Greece: a sensory overload
Home to 6,000 islands and islets awash with stunning coastlines, Greece rewards every type of traveller. Discover where you should be lying under a parasol in 2021 – and why it has to be Grecotel Hotels & Resorts
Who’s dreaming of a Greek holiday? Whether it’s tasting tangy feta sprinkled with oregano in Mykonos or enjoying the feel of soft sand under the toes in Kos, there’s somewhere truly luxurious to stay on every island (and the mainland) courtesy of Grecotel. Here are six of its most luxurious offerings, all designed to reflect captivating surroundings while providing outstanding service for every guest. Grab your sunglasses and let’s go.
In-the-know Greeks have been visiting the Athenian Riviera for years but, until recently, this gorgeous 40-mile stretch was relatively unknown to tourists. Experience beach club sophistication just a short drive from astounding Ancient Greek sights and incredible natural landmarks such as Lake Vouliagmeni. With views of the sea, mountains and the Temple of Poseidon – a sight that so impressed Lord Byron he carved his name in one of the columns – Grecotel Cape Sounio – Attica is a 45-minute drive from Lake Vouliagmeni’s natural thermal spa and only an hour from Athens. Add in two private beaches, an open-air spa, dramatic design, 150 bungalows and villas and five superb restaurants (choose from Asian fusion, Greco-French and divine seafood), and you’ve got a real Greek treat.
If ever there was a Greek island that encapsulated unadulterated glitz and glamour, it’s Mykonos. Although there’s more to this sleek white isle than partying, its history is certainly sparky. In the 1960s Jackie Kennedy Onassis visited with her second husband, Aristotle Onassis, and was instantly enamoured. Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren followed. Channel old-school Hollywood glamour at Grecotel Mykonos Blu. Overlooking super-hip Psarou Beach, the luxury hotel’s bungalows and private villas are designed to mimic the Cubist lines so familiar to the group of islands that Mykonos belongs to: the Cyclades. Relax (OK, pose) by the two-level infinity pool or book into a bungalow suite with its own private pool – designed in accents of whites and blues, with huge vistas that flood rooms full of light.
Known as the ‘Emerald Island’, lush, verdant Corfu was occupied by the Venetians for 400 years. The spirit of Venice lives on – especially in the intricate, narrow streets of its capital, Corfu Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site – along with shades of British and French influence from other years of formal occupation. Stay at Grecotel Corfu Imperial, which is surrounded by Italian-style gardens and sweeping views of the dramatic Ionian Sea. This secluded hotel on a private peninsula was revamped in 2020: the Elixir Spa is a must, with treatments influenced by ancient and modern Greece. Check out the Dine Club, a new experience in half-board dining, where guests can use credit in destination restaurants, savour two free à la carte dinners a week and kids go free (children under 12 can enjoy all-day snacks at Grecoland, among other treats). Upgrade to the Comfort All-In Package and, along with the brilliant Dine Club offers, holidaymakers get lunch, drinks and snacks included throughout their stay.
The story goes that Rhodes was created when Zeus divided the Earth between the Ancient Greek gods, but forgot Helios, the sun god. To make amends, Zeus offered Helios the next island to emerge from the sea, and the next day Rhodes rose from the Aegean waters. This may be a myth, but Rhodes still basks in a heady 300 days of sunshine a year, so make your way here for a vitamin D (and sea) fix. Grecotel Lux Me Dama Dama mixes contemporary design accents (quirky lamps and dramatic tiling) with old-school décor (plush furniture in rich, red hues), while two massive pools are a welcome respite from the midday heat. Luxury Made Easy® and Luxe All-Inclusive Living® are also available here, so guests can choose from traditional Greek and Asian menus, buffet-style, and on-site patisserie, chocolatier, crêperie and gelateria bars.
It’s not hard to see why Kos continues to draw holidaymakers in their droves, with its striking harbourside towns, archaeological sites, intriguing heritage and charming beaches. Soothe away any worries and relax at Grecotel Kos Imperial. Situated on Psalídi and only two miles from Kos Town, this family-friendly resort has a huge selection of pools, including a large seafront lagoon pool with a lazy river and waterfalls. There are tons of activities to keep the kids occupied, while the on-site spa will rejuvenate the most tired of souls. Visitors can now also take advantage of Luxury Made Easy® and Luxe All-Inclusive Living®, a package that includes 24-hour WhatsApp concierge, excellent food and drink options, a host of activities (including plenty for the kids) and outstanding entertainment.
The largest and most storied island in Greece, birthplace of the Minotaur and a location where temperatures can reach up to 24°C in April, Homer described Crete as “a fair, rich land... in the midst of the wine-dark sea”. This all-rounder certainly has spectacular beaches, hiking spots aplenty and ancient ruins such as Knossos to explore – and favourite Greek dishes taken up a notch. Dakos salad (a bruschetta-style salad), sumptuous cheese pies, fried snails (oh, yes), and sensational local olive oil and wine. The island’s abundant history is apparent throughout Grecotel Amirandes on Crete’s northeast coast, with design that pays homage to a Minoan Palace. Stay here and not only will you be in the lap of luxury, but it’s only a short drive from Heraklion International Airport and Knossos. There are 212 guestrooms, bungalows, suites and villas to choose from, with each villa featuring a home cinema and private gym. Plus, the half-board, kids-go-free Dine Club and luxurious Comfort All-In Package are available here too.
British Airways Holidays offers carefully selected hotels, a 24-hour holiday helpline and deposits from just £75pp, all with full ATOL protection. Book now at ba.com
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