Although it appears that I am always on a holiday (and I kind of am), I always seem to return to Croatia and need a week to recover from my time away. Yes, first world problems. My husband and I wanted our next getaway from Croatia to be more on theme with relaxing and less on theme with being typical tourists wandering an old town all day. Montenegro has been on our bucketlist for several months and the country is super hot right now, it’s trending. A country connected by basically one windy road, at the foot of massive mountains overlooking medieval old towns has captivated tourists from all over the world. Not only that, Kotor, where we visited, is a popular destination for cruise liners and just like in Dubrovnik and several other locations in Croatia, the city walls are over populated with people. It’s great for tourism however, not so great if you’re out exploring in the 32+ degree heat.
From Dubrovnik, Kotor is a 90 minute drive, on a lucky day. By this I mean, if there is no traffic at the Croatian and Montenegrin border. It’s not uncommon for people to have to wait over 3 hours at the border during the high season to have the passports checked. Through the concierge at our hotel, we organised a transfer to pick us up from Dubrovnik. This cost 120€ one way and is the usual local rate.
Where To Stay in Bay of Kotor
Bay of Kotor is fairly large and resembles Lake Como according to my husband, a nice little compliment for a balkan country. We were tossing up between staying in Old Town Kotor or a little outside at one of the numerous resorts on offer. We stumbled across Huma Bay Hotel and immediately booked it. It’s about a 5 minute drive away from the Old Town in an area called Dobrota and in a bay area called Boka.
On the second day of our trip, we visited the old town and were so happy we went with our gut instinct to stay out of the touristy places and instead opted for accomodation by the sea- there’s no way in the world I wanted to be dragging our suitcases through the stoned old town looking for our apartment in the middle of a heatwave.
Huma Bay is a five star resort-like hotel and has absolutely everything you need for a comfortable holiday away from home. From the moment we stepped into the hotel, everything was seamless, staff were professional and friendly. Staff were also very comfortable speaking english with guests and extremely helpful. Huma Bay Hotel is only a few years old and all the rooms are spacious and modern with views of the bay.
Our room was more than we could ask for or expected as not only was it the perfect amount of space for both of us, we had views of the infinity pool and entire bay. We loved it so much that we even extended our stay.
When we arrived it was very misty outside but I didn’t care as I was exhausted for the previous few days in Dubrovnik, so I ordered room service and went to sleep. At Huma Bay, there are two in-house restaurants, Tukan and Mudra Art Cuisine. When you order room service, it comes from the Tukan Restaurant which I highly recommend.
Each morning (except for Sundays), Huma Bay Hotel offers free yoga classes at 830am by the bay. Since I forgot to pack my gym shoes, I had to hear from my husband how Huma had the most incredible world class gym he’s ever been to while on holidays, “It’s better than the Arts Hotel in Barcelona…” he said.
Another first world problem we encountered while staying at Huma Bay Hotel in Montenegro was deciding between spending the day by the infinity pool or by the sea, there are no right or wrong answers as both are excellent choices. Guests of the hotel are allowed free access to the sunbeds by the sea and if you’re after front row, like my husband, you may need to arrive by the sea a little earlier than you usually would as these sunbeds tend to fill up quite quickly.
It was really sad to have to leave Huma and go back to Croatia, my husband and I had such a relaxing and easy going staying there. If you’re coupled up, this is the perfect place to stay in Montenegro and the value for money is certaily there. It is a little more on the pricier end of accomodation in Montenegro but bear in mind that breakfast was also included. Staff were always saying hello, making sure that our stay was comfortable and asking if we needed assistance with anything. We literally didn’t need to lift a finger at Huma Bay Hotel, it was very similar customer service to Hotel Arts in Barcelona.
A taxi into the Old Town was 3€, it may look far on the map but it’s not far at all. You can walk but I wouldn’t recommend it as the pedestrian paths are not clear enough.
