Situated on Montenegro’s blissful Adriatic Coast, bringing together a five-star hotel with lavish facilities, marina to accommodate guests’ yachts, village with real estate opportunities and private beach, The Chedi Lustica Bay is an opening that’s been eagerly awaited across the world. With preparations underway for the waterfront resort’s July 14th opening, we talk to the general manager Marc de Ruijter who gives us a glimpse into what the resort will offer and why Montenegro is such an enticing destination right now.
First of all, tell us a bit about the new resort.
In terms of the area the hotel is a part of, you’re looking at the marina and village itself, which has over 220 apartments that are rented out and owned. We have the hotel with 111 rooms and the marina will accommodate boats of up to 30 meters. We expect some guests will want stay on their yachts. In addition to that we have close to 40 shops, which will open up on the 14th July with the hotel, and a private beach that’s available to residents of the community and guests in the hotel. We have a funky beach bar that we’re setting up over there. And then we have the driving range. It’s a very integrated experience for hotel guests and visitors.
What drew you to take on this project with the Chedi at Lustica Bay?
The project itself was intriguing, and not to forget Montenegro itself as a completely new destination to discover, for guests but myself included. There’s so much to see in the country with its incredible nature and having the resort directly on the Adriatic Coast – it’s one of the few hotels that’s actually on the waterfront here. The integration of the marina is unique, and also of course the Chedi brand, which is iconic in Asia and an exciting opening for Europe.
How do you think Montenegro is developing as a luxury travel destination?
The market is developing nicely for luxury travelers. There are good indications it’s attracting foreign investors and international clients. We have a One&Only resort coming in the next year and a half. There are a few upcoming arrivals underlying the path Montenegro as a destination has chosen, which is very exciting.
What makes Montenegro unique?
I think it’s the landscape and the fact you are on the Adriatic Coast but you can also get up into the mountains. Early winter you can still enjoy the Mediterranean climate here, then go up into the mountains and catch the first snow. In a day you can have both the mountains and ocean experience. On top of that, the local population is very welcoming to tourists with a very good sense of hospitality. This is a nation that’s proud to share its culture with visitors.
With your experience of managing hotel openings, what factors contribute to a new hotel’s success?
It’s the people. The staff members need to be responsive, anticipate guests’ needs and have a connection with the people who come to stay. We create a resort experience whereby this connection is paramount. We need to be tuned in with our guests as a team.
Why should people pay a visit to The Chedi Lustica Bay?
Lustica Bay as a destination combines the appeal of the coastline, yachts, the resort’s facilities and connectivity, and because we already have experience with Lustica itself (the village that’s made up of residences to rent or buy), which has been up and running for over two years, we already have a good base of hospitality established. The village itself is incredible. It feels unique and it has authenticity. The Chedi is the beating heart where it all comes together.
The destination itself is underestimated. It’s worth giving Montenegro a chance. Once you’re here, you will be surprised by what it has to offer. The coast is rather unique, with a tranquility that’s becoming rarer in this world.