Chic is wasted on the young. Well, the very young. They just want utilitarian colour and noise, inflatables and ice cream. All of which is available at plenty of hotels on Zakynthos. Just not here.
For if you want a getaway break from all the noisy things in life – children included – then you need to be more discerning about your choice of hotel.
Yet only a five minute walk from Tsilivi village, with its cheery tavernas and karaoke bars, you can find the kind of adult-only haven which looks like it should exist on a desert island of its own. From the muted colour scheme and elegantly cubist suites to the swimming pools which lap, quite literally at the edge of your balcony, Olea All Suite Hotel, the five star hotel which only opened in May this year, is a haven for the frazzled and heaven for the soul. And with only a 10 minute jaunt from the airport, you don’t even arrive with a headache.
As the child free/adult only tag suggests, this is the place to go if you want SILENCE. Or rather, as we did, a break from children – our own and other people’s – during peak season. Yet don’t mistake child free for clinical formality. The staff at the Olea simply ooze signature Hellenic hospitality. The receptionist beams, the manager beams, the waiters beam. Everyone it seems is beaming. And you know what? It makes you beam too. I even got an unprompted hug from one of the waitresses on the morning we left. Sweet. Really sweet.
Everything about this hotel screams, well, calm and space. It’s as if the world is in some sort of freefall. The Olea’s 93 suites are arranged in one or two-storey whitewashed blocks, along with gardens and various carob tree-shaded lounges. In the centre, like some kind of dazzling oasis, a 4,000m² pool sparkles in the Greek sunlight.
Across all communal areas, the Athens and Stockholm-based architects Block722 have installed grilled wooden dividers and lots of lush vegetation to “blur the indoor and outdoor worlds”.
All the suites overlook either the Ionian Sea, the pool or the hotel’s lavish green gardens,
We stayed in a Superior swim-up suite which has it’s own pool, shared with four other suites. Being able to step from the hotel room into the water made memories of crawling down to the swimming pool with overheated kids, armbands, sunscreen and other baggage, all the more sweet to recall.
Food and Drink
The food at the main O Restaurant is simply magnificent – and breathtakingly labour intensive. Tom Thumb sized dishes of exotic salads, or tiny casserole pots incubating a cheese drenched hunk of courgette. But don’t worry about going hungry. Everything is in abundance. While there’s a healthy slant on many of the dishes. Meanwhile the dessert bar, with its glossy chocolate mousses and honey cakes more than makes up for it.
There are other places to eat including the Cocoon Resto and Bar with its emphasis on Japanese sushi. Meanwhile the bars offer sweets & ice-cream, fresh juice, coffees, wines and cocktails as well as light snacks.
But frankly the O Restaurant offered so much diversity we find it impossible to tear ourselves away.
As mentioned, there’s a huge central pool with plenty of sunloungers and parasols dotted around the edge, as well as a swim-up bar. There’s also a sauna, hot tub and Turkish bath.
An integreated Wellness Spa and Relaxation area includes a yoga pavilion, a fully-equipped gym and a spa whose essential oils draw on local herbs. My facial harnessed aromatic and essential oils therapies with Mediterranean herbs. Missing the kids? Not a chance!
Wi Fi Available?
From 136 EUR per night off peak.
On your doorstep, or rather a ten minute march down the hill, lies the resort town of Tsilivi which has a nice sandy beach.
The tick box attractions for day trippers has to include so-called Shipwreck Beach: a once secluded cove, crowned by the wreck of a rusting boat and only reached by sea. Visit as part of a boat trip to the nearby Blue Water caves, stunning geological formations which take their names from the distinctive turquoise of the sea.
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In peak season, however, be warned these top tourist stops are incredibly crowded (though it does make returning to the peace of an adult only hotel all the sweeter).
Personally I was keen to feel the true ‘Greekness’ of this lush island. A yearning which was satisfied by a visit to thedelightful Therianos organic farm in the centre of Zakynthos, which cultivates and creates gorgeous local products such as raisins, olive oil and honey.