Porto Montenegro, scene of the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, is a hidden gem.
Surrounded by crystal clear waters, moored yachts and green lush mountains, it has the authenticity of an untouched Mediterranean cove discovered by the super rich. What preserves its heritage is that Porto Montenegro is UNESCO protected. The original stoned streets and buildings have the appeal of an old town medina and the recent influx of affluent globe trotters has made sure everything is kept pristine. I came to Porto Montenegro to attend the Vivienne Westwood show in the town of Tivat – now filled with super luxury shops, mega yachts, and delicious restaurants.
The stylish and gorgeous Hotel Astoria is where I spent most of my nights, in the town of Kotor fjord. Originally a gothic palace dating back to the early 14th century, the Hotel Astoria is a beautifully built mansion owned by one of the most eminent noble families in Kotor. It has all the charm and character that one would expect of a luxury boutique hotel, having won Best Boutique Hotel at the 2013 World Travel Awards.
The individually designed rooms and suites all have a different style with luxurious linens, original artwork, beautiful glass and marbled bathrooms. I would highly recommend requesting the room on the top floor. An open-plan suite with views onto the sea, a stand-alone clear glass shower and chaise lounge overlooking the window.
The food is incredible with fresh seafood, fresh juices, delicious pasta dishes and friendly service. You can either order in your room, dine in the very cool restaurant or atop the hotel on the terrace which opens on the 1st June each year.
I decided to take one night to stay at the Boutique Hotel Hippocampus. Surrounded by the walls of the San Giovanni fortress, the hotel offered a more Mediterranean Venetian style minimalist interior design with original 17th century stone walls, bespoke pieces of antique furniture from Boka Bay, sculptures, gold leaf, hand-painted wood ceilings, Etro bath products, and a rain-dance shower made for a luscious experience.
The restaurant serves fresh bellinis, fresh seafood, and international cuisine and can be found on the ground floor and on the open rooftop terrace overlooking the medieval city. No wonder it was winner of the Wild Beauty Award 2012 for the best new hotel in the coastal part of Montenegro.
Before the Vivienne Westwood show, I decided to take lunch at One Restaurant in Tivat along the port. By far, it was the most impressive meal I had tried in Porto Montenegro. The quality of beef carpaccio, salmon carpaccio, and chocolate mousse rivalled any top London restaurant and the views onto the sea and fresh air was sublime.
After an afternoon stroll, I popped into the architecturally incredible Lido – a mega infinity pool with rectangular silver sculpture and bar with terraced restaurant that replicated the design of a super yacht. I met my very friendly hosts and we had cool drinks overlooking the poolside after they graciously showed me their upcoming private members club which will open in a few weeks time this summer.
What was special about the Lido is that, not only was it an open air pool filled with art, style and charm in such a swish location as Porto Montenegro but they had the service and food (I dined there later after the catwalk show), of a Michelin-starred London establishment. They even brought over blankets on the upstairs terrace at midnight once the macaroons and fresh watermelon granitas were served.
And so it came to the main show: Vivienne Westwood. The hustle and bustle of the glitterati, international press, paparazzi, and local society surrounded the entrance. No expense was spared as I sat down front row in a closed white pavilion where 30 catwalk models, 15 hairdressers, and photographers were there to present Vivienne Westwood’s latest Gold Collection. With gorgeous couture pieces, a special appearance in a fashion film by Lily Cole and a male catwalk model donning the Pharrell hat.
Our stunning ending to a perfect getaway was complete and I definitely would recommend it all. It was but a dream.
Find out about this wonderful destination, residences and facilities at the marina village on the Porto Montenegro website.
Boutique Hotel ASTORIA
Old Town 322, Trg Od Poste
Stari grad 489