The speedboat sliced through the glassy waters of Boka Bay. A crown of granite-colored mountains surrounded me from every angle, and the red-tiled roofs from stony medieval villages peeked out from the sweeping shoreline. This was how the One&Only Portonovi gave me my first taste of Montenegro.
Boka Bay appears as though it has been lifted from the pages of a fairytale. The bay is shaped like a bow — wide on two ends with a narrow channel connecting them. From every angle, you have gorgeous views of the imposing Orjen and Lovcen mountains. The towns and coastlines around Boka Bay, sometimes referred to as the Bay of Kotor, have come to be known as the Montenegrin Riviera. And while at the far end of the bay you have the city of Kotor, a walled medieval city with centuries of history, my journey in Montenegro began at the small seaside town of Herceg Novi, a rising star in the luxury landscape thanks to the debut of the One&Only resort.
The sprawling resort enjoys coveted real estate on a stretch of sandy beach on Boka Bay. With gorgeous landscaped grounds, sparkling turquoise pools, soaring ceilings and rounded archways, it’s easy to believe you’ve stepped out of reality and into a storybook palace.
In fact, the resort was designed to reflect the architectural style of the old Venetian palaces of the region. Guests lounge regally poolside at one of its many pools or sip fine Italian wines at the al fresco Italian restaurant Sabia while sampling southern Italian cuisine. On the other end of the resort, the Tapasake Club offers a more playful pool club atmosphere complete with DJs, sushi and a sake bar.
Each of the 123 guestrooms and suites is positioned for views of the marina, bay and mountains. Rooms are equipped with sleek, modern fireplaces, deep soaking tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious terraces. Bathrooms are equal in size to the bedrooms and double as a space where you can lounge thanks to plush sofas and spacious vanities. A cozy robe and a glass of Champagne create the most posh pampering experience.
But where the One&Only Portonovi really treats its guests like high society is in the service and its signature experiences. From the luxury med spa to private boat tours around Boka Bay and secluded forest hikes through the Orjen and Lovcen mountains, each experience makes guests feel like a VIP.
I was fortunate enough to try a little bit of everything. Starting with our speedboat tour of the bay, this is the perfect way to gain a sense of place. Our guide took us from the private dock of the resort to nearly every corner of Boka Bay. The tour even included a stop at the dreamlike Our Lady of the Rocks island in the center of the bay. The small, rocky island is home to a turquoise-domed church, whose origins date back to the 15th century. We also sped up to the doorstep of Kotor’s Old Town, and then over to Tivat, the original millionaire’s enclave along the bay, known for its luxury yachts, glamorous shopping and expensive restaurants.