Aman Sveti Stefan

near Budva, Montenegro Book from

Informal luxury at its best: an Adriatic beach resort spread between an iconic Unesco island and a former royal residence - great for families and romantics alike
Byron had it right: "At the birth of our planet, the most beautiful encounter between land and sea must have been on the Montenegrin coast”. Never is that more evident than at Sveti Stefan. Google Montenegro, and chances are you’ll see this little island several times over. First settled by 15th-century fisherman, it later became a resort but fell into disrepair during the Yugoslavia war. In 2008, Amanresorts conducted a sensitive restoration and renovation, revealing, amongst other things, a hidden centuries-old church. Across the causeway, they also gave Queen Marija’s early 20th-century summer residence a makeover. The end result? Montenegro’s most luxurious boutique hotel was born. 50 rustic-luxe island cottages, an elegant 8-suite villa, and grounds spanning 3 beaches, 3 pools, a spa and myriad restaurants.

Despite its size, Montenegro offers a wild beauty rarely seen in modern-day Europe: steep mountains climb above the coastline and untamed forests cloak the landscape (in their depths, bears and wolves still roam free). It’s refreshing, just like Aman Sveti Stefan’s understated brand of luxury. There are no gaudy colours or ostentatious chandeliers here; just feather-soft beds, enormous rooms and flawless white linens dressing solid wood beds. It all draws focus to the bewitching coastal setting, where kids can play on the beach, busy-bees can unwind in the spa, and romantics can sail the Adriatic at sunset.

Highs

  • The island accommodation is wonderfully comfortable, with attentive yet invisible service. Being pedestrianised and residents only, you get a real sense of privacy and security
  • With just a handful of suites, Villa Milocer on the mainland offers much more personalised service, and many prefer the airy architecture of this more contemporary building
  • Plenty of dining options throughout the resort: an informal Beach Cafe, Mediterranean fare at the Piazza and a sophisticated Signature restaurant
  • With great spa facilities, 3 beaches (2km in total), 3 pools and endless excursions, you could happily spend 2 weeks here
  • Easily combined with a stay in Dubrovnik, which is 2 hours' drive up the coast

Lows

    • Sveti Stefan is a famous landmark and some of the grounds are open to the public so they become busy in summer. However, the island and Villa Miločer's immediate gardens are for resort guests only
    • It’s expensive, but you get impeccable service and high-spec facilities in a unique, iconic location
    • Rates don't include taxes or service charge, and the payment policy varies according to season. The island closes between 1 October-30 April annually, but Villa Milocer's rooms and facilities stay open
    • Some may find the winding layout and many steps on the island frustrating, but we loved the character of it all
    • No twin beds

Best time to go

Montenegro is busiest during the long, hot summer. We prefer visiting in spring or early autumn, when the temperatures are still high enough for swimming but it's easier to explore the country's stunning landscape. As autumn progresses into winter, rainstorms become more prevalent. Sveti Stefan Island closes from October until the end of April, but the mainland rooms and restaurants stay open.

Our top tips

Can't choose between Sveti Stefan Island and Villa Miločer? Many guests spend a few nights at each to get the best of both worlds. Interestingly, most end up with a favourite and will stick to that location during return visits.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Resort
  • 58
  • Restaurants and bars (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Beaches
  • Yoga
Room: Two-bedroom Grand Suite

Rooms

Rooms are divided between Sveti Stefan Island and Villa Miločer, on the mainland. Guests have unlimited access to the entire resort, but the atmosphere at each location varies considerably.

SVETI STEFAN ISLAND has 50 rooms, with simple décor - white walls, natural wood, cappuccino throws - designed to reflect the original 15th-century fisherman’s cottages. No 2 rooms are the same but that’s part of the island's magic; walkways have names like Poetry Lane, fragrant herbs abound and a sociable piazza is at the heart of daily life.

We stayed in a Deluxe Cottage and got acres of space, plus stunning sea and coast views. Waking up to waves and cerulean seas was unforgettable, and more calming than any meditation session. Though Village Rooms and Cottages are more affordable, they look onto rooftops and piazzas, so we’d recommend splashing out on a Deluxe Cottage. If you’re keen to have private outdoor space you might prefer one of the suites.

Families with older children will like the Two-bedroom Grand Suite, where each bedroom is accessed via a shared courtyard. Both have their own lounge and bathroom, while 3 terraces (2 with sea views) ensure there’s plenty of space for everyone to unwind. The 1-bedroom Adriatic Suite also has 3 large terraces, as well a lounge, dining room and pantry. For something really special, the Sveti Stefan Suite can’t be beaten. There's an airy bedroom, lounge and dining room, plus a steam room, large terrace, swimming pool and endless ocean panoramas.

VILLA MILOCER was originally the summer residence of Queen Marija. It's more intimate than the island, with just 8 elegant suites and a refined architectural design that extends to beautifully manicured gardens.

The 6 suites in the main building are near identical: glossier than those on the island with parquet flooring and double-sided glass fireplaces dividing the sleeping and living space. Each suite has a good-sized Juliet balcony looking over gardens or the Adriatic. Families and groups may prefer the privacy of the 2 Queen Marija suites, which sit discreetly beside Villa Miločer’s main building. They’re larger than the other suites and have a shared terrace; views extend over the gardens and towards the beach.

