Portonovi is a new high-end resort community on Montenegro’s Unesco World Heritage-listed Boka Bay.
The €828 million (US$1 billion) coastal super-development in Herceg Novi, built from scratch on the site of a former military base by Azmont Investments, has a D-Marin superyacht marina and Europe’s first One&Only hotel resort with a restaurant headed by Michelin star chef Giorgio Locatelli, a Chenot Espace wellness center and private beaches. It is designed to lure the global jet set, with property prices reaching up to almost €10 million.
The tiny Balkans republic of Montenegro has become a new, must-see European destination and its coastline on the Adriatic sea has changed dramatically in the past 12 years with the arrival of new developments that mainly cater to the high-end market. Porto Montenegro, a marina and residential development funded, in part, by Canadian billionaire Peter Monk and launched in 2008, was the catalyst for its reinvention.
Meanwhile, international visitor numbers have soared and hit record pre-pandemic levels, according to the Government of Montenegro website. Visitors include Victoria and David Beckham’s oldest son, Brooklyn, who is set to marry at the Aman Sveti Stefan resort outside Budva.
Montenegro’s coastal area, which has been dubbed as the new French Riviera or Monaco without the price tag for its ritzy resorts and unspoiled scenery, has a film-set worthy location, with its kaleidoscope of orange red terracotta roofs, green valleys and limestone cliffs, which reflect mirror-like into the calm, blue-green waters.
Portonovi lies on Montenegro’s northern Adriatic coastline. It sits at the entrance of the Bay of Kotor (or Boka Bay), which is formed of a ria (a drowned river valley open to the sea), and has the drama and scenery of a fjord. Picture tall limestone cliffs, green valleys and headlands, and crystal-clear waters.
The E65 road forms its northern border while the Adriatic Sea lies along its southern border. Its western edge is bordered by the coastal town of Herceg Novi, which has 15th-century origins, imposing fortresses and winding streets, while its eastern edge is formed of the E65 road.
Portonovi has a total of 218 residences, including 50 rental properties, which are currently under construction. Studios start from €345,000; one-beds start from €550,000; two-beds start from €975,000; three-beds from €1.15 million; and four-beds start from €1.84 million. Sky Villas (duplex penthouse apartments), meanwhile, start from €7.95 million and One&Only private homes from €9.85 million.
Portonovi’s 218 homes are spread across the Village Residences, Marina Residences, Sky Villas and the One&Only Portonovi private homes, and each one is different in size and the views they offer.
The 64-acre resort town has the look of a Mediterranean village, with low-rise waterfront buildings, home to apartments, shops (opened in 2019), bars and restaurants interwoven with landscaped paths, along with waterfront promenades, landscaped green spaces and a central square. Its architecture reflects that of the Adriatic coast and nearby historic towns such as Herceg Novi, according to Azmont Investments.
Though most homes at Portonovi have views of the water, Marina Residences are right on the waterfront and offer the best view of the sea and Boka Bay. The 16 penthouse flats, which are spread across the scheme, overlook the waterfront and feature private infinity pools, ranging from 26 square meters and 32 square meters, spacious terraces, private elevator access and panoramic sea views.
Portonovi’s service, facilities and amenities makes it unique, according to its developer.
Aside from the resort, Boka Bay’s surroundings offer mountain hiking and trekking while its coastline has sailing opportunities and underwater caves for swimmers and snorkelers. Good skiing can be found at the resorts of Vucje (2hrs 20min), Lokvem (4 hrs), and Hajla (5 hrs).
There’s plenty of culture, restaurants, cafes and shops in Herceg Novi, as well as in the historic town of Perast (14 miles), which neighbors the Our Lady of the Rocks islet, and the walled, medieval and Venetian-created Kotor (22 miles). Meanwhile, wellness-lovers will appreciate the unspoilt environment, clean air and pure waters.
The Portonovi resort community features the D-Marin Portonovi Marina, which has capacity for 238 berths for yachts up to 120 meters long. Portonovi residents who have yachts can utilise these berths. Owners of the One&Only private homes, meanwhile, have their own private berths. These 10 homes also have their own individual private beaches and will be launched later in the year.
The One&Only Portonovi, which will be built in the style of Venetian palaces of the region, is the heart of the village and opens in spring this year. It has a private sandy beach and the Chenot Espace wellness center—an innovative spa offering a range wellness treatment, which blends Chinese medicine and western technology, “next generation technology” in skincare and one-to-one fitness training.
In addition, Portonovi village has services and amenities for the community such as a kindergarten school, public parks, two art galleries and the Portonovi Beach Club. There is also a gourmet supermarket Idea, fine dining restaurant Bloom, a gelateria, a bank, beauty salon, gymnasium and over 20 private swimming pools.
In the evenings, the Maison du Monde cafe serves the finest French Cognac, while Koffein coffee shop transforms into a lounge and hosts regular lives performances from jazz singers to DJs, and has a backdrop of the bay and mountains.
At One&Only, there’s restaurant Sabia, which has dishes that feature Locatelli’s signature Italian and Mediterranean flavours; Tapasake Club, an Asian fusion restaurant, and La Veranda, which offers home-style cooking and Montenegrin dishes in addition to the Caminetti Bar serving cocktails.
Wealthy parents enroll their children into the Arcadia Academy—a Cambridge International School in Ljesevici just outside Tivat for students aged 3 through to 18 that offers a British education.
Who Lives There
Ahmet Erentok, chairman of Azmont Investments, Portonovi’s developer,said he expects Portnovi residents to be “global citizens who want a safe haven in an idyllic location and, as such, we’ve seen interest from the U.K., Europe, Russia and America.”
U.K.-born Michael Ward, who lives around the bay in Tivat with his wife, Amra and their two children, aged 12 and 14, said the “way of life in Montenegro is ‘Mediterranean,’ which ironically took several years of dedicated practice before we could fully adjust. The local culture is very traditional and family-based with a healthy focus on food and drink.”
Mr. Ward and Mrs. Ward, who from is Mostar in neighboring Bosnia, bought a holiday home on the Bay of Kotor in 2002 and then moved there permanently in 2004. The couple now run a property development and management business, MoHo Montenegro (www.moho.co.me), specialising in building exceptional luxury homes.
“We also feel very safe here, as a family with young children and in terms of our business risk, both of which may not be an obvious attraction given the turbulent history of the wider region,” he added. (Montenegro was once part of Yugoslavia, a soviet state that collapsed after an armed conflict between the years of 1992 and 1995.)
Miroslav Mišković, owner of Delta Holding and Serbia’s second-richest man he lives about 10 minutes’ away towards Herceg Novi old town, and his family often use the marina at Portonovi, according to the developer. Serbian businessman and politician Bogoljub Karić, meanwhile, also has a house in Herceg Novi.
Agents predict that Portonovi has the potential to boost the property market in its surrounding area, including Herceg Novi, in a similar way to how Porto Montenegro has transformed the fortunes of Tivat.
A forecast report for October 2020 to March 2021 by Savills’s affiliate Dream Estates found that Porto Montenegro development has pushed up demand for the Tivat area overall. The increase in the value of non-prime Tivat property is solely attributed to what Dream Estates called the “Porto Montenegro effect.” The report said homes in Tivat cost an average of €2,700 per square meter in 2019, making it the most expensive area in Montenegro, mansion global wrote.