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Montenegro’s Feel-Good Island

Design

01 Sneak Peak Mamula Island
  • Words Vidula Kotian
  • Date 08 June 2022

Combine your lust for adventure with your desire for luxury at the Mamula Island hotel, set to open this summer in a carefully restored 19th-century fort at the entrance of UNESCO World Heritage Site Bay of Kotor, in Montenegro. The hotel will speak to lovers of design, nature, wellness, and culture.

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Old town of Perast In the Bay of Kotor

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View of the mainland Stunning mountains

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A dip In the clear waters of the Adriatic Sea

First, there is its insular location with 360-degree views of the glimmering Adriatic Sea. The heritage building was built as a fortress in 1852 by the Austro-Hungarian general Lazar Mamula, who gave the island as well as the hotel its name. Many of the structure’s original elements were painstakingly restored, while the design by weStudio Berlin takes inspiration from the fort’s arches and courtyards to create a recurring series of archways that add to the guests’ immersive experience. Here, local craftmanship—be it pottery or joinery techniques—come together with midcentury style and local abstract art for a modern interpretation of a retreat. “Harnessing the contemplative atmosphere resonating from the island, our intent was to create a place of wonder,” says designer Piotr Wisniewski of the project.

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View of Mamula Island from Arza The neighboring Austro-Hungarian fortress on shore

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Restoration The hotel worked closely with the heritage authorities

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Original beauty The idea was to reconstruct and preserve

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Up to 9 layers Carefully restored frescas decorate the Sky suites

Art plays an important role at Atelier Mamula, a creative space that will host artists in residence and workshops, as well as sound cultural and artistic programming throughout to introduce guests to the local art scene, among others. The hotel is also collaborating with a fine arts university in Cetinje to support young talent in the region. Taking over the creative reins in the kitchen is French-Canadian chef Erica Archambault, a rising star from the Michelin-starred Septime, in Paris. Her dishes will be influenced by the flavor-rich border cuisines of Montenegro, all enhanced by savoir-faire French cooking techniques.

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Many passageways Reinstates the fort's function as a shelter

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Supplies Changing weather conditions made the island inaccessible at times

Housed in a tower, the one-of-a-kind spa will offer the finest natural healing treatments, using skincare by Ananné. Expect water and heat therapies, halotherapy (salt therapy), and a floating experience, as well as yoga and meditation, sound healing, and hiking. An impressive glass-domed inner atrium connects the different areas of the spa and lends itself to both rest and a sense of community.

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Modern retreat Contemporary design elements come together with natural materials

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Unique Each room has its own configuration thanks to the heritage building

“Harnessing the contemplative atmosphere resonating from the island, our intent was to create a place of wonder.”

Piotr Wisniewski, weStudio Berlin

The hotel indulges with various outdoor spaces, such as the three pools in the center of the fort augmented by greenery, lounge areas, and the restaurant. Outside the fortress, a generous deck above the rocks lets you greet the day with a gorgeous sunrise over the Adriatic. A serviced beach on the north end of the island provides relaxing sunbeds and views of the entrance to the Bay as well as the distant town of Herceg Novi. All in all, this serene getaway will once again function as a sanctuary, transforming the onslaught of the everyday into something extraordinary.

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Offshore Sunset in the olive groves of the Lustica peninsula

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Boat transfer Adds to the feeling of remoteness of the island

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Boat ride On the Adriatic

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On the north side View of the Mamula Island beach

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