Bathrooms are a strong point regardless of where you stay (island or villa) - most have twin basins, free-standing tubs and showers - and every room has fluffy robes, Aman products and crisp white sheets on the heavenly kingsize bed (no twin beds).

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

There are myriad dining options at the resort. On the island, Signature, a calming haven of cool stone, serves as the resort’s main restaurant, its tall windows gazing across the water towards the rugged coastline. We dined on wafer-thin veal tonnato, followed by perfectly cooked chicken breast with a juicy tomato and balsamic salad. The menu allows you to construct your own dish with a choice of succulents meats and fish, deliciously fresh sides and accompaniments like salsa verde or mushroom ketchup.

The Piazza is reminiscent of traditional island life with a couple of small Mediterranean eateries - The Taverna and the Antipasti Bar. Wonderfully informal, these are great spots for relaxed family dinners or sociable drinks later in the evening.

At Villa Miločer, the Loggia and Dining Room offer classic and contemporary Adriatic dishes for lunch and dinner. Breakfasts can be taken here or at Signature - an enticing morning menu of healthy Bircher muesli and fresh fruit, as well as indulgences like buttermilk pancakes with banana and honeycomb.

There are 2 more dining spaces on the mainland. Families love the Beach Café’s relaxed all-day alfresco dining (open June-August), while the independently managed The Olive Tree has a prime position beside Sveti Stefan Beach.

The resort also offers a comprehensive room-service menu, and tasty picnics if you're off on a day trip (request in advance). If you're here for a special occasion, seize the opportunity for a sunset dinner cruise on the Adriatic - magical.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

Day trips: personalised excursions can be arranged to the following sites (amongst others):

  • Wander the narrow pathways of Kotor’s Old Town or visit the tiny Baroque village of Perast: both are beautiful coastal settlements with rich histories. Seek out a better view by climbing Kotor's hilltop fort or sailing to Perast's nearby island
  • Cetinje and Lovcen: Montenegro’s ex-capital city hides in the lofty reaches of Lovcen national park - expect beautifully preserved artefacts at Cetinje’s museums and breathtaking mountain views
  • Lake Skadar: take a boat tour through the largest lake on the Balkan peninsula, where lily pads span for miles and birdlife flourishes - look out for the endangered Dalmatian pelican and black ibis
  • Get out on the Adriatic: sailing, fishing and diving are all available, and the island has a private mooring for guests. Trips to Kotor Bay and sunset cruises are popular
  • Wine-tasting: there are numerous family-run vineyards where you can try wines produced from the indigenous Vranac grape

    Back at Aman Sveti Stefan:
  • Chill on the 3 sandy beaches, or laze by one of the 3 pools (the one at the spa is adults only)
  • Indulge at the Aman Spa with its indoor/outdoor pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room. Treatments include Thai massage, reflexology, manicures and facials
  • Hike through the resort’s woodland, book a yoga session, borrow bicycles or work out in the gym

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Picnics
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Private guided tours
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
    • Wine tasting
    • Yoga
  • Kids

    Children of all ages are welcome, and families will love the security of the self-contained, vehicle-free Sveti Stefan Island. With 3 beaches, 2 child-friendly pools, a weekly activities schedule (advance booking required) and expansive grounds there's plenty of ways for kids to let off steam. Babies and children under 12 years stay for free in an extra bed or baby cot.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Most rooms have space for 1 extra bed or baby cot (the Village Room is for 2 people max).

    Villa Milocer: the 2 Queen Marija Suites are located in a separate building and are very spacious and secluded with a shared terrace - great for couples with an older child.

    Sveti Stefan Island: the Grand Suite has space for 2 extra beds, and the Two-bedroom Grand Suite has 2 bedrooms (each with a private lounge and ensuite bathroom) accessed via a private courtyard - great for families with older children.

    Babysitting:

    Available on request

    Baby equipment:

    • Baby cots
    • High chairs

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    • Children's breakfast menu: pastries, cereal, juice
    • Children's lunch and dinner menu: soups, sandwiches, burgers and puddings
    • The Piazza, on Sveti Stefan Island, offers informal breakfasts and Mediterranean-style lunches and dinners
    • The Beach Cafe and The Olive Grove, on the mainland, are open for informal lunches and dinners

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Two child-friendly pools
    • Three beaches (Queen's Beach closed in winter)
    • Treasure hunts
    • Pizza making
    • Kids watersports and games (lifeguard present)
    • Drawing classes
    • Kids yoga

    Families Should Know:

    • General physician on-call 24 hours a day (located in Budva)
    • The island has lots of steps and uneven walkways, so you'll have to keep a close eye on toddlers
    • The Cliff Pool and and Aman spa pool are not suitable for children

    Distances:

    • Airport: 35 minutes' drive (Tivat)
    • Shops (including a pharmacy): 5 minutes' drive (just outside the resort)
    • Hospital: 15 minutes (Budva)
    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    10/
    Rooms
    9/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    9/
    Value
    9/
    Overall

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