Vila Alpini Razëm

Razëm, a guesthouse in the forest is reviving the rural area

Razëm, a village approximately 40 km from Shkodra, is renowned for its natural beauty, healthy climate, and unforgettable landscapes. In the middle of pines, oaks and lindens, a two-floor stone villa comes into sight, the “Vila Alpini”.

Anjela Goraj, now in her twenties, reminisces about her childhood visits to Razëm with her parents from Koplik. Her first memories picture her grandmother holding her hand while walking through the field nearby the forest. Today, she manages “Vila Alpini,” a successful family business, while studying business administration at “Luigj Gurakuqi” University in Shkodër. Years ago, her father purchased land in the village and constructed a small vacation home. Soon, family friends would ask to spend the weekends there time after time.

“They were our first guests. Only later on, we were convinced that the villa had a future as a tourist guesthouse. But it needed a lot of improvements and investment”, Anjela says.

With her father’s support, she started her searches toward transformation. She focused on interior designs and other details that would make the difference. She did a combination of the design with the nature and bringing modern approaches to local products.

Vila Alpini Razëm
Vila Alpini, Razëm

Look at the snow-capped Alpine peaks

Simultaneously, a professor at the University suggested her to apply at Rural You, an EU funded project aiming to empower rural youth to undertake entrepreneurial ventures. With the grant received, she furnished the guesthouse rooms and added new beds. She also invested in a dining place on the veranda, where the eye-catching view includes a forest of tall pines and snow-capped Alpine peaks.

“Vila Alpini”, deriving its name from the Alps, has now a completely new look, modern and traditional at the same time, as everything is renovated with great care and refined taste.

“The biggest achievement of this project was developing myself. I have learned a lot during the process. I have changed my own concepts, my mindset and the way I see the present and the future. It has been a challenging experience that has grown me a lot personally and professionally”, says Anjela, who already has the guesthouse listed on international platforms, such as Booking.

“Make villages fashionable again”

“We have the chance to make villages fashionable again. Our creative ideas can push forward initiatives and promote nature, traditional food and several destinations. Nevertheless, is important to always prioritize customer satisfaction. Additionally, as a lot of our peers are leaving Albania, the people who work with us are invaluable, because it’s more and more difficult to find staff”, Anjela says.

When the guesthouse if full, each member of her family has a task to fulfill. Her mother cooks all kinds of jams and other dishes served for breakfast, while her younger brother, guides tourists on tours through the pathways of Razmë village or the three famous caves.

For Anjela, rural life means living in harmony with nature and the community. As her next step, Anjela is thinking about solar panels, because she wants to “reevaluate our connection with earth and raise awareness on the importance of environment protection”.

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