Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
Today: Review of One&Only Portonovi (Montenegro)
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: One&Only Portonovi Resort
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
The Adriatic Sea has a new nautical playground: the ultraluxurious One&Only Portonovi Resort in Montenegro. With its spacious rooms, suites, and villas, Riviera-style dining helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Giorgio Locatelli, and idyllic location at the secluded entrance to Boka Bay (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), this 60-acre retreat is a must-stay for discerning travelers. The resort’s world-class facilities include a private beach, eleven swimming pools, and a fabulous Chenot Espace wellness center.
One&Only Portonovi features in my top 10 list of the best luxury beach resorts in Europe.
Have you ever stayed at One&Only Portonovi? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube video):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- One&Only Portonovi is a perfectly placed sanctuary from which to explore the charms of Montenegro, a still largely undiscovered destination. Standing on the edge between the east and the west, Montenegro has been influenced by different civilizations and religions, creating a unique, fascinating and rich cultural heritage. Besides its historic sites, Montenegro also offers some of Europe’s most spectacular coastal scenery. Medieval castles, Venetian stony walls, and vibrantly painted Orthodox monasteries cling to mountains that rise sharply from crystal-clear waters. It’s easy to get to the hotel as it’s just a one hour drive from either Dubrovnik Airport (Croatia) or Tivat Airport (Montenegro); transfers can be arranged by the resort.
- The ultraluxurious property enjoys a fabulous location at the entrance of Boka Bay, one of the sunniest year-round spots on the Adriatic and often dubbed “the southern-most fjord in Europe.” With its shimmering waters, dramatic mountains and a meandering coastline fringed by lush forest, Boka Bay is one of the most stunning bays in the world and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The bay is home to countless hidden lagoons and coves, as well as century-old moated walled towns like Kotor. Guests of One&Only Portonovi can journey between the many secluded beaches and ancient towns that have preserved their original architecture and charm with the resort’s own private boat.
- One&Only Portonovi is designed by famous architect Jean-Michel Gathy and his team from Denniston International Architects. Taking cues from the culture, history and geography of the destination, the resort’s dazzling architecture has been designed to incorporate the grand façades, majestic colonnades, and gabled terracotta rooftops, symbolic of Montenegrin architecture. The property is comprised of several multi-story, neoclassical pavilions, which are modeled after the historic Venetian-style palaces and mansions of the region. Throughout his design, Gathy kept three words in mind – luxury, space and privacy to ensure ultimate luxury is provided to One&Only’s guests.
- One&Only Portonovi features a magnificent interior design, created by Hirsch Bedner Associates. The decor is at its most beautiful in the majestic lobby, which perfectly frames the views of Boka Bay through enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. Barrel vaulted ceilings in a platinum tone, finished with wood marquetry, encompass the lobby space along with marble walls and floors. Above the heads of guests hangs a canopy of hand-blown glass in smokey, amber tones fixed to a network of intertwining branches that form the shape of a mimosa tree, from which Montenegro’s eponymous national flower sprouts. Beneath the canopy, sits a boulder sculpture crafted in likeness of the region’s topography of jagged cliff edges and jutting rocks.
- Scattered throughout the property, One&Only Portonovi’s 113 residential-style rooms and suites offer a luxurious home-away-from-home experience. During my visit, I stayed in a lovely Bayview Room, which featured a warm color scheme of natural wood flooring and millwork with strokes of grey and burnished bronze. The bathroom doubled as an extended lounge space fitted with a fireplace, a central chaise lounge and a window-side daybed. The latter could be converted into a couples’ tub, designed to face the blissful panoramas of the Adriatic waters beyond. Floor-to-ceiling sliding windows – designed to maximize the views of the bay – gave way to an outdoor patio with views of the beach club and bay, fostering an open feeling.
- One&Only Portonovi is also home to a couple of exclusive three- and four-bedroom villas, which are great for accommodating larger travel parties. The four-bedroom Villa Orjen comes with its own private beach, roof garden and jetty, offering the perfect playground for families. Villa Lovcen boasts panoramic views of the Adriatic with open archways leading onto the villa’s very own courtyard and private gardens. Those in search of ultimate privacy will find it at the blissfully secluded Villa Rumija. A two-storey coastal hideaway within the resort, the residence includes three en-suite bedrooms which open onto landscaped roof decks, each its own private haven of indulgence and relaxation. All three villas have been named after the trio of black mountains that rise from the Adriatic basin and hold great historical significance in the region.
- The resort’s main pavilions – which house the public facilities and accommodations – are surrounded by expansive lawns and lush gardens which are home to 11 swimming pools. The main pool complex is located at the private beach and comprises one large infinity pool which is divided into two interconnecting sections: a serene pool for adults and a relaxing pool for families. At short distance from the main pool, overlooking the beach, are three temperate pools of varying water types and temperatures. Other pools include a 26 m (85-ft) indoor spa swimming pool (more on that below), the lap pool at the lively Tapasake Club, and five private pools across Villa Lovcen, Villa Rumija, Villa Orjen, and the different resort clusters.
