Sveti Stefan: Luxury, History, and a Touch of Mystery

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By jeroen

 

Arrival at Sveti Stefan: A Blend of Beauty and Challenge

Upon arriving at Sveti Stefan, you are instantly dazzled by the picturesque island. However, there is a significant caveat—during my visit in 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, most hotels and campsites were closed, yet finding a parking spot was a veritable nightmare. Despite its beauty, the location is somewhat overhyped. It’s disheartening to see some areas marred by litter, a sad testament to the lack of respect some Instagram tourists show, and a local government that could handle the situation better

One of Montenegro’s Most Iconic Destinations

Sveti Stefan, a small island with views of Villa Miločer, is one of Montenegro’s most iconic destinations. Located on a pink sandy beach, Villa Miločer, the former summer residence of Queen Marija Karađorđević, offers various elegant suites while the island itself is dotted with 15th-century stone cottages. Together, they form the unparalleled Aman Sveti Stefan resort.

A Turbulent History

Over the years, Sveti Stefan has undergone many transformations. Originally, it was a fishing village built in the 15th century to protect the region from pirate raids. In the 1950s, it gained international fame when it was transformed into an exclusive resort frequented by Hollywood celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Elizabeth Taylor. Tourism collapsed in the 1990s along with the breakup of former Yugoslavia, but shortly after Montenegro gained independence, Aman took over the property and transformed it into one of the world’s most exceptional luxury resorts.

Aman Sveti Stefan: More Than Just a Hotel

Like all Aman destinations, Sveti Stefan exceeds the typical five-star standard. It offers exceptional style, cuisine, privacy, and unparalleled experiences, embodying not just a hotel, but a lifestyle. The island spans 12.5 hectares and features 8 suites, 50 rooms, a casino, a library, a restaurant, two swimming pools, a bar, a cigar room, and more.

Experience the Luxury of Aman Sveti Stefan

Aman Sveti Stefan, situated along the breathtaking Montenegrin coastline, offers an unforgettable experience. Overnight stays start from approximately 1300 euros, making it exclusive. However, don’t let the price discourage you. You can still enjoy the location with a day visit or special offers. Discover this enchanting destination and create priceless memories. Dream big and visit Aman Sveti Stefan. The island itself may not be accessible, but the locations beneath are not just for the wealthy. Enjoy your moment.

Public Beach vs. Private Experience

The island also boasts a private beach, where non-hotel guests can access for a fee. However, the price of €100 (as of 2019) can be steep, especially compared to the average Montenegrin monthly wage (then about €600). It’s important to treat the staff respectfully, whether you are staying at the hotel or not. Some visitors act as though they are celebrities like Madonna who once stayed here and expect royal treatment, but unfortunately treat the staff poorly. This can lead to inaccurate reviews online, especially from those who have never stayed in the hotel themselves.

Personal Perspective

Personally, a stay at a resort like Aman Sveti Stefan is ideal for a few nights to indulge in luxury, but after that, my wallet can’t stretch to five nights!

A Minor Flaw

One criticism is the municipal infrastructure around the resort. The sewage system does not seem to be optimal everywhere, which can affect the overall experience. Note that this only applies to the public part of the beach. The private beach of the resort has always been known for its cleanliness.

!!!Update: Temporary Closure and Legal Issues

Still in 2024: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aman Sveti Stefan is was closed. but still curently is! The reopening date has not yet been announced, but the resort hopes to welcome guests again as soon as possible. In addition to the pandemic, Aman Sveti Stefan has also been involved in several legal disputes in Montenegro in recent years. In 2019, a Montenegrin court ruled that a number of recently built facilities on the island were illegal and had to be partially demolished. Aman Sveti Stefan has appealed this decision. In 2022, residents of a nearby village demanded free access to part of the coastline that had been closed off by Aman Sveti Stefan. The court ruled in favor of the residents, but an appeal has been filed. It is worth noting that there was an agreement Aman had made with the local government for this privit part and they maintain this section themselves.

Sveti Stefan Continues to Fascinate

Sveti Stefan is a place rich in history and offers a unique luxurious experience. Hopefully, the resort can soon reopen its doors and once again welcome guests from around the world.

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