Main Content

Content Text

February 03, 2012, Montenegro

A fairy-tale destination

DAVEN WU is inspired by the Aman Sveti Stefan’s sensational setting in Montenegro as well as the resort’s rich history

Daven Wu

AMANRESORTS founder Adrian Zecha may have sold off his controlling interest in the luxury resort group he founded back in 1988, but he's continued to oversee, with great canny, new developments in Asia. In recent years, he's been casting his net further afield, but even by his standards, Aman Sveti Stefan's location in Montenegro with its sweeping views of the Adriatic Sea is inspired.

A tiny 15th-century fortified fishing village that sits on a tiny island – itself connected to the mainland by a narrow man-made causeway – Sveti Stefan was converted in the early 1960s by the then Yugoslav government into a casino resort. Each of the stone-bricked houses, vacated by the 12 or so fishing families, was converted into suites, restaurants and gambling rooms. Sophia Loren and Richard Burton headlined a string of celebrity guests that stretched all the way into the 1990s to include Claudia Schiffer and Jeremy Irons.

The closing of the casino coincided with the break up of Yugoslavia into six independent republics. Its most recent incarnation as a luxurious 58-room super-resort – managed by Amanresorts but owned by an anonymous Greek billionaire – has taken the better part of five years and labyrinthine negotiations with the Montenegran government.

Not that any of this is apparent on the surface. Every single one of the cottage villas – terraced into the island's hillocks – has been freshly spruced up with at least double the floor space of a room in the previous hotel. Furnished simply with bare stone, pleasingly rough hessian rugs and exposed timber paneling, the mood is almost monastic in its John Pawson austerity and yet oddly sybaritic.

The landscaping is similarly low-key with fig and olive trees framing two ancient chapels, its silhouette of distinctive russet-hued roofs flashing through the branches. In the high heat of summer, wasps drone lazily around the bushes of rosemary and thyme.

Every morning, yoga is conducted on the timber deck of the terrace pool beneath the rustle of foliage and the distant crash of surf far below the cliff. Beyond the downward dog, one's summer vacation pretty much stretches ahead in a dreamy sequence of languid heat interrupted by a plunge into the pool, a siesta, and lunch and dinner in any one of the resort's four eateries, one on the island itself and the other three scattered within walking distance along the coastline.

But what makes the fairy tale quality of Aman Sveti Stefan especially intriguing is that if rustic upscale cottage accommodation is not quite your thing, then a leisurely 15 minute walk away, set in a bijou bay with its own private beach is Villa Milocer – a grand mansion that was once the former queen's summer residence. Now a part of the Aman, it has just eight suites, all gracefully swathed in slick wood paneling, antico stone, freestanding bath tubs and a distinctly modern vibe serviced by a retinue of good looking staff in stiffly starched uniforms.

Snuggled along a particularly pristine stretch of the Adriatic coastline, Aman Sveti Stefan features three beaches in ascending order of privacy. The two by the island and Villa Milocer are technically open to the public, but a hefty 50 euro entry fee tends to keep most casual sun-seekers at bay. The third beach, set in a private cove decorated by thick fragrant stands of cedar and pine, is especially spectacular for its warm emerald waters of astounding clarity. On a clear cloudless day, the dappled sunlight dancing on the sea is like the explosion of a million paparazzi flashbulbs.

As Amanresorts go, the Aman Sveti Stefan with its incredible back story and sensational setting was always going to have blockbuster written all over it. But neither Zecha nor any one of the 400-plus staff has taken anything for granted – whether in the quality of the rooms, or the almost OCD anticipatory nature of the service.

Late last year, the resort, which had only just opened for the summer season, closed till this April for the final stages of its renovations of new rooms, two new pools, terrace, restaurant and spa. All the more reason to start blocking space in the diary for a visit.

Side Bar

Most Read This Month
中欧航旅庆10周年 NATAS旅展大赠送

中欧航旅(ASA Holidays)在7月份迈入10周年纪念,在明天起至星期日举行的NATAS旅游展,推出多项崭新旅游配套及大赠送系列,包括胜安航空包机直飞柬埔寨、桂林、三亚九州、冲绳岛、台湾及泰国;以及与著名艺人郑各评、陈天文、陈罗密欧及方伟杰,分别展开畅游不丹、皇家加勒比国际游轮圣诞节海上游、柬埔 寨及台湾的快乐旅程。NATAS旅游展优惠

●订购欧洲、美国、新西兰及异国风情旅游配套,赠送樟宜机场SATS Premier Lounge贵宾室使用券。
●订购中国、台湾及日本旅游配套,赠送AmbassadorTransit Lounge贵宾室使用券。


消费满$500有机会赢取首奖马赛地轿车、次奖七天阿拉斯加游轮双人游,以及三奖八天希腊双人游。第三奖抽奖将于8月2日中午12时30分在NATAS旅 游展举行,千万勿错失良机!使用花旗银行信用卡可享有多三倍机会!




