Montenegro is a country blessed by the beauty of the Adriatic sea. It is a lovely coastline country filled with lush forests and lined with medieval villages and diverse beaches. We wanted to enjoy this unique location luxuriously, so what better way to do it than with a stay in a top-notch property?
Dukley Gardens sits on the secluded Zavala peninsula, in the heart of Montenegro’s Budva Riviera, opposite the charming island of Sveti Nikola and across the 15th century Old Town of Budva. It is half an hour drive to International Airport and just a 10-minute drive to the two-kilometer-long Becici Beach.
A stay inside this lush complex is like a dream full of wonder. We first looked at the types of villas it offers: one- and two-bedroom wonder; two-bedroom deluxe; and penthouse wonder. There are villas for every type of guest.
One-bedroom wonder (80-110 sqm) has a capacity for two adults and one kid and can be used for family outings and business travels. Rooms can either have a full or partial view of the sea.
Meanwhile, two-bedroom wonder has a panoramic sea view is further divided into two types called spacious (110-130 sqm) and deluxe (130-175 sqm). Both are suited for four adults and one kid.
Dukley Gardens boasts of its penthouse residences (250 sqm residence + 220 sqm rooftop terrace) as a place of unwavering exclusivity and luxury. It can accommodate four adults and one kid and is made for events and private wellbeing & dining services.
Dukley Gardens has a separate 10-story building filled with 32 spacious apartments and two levels reserved for high-end retail. Of course, it also has a 24-hour security and concierge desk, valet, and underground parking.
The private and “custom made” beaches in Dukley Gardens are dotted with beautiful beach tents and umbrellas with a breathtaking view of the cliffs of Montenegro standing against the ocean waves. Altogether, the property’s coastal zone offers three very distinct beaches.
Dukley has three sandy beaches - the Moet & Chandon beach (known as the only sandy beach in Montenegro), the Laguna beach, and the VIP beach. Dukley Gardens’ plays on its strong connection to its three beaches with its Dukley Beach Lounge
The Moet & Chandon beach is where most of the big events are held. The Laguna Beach serves as venue for small and intimate gatherings, while the VIP beach is usually for guests staying at the penthouse residences.
DUKLEY BEACH LOUNGE
Dukley Beach Lounge offers services for its guests across its three beaches, where exclusive food can be enjoyed, guests can mingle, and special events can be held. All of these can be done with pristine views of the Adriatic sea in the background 24/7.
What’s a luxury vacation without a spa? Dukley Gardens has a service for just that. It has 13 types of massages, and some of the notable ones include Aromatherapy, the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, the Four-Hand Emperor’s, and Sea Power which allow guests to directly experience local and organic ingredients.
DUKLEY ACADEMY AND KIDS CLUB
One notable feature of Dukley Gardens that we haven’t observed in previous locations we reviewed is its high dedication towards an academy and a club for kids.
Dukley Academy is an actual professional, international, and year-round based institution tailored to fit their guests’ ages. Dukley Kids Club is a nursery, where younger children can experience arts, crafts and board games, educational programs, culinary inclusive practices, and nature exploration. Kids are supervised by its professional team.
Dukley Gardens gets more interesting with its programs for art. Dukley Art Center is not your regular art club. It has monthly cultural programs for artists to turn the complex into art inspiration and get some exposure from guests through exhibitions. The center covers different art styles and different art forms, including fashion design, photography, books, and festivals.
Dukley Marina cannot be missed as it allows guests to maximize their experience in Montenegro. It offers services for premium yachting & cruising, exploring marine life, diving, fishing, and engaging in water sport activities.
Now that all the essential information has been presented, here’s our take on the Dukley Gardens. We stayed in this luxurious property for two weeks.
Dukley's location is simply fantastic. Everyone can access it by more than one means of transport. In-house guests and residents can reach the Old Town of Budva either by walk or by complimentary Dukley water taxi, and the Sveti Nikola Island by small boat. Guests who own a yacht can dock in the Dukley Marina and peacefully sail along the Montenegro coasts and elsewhere.
Aesthetic Design: 10/10
We love the idea that Dukley Gardens was designed to blend in with Montenegro’s woodlands while giving guests a perfect sea view. The design does not disrupt the terrain, vegetation, biodiversity, and seaside.
The terrace, indoor-outdoor spaces are inspired by contemporary architectural style with stone paving and exterior cladding but fused with open-plan and modern designs. From floor to ceiling, we were treated to natural views of pine, cypress, olive groves and some of the planted 5,000 species of flora through the glass doors and windows. We promise, it's so instagrammable!
