I first visited the Lustica Bay resort just over four months ago. The largest investment in the history of Montenegro, the sheer size of it was breathtaking - 7 million m2 of land, 7 luxury hotels, 2 marinas, an 18-hole golf course, an entire new village and more - it was something totally incomprehensible to me after 15 years living in Croatia, where nothing ever seemingly gets built. I recorded my impressions in an article called Lessons from Montenegro: Why Lustica Bay Will Happen in Croatia.
Opening on July 14, I was told. I laughed internally. Loudly. Were they crazy? As impressive as the project looked, how on earth were they planning to open on July 14, only 5 months away. Several of the buildings were not even started!
That they were committed to the project, there was no doubt. I learned that there were 530 construction workers full time on the project. Things were happening for sure, but could they pull everything off in such a short timeframe? This was the Balkans after all...
I returned a couple of days ago to catch up with the project ahead of the opening. Whole new roads had been constructed in the time I had been away, and I parked my car in the finished car park by the very efficient info point above the development, and popped into one of the awaiting golf carts for a descent to the temporary pool bar, where my tour would begin. As you can see from the video, pretty good progress.
The first sunbathers were already in position, and there were several enjoying the refreshing waters of the Adriatic.
Last time I was here, they were still working on the mighty breakwaters, but now all was close to finished.
Montenegrin stone meets the Adriatic.
And so to the entrance to the hotel itself, which looked nothing like this a few months ago. The Bridge of Sighs, Montenegrin-style.
The hotel entrance - almost ready.
But before we entered, a reminder that it is one thing to finish the actual construction, but then there are more than 100 rooms and suites to furnish. The precision with which this project has been executed in a region not known for its efficiency is impressive indeed. And then I was told that construction of the entire project only began 16 months ago.
The reception is ready. Some furnishings to be added, and then there will be a cleaning bill for the hotel which will probably be more than I will earn in a lifetime, but it will be done, of that I have no doubt.
And so to the marina, with its freshly installed pontoon.
The main restaurant is awaiting a good clean, some furniture and guests to enjoy its mouthwatering cuisine.
We ventured downstairs - a delightful combination of wood and stone by the lifts.
And, just like the restaurant above, The Spot is almost there, ready to entrance its luxury clientele with its menu and peaceful waterfront location.
Marina Village is looking pretty finished.
Luxury accommodation in an oasis of calm.
But not quite finished. The marina promenade is being finished at the rate of 20 m2 per day.
And if you get the impression that everything is being doing quickly to hit the deadline, spare a thought for this man. Slow, painstaking work. Real quality.
The marina view.
The last days of tranquillity before the marina will start to fill with boats from July 14.
The ballroom is also finished, save a clean and furnishing.
As is the majority of The Chedi Lustica Bay. An amazing achievement, and I am sure that everything will be spotless when those doors finally open on July 14. Phase 1 will have been completed, and Phase 2 - providing the luxury service and amenities to befit such a project - will be just beginning.
Here is the last drone update from Lustica Bay, posted on June 12, but there has been a lot more progress since then. Learn more about Lustica Bay on the official website.