Sveti Stefan: A luxury legacy of communism

By Rob Packer

Looking back on it, Yugoslavia really had my kind of communists: sometime after breaking with Stalin in the 1950’s, Tito’s government requisitioned Sveti Stefan, a small and incredibly picturesque island fishing village on the Montenegrin coast to turn it into a luxury resort whose guests included Sofia Loren, Princess Margaret and Marilyn Monroe.

When Yugoslavia fell apart during the 1990’s, the bottom fell out of the Montenegrin tourism industry and the resort closed. It has now reopened as part of Aman Resorts and from the pictures on its website it is obviously aiming for luxury and exclusivity – or maybe eksklyusivnost.

Exclusivity comes at a price though: the place is strictly off-limits to non-guests.

Sveti Stefan, luxury resort in a communist state.

The closest I was getting to Sveti Stefan this time.

The other view from Sveti Stefan.

White Elephants? Tourism in Montenegro

By Rob Packer

In southeast Asia when a subject overstepped the mark, the king sometimes gave him a white elephant, a holy animal requiring elaborate care and a ban on paying its way by working; in most cases, this “gift” bankrupted the recipient and the term white elephant has come into the English and French languages to mean something that is very expensive to maintain with very little gain. The term doesn’t exist in all languages and certainly doesn’t in Serbian: one of the real estate agencies I saw in Budva was called Bijeli Slon, which means White Elephant. Not exactly what Montenegro’s government has in mind as it develops its tourism infrastructure at breakneck pace.

White elephants on the Montenegrin coast.

Budva's harbour: count the yachts.

Montenegro is often touted as an “undiscovered Mediterranean jewel” Read more of this post

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