News & Reviews Europe Greece Review: Lesante Cape, Greece

I drive a Porsche.  Why, thank you for noticing.  It’s not just any Porsche, it’s a top-of-the-line, tick-every-box-for-the-sake-of-it Taycan Turbo S – the exact kind of car you think of a blogger driving.  And yes, all those stereotypes about microscopic genitals are 100% correct.  However, our family car is a Mustang Mach-E, and every Thursday morning, my daughter and I get to enjoy the pleasure of rush-hour Cambridge traffic whilst I, in a completely reasonable demeanour, let’s say, critique this car.  The technology, the steering, the acceleration, the interiors – none of it compares to the Porsche.  It’s not a bad car but certainly not a great one.  But it cost nearly three times less – so it does what it needs to, does it well, and there’s only so much I can criticise it.  That’s Lesante Cape for ya.

There are places where you spend a lot and get little, but there are very few places you spend little and get a lot.  Lesante Cape’s top suite, a 3-bedroom villa, costs around €3500/n – an entry-level room at Amanzoe.  I don’t want to be too dismissive; that would have been my top budget at one stage.  Iniala, one of my favourite properties, was cheaper.  But this is Europe, and Europe is one expensive whore.  This blog is aimed at the ultra-luxury market, and Lesante Cape’s prices already tell us they’re not targeting that segment, so if I endlessly compare it to Amanzoe, then all I’ve done is proven what a douche I am.  And there’s way too much proof of that already.  However, that’s not to say it’s a rat-infested shipwreck that washed up onto a beach, it’s part of LHW, which Laucala was until COMO, The Lanesborough was until every decent UK property left, and Park Hotel Vitznau still is.

It even comes with water, like Park Hotel Vitznau.  They’re practically twins.

Lesante Cape opened in 2021, during the golden era of travel which we’ll all fondly remember for the arse imprints we left on our sofas.  You wouldn’t be able to tell the resort is only two years old though, as, whilst the buildings certainly look new, the greenery makes it feel much more established.  Hat tip to the under-appreciated gardeners.  It’s part of the Lesante Collection’s three resorts on Zakynthos: Lesante Blue, an adults-only resort, and Lesante Classic, a more budget five-star offering.  Lesante Cape is their five-star luxury property.  Just twenty minutes from the airport, it was still enough time to remind me how poor Greece is.  Every time I visit and do more than get into a helicopter and head straight to Amanzoe, this comes back to me.  Zakynthos is not St. Tropez, although it has better beaches and fewer Russians – swings and roundabouts.

Lesante Cape has 52 rooms and eight villas with rooms designed in the style of a Greek village.  The blend of modernisation and sense of place works well.  We stayed in their top-end two-bedroom villa, which has a huge, unbearably cold pool that cannot be heated.  Let’s remember the context I keep giving regarding the price: this 130 sqm, two-bedroom villa, with a 90 sqm pool, costs less per night than an entry-level, 33 sqm room in newly opened Bulgari Rome.  I am trying to balance between being fair for that price range and being objective about what I would have liked, even if they were more expensive.

First, it’s not an aesthetic beast, but it will do.  It doesn’t offend, nor does it delight.  It felt smaller than it actually was because the kitchen took up so much of the space but was rarely used.  The kitchen is almost fully functioning, even with an oven and washing machine, perfect for making your downtrodden spouse feel at home.  The rooms are very private, and the sea views are great, but there wasn’t a whole lot to love about them.  Each side of the living, kitchen and dining area are near-identical bedrooms, each with an ensuite-, although one has doors that lead straight into the pool, so if you want to know what it’s like to go directly from a warm bed and dive into a sub-zero pool, ultimately leading to a heart attack and your loved ones seeing you laying face down in a pool, you can.

Whilst practical is a word I could use, some parts of the rooms really irked me.  In the bedrooms were these huge, vibrant green lights that told you where the exit was, even as you were trying to sleep – when management asked how we slept, they sent an engineer to turn them off.  The bath flooded, but they sent an engineer to fix it within a few minutes.  TVs are randomly positioned and look like last-minute additions with the cables hanging out.  The blinds are not even close to blackouts, and to go even near blackout, the windows can only be shuttered from the outside, and it sounds like a tornado is attacking the room as they do it, and the annoying gurgling noises from the pool or the air conditioning weren’t much fun either.  On the final day, we had no electricity, but as the shutters were closed from the outside and inaccessible, we were in darkness.  Still, it was nice to experience pooing by candlelight.  I guess they tried a different angle as a departure gift: passive aggression.  They really make it clear they want you to leave: they cut our electricity and gave us the wrong bill at the end.  I was just waiting for the toilet to be shut down.

The outdoor area is the best place, but it was either too cold (highly usual this time of year) or too hot and not shaded.  They have a BBQ by the pool, and you can hire a chef to look after you, but it seemed too low-end for my tastes.  Having cooking equipment always out and visible?!  How uncouth.  Whatever next – catching my own food?

