It's like a page out of a travel magazine. Perched on an islet facing the Adriatic Sea, the Aman Sveti Stefan is a village-style resort that has welcomed the rich and famous for years.
People like Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Margaret have walked through its cobbled lanes and shaded courtyards and admired its historical roots as a 500-year-old fishing village. Those were the days when it was a hotel by a different name and different ownership.
In more contemporary times under a new stewardship, it continues to be a magnet to famous people. It was the venue for the wedding of Wimbledon tennis ace Novak Djokovic in July 2014. Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis have holidayed there as well. Celebrities and royalty aside, business tycoons also flocked here to get some peace and quiet. Its first name Aman, after all, means “peace” in Sanskrit. And that’s what it offers in an exclusive setting.
The fortified surroundings are linked to the mainland by a narrow stone causeway. And on the Sveti Stefan beach, within view of the island resort, is located the 8-suite Villa Millocer, which is part of the Aman Sveti Stefan complex. Villa Millocer offers a more intimate experience and was formerly the summer residence for the Serbian royal family in the 1930s.
For the F-PACE drive in April, Jaguar put up its media guests overnight at the Aman Sveti Stefan. At the entrance of the resort was parked an F-PACE First Edition, which seemed apt under the circumstances since this is the sort of car, with its own rich sporting heritage, that would appeal to the clientele that the resort caters to.
No motorised vehicles can enter the islet compounds beyond the main courtyard entrance as the hotel deliberately retained the narrow stone pathways, snaking up various elevations, for walking. It’s like going through a maze but a map from the reception would help you get your bearings quickly. There’s even a church as you walked further in to the side facing the sea. What’s interesting is that the whole area, spanning 12,400 sq metres, is a protected heritage site.
The islet houses 50 rooms, cottages and suites topped with terra-cotta tile roofs. Each accommodation is different from the other and designed to retain the historic atmosphere while having modern amenities such as free WiFi and flatscreen TVs.
The Deluxe Cottage where we stayed had acres of space and would be better suited for a couple or a family of four. It had windows with a fantastic view of the coast and the Mediterranean. The king-size bed was comfortable and service was prompt and discreet.
It was a stay as memorable as the Jaguar F-PACE drive in a country that this writer will personally be coming back to one day.
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Rates range from €770 to €5,000 (RM3,400 to RM22,000) a night depending on accommodation type and season.
Aman Sveti Stefan is part of the ultra-luxe Aman Resorts hotel chain, which operates 31 properties globally. Aman Resorts was started by Adrian Zecha and Anil Thadani with its first boutique resort in Phuket, Thailand, in 1988. Since then, the group has spread across Asia and Europe, Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.