Modest. Personal. Utterly charming. These are the thoughts that spring to mind when it comes to Porto Zante Villas & Spa. Modesty because despite being voted one of the World’s Best Family Hotels by Conde Nast Traveller; Top 100 Hotels of the World by Hideaways and Europe’s Leading Villa Resort by the World Travel Awards, this five-star hotels tucked away on the Greek island of Zakynthos, remains a wonderfully discreet hideaway dedicated to the privacy of its guests. Personal because although it has been the choice of famous clientele, including heads of state, business whizzes and international artists, over the years this member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World has never lost sight of its essence as a boutique luxury hotel, while quietly treating every guest like royalty And as for utterly charming: where do we begin?
WORLD CLASS – Perhaps it is Porto Zante’s divine location, edging the sands of a secluded private bay overlooking the island’s famously cobalt waters. Perhaps it is the huge, world-class luxury villas, set so close to the sea you can hear the waves lapping as you drift off to sleep. Perhaps it’s down to the fact that each of these beautiful havens positively oaze individual character decorated and furnished with selected pieces of Armani Gasa and Geivasoni and paintings of prominent Greek artists, while also coming bedecked with everything from Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems, Ghristofle (Paris) cutlery and glasses, Bernardaud design porcelain and Bulgari guest amenities.
Not to mention each one having a private pool and, in many a stretch of private beach — perfect for lazing away the day away under the islands cerulean skies. Or perhaps it’s the fact that these are hideaway villas you really can hide away in, as a couple or with your family — a rare treat in a hotel. You don’t even have to emerge to enjoy the exquisite Greek and Mediterranean cuisine (there is, naturally 24-hour five-star hotel service complementing the inviting Glub House Restaurant and Bar) — or to enjoy one of the hedonistic head-to-toe spa treatments.
THE NATURAL CHOICE – Having said that, the hotel’s waterfront Spa & Thalassotherapy (for which, incidentally, Porto Zante was also awarded Greece’s Leading Hotel Spa at the World Travel Awards in 2015) is worth making the break for. Think over 20 spa therapies inspired by Greek nature and the power of aromatherapy administered al fresco in front of the Ionian Sea. Alternatively, for those who prefer to head a little further afield, Zakynthos is an island that abounds with alternative zen-inducing moments. Simply walking atop one of its white-cliffed peninsulas, set against a palette of electric-blue seas and azure skies, will leave you breathless.
Head onwards and you could stumble upon sleepy Venetian villages; picnic on Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach (acclaimed as one of the world’s best beaches); head out to Turtle Island, a protected home to sea turtles; explore the Blue Caves; or wow the kids — and yourself — with a visit to Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Water sports and snorkelling off the hotel s beach; horse ridings private cruises to secluded areas of the island, day excursions to nearby Kefalonia, cyclings divings helicopter tours and even big game fishing: Zakynthos is a natural playground for old and young alike. For the re ally youngs Porto Zantes Kids Corner — complete with new playground — will entertain little guests. And for the ultimate in authentic Greek experiences, take an early morning boat trip out with the local fisherman, Mr. Nikos, to help catch the fresh fish for the hotel s guests that day Utterly charmings indeed.