Aman Sveti Stefan
Authentic, peaceful, unique
(382) 33 420 000 www.amanresorts.com
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At a Glance
The first of the luxury hotels on the beautiful coast of Montenegro, Aman’s attention to detail matches the spectacular site of a fortified 15th century fishing village.
- Sleeping within a 15th century Medieval fortress
- The space and views offered by most Deluxe Cottages and Suites
- Access to three semi-private and private beaches, multiple restaurants, fitness and spa center
Featured in films like Casino Royale, this Aman was hotly anticipated—and greatly delayed before it opened in 2009. The reason for the buzz: the natural setting may be more spectacular than any other: a picturesque peninsula jutting into the clear blue Adriatic sea with a charming village of red-tile-roofed houses and the occasional ancient pine tree. The reason for the wait: the former fishing village-turned hotel that Aman took over in 2006 needed to be completely rebuilt and preserved at the same time.
A sleepy fishing village until the 1930s, Sveti Stefan was only a stone’s throw from the summer residence of the royal family’s Villa Milocer (now also part of this Aman complex). Nearby Queen’s beach was named for its most famous regular visitor, the then infamous Tito who chose to spend some of his summer days there while he was in power. During the jet-set era of the 1960s and ‘70s, movie stars, such as Sophia Loren, who sought serenity and distance from the papparazzi would come to stay. Even if the hotel rooms couldn’t compare to those on the French or Italian Riviera, the location was luxury enough.
When Montenegro gained independence in 2006, the new government decided to bring back the glamour and Amanresorts won the project. The previous hotel had 120 rooms, but Aman has reduced the total to 51. Architect Jean Michel Gathy, who also masterminded Amanyara and the Aman Summer Palace, brings a contemporary clean aesthetic inside the ancient walls. In order to maintain a sense of place, the rooms are simple yet chic and incorporate original details as exposed wooden beam ceilings. The spacious bathrooms are luxurious.
The concept remains a hotel within the buildings of a real fishing village. Like Chateau Eza in the south of France or some of the hilltown villages in Tuscany that have been transformed into hotels, each little house or shop has been turned into a hotel room or shared space. The island contains a restored church as well as pools, a taverna, enoteca, pizzeria, bakery and antipasti bar.
Since the whole island is for hotel guests, though, the guy sitting in the main square sipping a coffee is more likely to be a movie star or venture capitalist from California than a boat captain from Montenegro. The boats, in fact, are Rivas from Italy, and they shuttle guests back and forth between the island and sister property Villa Milocer, their shared beaches and restaurants. For those who want an even more modern mode of transport, a helicopter over to Dubrovnik can be arranged or larger yachts for cruising to secluded coves. Most will probably want to stay put, though, for this really is a fantasy island.
Who Should Stay
Couples and families in search of an off-the-beaten-path destination and resort rooted in history. Those expecting perfect Aman service may be disappointed. Those with mobility issues will have difficulty navigating the cobblestone streets and should consider Villa Milocer instead. Also be aware that the hotel is seasonal and closes in October.