News & Reviews News Best luxury resorts in Greece

Greece continues to open more and more luxury resorts, making it start to take its place with France and Italy as one of Europe’s top luxury destinations.

Amanzoe

It feels like Amanzoe was the beginning of luxury in Greece, but then I’m too young to remember anything before 2010.  Or have a terrible memory.  Either way, what was I saying? Architecturally stunning, the resort was beautifully designed by Ed Tuttle. Blending ancient Greek aesthetics with modern elegance, Amanzoe welcomes guests with a grand entrance and reception area overlooking a vast reflection pool, which is then surrounded by picturesque terraces and gardens.

Perched on a hill, Amanzoe offers an incredibly serene environment.  So serene you may wonder whether there’s anything to do at all.  And you may be right to wonder that.  Still, if peace is your form of adrenaline, it is quite the place to get a high.  It’s sprawled out to the point you may sometimes wonder if there are any other guests.  The beach is 7km from the main resort, which makes for an easy bike ride down and a right lung buster on the way up.  With just 42 rooms and 10 villas, it’s right at the sweet spot that allows personal service and all the facilities you need.  Except for kid’s clubs, those are next to useless.

It’s a bit of a pain in the arse to get to unless you’re keen on taking a short helicopter ride from Athens, and the beach isn’t much to take in, but the setting, vibe, food, service and accommodation are top notch.

One&Only Kea Island

The newest edition to the list.  Is it any good?  Who really knows?  I’ve already stayed there and I’m still not sure.  I do know that they spent a lot of money on it.  And took their sweet time to get it right.  And then got it all wrong by launching before they were ready.

Perched on the cliffs of Kea Island, just a speedboat (or helicopter) hop from Athens. The resort boasts 63 villas, designed by John Heah, with interiors that blend white marble and floor-to-ceiling windows.  The villas—or should I say “suites masquerading as villas”—are decent enough and all offer private infinity pools with views of the Aegean Sea.

The amenities are a major highlight. The spa spans three stories and offers a variety of treatments, including yoga pavilions, indoor-outdoor pools, and Watsu therapy.  The main area offers incredible, unspoilt views and vast open spaces, perfect for spending the day.  Or, you can head down to the beach.  It doesn’t matter which part of the property you’re in, the food is sublime.

For those interested in adventure, Kea offers notable diving spots, including historic shipwrecks. On land, guests can participate in curated experiences such as hiking to ancient ruins and cycling to lighthouses, providing a variety of exploration opportunities.

There is something quite special about the property, even if it does feel in parts like a man-made disaster.

Porto Zante

Can something truly hideous be beautiful? That’s a question that great philosophers might ponder briefly before moving on to more pressing matters, like the purpose of gazpacho.  Porto Zante Villas & Spa, located on the Ionian island of Zakynthos, asks that question.

It’s a luxury resort featuring just nine exclusive villas, each with its own heated pool and sea-facing terrace.  And each of them are hideous, all in their own special way. It’s a small property, propped up by some of the most personalised service I’ve ever had.  Sadly, the interior designer didn’t love you as much and decided to decorate the property in a way that feels like they’re deliberating trying to assault your eyes.

When stepping out of your villa, you can enjoy the resort’s waterfront spa, two restaurants (including an excellent Japanese option), a kids’ club, and a private, semi-man-made beach.

Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino

Surrounded by a golf course, the ocean and an actual beach that can be described as good – for European standards, at least.  Mandarin Oriental launched in Greece in 2023 and set off a chain of cataclysmic, apocalyptic events when they started offering a €100 pizza-tasting menu.  That was the point where capitalism ended, and the entire financial system crumbled.  Assuming you’re not reading this on an abacus and planes are still a thing so you can make it to this part of Greece, you will be treated with world-class facilities, with a standout spa and beach club.  The wellness facilities include a 25-meter pool that transitions from indoor to outdoor, fitness classes, and yoga sessions.  It’s also great for families with an excellent kids club.  The fact that you are right next door to a W hotel might give you a moments pause but it is one of only a few issues in an otherwise solid offering.

The Danai

A charming property that sits amongst one of the nicer beaches on this list.  It’s beautifully set nestled amongst pine trees and unspoilt views of the ocean.  The family-run and extremely family-friendly property has staff that have worked there for generations, with a real personality and sense of place.  It’s very much the type of place you can spend your days lying on the beach and reading  (important topics, like how to become a pizza chef), knowing that the kids are happily occupied at the kids’ club.

The resort offers a diverse range of dining experiences, from authentic Greek dishes at The Anithos Restaurant to Mediterranean flavours at The Andromeda Restaurant and exclusive gourmet meals at The Squirrel. Additionally, The Noble House boasts Greece’s largest wine cellar.  The rooms need a sprucing up, but this is clearly a project of love, where each year more and more gets modernised until at some point in the year 2050 it will look so modern it will look positively 19th century.

One&Only Aesthesis

One&Only weren’t happy with just coming to Kea Island, they wanted to conquer Athens too.  Barbarians.  Found within 30 minutes of central Athens, Aesthesis is a weird half-way house between a city hotel and a resort, achieving not much of either.  It’s located on the Athenian Riviera, which sounds significantly better than it is.  I’m sure there’s an North Korean Riviera out there too.  Still, the food was excellent, and there are parts of the property that are really beautiful. If I had to be in Athens, it would be my choice, but I hope that day doesn’t come too often.

Four Seasons Astir Palace

I saved the best until last.  Assuming this list is in reverse order.  I fail to understand why people love Four Seasons Astir Palace, but I seem to be an outlier in thinking very little of it.  It’s 300 rooms.  It’s split into two monster buildings, and then a load of bungalows.  It’s expensive.  It’s boring.  It’s Four Seasons-y as they come.  Still, everyone else seems to like it, so I shall allow it onto this list.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 11th Jul '24

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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