The lowdown Think shimmering azure waters, white-sand beaches and ancient aromatic olive groves – the beautifully situated Sani Resort sits on Greece’s Cape of ancient Sani, overlooking the Aegean Sea and Mount Olympus. The five-star, family-owned retreat boasts seven kilometres of gorgeous coastline, backed by extensive pine forests. It comprises four hotels: Sani Asterias Suites; Sani Beach Club; Sani Beach Hotel; and Porto Sani Village. I stayed at Porto Sani Village – the “wellbeing” hotel – with 103 luxe (recently refurbed) suites and five pools, overlooking an impressive yacht-filled marina, scattered with designer boutiques, lively restaurants and cool bars. (Note: a rather nifty electro buggy service whisks you between hotels and beaches.)
The rooms The Porto Sani Village is an all-suite hotel. The rooms are luxe and spacious, decorated in a contemporary, understated style, using natural woods and fabrics. Simple but elegant, the vibe is refreshing and relaxing – finished off with cosy furnishings in a neutral palette of beige, cream, white and gold or the blues of the sea. All the usual trimmings are present: big comfortable bed, large flat-screen TV and DVD player; and the huge marble bathroom, with his and hers sinks, a rain-forest shower and Jacuzzi-jet bath tub was a sure-fire hit. All suites come with a balcony or a terrace – choose from a view of the pools or marina. My biggest thrill? The Nespresso machine!
What to do Ha! There’s heaps to do… well, should you so wish. It’s your holiday, after all! Whatever box you tick – sun-lounger queen, spa junky, beach/poolside babe, sports bunny, tired parent/grandparent with littlies and in-laws – you’re sure to find something you like at Sani, either en famille, with your significant other or on your own. Activities range from wine tasting to a massage on the beach, yoga to paragliding and all sorts of watersports, sightseeing to mountain-biking. Personally, I headed for the basement Spa Suite (with nine treatment rooms, gym, sauna, hammam, in-door pool and a hair and nail salon), where I treated myself to a fabulous Anne Sémonin Quick Flash Beauty Escape, incorporating a glow-giving, ice-cube facial (55 euros for 30 minutes). Relaxed and chilled, I felt years (and horrid wrinkles) fall away as I sipped on my post-treatment herbal tea in the ambient Deli bar. Meanwhile, down on the beach, you can employ a Beach Buddy to serve you drinks and snacks from the comfort of your sunbed (loving the extra-comfy large beach towels) and get beach toys and games for the kiddies. Sani Porto Village is perfect for families. The Babewatch service allows mums and dads to catch up on some me-time – read a book or take a dip, secure in the knowledge that their littl’un is being cared for. And there’s also creche club (6 months-4 years); mini club (4-12 years) and teenage club (13-16 years). There are adult-only areas too – if you find all the playing and splashing a bit too much.
Otherwise, stroll around the marina – check out the galleries, shops and ice-cream cafés; or go on a trip out to nearby Thessaloniki or historic Meteora or one of the picture-postcard-perfect local villages (the super-friendly staff can help arrange this for you); or in the evening, take in a performance at the outdoor Garden theatre or live music in one of the many resort restaurants. My recommendation? A sunset cruise or day boat trip - and make like you’re Jackie O, with huge sunnies, speeding around with your rich shipping-magnate lover (a girl can dream)…
Wining and dining Being quintessentially Greek, the Sani has food at its centre, housing, in fact, four award-winning restaurants (it’s also hosting its seventh annual Gourmet Festival in May 2012). Ranging from fine-dining to family-run tavernas (offering Brit faves gyros and souvlaki) and crêperies, my fave meals included the scrumptious meze lunch with freshly caught red snapper at Greek tavern Psaroyannos and the octopus salade niçoise at the elegant Water restaurant. As wellbeing is the core of Porto Sani Village, its Lagoon restaurant offers organic, gluten- and dairy-free, well-balanced dishes to complement the therapies at the spa.
The details Classic Collection Holidays (0800 294 9323; www.classic-collection.co.uk) offers seven nights at Porto Sani Village & Spa from £1,423 per person for summer 2012, based on two adults sharing a marina junior suite, b&b. Price includes return flights from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki (other UK departure airports available) and private transfers. (The resort is a 45-minute drive from Thessaloniki International Airport.) For more information, visit http://www.sani-resort.com/en_GB
By Louise Sugrue