The Peloponnese has a 1,200 kilometre coastline that stretches between the Aegean and Ionian seas. It is Greece’s largest wine and olive producing region as well as being home to former capital of Greece, Nafplio, and also home to Unesco World Heritage sites including the wondrous amphitheatre at Epidaurus and Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games.
The Peloponnese has largely been a well-kept secret by Athenians, as the capital is only an hour’s drive away from the Corinth canal, the entrance to the Peloponnese. European royalty like it, too. The King of the Netherlands and ex-King Constantine of Greece own holiday homes close to Porto Heli in the east.
Today, Peloponnisos is also attracting a huge number of international visitors thanks to two first class resorts that are leading the way worldwide in architecture, design and facilities.
One of the biggest developments in recent years has been Costa Navarino in Messinia in the western Peloponnese, a comfortable 40-minute drive from Kalamata airport. It opened in 2010 on a stunning Mediterranean beach and today has two substantial Starwood hotels: a modern and welcoming, family-friendly Westin (all stone and light wood) and the more intimate and subdued Romanos (marble and darker wood).
There are also two golf courses, a tennis centre, pools, squash courts, an interactive nature centre, eateries, shops, an open-air cinema and bowling alley.
Costa Navarino is said to be adding more hotels and golf courses to its portfolio, all while maintaining its eco-friendly culture. In 2014 the resort won the World Tourism Award for its sustainability programmes.
The high-end hotel brand Aman has also made its way to the Peloponnese. It opened Amanzoe in 2012 on a clifftop on the eastern side of the peninsula, two-and-a-half hours from Athens by car. Like Costa Navarino, Amanzoe exudes Grecian taste, sophistication, warmth and beauty.
Set on a hilltop bursting with olive and cypress trees, Greece’s Amanzoe resort in Porto Heli commands an extraordinarily beautiful view of the breathtaking countryside and the Aegean Sea. The resort’s 38 free-standing pavilions are luxurious, offering panoramas of the water, private pools,and access to the exclusive beach club. It’s the ultimate in privacy and indulgence. But somehow the newest addition to the property, Villa 20, manages to blow all of that out to sea.
Amanzoe’s architecture is incredible, there are statuesque columns, long reflective ponds drawing your eye to the sunset and a dramatic fire pit overlooking the blue waters of the Aegean, rooms are large and there are also four beach cabanas at the elegant Beach Club, a short ride away.
According to Luxury Hotels publication, Amanzoe is the most expensive hotel in Europe with a minimum summer rate of 1779 euro per night.
Although neither of these resorts are for those in search of budget friendly accomodation, they are definitely worth a visit if you are in this part of town and wanting to take a closer look at how Greece is leading the way in first class architecture and design.