你知道不丹在哪里吗?她位于印度与中国两块古老大陆之间,巍峨的喜马拉雅山像一道巨大的屏障将她和世界隔离,到今天她依然是一块尚未问世的净土。留学英国 的不丹国王推崇“国民的快乐总值”比“国民生产总值”重要,因此不丹是世界上快乐指数最高的国家。今年,不丹为纪念父王吉格梅·辛格·旺楚克诞生60周 年,推出“2015不丹幸福旅游年”,中欧航旅在不丹旅游局赞助下,隆重推介不丹航空(Bhutan Airlines)包机,从新加机直飞不丹王国(Kingdom of Bhutan),与艺人郑各评同游幸福国度,所有参

五/六/七天行程畅游首都廷布、旧首都普纳卡古都、第二大城帕罗,包括国家纪念碑、皇宫扎西却宗、章岗拉康寺庙、金刚座釋迦牟尼佛像、民间遗产博物馆、普 纳卡城堡、父母亲河、楚克旺耶纪念碑108座佛塔、古老的凯奇拉康寺庙、建在悬崖峭壁的“虎穴”-塔桑寺、工艺品市集、周末市场、射击学校,以及国家艺术 学院了解造纸、织布等传统技能。独家安排:观赏不丹“国宝”动物——Takin;不丹民族服饰体验+观赏传统歌舞表演;特别出发:11月15日;其他出 发: 11月16、21、26日、12月1、6、11、16及21日。

与方伟杰同行 8/9天台湾欢乐游

年终学校假期举家出游,乘坐胜安包机直飞台中,乘坐子弹快车到台南,游览高雄旗津岛、六合夜市、逢甲夜市、走马濑农场、北门水晶教堂、井仔脚瓦盘盐田;乘 船游日月潭、文武庙;到南投青青草原、金勇DIY 休闲农场、六福村主题乐园、苗栗巧克力庄园、九份、淡水老街和台北101。安排住宿走马濑农场、清境农场、温泉酒店,以及从房内落地窗可观赏到动物的关西 六福庄;品尝担仔面、台式料理、云庄欧式料理、稻草人风味及民宿风味等。特别出发:11月29日。


以一首自创歌曲“Un...Un...Unbelievable”在网络爆红的陈天文,将与你登上皇家加勒比国际游轮旗下十大游轮之一的“海洋水手号” (Mariner of the Seas),度过一个“Un...Unbelievable”的圣诞佳节!

六天五夜的东南亚风情之旅,让你和家人朋友沉浸在天文大哥的欢笑声中,和他一起唱歌、拍照,还有圣诞大餐、圣诞老人派送礼物给孩子,体验让人人津津乐道的 溜冰表演、皇家大道欢乐游行、双层主餐厅的美食、大型舞台表演,以及与梦工厂的卡通人物功夫熊猫阿宝、怪物世莱克和马达加斯加共进早餐、拍照等。你还可以随游轮停靠时到吉隆坡、浮罗交怡或普吉岛游览,体验轻松休闲的海上假期。特别出发:12月24日。

与陈罗密欧同行 6天神奇富历史性的柬埔寨


乘坐胜安包机直飞柬埔寨西南部的西哈努克市(Sihanoukville),畅游蛇屋、山顶佛寺;前往金边参观皇宫、银宝塔、独立纪念牌塔、金界娱乐城、 国家博物馆、波博罪恶博物馆、杀人场、吴哥艺术学院、乘船游洞里萨湖,以及游览世界七大奇迹之一的吴哥窟,它是高棉王国从9世纪到15世纪建造的都城和寺 庙,王朝迁都金边后,逐渐荒芜被淹没于热带灌木雨林之中,直到19世纪末才被重新发现。特别出发:12月1日。

Patagonia’s ice-carved waterways

Where waterfalls cascaded from fjordsides



Latest travel story
On a dragon’s trail

Wu Shangyuan meets the famous — and venomous — inhabitants of Komodo National Park

Party at Sea

Suriati Jamil offers eight reasons to experience It’s The Ship, the largest festival at sea in Asia

The great Greek escape

Jonathan Tan heads to Greece for a week of history, culture and some of the best seaside views in the world