Vacation in MontenegroFirst Look - Black-Magic Montenegro
Good For: Couples, groups, and solo travelers who like to be on the cutting edge of glamorous travel in a stunningly unspoiled country.
- Hitting the shops in Porto Montenegro.
- Lazing poolside with the beautiful people at the Lido Beach Club, while watching the yachts roll in.
- Driving the seaside road, taking in the local life. It’s an unforgettable experience to see a place evolve from a simple countryside to the next St. Tropez, right before your eyes.
- Staying at the Aman Resort’s Sveti Stefan and Villa Milocer. It’s not just a hotel; it’s an entire private island and villa compound that looks right out of a James Bond movie.
- Drinking Serbian wine in Montenegro and watching the sunset, as the sky turns a brilliant purple and the mountains fade to black.
What to Know: The town of Budva, while architecturally interesting, is very touristy. Besides a walk through town and the small antiques market, the draw is the beachside clubs. The capital city of Podgorica is best skipped altogether. You’ll need a car to explore the seaside and mountains. Take those anti-carsickness pills – the mountain switchbacks are harrowing.
Suggested Stay: Three days of pure bliss.
On the cutting edge of oligarch travel, Montenegro is the next St. Tropez. Completely unspoiled – albeit for the 60 miles of coastline being developed for yacht slips – Montenegro is where the in-the-know elite have decamped for the summer. While this Adriatic getaway is still relatively rural, its up-and-coming glamour has the vibe of a VIP room in the French Riviera. Real estate moguls take note: Montenegro is prime for investment. Just ask the top guy at LVMH, who not only knows a thing or two about luxury, but has his own skin in the game.
The Simple Life
Thankfully, we’re not talking about frenemies Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, but rather the simple life that still exists in Montenegro. Think young girls carting wheelbarrows alongside their fathers, and putting in an honest day’s work. Whether you drive in from Croatia or take on the black-magic mountains head on, most of Montenegro is relatively undeveloped. If you’re driving from Croatia along the two-lane Adriatic seaside thoroughfare, all roads lead through Perast. Here, the Bay of Kotor resembles a Nordic fjord, though technically it’s a ria, a coastal inlet. The iconic sites of Our Lady of the Rocks and St. George Island are surreally dropped into the bay. For now, you’ll see abandoned, rundown villas, whose bones are just waiting for speculative real estate investors to come in and gentrify.
It’s Bond, James Bond
Until the Regent opens in Porto Montenegro in 2013, Aman Resorts has the monopoly on luxury with its Sveti Stefan and Villa Milocer properties. Sveti Stefan is the beloved landmarked island, the entirety of which has been turned into a private hotel. Once a fishermen’s village, homes have been Aman-ified into luxe suites. Life simply doesn’t get any better than this. That is, unless you’re staying at Villa Milocer, which feels like a private home – a very wealthy friend’s private home. Suites are worthy of allocating some precious vacation time so that you can spend a whole day (and night) without ever leaving the room.
Besides One Restaurant in Porto Montenegro, where they make unusual combinations of cucumber, avocado, and chili sauce topped with fried onions – sounds strange but it’s decadent – leave the meals to Aman. The resort has five distinct restaurants. A perfect Montenegro morning starts at the Villa Milocer restaurant. Enjoy an egg-white soufflé omelet al fresco after a strenuous morning of yoga, while black squirrels run through trees. Fine dining is high above the Adriatic at the Queen’s Chair, where the chef exhibits a love of comfort food, like in the rich creams of the mussels and abundant side dishes. For après infinity pool time, indulge in low-key Italian eats – antipasti and pizza from a wood-burning oven – in the village square on Sveti Stefan. The dark horse of the resort is the Montenegrin grill, located beachside between Sveti Stefan and Villa Milocer. Food is outstanding, and a value compared to Western European cities. Overall the food at Aman is the standard you’d receive from a private chef, served in an intimate atmosphere. This is not a social scene, so as the song goes, hope that you love the one you’re with. This is all about quality time.
Montenegro’s VIP-room vibe is best represented at the Lido Beach Club, where this season, renowned Purobeach has taken the reins. Purobeach has perfected the art of beachside luxury, and it’s here, with the backdrop of the Adriatic and mega yachts, where you can confirm that Montenegro is the next St. Tropez. It’s all glamour, all the time.
Sipping Serbian Wine
There’s something about sundown in Montenegro, when the sky turns a brilliant purple and the mountains fade to black. But this is no Metallica head-banging montage of desperation. There’s enough beauty to bring a tear to the eye of even the most jaded traveler. Especially while drinking Serbian rosé and falling under the spell of black-magic Montenegro.