors failed to front up the money needed for the first phase of development.

A snowplowing vehicle in Brezovica in January 2022.

A snowplowing vehicle in Brezovica in January 2022.

In January, RFE/RL’s Balkan Service visited Brezovica and found a mountain resort in Limbo.

Molika, a communist-era hotel in Brezovica.

Molika, a communist-era hotel in Brezovica.

Hotel Molika was built in 1985 and stands just a short walk from the main ski slope of Brezovica.

The reception area of ​​Hotel Molika.

The reception area of ​​Hotel Molika.

Today, the corridors of the hotel are dark, the elevators don’t work, and the reception is unstaffed. Only security guards were working at the property when RFE/RL’s Balkan Service visited.

.A telephone in the empty reception area of ​​Hotel Molika

.A telephone in the empty reception area of ​​Hotel Molika

After the French development deal collapsed in 2016, hopes for Brezovica were raised again in September 2020 when the resort town was mentioned by the US International Finance and Development body.

The ski lift of Brezovica.

The ski lift of Brezovica.

When RFE/RL’s Balkan Service contacted the US government body about Brezovica more recently, a spokesman said, “We want to emphasize that this is not currently a project we are developing.”

The cable car in Brezovica, which began operation on January 16.

The cable car in Brezovica, which began operation on January 16.

For its part, the Kosovar government told RFE/RL that it is “in the process of drafting and finalizing a tourism strategy” in which “sites such as the Brezovica tourist complex…will be treated with special interest.”

The main facade of the unused Hotel Junior, located around 10 kilometers from the ski slopes of Brezovica.

The main facade of the unused Hotel Junior, located around 10 kilometers from the ski slopes of Brezovica.

Pristina did not provide details on what the planned “tourism strategy” would mean for Brezovica.

An entrance to the unused Hotel Junior.

An entrance to the unused Hotel Junior.

Adding to the woes for the mountain resort are a series of illegal constructions that have popped up in the area in recent years.

A cluster of recently built structures in Brezovica photographed in 2021.

A cluster of recently built structures in Brezovica photographed in 2021.

In December 2021, Kosovo police arrested 10 people, including the former mayor of the municipality that includes Brezovica, on charges of abuse of office.

The former mayor is suspected of having received up to 1 million euros for illegally issuing permits for the construction of facilities in Brezovica.