Villa #14S2: 10/10
Our villa is located in the more private section of the property, close to the Laguna Beach and the VIP Beach. It has two bedrooms, two toilet and baths, utility area, kitchen and dining area, living area, large entryway walk-in closet, and a large terrace with unobstructed panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea, Sveti Nikola Island, and Budva’s Old Town.
The first bedroom has one king-size bed, a large walk-in closet that was able to fit our six large luggage. It also has a toilet and bathtub with Villeroy & Boch fixtures, full set of Bvlgari toiletries, and Dukley Gardens towels and bathrobes. The second bedroom has the identical features save for a direct access to the terrace.
The terrace has coffee table and chairs, and four sun loungers with side tables. It was the perfect place to relax and watch the sunset in your own private villa!
The kitchen and dining area are fully equipped with modern design furnitures of famous Italian brands Varenna and Poliform. The kitchen appliances such as the oven, stove, refrigerator and the dishwasher are made by Miele, while the coffeemaker is by Delonghi and the electric kettle is by Bosch.
The finishing of the villa includes sun-gard windows at the terrace, hardwood floors in the living rooms and bedrooms, high quality Italian tiles in bathrooms and kitchen, and under-flooring heating.
We were impressed by Smart Home Technology incorporated in such a space. We controlled the multimedia systems, curtains, lighting and climate, security and surveillance through wall panels and our smartphones.
Food & Beverage: 10/10
Dukley Beach Lounge’s menu is carefully selected to offer a variety of the most delicious Asian and European food. Only the best quality beef, chicken, and seafood are used. Even the chefs are proud to say that they have access to the best possible fresh and organic ingredients available in the country. Some of the dishes that we truly enjoyed are the beef tenderloin with asparagus, seafood platter, grilled octopus, tagliatelle with beef tenderloin, etc.
The restaurant also prides itself for its Dukley Ice Lab (Dukley’s version of Italian home made ice cream), and its amazing selections of international and regional wine list.
Customer Service: 10/10
Based on our personal experience and observation during our two-week stay in Dukley, we can say that the services provided to us exceeded our expectations. They can even surpass the services that are offered by some of the "five-star" hotels.
The staff are very well-trained, seem to have good work ethics, and know their standard operational procedures by heart which is evident from their work and the absence of complaining guests.
Leisure Facilities: 9.7/10
Dukley Gardens offers water sports activities through their partner local shops. During our stay, we booked a jet-ski to explore the coast along the Adriatic Sea.
The only downside is that there’s no swimming pool nor fitness gym here yet. The management said there’s planned construction together with Dukley Hotel approximately two to three years from now. We’ll be waiting!
We had an aromatherapy massage in our villa almost every other day during our entire stay in Dukley. We love the choices of essential oils that were presented to us, because all were locally made and of excellent quality.
The massage beds were comfortable and sturdy. The massage sequence, massage strokes, and pressure were very good! The counting was perfect and the strokes were symmetrical in both sides.
We observed that the grooming of the masseuses were okay too (i.e. hair tied up properly, fingernails were short, uniforms look clean and unwrinkled.) They also made sure that we didn't get disturbed while we sleep. They see to it that they were not making any noise. They did not talk to each other during our massage session, the only time that they spoke to us was when the session is about to start, when they instructed us to face up and when the session was over. Most importantly, they were kind and polite.
As someone who has their hands soaked in the spa business, we found that the massage sessions were truly satisfying. We couldn’t have done it six times with them if we didn’t really enjoy!
The property is very well-secured with round-the-clock security guards, surveillance cameras and in-villa security systems. Well, what else can we expect from a property whose residents and guests are mostly billionaires!
Client Profile: 10/10
We observed that we were the only Asian guests during our two-week stay in Dukley Gardens. Most of the residents and guests are Russians and Eastern Europeans from the neighboring Balkan countries. But the good new is, according to an insider, they are also targeting the Asian market!
We highly recommend a visit to Montenegro and stay at Dukley Gardens, as we totally gained absolute happiness from our two-week stay in it. The location is peaceful and perfect for inspiration. The outstanding customer service is a compelling factor for our high rating, because we felt that we were genuinely thought of during our stay.
The spa and food are also meticulously designed to make guests feel satisfied and sophisticated. We were slightly disappointed by the lack of swimming pools and fitness gym, but we were glad to know the management is working on it.
Overall, our stay in Dukley Gardens was a pleasurable and rewarding experience.