Hotel Forza Mare

near Kotor, Montenegro Book from Eur200

A glittering jewel on the Bay of Kotor coastline, with 10 bedrooms, a sweet spa and fine cuisine in the romantic over-water restaurant
My boyfriend sits captivated by colourful shoals of fish beside our table; soon I give up trying to coax conversation out of him and simply stare out across the bay. Twinkling lights shine below shadowy mountain peaks, and it's all duplicated in the rippling water around us. It’s dusk at Forza Mare’s bayside restaurant and we’re enjoying a delicious dinner of smoked dorada and fresh carpaccio, washed down with a smooth Montenegrin red recommended to us by George, our affable waiter. Candles are lit and gauzy linens cloak the covered dining area, framing the watery view. If it weren’t for the fish distraction, it’d all be terribly romantic.

Forza Mare is fun Balkan indulgence at its best; just 10 individually decorated bedrooms await, each designed to capture a different geographical location, and all accessed by a sleek staircase spiralling around a bling-tastic cascading chandelier. A bijou spa plus secluded pool and private pebbled beach add up to utter relaxation, but you’re also within easy reach the historic walled-city of Kotor, pretty Perast village, and mountainous Lovćen national park. Hire a car and embark on a romantic mini adventure through this fascinating country.

Highs

  • Excellent service; friendly, efficient staff go above and beyond to ensure you have everything you need
  • The large Executive Rooms have lovely sheltered balconies with panoramic views over the Bay of Kotor
  • A great spa for a hotel of this size, complete with massage room, Jacuzzi, hammam and sauna. There's an alfresco Jacuzzi too, looking out to sea
  • We loved the over-water restaurant’s cool, breezy atmosphere, perfect for indulgent dinners and light lunches in the sun
  • Easy access to Dubrovnik (and its airport), allowing for a 2-base holiday or easy day trips to the famous city

Lows

  • A small town, Dobrota is quite quiet, but lively Kotor is close (a 5-minute drive or 1-hour walk)
  • The pool is small and tucked away at the back of the property, but there's a private beach beside the sea for sunbathing and swimming
  • The Deluxe and Standard Rooms lack views of the bay, and their balconies aren’t large enough to sit out
  • A small road divides the hotel building from the dining terrace and beach area, but there's little traffic and this is the norm for Montenegrin waterfront hotels
  • The piped music in the restaurant won't be to everyone’s taste

Best time to go

Montenegro is busiest during the long, hot summer (June-August). 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 and many coastal businesses close; Hotel Forza Mare tends to close from early October until late March.

Our top tips

Use of the spa is complimentary but staff limit the number of guests using it at any one time. Usually the limit is 2 people, so it's worth booking ahead to bag yourselves an indulgent afternoon.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 26 Oct 2015 - 9 Apr 2016...
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Private beach
Room: Standard Room

Rooms

Having just 10 rooms and suites has allowed plenty of space for individual, creative design. Each room’s aesthetic is based on a different geographic location: from Buddhist murals and paisley fabrics in the India Executive Room, to carved masks and natural wood in the Africa Standard Room.

We felt the Executive Rooms were the real show-stoppers. They’re extra spacious inside, but their real strength lies beyond the sliding glass doors where sheltered balconies look across the water to the rocky peaks beyond. In summer, you’ll gaze out to glass-perfect mountain reflections; as the seasons shift you might be lucky enough to watch a storm tumble over the hills and race across the bay - autumn storms are quite a treat here.

If your budget is limited, you might be tempted by a Standard Room, but we'd encourage you to upgrade to a Deluxe, as these have more space and privacy. Ours, a Montenegro-themed Deluxe Room, was on the first-floor with a partial sea view, but most look out to the simple garden, and possibly the hills beyond. Though all have glass doors for balcony access, the balconies themselves are either too narrow to sit out, or are shared with a neighbouring room.

Ensuite bathrooms have stylish mosaic tiling, enormous rain showers, sumptuous Prija products and piles of fluffy white towels to match the crisp white sheets on your kingsize bed. Note there are no twin rooms.

Features include:

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

Eating

Dinner was the highlight of our stay: the dining terrace is fabulous at any time of day, but especially at night, when gauzy linens are pulled around the pergola, creating a magical backdrop for the candlelit tables and moonlit bay. Service is impeccable - our waiter George was knowledgeable but discreet, allowing us to soak up the beautiful setting.

So to the food. We each enjoyed a different 5-course spectacular, with dishes including smoked doroda, fresh fish carpaccio, beef carpaccio, goats’ cheese with vegetables, steak, and a salt-baked sea bass fillet (all excellent). For pudding we shared a delicious fruit, cream and pastry concoction, though we were sorely tempted by the hotel's ice cream parlour.

Breakfast is a continental buffet, including hams, cheeses, cereal, fresh fruit and yoghurts, plus fresh fruit juice and the option of a cooked dish. If the weather turns, there’s an elegant indoor dining space with open views of the bay, as well as a cute 50s-style bar for afternoon drinks and informal lunches.

Dobrota has a couple of other restaurants, but if you feel like dining out you’re likely to end up in Kotor Old Town (a 5-minute drive). Staff can make recommendations and bookings and order taxis. The hotel also has a partnership with the exclusive Sveti Stefan resort, which allows Forza Mare guests to visit the island restaurant for dinner (enquire for details, request in advance).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Head to the walled Old Town of Kotor (4km), where there are myriad churches and museums for daytime culture-vultures, as well as buzzy open-air cafes, bars and restaurants
  • The hotel can arrange private boat tours of the bay, including visits to Our Lady of the Rocks, a man-made islet holding a tiny 17th-century church. You’ll also sail past its neighbour Ostrvo Sveti Dorde, a beautiful island monastery off limits to the general public
  • Spend a day relaxing in nearby Perast: lounge on the small beach or jetties, swim in the Adriatic sea, and tour the handful of museums and churches that chronicle the village's rich history
  • Kotor Bay is so sheltered, it's the perfect place to try sea-kayaking - we saw plenty of groups paddling along the coast. Alternatively, go diving; there are stunning caves and shipwrecks to be explored
  • Drive south of Budva to the famous Sveti Stefan island (1 hour), an ancient fishing village turned 21st-century luxury resort. The island itself is closed to the public, but it’s a stunning site to behold from the surrounding beaches (use of which is expensive) and woodland. Nearby beaches in Budva and on the Lustica peninsula can be used free of charge
  • Explore beyond the coast; Lake Skadar, the largest freshwater lake in the Balkans, is an unmissable natural wonder where lily-pad-covered waters carve through the mountains. Visitor can take boat trips, windsurf (in certain areas), or hike the surrounding national park (1.5 hours' drive)
  • Back at Forza Mare, relax on the hotel’s private beach, swim in the sea, unwind in the spa or book a massage

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Hotel Forza Mare welcomes all ages, but it's a stylised setting and popular with couples, so it's probably best suited to well-behaved children.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

The Deluxe and Executive Rooms each have space for a rollaway bed or baby cot.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot
  • High chairs

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

Kids Activities on site:

  • Arm bands
  • Snorkel masks

Families Should Know:

The hotel is split over 4 floors so there are lots of steps. There are also a lot of high terraces, and the water beside the restaurant and beach is deep and unfenced.

Distances:

  • Airport: 11km (Tivat)
  • Shop: 0.4km
  • Hospital: 2km
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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