Mundus Representation and Montenegro Concierge DMC recently hosted a group of UK buyers on a fam trip to Montenegro. Ami Dorkings, senior project manager at Penguins-DRPG, joined the trip and shares her thoughts on the destination, which she describes as ‘a real hidden gem’…
When we crossed the border (after arriving via Dubrovnik), it soon became apparent that Montenegro may become my new favourite destination.
Before long, we took to the waters in our own catamaran, which was the perfect way to soak up the scenery this picturesque country has to offer before arriving in style at Lazure’s private marina. The boutique hotel of Lazure, located in the bay of Kotor and next to the medieval town of Herceg Novi, is a beautifully restored 18th century property complimented with modern rooms and a luxurious spa. The Lazure complex feels like its own village and with direct access onto your own private marina, it makes it the perfect base to explore further afield.
Day 2 started with bright blue skies and our own speed boat, which truly is the best way to see Montenegro. With a playlist that rivalled any great wedding and Champagne on ice, we explored the secret submarine caves and the wonders of the UNESCO world heritage site of Boka Bay, including a visit to ‘Lady of the Rock’.
Keeping with traditions, we all had the opportunity to throw our wish rocks into the beautifully clear waters before taking to the island to explore the unique church, created by the locals. Stopping in the bay at the picturesque town of Perast for a waterfront lunch, it was the perfect place to sit and take in the truly breath-taking views.
Arriving on land, we ventured into Kotor Old Town. The old walled city is a maze of cobblestone streets, mighty forts, centuries-old buildings, medieval churches and a Venetian piazza. It’s a fascinating place to soak up the history.
As a contrast, our next stop was Porto Montenegro marina where you will find Buddha Bar and the Regent Porto Montenegro Hotel. Buddha Bar offers a chic and modern venue located within the Yacht Club, perfect for chilled days and evening celebrations, with fantastic Asian-fusion food, great cocktails and a pool that provides the perfect Instagram photo opportunity.
Next door you will find the Regent Porto Montenegro in a prime location within this new and upcoming area. With its marina of bars, restaurants and an array of shops the Kardashian’s would approve of, Porto Montenegro is the place to be. With 173 bedrooms, The Regent is the perfect incentive hotel offering five-star luxury and service. The highlight for me was the infinity pool overlooking the Marina!
After a day on the water and a good sleep in the very comfortable Regent’s beds, it was time to head to the mountains, proving how versatile this country really is. With some hair-raising twists and turns in our 4x4s, we headed for a traditional Montenegrin breakfast, complete with shots of rakija which we soon learnt would accompany every meal throughout. It certainly warms you up when in the mountains.
Once well fed, we headed to the Mausoleum which provides 360 views of the entire country, its impressive coastline, lakes and mountains. It’s well worth the 461 steps to the top. Although our time here was cut short to return to the hotel for Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral, we got to see how the mountains and the countryside would make a great playground for groups.
The afternoon was spent remembering the Queen by visiting a local olive grove and planting a tree in her name. A great CSR and sustainability idea for groups before getting to taste the fine organic produce from the grove in the old cellars. We arrived at the olive groves on bikes, cycling through the countryside, taking in the fresh air and vast landscape (and working off all of the delicious food from our marina lunch!)
Our final evening was spent at the famous Nikki Beach, well known for its beach and pool parties and platters of amazing Sushi. Arriving by boat at sunset set up the evening to be something special, with a night to reflect on our adventures over delicious food and of course, sport the famous Nikki Beach sunglasses.
Before heading back on our final day, we had the opportunity to look at two very special hotels which I feel set Montenegro apart. We were the first group to view the yet-to-open Mamula Island Hotel, set on a fort in Boka Bay. Only accessible by boat, this hotel is truly unique, with only 32 bedrooms, a holistic spa, 3 restaurants and bars and its own private beach.
Our final hours were spent at the luxurious One & Only Portonovi resort, experiencing their Italian restaurant, beach and spa before heading back to cold and rainy England. The One & Only truly lives up to the brand and pushes the boundaries of luxury with 113 bedrooms and a complete complex that could keep your guests entertained for days.
Montenegro has something for everyone – where authentic meets luxury, where the mountains meet the sea and where the best and most cost-effective way to get around is by speed boat. It’s a yes from me!
Thanks to Wayne and Andre at Mundus Representation, the team at Montenegro Concierge DMC and the flight fairy Kathy at All About Flights for this opportunity to tick off a bucket list destination.