Set to open late summer 2022, Mamula Island will bring new life to a historic islet and 19th-century fortress while preserving and honoring its past. The previously uninhabited islet—a short boat ride from Herceg Novi, Montenegro, and the Croatian coast—and long-abandoned structure are being revitalized to create a sophisticated destination where a luxury hotel concept and world-class culinary offering will be complemented by a holistic spa and a memorial gallery.
Sitting at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, this location was an optimal place to build a fortress to protect the region and its waters—or at least so thought Austro-Hungarian general Lazar Mamula. In 1852, he opened the doors to a sprawling stone stronghold, and the fortress and small island have been referred to as “Mamula” in his honor ever since. Original Samih Sawiris is now ushering in the dawn of a new era, giving life to the structure once again by creating Mamula Island, the first and only hotel and spa on this land.
Architecture firm MCM London is preserving the structural integrity of the existing buildings while restoring and renovating them to include historic and functional contemporary guest rooms and suites. These will be accompanied by a glass-covered courtyard, a memorial gallery, a holistic spa, three restaurants, four bars, three outdoor pools, and the hotel’s own beach. Taking inspiration from the original fort’s most prevalent motif of the arch—a symbol of strength and support but also renewal and openness—archways will appear throughout the interior of the property.
The concept of the arch will also serve as the starting point for bespoke furniture by weStudio, who are leading the property’s interior design, directed by Piotr Wisniewski. Spaces will be infused with references to the surrounding region and cultural heritages: materials like local Cevsky stone, aged brass, solid oak, and breathable, organic textiles will draw from tradition while appearing modern and durable. In addition, artwork is being made specifically for the property by local artists with color palettes that will draw directly from the islet’s landscape, mixing earthy tones with bright hues in contrasting harmony. A holistic spa, a wellbeing program, and the culinary vision of French-Canadian chef Erica Archambault—of the Michelin starred Parisian restaurant Septime—will round out the property’s offerings.
Mamula Island’s restaurants, bars and spa will be open to bookings by non-hotel guests, with boat transfers offered to both overnight and day visitors. Furthermore, the hotel’s memorial gallery will be accessible to the public all year round and will elaborate on the island’s history. This insight will cover everything from the fortress’ initial foundation to protect the Bay of Kotor to its use as a prison during World War II, shedding light on a complicated history and paying respect to its past, Hospitality Net writes.