It looks like a palace you would come across in Veneto, with lower wings stretching out from a central block. That’s not entirely coincidental. It may be located next to the medieval town of Herceg Novi in Montenegro, but the original block of Lazure Hotel is 18th century Venetian. We arrive at midnight looking fresh as first bloom mimosas after a two hour drive through the mountains from the capital Podgorica. It might be 12 o’clock but we’re greeted with a typically effusive Montenegrin welcome. And pizzas. And good Turkish filter coffee served with fresh honey.
The solidity of the building’s massing is hollowed out by courtyards; some open to the elements, others glazed over. Such extravagance of space. New apartments behind the original building have mountain views. A spa and fitness suite as well as yacht club and café will complete this alluring complex. Our first floor suite has views of the 221 berth marina, softly illuminated on this mild night. Montenegro is the new Monte Carlo.
Suite dreams are made of this: a sitting room with kitchen facilities (Smeg appliances naturally), bathroom, en suite and large – that extravagance of space reoccurring – double bedroom. So light, so airy, so spacious. So technologically advanced: a light around the bed comes on automatically when you place your feet on the floor. Lazure style is all about modern rustic. Think exposed stone walls and abstract paintings and lots and lots of white.
Next to a platter of petit fours on our coffee table a note reads, “On the behalf of the entire Lazure Hotel + Marina staff, we would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our own ‘Place of Relocation’. Friendly smiles are contagious and courteous service is our standard. Enjoy your stay and share the experience!”
It wasn’t originally a palace but rather grand naval offices. The receptionist gives us a midnight tour. She explains all the original architecture had to be kept intact. Our tour highlight is the Chapel of St Rocco, Keeper of the Dead. It opens, surprisingly, right off the main lounge area. A fresco of St Rocco himself dominates the miniscule windowless room. And so to bed, only to waken up to views across the azure Kotor Bay to the snowy peaks of the Luštica Peninsula.