Whoever visits Sani Resort for the first time becomes its devotee forever.
I like to see hotels as cocoons. I love both small boutique hotels for their intimacy and coziness but I am also a fan of big holiday resorts because they give me this impression of living in a private world of style and luxury.
The first time I stayed at Sani Resort, I was an exhausted mother of a newly born girl. I was seduced by the idyllic beauty of the landscape (long sandy beaches, azure waters, pine forests and an impressive rocky hill that goes into the sea). Apart from the 4 different hotels, each addressing a particular kind of guest, I got to explore Sani Marina with lots of boutiques and around 30 restaurants and bars covering every kind of cuisines. Having the chance to feel pampered inside this mini paradise and also enjoy the immaculate services of the well trained personnel was the most precious gift a hotel could offer me at the time.
Sani Resort, this family-owned ecological reserve, stretching across 1,000 acres on the Kassandra peninsula, is a much sought-after hideaway for many more reasons than the ones mentioned. A love of the arts and exceptional food is in Sani’s blood and the owners take personal responsibility for hosting two very special events each year – the “Sani Festival” and the “Sani Gourmet” event, during which some of the finest musicians and respectively chefs from Greece and around the world gather together.
This year’s Sani Gourmet coincided with the opening of the 5fth Hotel in the resort, the Sani Dunes, a new grown-up retreat. The loyal fans of Sani Resort among travel journalists, myself included, were very excited to see the new comer, promptly created in a period of just eight months!
Sani Dunes was made to meet the needs of a sophisticated audience that wishes to relax in adults friendly hotels. Personally, I find the idea of a hotel that welcomes both couples and grown-up families, particularly useful since my teenage daughter is not anymore fond of hotels full of baby carriages while my husband and I seek a chic and luxurious retreat to accommodate us during our family trips.
So here I am, at the newly launched Sani Dunes a sunny weekend of June. The first thing that attracts one’s attention in Sani Dunes, is the jaw dropping reception which boasts a huge art installation by famous Greek sculptor Costas Varotsos. Every time I sat there, I watched guests one after the other coming in the hotel and approaching almost mesmerized the work of art in order to gaze at it and take a picture of it. Then comes the statement pool. It is the biggest open air heated pool in Europe, it has an “island” with a bar in the middle and it curves along the suites from the reception down to the beach offering a precious waterside view.
I stayed at an elegantly decorated in soft colors Junior Suite with an incredibly comfortable bed, an inviting spacious veranda and a huge bathroom. But I had to cope with a certain dilemma: Where should I take in my vitamin D, on the beach or by the pool. Why not both places, since on the one side you have an exotic beach with an exceptional service and on the other side a pool that is so much more than just another pool.
Another dilemma is where to have breakfast, There is the main restaurant of the hotel called Dunes where you find an superb presentation of the breakfast buffets, some of which are positioned in front of walls with vertical gardens. There is also The Beach House. Oh, The Beach House! I fell in love with this relaxing, airy restaurant and its coastal rustic style that is located of course on the beach front. Wherever you decide to enjoy your first meal of the day, the food options are numerous. Apart from what one can find at the buffets, there is an a la carte menu as well as a choice of healthy dishes. I tried the poached eggs with salmon and avocado which were delicious and I heard a lot of good comments about the eggs white omelet. Fresh fruits seem also to be everywhere in abundance, as they should be in a Greek summer resort! For dinner, Fresco restaurant offers an innovative menu by the Michelin-starred chef Ettore Botrini and has its own arty atmosphere overlooking the lagoon pool and the Aegean Sea.
We didn’t have the chance to try this but we were lucky enough to taste some really amazing food created by 10 young Michelin-starred and up-and-coming chefs that were participating in this year’s Sani Gourmet festival whose concept was “Rising Stars”.
On Sunday, all the participant chefs collaborated to create a mouth-watering spread of exceptional canapés for us to savour while listening to live music and DJs playing soothing sounds in the picturesque Sani Marina to a backdrop of bobbing yachts and the sparkling deep blue Aegean Sea. Apart from that, the two evenings I stayed there, I also indulged in two great dinners by German chef Robert Maas and French chef Antonny Jehanno, which were both unique.
It is not easy to say goodbye to Sani Resort, I know that from the previous times.
In the shuttle that takes you back to the airport, your mind makes lists of all the things you didn’t find the time to do. A massage at The D Spa for example, the state of the art big spa under the reception. The cocktails served on the pool island. The healthy breakfast. And at this point you go on and reassure yourself “I will soon be back!”