Sveti Stefan

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Sveti Stefan
Свети Стефан
Sveti Stefan (06).jpg
Sveti Stefan Island Town
Sveti Stefan is located in Montenegro
Sveti Stefan
Location within Montenegro
General information
LocationSveti Stefan Islet, Budva Municipality, Montenegro
Coordinates42°15′21″N 18°53′28″E / 42.25583°N 18.89111°E / 42.25583; 18.89111Coordinates: 42°15′21″N 18°53′28″E / 42.25583°N 18.89111°E / 42.25583; 18.89111
OpeningDecember 2008
OwnerAman Resorts
Other information
Number of rooms51[1]
Number of suites8
Aman Sveti Stefan
Sveti Stefan private beach
Miločer Park and Villa "Miločer"

Sveti Stefan (Montenegrin and Serbian: Свети Стефан, pronounced [sv̞ê̞ːtiː stê̞faːn]; lit. "Saint Stephen") is a small islet and 5-star hotel resort on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro, approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) southeast of Budva.[2] The resort is known commercially as Aman Sveti Stefan and includes part of the mainland, where the Villa Miločer (pronounced [vîla mîlɔ̝tʃe̞r]) is located. The hotel is now a 5-star franchise of the international group of Aman Resorts, completed in 2009 and operating under a 30-year lease. The hotel has been closed since early 2020 with no reopening date.

Sveti Stefan was an island but is now connected to the mainland by a narrow tombolo. The resort in total contains 50 rooms, cottages, and suites on the island, and 8 grand suites at the Villa Miločer.


The island has a 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) coast line in the central part of Montenegro Adriatic coast line. It is situated to the south of Budva between Pržno and Sveti Stefan villages. The pink sandy beaches of Sveti Stefan, Miločer Beach, and Queen's Beach are part of the coastline. The island encompasses an area of 12,400 m2 (133,000 sq ft). (0.0124 km²)[3]


The earliest record of Sveti Stefan is as the capital city of the Paštrovići community, which became a protectorate of the Republic of Venice in 1423, having been independent since the twelfth century. The Paštrovići accepted Venetian sovereignty because they were fearful of attack from the Turks. They retained considerable autonomy and paid no tribute to Venice, in return for ceasing piracy against Venetian ships.[4]

According to a legend recounted by Stjepan Mitrov Ljubiša, the town fortification was funded after Paštrovići looted Turkish ships moored in front of Jaz during Barbarossa's siege of Kotor in 1539. The town was razed shortly after, during the Fourth Ottoman–Venetian War. After continuous pleas by Paštrovići, the Venetian Republic agreed to rebuild it in the 16th century.[5] In the 15th century, the fortified village was built to defend against the Turks and became a haven for pirates of the Adriatic.[6]

Initially, the island with its fortress had twelve families. In the 1800s, a village was established on the island with a population of about 400 people. Villa Miločer was built between 1934 and 1936 as the summer residence of Queen Marija Karađorđević (1900–1961) of the Karađorđević family of Serbia, which was refurbished as part of the Aman Sveti Stefan resorts that opened in 2008–2009.[3] The villa, surrounded by 800 olive trees, is laid out over a 32-hectare (79-acre) plot.[7]

The population of the island declined in the first half of the twentieth century, as residents left to join the armed forces or to move overseas. From 400 inhabitants in the nineteenth century, there were just 20 remaining by 1954. The Yugoslav government converted it into a luxury hotel and moved the remaining inhabitants to the mainland, and the island village became an exclusive resort frequented by high-profile elites of the world.[5]

One of the four churches belonging to Praskvica Monastery on Sveti Stefan was turned into a casino by the government.[8] The resort was visited by many celebrities, including Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe,[2] Princess Margaret, Carlo Ponti, Ingemar Stenmark, and Kirk Douglas.[9] It was described as "a '70s Adriatic playground on a hilly peninsula that's barely connected to the mainland".[10] It was also a venue for political conferences[11] and an occasional chess venue, attracting top-class players such as Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer.[12][13] However, the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s brought a decline to the resort.

The Government of Montenegro proposed to recreate the old charm of the island, inviting international bids for a revitalization project. The contract was awarded to Aman Resorts in 2007, and the refurbished resort was completed in 2009.[3] The Aman Sveti Stefan has a 30-year lease.[14][15] On 13 July 2010 Montenegrin Statehood Day, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli gave a concert at the resort to mark the Golden Jubilee of the hotel.[16] The hotel won the Hotel of the Year award from Gallivanter's Guide in 2010.

The hotel closed due to the pandemic, and remains closed with no announced reopening date. In communication to guests and media, Aman has indicated security concerns and conflicts with government entities as reasons for continued closure.[17][18]


The Aman Sveti Stefan resort has 58 guest rooms, cottages, and suites, including 8 suites that are part of the Villa Miločer. The Villa Miločer was built between 1934 and 1936 as the summer residence of Queen Marija Karadordevic (1900–1961). Out of the eight suites of Villa Miločer, two are Queen Marija Suites forming an annex structure.[3][19] The main dining of the resort on the island of Sveti Stefan is The Piazza, an open-air square in the heart of the island's village which includes the Taverna, Enoteca, Pasticceria, an Antipasti Bar, and a Cigar Room.[3]


  1. ^ Sveti Stefan Island
  2. ^ a b Amy Louise Bailey (22 November 2017). "Aman Sveti Stefan, Montenegro – hotel review". Evening Standard.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Aman Sveti Stefan" (PDF).
  4. ^ Lovett Fielding Edwards (1974). The Yugoslav coast. Batsford. p. 45. ISBN 9780713428391.
  5. ^ a b "Istorija". Sveti Stefan (in Bosnian). Archived from the original on 22 February 2008.
  6. ^ Cantacuzino, Sherban (1975). New uses for old buildings. Architectural Press. ISBN 978-0-85139-499-2. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Aman Sveti Stefan". Kiwicollection. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Манастир Прасквица". Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral. Archived from the original on 18 November 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  9. ^ Travel & leisure. American Express Pub. Corp. 2008.
  10. ^ Metzelthin, Pearl Violette Newfield (2005). Gourmet. Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  11. ^ United States. Foreign Broadcast Information Service (1995). Daily report: East Europe. The Service. p. 39. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  12. ^ Chess life. United States Chess Federation. 2001. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  13. ^ The bulletin. J. Haynes and J.F. Archibald. 1992. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  14. ^ Annalisa Rellie (22 May 2008). Montenegro, 3rd. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 150–. ISBN 978-1-84162-225-5. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Aman Sveti Stefan". Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  16. ^ "The anniversary of the Sveti Stefan Hotel marked by a concert by Andrea Bocelli". Travel Daily News. Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2011..
  17. ^ "Why Is Sveti Stefan Closed to the Public? Montenegro's Elitest Island". The Budget Savvy Travelers.
  18. ^ "„Sveti Stefan" i Vila „Miločer" ostaju zatvoreni". Damas (in Croatian). 2021-05-29.
  19. ^ "Suites". Aman Resorts. Retrieved 2 May 2011.

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