Sveti Stefan, pronounced, now Amman Sveti Stefan including the Villa Miločer (formerly Sveti Stefan Hotel) (“Saint Stephen”; Cyrillic: Свети Стефан, Italian: Santo Stefano di Pastrovicchio) is a small islet and hotel resort in Montenegro, approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) southeast of Budva.
The resort includes the islet of Sveti Stefan and part of the mainland, where the Villa Miločer part of the resort is located. An Adriatic playground for the rich and famous from the 1960s to the 1980s, the hotel is now a 5-star franchise hotel of the international group of Amman Resorts, completed in 2009 and operating under a 30 year lease. Formerly an island, Sveti Stefan is now connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The resort in total contains 50 rooms, cottages and suites on the island and 8 grand suites at the Villa Miločer.
The hotel won the Hotel of the Year award from Gallivanter’s Guide in 2010.
The island has a 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) coastline in the central part of Montenegro Adriatic coastline. It is situated to the south of Budva between Przno and Sveti Stefan villages. The pink sandy beaches of Sveti Stefan, Miločer Beach and Queen’s Beach are part of the coast line. The island encompasses an area of 12,400 m2 (133,000 sq ft).
Formerly a village, all of the buildings were acquired by the Yugoslav government and turned into an upscale hotel during the Tito regime. In the 15th century fortified village was built to defend against the Turks and became a haven for pirates of the Adriatic. Initially, the island with its fortress had 12 families. Later, the village came to be established in the 1800s, when the population was about 400 people. Consequent to the villages getting moved to the mainland, the island village became an exclusive resort frequented by high profile elites of the world. There are four churches on Sveti Stefan which belong to Praskvica Monastery. One of them was turned into casino by the communists. However, the separation of Montenegro from Yugoslavia saw the decline of this resort, in the 1990s. Villa Miločer built between 1934 and 1936 was the summer residence of Queen Marija Karadordevic (1900–1961) of the Karađorđević family of Serbia, which was refurbished as part of the Amman Sveti Stefan resort that opened in 2008–2009. The villa, surrounded by 800 olive trees is laid out over a 32 hectare (79 acres) plot.
Formerly under ownership of the Radenović family for some forty years, between the 1960s and 80s, the place was visited by many celebrities, including Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Princess Margaret, Carlo Ponti, Ingemar Stenmark and Kirk Douglas.
The resort was described as “a ’70s Adriatic playground on a hilly peninsula that’s barely connected to the mainland”. It was also a venue for political conferences, and an occasional chess venue, attracting top-class players such as Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer.
The old charm of the island was proposed to be recreated by the Government of Montenegro. Action was initiated by inviting international bids for the revitalization project. The contract was awarded to Aman Resorts in 2007. The refurbished resort, completed in 2009, retains the old world charm of its exterior view, with interior facilities to contemporary modern standards. The Amman Sveti Stefan has a 30 year lease.
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. The hotel won the Hotel of the Year award from Gallivanter’s Guide in 2010.