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Destinations montenegro

Sveti Stefan

The Budva Riviera—for decades the sun-drenched playground of Hollywood film stars, Soviet marshals, princesses, sheikhs, and deposed kings—has gained a renewed sense of glamour with the opening of Sveti Stefan, the much-anticipated second phase of Aman’s historic Balkan property.


cottage courtyard


hortly after gaining independence in 2006, Montenegro awarded Amanresorts a coveted revitalization bid. Proving a wise choice, just two years later Aman opened Villa Miločer, a former royal palace, as phase one of a long-term restoration plan. This April saw the completion of phase two, Sveti Stefan, a 15th-century fishing village on a tiny islet that juts out from the villa’s pink sand beach. The village, which was converted to a hotel in the 1950s, offers 50 rooms, cottages and suites, eight restaurants, a spa, two pools, and a chapel. Its stone buildings, iconic red-tiled roofs, piazzas and courtyards are punctuated only by the tall evergreens that


spring up from the rocky landscape. Architect JeanMichel Gathy of Denniston International, headquartered in Malaysia, has designed interiors that are at once luxurious and humble. “Generous living areas, bedrooms, and bathrooms afford comfort,” he explains, “while a simple palette and natural materials enhance the charm.” Cottages feature original walls and exposed beams and are fitted with relaxed furnishings, woven rugs, and wicker baskets. The cool, neutral tones provide respite from the heat and the brilliant blue of the Adriatic, which is visible from nearly every window. When night falls, Gathy continues, “It’s a magical paradise.”

cottage bedroom suite

ˇ view from villa milocer aman sveti stefan Sveti Stefan, 85315 Montenegro


d estinati o ns | F i j i

Laucala Island First documented by Captain Bligh while aboard the Bounty, Laucala’s sheer beauty could justify mutiny. After Fiji, surely no sailor would return so readily to the cold waters of the North Sea. Since Bligh’s visit, the 3,000-acre isle has been a coconut farm, a cotton plantation, and home to two tycoons. Now, it’s an exclusive resort.


seagrass lounge


hen London-based designer Lynne Hunt was approached to create a resort on a private Fijian island, she let the subequatorial landscape set the brief. Local timber, stone, and thatch were used for plantation-style buildings and traditional bure structures, while driftwood, monkeypod, and coconut were used for furniture. “We photographed timber that was lying on the beach, along with seashells, palm fronds, and roots. All of them influenced the custom furnishings,” says Hunt. “The island has a host of colors in both flora and fauna— the most beautiful birds, flowers, and insects—all were an inspiration to the interiors.” 84 | ENTRA MAGAZINE

plantation residence For the resort’s 25 villas, the designer chose textiles with “texture and movement, hence the shag pile of the organically shaped rugs, the fuzzy armchairs, and the whimsical Florence Broadhurst fabrics.” She turned to local painters and photographers for images of Laucala’s forests and beaches. The resort (the sole occupant of the resource-rich island) raises livestock, bees, and produce to support its five restaurants. It’s even developed its own line of bath products. Aside from hiking, horse-back riding, a hilltop spa, and a fleet of pleasure craft, Laucala Island boasts a championship golf course by Scotsman David McLay Kidd.

seagrass residence laucala island P.O. Box 11479 Nadi Airport Fiji Islands


d estinati o ns | p o r t u g a l


Palace Taking the waters sparked a brilliant idea, but one that was never to be—at least not for the Portuguese royal family. Revolution took the king’s life and his heir’s crown, and democratized his fanciful retreat, which, in an impressive show of adaptability, immediately reinvented itself as a hotel.


cigar bar


n 1908, King Carlos of Portugal enlisted architect Miguel Ventura Terra to build a royal retreat in the village of Vidago, not far from Porto, where he frequented the famed mineral springs. But an assassin’s bullet intervened. Completion of the palace passed to his son King Manuel II, who, in another twist of fate, was deposed the very day before its unveiling in October of 1910. Putting its tumultuous start quickly aside, Vidago Palace instead opened as a grand Belle Époque hotel and spa, and by the 1930s it was the Iberian Peninsula’s most popular resort. To honor its centennial, the hotel reopened last fall after a four-year refurbishment led by Porto’s Pritzker


blue suite Prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza and interior designers José Pedro Lopes Vieira and Diogo Rosa Lã of Bastidor. Their goal was to enhance the existing grandeur while invoking the refined comfort of an English estate (a nod to Manuel, who spent his exile in London). Hand-loomed rugs, painted wall papers, and elaborate tile work are found throughout the resort’s restaurants, bars, library, and 70 guest rooms, ten of which are luxury suites. Rooms have differing color palettes and furnishings, which add to the homey ambiance, but all have high ceilings, tall windows and parkland views. Golfers will find a newly modernized course by Cameron Powell.

green suite vidago palace Parque de Vidago Apartado 16 5425-307 Vidago, Portugal


Hotels in Montenegro, Portugal, and Fiji  

Writer, Entra Magazine, May/June 2011

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