The only complaint that I can raise is the price of a manicure which at Huma cost me 60€ and was far from the best mani I’ve ever had. I understand the wellness in resort style hotels is generally above the usual local rate but for that kind of money in the balkans at a local beauty salon I could have gone three times and dealt with a technician that was more passionate and compassionate about her job.
Where To Eat in Bay of Kotor
A week before we went to Montenegro I sent a few messages around asking, “Where are the best restaurants in Montenegro?” I even asked the Montenegro Tourist Board if there were any restauarnts in the country that had a Michelin Star or were recommended by the Michelin Guide. They were extremely helpful on a Saturday afternoon and sent through about five top restaurants. Unfortunately there are no restaurants in Montenegro with a Michelin Star but a handful of potential candidates. Two that stood out and were highly recommended were Catovica Mlini and Mudra Art Cuisine, so we booked a table at both.
Catovica Mlini is referred to as the best seafood restaurant in Montenegro, not just in the Kotor Bay area. It stands as a traditional tavern style garden restaurant set in nature, surrounded by a pond with fish swimming in it. It’s very old school but it’s oh-so good. It was about a 20 minute drive from Huma Bay Hotel in an area called Morinj.
We started with muscles…
Followed by grilled octopus and a whole sea bass that was filled in front of us at our table. We even ordered an extra serving of calamari on the side. Everything we ordered was fresh and melted in our mouths. Catovica Mlini is an exceptionally good restaurant in Montenegro. If you have the opportunity to get a table, you must.
I, of course, had room for dessert and as recommended by our wonderful waiter, Sinisa, I ordered the chocolate souffle and was one happy woman afterwards.
Mudra Art Cuisine
Mudra Art Cuisine is a newly opened restaurant, part of Huma Bay Hotel. It ticks all those fancy Michelin boxes and and is the polar opposite to Catovica Mlini we had a few nights before. The only thing that remains the same, is the extraordinary food. Chef Enzo Neri has had plenty of experience at Michelin-recognised restaurant Il Postale in his hometown in Italy and has done a marvellous job bringing his skills and technique to the shores of Boka Bay.
I must confess that before we even arrived to Mudra Art Cuisine, I had high expectations. Judging by the online presence the restaurant has and also the price point, they were already treading on higher-end restaurant territory. Would they deliver and exceed all expectations?
There were three set menus to choose from but we went for mare, the seafood set menu. From memory it was about 65€ per perfect, not including drinks. One of the positives if you are a wine lover, Mudra Art Cuisine have a highly trained in-house sommelier and an extensive wine list from all over Europe.
Starter: Creamy baccala, fried polenta, local goat cheese sauce and squid ink tuille.
Main: Spaghetti turanici Mancini, bread crumbs and anchovies, fava beans and sea urchin.
I must admit, it was my first time trying sea urchin so I didn’t really know what to expect however, was pleasantly surprised. I would definitely order it again.
Main: Panfried local seabass with Sicilian caponata and paprika crusted shrimp.
Another winning dish, the seabass was delicately cooked to perfection.
Dessert: White chocolate pannacotta with passionfruit sauce.
This is the face of a satisfied woman! If you’re wondering where to eat in Kotor and are tired of the local taverns, then I highly recommend you check out Mudra Art Cuisine at Huma Bay Hotel.
Address: Dobrota 175, 85330 Kotor
Phone: +382 32 690 200
Visit Old Town Kotor
We dedicated a few hours to explore Kotor’s Old Town. Like I said before, we wanted a really chilled holiday away from the busy old town. It was very beautiful but very busy. I didn’t walk into any churches because I wasn’t dressed appropriately but was able to appreciate everything from the outside. It was way too hot to even think about hiking up the ladder of Kotor up to the castle, which gives you uninterrupted views of the entire bay area. I suppose we will leave that to next time.
I really love visiting Montenegro, it was my second visit to the country, first to Kotor. The people are really nice, very open and passionate about their country. Will I be back? Certainly.