Spetses: where the millionaires play
‘The Poseidonion, a veritable French chateau, stands out from its commanding position if you arrive by sea. Set less than a kilometre from the harbour it is convenient to the Bouboulina Museum and the Hatzigianni Mexi Spetses Musem. There are also a handful of beaches just minutes away. Opened in 1914 and the brainchild of Sotirios Anargyros it represented the cosmopolitan face of the island tempting high society, royalty and wealthy Athenians to its doors. In 2009 it welcomed a five-year restoration inviting guests back to the island which inspired John Fowle’s The Magus.
Upon entering you are met with opulence from the glistening marble floor and the wide beckoning staircase. The luxurious surroundings of the past continue with the original English tiles, wooden floors and antique furniture. There is an historic wing and a modern wing. The historic wing offers thirty eight rooms in the understated Greek elegance of white with wooden floors. The new wing offers seventeen rooms with a view of the Mediterranean garden and pool. The Royal Suite and La Cupola Suite include private balconies with panoramic views of Spetses. The Pool Suite is a definite fave with its own little garden, plunge pool and ocean vistas.
The hotel is famous for opening with spa services over one hundred years ago. Today the spa has been updated to feature a series of small whitewashed buildings huddled around a 300-metre spa pool.
Dining is another sublime experience beginning with the breakfast buffet which is served on the restaurant’s terrace or inside. There is the Palms on the Verandah bar which offers cocktails and the Library Brasserie for snacks with many ingredients sourced from Bostani, the hotel’s own organic island farm. The concierge can organise a farm visit and tour includes a meal surrounded by the island’s lush tree-clad hills. Here you can partake in the cooking classes under the sky, learn about traditional organic farming techniques before picking the vegetables and herbs to make a meal. Back at the hotel you can dine at Il Cortile. Located on the hotel’s verandah looking on to palm trees, you’re definitely made to feel like you’re on holidays.
If you can tear yourself away from the gourmet lavishness, there’s plenty to be found on the island. It offers a very French Riviera feel with superyachts moored along the quay and gorgeous mosaics from coloured stones. There are some quaint local seafood restaurants and beaches galore. The Bekiris Cave is one of the gems to be seen along with keftedes and moussaka at a little tavern on the sandy beach at Zogeria.
Yet this is not your typical Greek island where old Greece gathers on the beach with donkeys and watermelons, the closeness to Athens has made it a tycoons’ playground. Stavros Niarchos, second to Aristotle Onassis in magnate status bought the next island of Spetsopoula where Charles and Diana honeymooned and Simon Le Bon celebrated his birthday under the disco lights in Spetses Old Harbour.
Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan was a guest of the Poseidonion
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