Pre-kids, the bath flooding, the green light, the electricity going out, I’d have lost my shit.  Now I have bigger issues to worry about, like preventing them from shitting on furniture.

Lesante Cape is split into three areas: entrance with a water feature like an Amanzoe-lite, which has the gym, spa, kids club (quite ironic that it was so hard to get to with a buggy) and the main restaurant, with the playground and tennis court to the side, then their mini Mama Mia type Greek village square, with a coffee shop, church, museum, boutique, games room and even a shop for essentials like olive oil.  Besides the cliff edge are the three pools, including an adults-only, with a pool bar, restaurant and fine dining option.  There’s also steps down to a private pebble beach.

With the small number of rooms and three pools, even after two days of piss-poor weather, when the sun came out, it never felt crowded, and there were plenty of beds.  The pools are very easy on the eye, and all the surrounding areas are beautifully put together.  The sparseness of the little village area brings the place down a bit, like the half-empty games shop and the museum having zero text anywhere, so I suppose you’ve to make it all up yourself.  It must be one of those new QAnon-type museums where nothing is real.

The spa and gym are directly beneath reception, with a pool (that should have been heated, but it was broken) that stretches outside.  There’s also a sauna, steam room, hair salon and a spacious gym, with good equipment from cardio to strength using Matrix equipment.

The small details are what make you realise it’s not the high end.  The unique codes needed to access the internet, random pipes hanging the ceiling, wires hanging out, switchboards visible, posters on the spa floor, and a staff member driving around on a motorbike whilst smoking all show it’s not quite there.  And it wouldn’t take much to get there.  It kept reminding Lucie of her days at Cafe Royal – 90% there, but that 10% is a long reach.  To go that extra length is often more work than the previous ninety.  You can see the materials aren’t quite as good, and the focus not as great, but, as I must keep emphasising, the price is 2-3x less.

I was worried when they suggested lobster for dinner (I’m allergic) and served alcohol for welcome drinks (I don’t drink alcohol), but it’s more common than not that hotels screw this bit up.  The service was a pleasant surprise.  There were a lot of families here, and they seemed well-trained to deal with it.  In fact, some wonderful people were working here.  The room setup was good, including children’s toys.  From the first breakfast, we were recognised by name; the front office manager provided a WhatsApp number to communicate, check in with us, and organise whatever we needed; the restaurant manager always made everything easy for us; the head chef walked around checking in.

I was impressed that they knew our preferences from the first meal, with sparkling water immediately brought over for Lucie and a homemade squash for myself.  Everyone was lovely to deal with and really on it.  The only person whose English wasn’t great was at the Kids Club, but she said whilst, under fours needed supervision as they weren’t that busy, she could look after her.  So she’s my favourite person.  Ever.  But when someone knocked on our villa door and immediately walked in to refill the minibar and woke up our baby, they became my least favourite person ever.

I enjoyed the food, although I wished more than one restaurant was open for lunch.  The food prices are acceptable, and the quality was good, but €22 for pasta from the kid’s menu just annoys me and will until the day my kids eat more than 3% of what’s served.  During evenings they sometimes had classical music from a cellist, and once a week, have Greek night, which should have been in the village square, but the weather turned on us, so it moved indoors.  All the same, I enjoyed it when it’s usually the thing I’d avoid at all costs, but here the cost is small.

Breakfast offered a good buffet selection with minimal daily changes and lots of cakes – they know many Brits come here.  A la carte has about ten items, including local dishes.  Chefs would come to our table, offering dishes to try.  It was all well choreographed, except one morning when everyone must have lived it too large the night before, as everything took ages.

The Good

  • Food
  • Service
  • Unique facilities
  • Views

The Bad

  • Not always five-star luxury

The Luxurious

  • Great value for money

Rating

Good

Conclusion

With only a single flight a week to Zakinthos on British Airways, I only came here because I didn’t want to stomach seven nights at Porto Zante.  As it turns out, it was a good decision.  For my target audience, it’s probably not for you, but for those looking for a deal, it’s certainly worth a look.  It doesn’t feel cheap, but you’re not going to feel like you’re in a Brunello Cucinelli store, either.  It certainly isn’t at the level of Porto Zante.  It’s the type of place I can see myself returning to in years to come when I have no money left, as I spent it all on getting this blog readership levels beyond three people.

But, ultimately, Lesante Cape is an absolute bargain.  €2,000/n for a two-bedroom villa in Greece is cheap, my friends.  Please don’t tell the Daily Mail I said that; I don’t want my house firebombed.  We were well looked after, well fed and even well watered from the poor weather.  Overall though, a pleasantly surprising good stay.

Room type: Two Bedroom Villa Sea View with Private Pool When: May 2023 Rates: from €2,000/n

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 16th Jun '23

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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