One of the Greek’s best
Follow in the footsteps of the Venetians – who nicknamed Zakynthos ‘the Flower of the Levant’ – and bed down at modern, minimalist Olea All Suites Hotel, which has a star spa, romantic rooms and a trio of ravishing restaurants up its sleeve. This sand-and-pearl-hued hillside hideaway is tucked away amid olive trees and an abundance of native greenery. Glimpses of the Ionian Sea and the lagoon-like pool provide incentives to get out of bed (at least occasionally). Let the madding crowds hog Zante’s busier spots; there’s no crime in spending your whole holiday here.
On the eastern side of Greece’s greenest island, Zakynthos, lies a dreamy haven that blends key aspects of Mediterranean architecture with a dash of tropical modernism. Perched organically on the hill in Tsilivi and merging with the emerald colours of the lush natural landscape, the Olea All Suite Hotel (a member of design hotels) is a contemporary, peaceful retreat that taps into an ever-present water element.
The tranquil, beating heart of the hotel is a 4000m2 man-made lake encasing the minimally-designed luxury suites that have developed naturally around it. The calming, transforming power of the water that flows freely through the veins of Olea All Suite Hotel cannot be understated. The almost complete absence of boundaries between the resort’s suites and its communal spaces cultivates a unique sense of freedom resembling the deep state of relaxation one feels when floating.
“The idea was to introduce a resort that embraces everything that makes this island so wonderful, but in a contemporary way. From its warm-hearted people and the unique ingredients of local cuisine, to the lush vegetation and the majestic beaches, Zakynthos has just so many meaningful experiences to offer. Olea utilises all the above and adds a bit of magic through modern, minimal design and an ever-present element of water,” says Venia Xenou on behalf of the Xenos Hotels Group.
The Athens and Stockholm-based architecture practice Block722architects+ is responsible for Olea’s design and concept. They worked closely with the existing vegetation—including the venerable olive trees that have been gracing this plot of land for centuries. Using natural techniques and materials (like rustic oak wood, bamboo, and rattan), they redefined the physical environment while emphasising the autonomy of each suite unit, with the result resembling a luxurious, tropical island settlement. “The most important thing to us was how the guests would experience their surroundings,” says Katja Margaritoglou, co-founder and interior designer for the firm. “The design brings people in sync with nature and its elements, connecting the indoors with the outdoors in a seamless way that helps them unwind and explore the resort in its entirety.”
In addition to the mindfulness and relaxation aspects, Olea All Suite Hotel emphasizes wellness. Guests can be rejuvenated at the Royal Spa & Relaxation area (with special aromatic and essential oils therapies using Mediterranean herbs), train at the fully equipped gym, pamper themselves at the beauty salon and unwind at the yoga pavilion. Of course, if they prefer, they can also swim or float in the all-encompassing lake-like pool around this “lake”, natural meeting points are formed. Lounges are protected from the sun by the cooling shadows of pergolas and the carob and Judas trees that surround them. At the same time, guests can have their taste buds regaled by various culinary delights, which tap into Greek and Mediterranean flavours with a creative spin. Last but not least, at the sunset bar (strategically positioned so that the rays of the setting sun envelop every inch of the premises), one can find an exclusive menu of signature cocktails that includes drinks infused with local herbs.
Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is a striking mosaic of green and blue in the Ionian Sea. Famous for its shipwreck beach (Navagio) – an exposed cove that’s home to the wreck of an old smuggler’s ship – Zakynthos has countless more traits that make it a compelling destination to the discerning traveler. Given the juxtaposition of the island’s craggy, mountainous interior with the lush green, pine-forested hills that lead to so many lace-like beaches and coves with crystal blue waters, Zante is consistently voted one of the Greece’s top destinations. This is the land of honey and olive oil, of grapes and wine, and of rich cheese. It is also a land bursting with wildlife, where endangered Caretta Caretta turtles make their home on the island’s southern coast.
Chic is wasted on the young. Well, the very young. They just want utilitarian color and noise, inflatables and ice cream. All of which is available at plenty of hotels on Zakynthos.
Just not here.
OLEA All Suite Hotel, a member of design hotels, is an adults-friendly haven (accepting children over 12 years old) that blends Mediterranean design with a touch of tropical modernism. Located on an evergreen hill, it offers 93 luxury suites of superb, contemporary elegance that overlook the impressive lake-like pool, the Ionian Sea or the hotel’s lavish green gardens. Many of the suites have a private swimming pool, enveloping guests in the ever-calming presence of water with a 4000m2 main pool, the element of water is an integral part of Olea’s concept, seamlessly connecting the indoors with the outdoors. Everything about this hotel screams calm and space. It’s as if the world is in some sort of freefall.
Olea’s suites are arranged in one or two-storey whitewashed blocks, along with gardens and various carob tree-shaded lounges. In the center, like some kind of dazzling oasis, a dazzling pool that sparkles in the Greek sunlight. Pure bliss.
Only the best,