Montenegrin 'jewel' revived by Balkan peace

A luxury hotel on a Montenegrin island attracted the rich and famous before the Balkan wars, but declined in the 1990s. After more than a decade of peace, it is flourishing again.

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    Sveti Stefan can only be accessed by a causeway.
    Nick Squires
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• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

With its crescent-shaped beaches and terra-cotta-roofed houses overlooking the shimmering Adriatic Sea, it is little wonder that the island of Sveti Stefan was a favored hideaway for celebrities in the 1950s and ’60s.

The hotel Saint Stephen attracted the likes of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Britain’s Princess Margaret, and Sophia Loren. But the hotel went into sharp decline in the 1990s as a result of the wars that ripped apart Yugoslavia.

Now the island hotel, off the coast of Montenegro and accessible only to guests, has been revamped by Singapore-based Aman Resorts and is set to reclaim its title as one of the jewels in the crown of this tiny Balkan country. The five-star resort costs €700 (about $1,000) a night. A deluxe suite, with a swimming pool and a garden, is €2,500 (about $3,600) night.

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