A “buen retiro” both for those who are just passing by and for those who decide to stay longer, Porto Montenegro is perfectly organized to host boats of all sizes, but also the surroundings contribute to making berthing here a pleasant experience
by Niccolò Volpati – photo by A. Jaredic, T. Kawana, Z. Radonjic, D. Sevaljevic
As soon as I landed in Montenegro, I was welcomed by a young guide who accompanied me for a tour of Kotor. Since my knowledge of the Republic of Montenegro is absolutely scarce, I started off on the tour rather curious to find out more. Kotor has a medieval historic town centre, which is intact and well preserved, with an infinite number of little streets and alleys that climb up from the sea. The tour guide explains to me that the first settlements in the area are from the Venetian period and date as far back as the II century B.C. The young man is not only well informed, but it is also easy to see that he is passionate about his job and is very good at it. All around you can breathe and sense the culture.
Neither the wars, including the one in the 1990s which led to the end of Yugoslavia, nor the tourism of recent years have succeeded in uprooting this intrinsic characteristic of Montenegro. And Kotor is fascinating, not only due to the medieval town, but also due to its bay and all the Nature that surrounds it. It is a bay, actually two, one after the other, with a very particular shape. It feels almost like being at a lake, both because of its size, but also because the two bays offer total shelter from the Adriatic Sea. It is easy to see why the Venetians settled here, and why, many years after them, the navies came to this place and, consequently, the shipyards.
Luckily, for some years now, the armies have been withdrawing and the facilities that assisted them have gone with them. The requalification of some of these areas has led to the creation of Porto Montenegro. Until now, I was convinced that the Marina was an attractive place for mega and giga yachts, in view of the particularly favourable tax conditions. But after only a few days I noticed that this is not really the case, or rather, not only.
The Bay of Kotor has always represented an ideal natural shelter. The first thing that impressed me about the harbour is that this may be the only case in the world of a marina with a less than one metre tall breakwater. The bay is in fact so protected that waves simply cannot take shape. Sirocco, Libeccio or Bora, there is no wind nor direction that can truly worry anyone berthed inside the Bay.
There are 459 berths on the dock. Everything is organized to make life easier for commanders, crews, and owners. This is true of the bunkering docks, because it is no easy task to refuel a 100-metre yacht, but also of the assistance during customs or bureaucratic procedures. However, Porto Montenegro is not only the “buen retiro” of those who are travelling by boat or are on board for work. Both the Marina and all the facilities on land work busily to make everyone’s stay as pleasant as possible.
In Porto Montenegro I liked the integration between hotel facilities and the docks at the harbour. They are not two separate environments, but rather one is the continuation of the other. And the same can be said for the stores, restaurants, and services offered. Although it is an exclusive environment, you never get the feeling that you are in a gilded cage. You never feel separated, detached, distant from the rest of the territory. The bars and pastry shop of the hotel, for instance, can be accessed both from inside and outside the building. This means that customers could be both guests at the hotel, and people on board a berthed boat, or again, other people who are simply passing by in the harbour area.
The hotel is currently expanding, and the construction work will be finished shortly. It is equipped with pools, a spa, bars and restaurants. There is also a Yacht Club where parties, concerts, and events take place. The event calendar is packed, in particular during summer with the Super Wine Festival and the Fashion Show. But the activities offered here are not limited to event organization. There are also other activities taking place on a daily basis, such as the sailing courses for adults and children. Sailing is particularly pleasant here, especially with drifts, because you never run the risk of finding a rough sea. And when the wind is still, thermal breezes rise around noon.
The only true downside is the fact that Montenegro is not too large, and only a few kilometres away you are already in Croatia. So you need to go through customs, but this is precisely why the port facilities have been equipped to make these operations as simple and quick as possible. The intention is to attract the many boats that transit through here during the summer. And particularly in recent years, those who want to moor their boats here, can count on a growing number of direct flights, both international and intercontinental.
(Porto Montenegro, a luxury marina – Barchemagazine.com – Novembre 2018)