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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Destination Munkistan: A look at Peter Munk’s new Adriatic playground for the super-rich #Montenegro

Destination Munkistan: A look at Peter Munk’s new Adriatic playground for the super-rich #Montenegro

"The attendees were described in the Guardian society pages as “200 ugly rich people and their poorer but more attractive partners,” or, as one guest more generously put it, “plutocrats and the women who love them.” A number of the partiers were so fantastically rich they could bankroll whole armies (which the birthday boy’s family, in its heyday, once did): Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska (who arrived on his £70-million yacht, the Queen K); the wealthy Egyptian Sawiris family (who have embarked on their own Montenegrin development nearby); King Leruo Molotlegi, ruler of a tiny, platinum-rich part of South Africa, who hit the dance floor in a fabulous dashiki; British politician Lord Peter Mandelson; Jimmy Choo honcho Tamara Mellon; the historian Niall Ferguson and his Dutch-Somali partner, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a feminist critic of Islam. There was a healthy smattering of European royalty, as well as members of the Guinness and Goldsmith clans.

While the guests swallowed gallons of Taittinger around Porto Montenegro’s 215-foot-long infinity pool (decorated with floating disco balls imported specially from London), the actress-turned-DJ Michelle Rodriguez presided over the turntables. The dancing continued until the early morning hours.
Surveying the scene with a paternal pride was Peter Munk, the billionaire octogenarian, Holocaust escapee, philanthropist and chairman of the world’s largest gold mining company. Munk is the leader of a small but significant exodus of Torontonians to the rapidly expanding Porto Montenegro. This tribe, who have affectionately dubbed themselves Munkistanis, either went there to work for Porto Montenegro or have started side businesses (restaurants, interior design, wine distribution, banks) to cater to the growing numbers of yacht tourists that Porto Montenegro is drawing. The resort is Munk’s vision, and he’s the main investor. A slice of Yorkville on the Adriatic."

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