HashtagLife reviews: Amanzoe by Aman Greece.
If Greece is the Land of The Gods then Amanzoe, set in the Peloponnese, is their summer home, and you should do everything within your power to get within their social circle. Set in the birth place of Apollo; God of the Sun, Amanzoe promises nothing less than an unrivalled landscape for the suns rising and its setting.
On researching Amanzoe prior to our visit, amongst the adorning reviews was one gentleman’s commentary which warned “oh and by God take the helicopter there, the car transfer is 3 hours of hell” – whilst none of us, I’m sure, are above a helicopter ride or two, this gentleman had respectfully got it all wrong. We had arrived via Hydrofoil from Athens and no description can serve justice to the beauty of drawing in to scenes of the azure waters of Porto Heli, with neighbouring islands Hydra and Spetses within sight.
The residence is perched on a rise within Kranidi, of Porto Heli, surrounded by undulating olive groves, vast greenery and glistening waters beneath. Amanzoe affords you 360 degree views of the Peloponnese and it’s rocky groves. The stunning setting screams: wedding, anniversary, romantic week away, but it is my newfound firm belief that any one in search of peace and relaxation, has not found it, until they visit Amanzoe.
As we pulled into the entrance to Amanzoe, transported by a very welcoming Nikos, we found that yet more hospitality awaited us. It’s that almost made-up moment when you arrive somewhere and a row of friendly, warm, smiling faces await you to welcome you. You panic and in a flash start thinking ‘wait why is everyone waiting for me?’ ‘they must have the wrong person’ ‘do they think I’m some sort of royalty?’ – that is until you learn that here at Aman, they welcome every visitor as a guest to their residence. They follow the ethos that each individual has been invited here into their home; and indeed this treatment transpires into every detail of your stay; from your every need quietly and seamlessly being catered to, to never being presented with a bill. You are treated truly as a guest, in this summer home to the Gods.
We were welcomed by Amanzoe’s charming manager; Sven, and introduced to each individual we would be seeing and liaising with during our stay. We were offered a guided tour by a very friendly Gina, and too enraptured by the stillness and peace which seemed to envelope us as soon as we’d taken our first steps inwards, we simply nodded for ‘yes’.
Inspired by classical Greek architecture, design features include columned walkways, serene garden courtyards and an amphitheatre (yes, an amphitheatre) we were led past what they referred to as ‘The Little Acropolis’ which indeed is structured as such, with vast columns reflected into the long pools stretched out along each walkway in true Aman style. The classic inspiration with contemporary flair makes each space within Amanzoe airy, bright, and synonymous with the natural elements which surround it.
The beautiful Spa – named by the likes of Conde Nast Traveller as one of the best Spas in the world – combines diet, gymnastics, exercise, massage and sea bathing with modern natural products and treatments. We were welcomed by Nick as we wandered through it’s serene walls, inspired to jump right onto a bed for an immediate treatment there and then. A gym is also available, and studios host yoga and Pilates sessions; but this is no ordinary gym. Long glass windows out-look onto stretches of stunning scenery and are guaranteed to transform you morning workout or yoga session into a ritual of relaxation you’ll want to repeat again and again. Instructor Vasilious is on board to structure whatever reconditioning and exercise regime you require during your stay.
As we walked into a library which I murmured under my breath looked like a small room snatched straight out of the historical library of Alexandria, and out past a beautifully adorned and laid out gift-shop, my mind was racing ahead to the splendour which would await at the rooms – here, referred to as ‘Pavilions’ because, well, thats what they are.
Drawing on classic Greek architecture, with strong lines and a pared-back aesthetic, Amanzoe’s standalone Pavilions all open onto terraces with private plunge pools and views of the surrounding land and sea. Each Pavilion is accessed via a stone-walled courtyard, leading to a high-ceilinged living area and king-size bed positioned in a marble alcove with views. There are few words for how relaxation-inspiring Amanzoe as a residence is. There are fewer still to portray the peace and tranquility evoked as you retreat into your Pavilion each day. Architected to a true homely comfort in style, yet utter perfection in both interior and exterior design, it was approximately 90 seconds after being left alone in our Pavilion, that I found myself humming along to the British Airways hold music, having decided to delay our flights and extend our stay by as long as possible. Unfortunately, ‘forever’ wasn’t an option, and the BA flight agent whom I spoke to based in rainy Manchester, didn’t seem to find it very funny.
Each free-standing 210-square-metre Deluxe Pool Pavilion features high ceilings and spacious rooms, which open onto the terrace, a 12-metre (39 feet) swimming pool and magnificent views of the Aegean Sea or surrounding countryside. The pool is set amongst an outside terrace shaded by a high pergola, and the inside space, approximately 100sqm features open plan living and sleeping areas, his and hers bathrooms, and a wide shower with two opposing shower heads and a glass ceiling above, which, I checked at night and can gladly confirm, you can star-gaze from as you shower. Heaven.
To dine, simple, modern, locally sourced ingredients maintain a light and healthy cuisine whilst intricate and tasteful. We dined in the main restaurant alongside the warm fireplace in a living-room inspired space. Tender lamb, grilled octopus and amberjack stand out as signature dishes. By day, the pool club, where you are hosted by an incredulously kind-spirited George and team, offers refreshing, light food, and freshly created poolside smoothies. One thing I could not stop thinking about for the 23 and a half hours in which I was not eating it was the locally sourced honey at breakfast time, glazing granola and yoghurt based dishes, or served on it’s own alongside homemade marmalades and jams. Available at the giftshop the team will gift-wrap them for you to take a taste of Greece back home.
We took a day trip to the enchanting neighbouring island; Spetses, should you be strong-willed enough to leave the enrapture of the residence itself. As with all else; the arrangements were seamlessly taken care of by the team at Aman; from taxi and short-boat ride to the islands, to maps, routes and restaurant recommendations. Also near-by is the equally beautiful island of Hydra and from May onwards Amanzoe’s private beach club opens; a stunning bay beneath the residence.
As we sat one evening, with hotel manager Sven, in the ‘central terrace’ – an open-air round stone-setting, we observed the sunset which I had heard them reference as the ‘most beautiful in the region’ but hadn’t quite believed until we beheld it ourselves. Just so, you might not yet behold my testament that Aman, both in meaning and in form, truly means ‘place of peace’, until you have visited yourself, this hidden haven; sanctuary and summer home to the Gods.