A Greek Odyssey
Having just returned from an action packed trip to Greece - Halkidiki and the Peloponnese I was pleasantly surprised at its diversity; from beautiful towns, a variety of landscapes to archaeological sites to discover and gorgeous beaches. So whether you are a culture vulture or simply a beach lover where better to enjoy your summer or winter holidays other than Greece?
Upon arrival into Thessaloniki airport after a pleasant flight onboard British Airways my first home for the evening was the Sani Resort in Halkidiki. Where do I start....the Sani Resort is a family owned business which has been established for many years and is a magical place to enjoy quality time with the whole family. The resort consists of 4 hotels which run along 7Kms of white sandy beach. Each hotel is unique in its own way and caters to all tastes and budgets; from the Sani Hotel, Sani Beach Club, Porto Sani Village and the Sani Asteria Suites. The resort boasts a full range of facilities from the renowned Melissa Kids Club, Spa's, a range of land and water sport facilities, open air cinema, open air garden theatre where I enjoyed watching a live performance of Mama Mia and not to forget the beautiful marina hosting an array of restaurants and shops. A unique experience at Sani resort is a service called 'babewatch' - a daily complimentary 30 minute beach babysitting service which provides parents, grandparents or nannies with the opportunity to simply have some quality 'me' time.
Next I was off to the Danai Resort which is a 'little gem' set amongst a forest of pine trees, surrounded by beautiful breathtaking scenery and crystal clear turquoise waters. The resort's owners are passionate about their hotel and are always looking for new ways to enhance your stay. Upon my arrival I was greeted by Kimon (their managing director) with a warm and friendly welcome and drink which made me feel at home instantly. I was extremely impressed with their iPad check-in process which took place outside on the terrace where I took in the stunning views whilst sipping champagne. Each room is individually designed and elegantly furnished using the finest materials.....some rooms even boast a Swarovski crystal door bell! A real benefit of the rooms is all have been designed to take advantage of the resort's location to take advantage of the amazing panoramic views. The resort features a spa, hairdresser, indoor & outdoor pool, 3 restaurants - one of which, called the 'Squirrel', offers a gastronomic experience and boasts just 6 tables so pre-booking is a must. The sea-side bar is also a must for a pre or post dinner drinks. A unique offering is a private wine tasting experience which is organised in their own wine cellar with George their sommelier who is number 1 in Greece! No surprise that this hotel is part of the Leading Hotels of the World.
The next part of my journey took me to the Peloponnese which is part of the Greek mainland located close to Athens. Its proximity to the capital has made it a popular weekend and family destination, as the atmosphere is generally calmer than in some of the other Greek islands. After a short 50 minute flight onboard Agean airlines I arrived at Athens airport and was greeted by Thanos the manager of the Romanos Resort in Costa Navarino. The drive to The Romanos is approximately a 3hr 30 minute drive from Athens along beautiful coastline. The new highway was constructed at both ends of the Corinth Canal in order to connect the Peloponnese to the mainland.
My first impression of Romanos was 'WOW', as it's only been open for 12 months the resort is dazzling! Upon arrival at the open-air lobby I was greeted with views across the resort and the warm clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea. The resort is set in the bay of Navarino and is spread across acres of well maintained landscaped gardens. Rooms are all very similar with a modern styling, the main differences between rooms are location. You have the option to upgrade to a Villa which are stunning and a rarity when staying in a resort. The beach is beautiful, wide with lots of umbrellas and sun lounger's and stretches for miles. The area is also protected due to the protection programme of the loggerhead sea turtles. To sum this resort up I would say its understated luxury where nothing is too much effort. You are also able to take advantage of its sister hotel the Westin so to really benefit from this resort a week simply is not enough, every corner you turn you will be amazed by an array of restaurants, Anazoe Spa, Yachts, activities galore from segways, GPS cycling, PGA approved golf courses, water-park, bowling, cinema, sandcastle and Cocoon children's clubs where older children have the opportunity to sleep over, discovery centre, rackets academy, open air cinema, ice cream parlour and many more. This resort has it all and if you're lucky you may even spot yourself some Hollywood A-listers!
For my final night I was off to the brand new Amanzoe which is still very much a well kept secret as it only opened in August. The resort is nestled into the hills and offers dramatic scenery and the utmost privacy and seclusion. So whether you are looking for a summer or winter retreat look no further than this well kept secret.