- Directly located on the blue, tranquil waters of the Adriatic Sea, One&Only Portonovi offer two different types of beach experiences:
- The resort boasts a pristine golden-sand beach, which is only accessible to guests of the resort (one of the few private sandy beaches in the country). Exuding a serene ambience, the beach area overlooks the magnificent bay and is surrounded by four pools. Plush sun beds with towels and umbrellas are available to guests, and beach service is provided all day long. The beach faces west, offering gorgeous sunset views.
- Located between the main resort and One&Only Private Residences is Tapasake Club, a vibrant pool club and buzzing social spot, which is open to both resort and outside guests. The pool club doesn’t offer a beach as is partly suspended over the water, overlooking the resort’s private yacht harbor. Guests can lounge by the pool during the day (with a choice of sunbeds or luxurious cabanas) and enjoy performances by legendary DJs by night. Tapasake Club is also home to an excellent Japanese restaurant (more on the below).
- Food lovers are spoilt for choice at One&Only Portonovi, a must-visit culinary destination in Montenegro. Championing local producers and specialty farmers, the resort’s award-winning Executive Chef Nancy Kinchela showcases the flavors and culture of Montenegro and the Mediterranean. The property features 3 restaurants and one bar:
- The resort’s signature restaurant, Sabia by Giorgio Locatelli, is helmed by renowned Michelin-starred chef Giorgio Locatelli, his first restaurant on the continent. Serving Southern Italian cuisine with a focus on fresh, locally sourced seafood and vegetables, Sabia offers indoor and outdoor dining, with mesmerizing views of the Adriatic coastline and mountains.
- The resort’s vibrant Tapasake Club is home to a contemporary Japanese restaurant, which serves delicious tapas style dishes of ceviche, carpaccio, sushi and sashimi, as well as a selection of marinated fish and meats cooked over hot coals, along with salads, vegetable tempura, and spicy, flavorsome small bites.
- Traditional local cuisine with a modern twist is offered at La Veranda, One&Only’s authentic Montenegrin restaurant, which is located one floor below the lobby. Each morning, this venue also serves a lavish breakfast buffet (complimented by à la carte dishes).
- The Caminetti Bar is located next to the lobby. Here, guests can marvel at breathtaking sunset views as they sip perfectly crafted cocktails in stylish surroundings.
- For guests who wish to dedicate their time away to a serious health overhaul, One&Only Portonovi is home to a Chenot Espace spa, one of the most comprehensive wellness centers in Europe. Featuring a fabulous design, the spa offers intensive and transformative journey of detoxing and resetting the body based on the renowned Chenot Method. The Chenot Espace wellness center also features hydrotherapy and cryotherapy facilities, sauna and steam rooms, a stunning indoor pool, several relaxation areas and a superb gym, ensuring guests leave feeling fully recharged. A selection of rooms and suites are positioned directly above the space, offering those taking part in multi-day wellness programs easy access and total privacy.
- The resort is managed by One&Only, one of my favorite hotel brands in the world. The fabulous One&Only brand was created in 2002 exclusively for the luxury resort market by Solomon Kerzner – a South African accountant and business magnate – and now features some of the highest-rated resorts in the most idyllic spots in the world, such as the Maldives, Mexico, Rwanda and Cape Town. Each resort in the One&Only collection not only offers unique design and ambiance which embraces the local surroundings, but also an unparalleled commitment to the finest experience on every possible level. Luxurious accommodation is complemented by impeccable service, exclusive wellness sanctuaries, lively entertainment and a host of activities, as well as exquisite culinary adventures from some of the world’s most accomplished chefs.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- Accommodations, food, spa treatments and activities are expensive and priced according to the ultra-chic standard and legendary fame of the One&Only brand (but you should know that going in). Room rates are well above 1000 euros per night in the summer season.
- At 60 acres with over 100 keys, One&Only Portonovi is the largest resort property in Montenegro. The massive scale of the hotel allows for fewer crowds and a peaceful vibe but it can also make getting around a tad more difficult (this is not the place to forget something in your room when you are on the beach). If you are looking for a small and intimate boutique hotel experience, you need to look elsewhere.
- In line with One&Only’s brand policy, a dress code is enforced at the resort’s main restaurant, Sabia by Giorgio Locatelli. For example, gents are asked to don long trousers and shirts for dinner. While the dress code adds to the chic ambiance, it might be slightly uncomfortable during hot and humid summer days.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 10/10
- Pool: 10/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 10/10
- Service: 10/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall experience: exceptional 9,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks at One&Only Portonovi when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like One&Only Portonovi (and/or receive many free perks).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The coastal regions of Montenegro enjoy a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, sunny winters. The coldest months of the year are December and January when temperatures can drop to around 7°C (44°F) at night. The coast is at its best in May, June and September. July and August, are the hottest months when temperatures peak between 30-35°C (85-95°F). November is generally the wettest month.
HOW TO GET THERE
One&Only Portonovi is a one hour drive from Dubrovnik Airport (Croatia) and a 50 min drive from Tivat Airport (Montenegro); transfers can be arranged by the resort.
- Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Tivat
- Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Croatia
PHOTOS OF ONE&ONLY PORTONOVI
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