Holiday in Greece: A Postcard from a Private Villa
Holiday in Greece: A Postcard from a Private Villa
Whether you're chasing summer in Greece or planning ahead for a holiday next year, booking a hotel to stay in is not the only way to do it...
Although there's a whole Indian winter situation going on across Europe right now, you'd still be forgiven for wanting to chase some last minute sunshine (or book a holiday for 2023) as the days grow shorter and darker. If this sounds like you, Greece should probably be on your radar.
While a hotel stay can be the epitome of luxury, there's nothing quite like a beautiful villa to indulgently soak up some sunshine and chill poolside. Furthermore, what's more luxurious than gorgeous Greek architecture and infinite privacy?
With properties all over the country, The Greek Villas is your one-stop shop for a higher tier holiday - particularly when compared to the average Airbnb. I visited one of the stunning homes in Corfu - Villa Daniela - which had recently undergone an exterior rennovation and enjoyed a little blitz break amid the approach to winter.
Corfu is a popular Greek island among holidaymakers and I certainly remember many school friends of mine over the years excitedly talking of their family trips to the destination.
Shamefully, my own experience of visiting the island is restricted to a pre-university clubbing holiday in Kavos. So, essentially, let's say I hadn't been to Corfu before this trip.
Corfu is a beautiful island - and a large one at that. Our villa was situated in Agios Stefanos, surrounded by gorgeous greenery and overlooking a stretch of blue - about an hour's drive from Corfu Town.
However, the beauty of booking the Greek Villas is that the team can easily organise a transfer to the town centre, along with a knowledgeable tour guide to take you around the hot spots.
Spiridoula from Corfu Holidays Direct was so informative, taking us to key locations such as the Holy Monastery of Vlacherna and showing us nearby Mouse Island. We also visited the birthplace of the late Duke of Edinburgh, Mon Repos - where we strolled through the estate and toured the marble-floored Palaiopolis Museum with gorgeous views of the ocean.
We wandered the streets of Corfu Town, stopping off to look at the Old Fortress - before heading to lunch. Avli is a typically Greek restaurant, serving traditional dishes under a leafy green terrace, overlooking the sea, and a spot I would highly recommend after an afternoon of sightseeing and souvenir-shopping.
The villa has a contemporary Greek style in its architectural design and interiors. The six-bedroom property sits on a hillside, therefore offering beautiful panoramic views across the Ionian sea. The perfect place to gaze out onto the mountainous landscape of Albania - yes, Albania - with a glass of Greek wine...
Aside from the poolside terrace, there's another level with sofas and a dining table, meaning guests can enjoy these stunning vistas throughout the day and in whatever style they choose. The outdoor living space has just recently been renovated, featuring comfortable sofas and lounge beds and a dining table for outdoor entertaining.
The interior living space is light-filled and clean-lined, with gorgeous raffia and wood furnishings in neutral tones. Large sliding doors connect the lounge area to the outside, while the bedrooms all offer views via windows or a terrace of their own to the front or back of the property.
Greek food is one of the best out there, in my opinion. I love the variety - feta, fish, meat, salad - it's all fresh, made with love and leaves a huge smile on my face every time.
Feta is a lifestyle and I was sure to make sure that the private chefs at Villa Daniela knew my thoughts on the blessed cheese. Yes, that's right - the property comes with a private chef as part of the package and everything we ate was absolutely divine.
From the most beautifully-cooked, tender pork I've ever tasted to cucumber with kiwi and beef tartare; all meals were creative, delicious and wonderfully-presented. The chefs can cook up anything you wish, including traditional Greek recipes such as 'Pastitsada', a Greek dish consisting of pasta (usually bucatini) with braised meat in a spicy tomato-based sauce - as well as freshly-caught sea bass or sole, in a lemon butter sauce.
At the previously-mentioned Avli restaurant in Corfu, signature dishes included baked feta in a spicy tomato sauce; 'Soutzoukakia' which are spicy oblong-shaped meatballs in a spiced tomato and cumin broth; freshly-grilled prawns in garlic and the perfect Greek salad. Bathe me in feta - I won't complain.
A personalised itinerary
If you wish to just lounge and live the lavish lifestyle in your Greek villa - you can. However, if you like to mix up your pool time with a few activities, that's an easy option too.
The Greek Villas can organise pretty much everything and anything for guests: from sail boating the Ionian sea to wine tasting and beach picnics. We opted to have Villa Daniela turned into a spa for the afternoon, indulging in beautiful facial treatments and aromatherapy massages. Well, relaxing for some. Some of us chose to be brave (read, foolish) and go for a deep tissue massage. While it was clearly very necessary, it was so painful and I don't think I've ever felt as though in a state of calm and distess simultaneously.
Jokes aside, the team at Aurelia Spa were fantastic and I can only just apologise to my masseuse for putting her through the stress of ironing out my knots. I will strive to sit at my desk better and not haunch over my laptop on the sofa. I'll try. I was able to sprightly saunter off to a table of Chef Fevus' famous snacks. It was a happy day.
We also partook in a cooking class, making our own tzatziki - which we then ravenously devoured with crisps (Greek chip and dip, for the win) - as well as rolling our own dolmadakia. The stuffed vine leaves do remind me of healthy, Mediterranean spring rolls and it was the perfect entertaining activitiy for a slow Sunday evening. Even more entertaining thanks to special Chef's Juice...
Villa Daniela was a dream and having, luckily, had many hotel stays over the years, it really did reignite my love of a more seculded space when it comes to choosing accommodation for a holiday. Right, off to scroll the website for my next Greek getaway.
The Greek Villas Rates
For the season of 2023, Villa Daniela has a starting rate of 10,000 euros per week