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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Montenegro’s unspoilt luxury for sale

Developers for a luxury resort in the Eastern European country have come to court buyers in Abu Dhabi.
A rendering of Portonovi in Montenegro, the developers of which were in Abu Dhabi last week. Courtesy Henry Wiltshire International
A rendering of Portonovi in Montenegro, the developers of which were in Abu Dhabi last week. Courtesy Henry Wiltshire International

Europe’s newest sovereign state, Montenegro, has become the latest holiday destination trying to attract investors from the UAE. The property developers behind Portonovi, a luxury property development being built in the tiny south-east European state, last week staged a property launch event in Abu Dhabi in the hope of finding buyers.

At the event, at Nation Towers on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, Darko Uskokovic, Montenegro’s ambassador to the UAE, was among the speakers marketing 275 apartments, residences and villas which will also include Europe’s first One&Only resort and a superyacht marina and yacht club. “Montenegro is an up and coming destination and this luxury development gives investors the chance to get in early to a place which is only going to get more developed as time goes by,” said Andrew Covill, a director at Henry Wiltshire International, the marketing agent for the Middle East. “I understand that a lot of the marinas in the south of France are getting rather crowded these days and Montenegro, with its unspoilt natural beauty, is a wonderful alternative,” he said.

The Portonovi development is on Boka Bay, an inlet between the foot of Mount Orjen and the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The development sits between the mountains and the sea, with breathtaking views and 1.8 kilometres of pristine Adriatic coastline. It is being built by a Montenegrin company backed by Azerbaijani investors.

One bedroom apartments at the project will comprise 52 square metres and are being marketed for €324,000 (Dh1.2 million). At the other end of the scale, villas with private pools are being marketed for €7.8 million.

The brokers say that the apartments come with fully equipped kitchens and that it offers a service where Harrods Estate can even provide soft furnishings for an extra fee.

So far Mr Covill says that he has four properties under serious negotiation and expects to sell about 10 to UAE based investors within a couple of months. Most, he says, are planning to buy as holiday homes but he expects to also sell properties as investments to be rented out through the new One&Only hotel.

Q&A

Is Montenegro a country?

Yes. You may not have heard of it in its own right but Montenegro became Europe’s newest nation after its formal split from Serbia in 2006.

Why are people going there?

The 200-mile coastline between Montenegro’s borders with Croatia and Albania is among the most beautiful in Europe and already attracts considerable interest from developers. Inland, there is the world’s second-largest canyon, 40 big lakes and a ski resort, which is now being given a makeover.

If it’s so great why haven’t I heard of it?

When the country was ruled by Marshal Tito as part of Yugoslavia between the 1950s and 1980s, the rich and famous flocked to Montenegro. Resorts such as Sveti Stefan became favourites with Princess Margaret, Richard Burton, Kirk Douglas and Sophia Loren, who have each owned a home there. But austerity measures introduced in the 1980s and the war in the Balkans led to a collapse of the tourism industry and left Montenegro one of the poorest countries in Europe.

How can I get there?

You can only get to Montenegro from the UAE by flying through a European hub. The nearest international hub, Dubrovnik, is a two-hour drive across the border. The quickest route seems to be through Belgrade to the airport of Tivat. In October, flydubai announced plans to for direct flights to Montenegro next year.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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