Kea Retreat is a beachfront paradise in an untouched area of the Cycladic Island of Kea
There are many ways for a traveller to seek to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life. Most of the time, it’s the things you leave behind that make a difference.
It’s Friday morning and my best friend and I have just arrived at Kea port after a short one-hour boat trip from Attika. For this weekend, we have decided to leave our car behind, being sure we will not need it since we have arranged to spend a weekend at Kea Retreat, the much-talked-about new entry, located at the secluded beach of Psathi.
The movie-like story and the vision behind Kea Retreat
Yoni, one of the owners, is waiting for us at the port in order to take us to the hotel. As soon as we set off, he starts to narrate the movie-like story of his Israeli family and their vision behind Kea Retreat. It was clearly a passion-calling project for his family. His father is a successful businessman, his mother a therapist and the two brothers, Yoni, himself, a meditation therapist, and Uriel, the chef are the creators of the astonishing Kea Retreat which is “the talk of the town” among the most forward-thinking visitors of Greece.
After vacationing for more than 20 years on the island of Kea, they spotted the location while on a boat trip. They managed to acquire it despite the fact that ownership of the land proved a difficult task since it belonged to a lot of people, a fact that took tons of hard work and patience. Fast forward to the beginning of summer 2022, Kea Retreat opens its gates, featuring 6 cottage-like suites, most of them created by renovating some old “Kathikies”, traditional farmer stone houses that already existed in the area.
With the utmost respect to the natural habitat, these restored Kathikies that date back hundreds of years, merge with the hill’s rocky landscape and feature an unobstructed Aegean sea view. The family’s mission is to capture the essence of the Greek island’s simple life. The retreat is next to an untouched beach that exceeds everyone’s expectations, featuring a wild landscape with glittering grey rocks and azure crystal-clear waters. Kea Retreat is a beachfront paradise, created to celebrate life, urge people to reconnect with nature and make them set on a transformational journey.
A weekend at Kea Retreat
As soon as we arrive, Yoni gives us a quick tour of the estate, showing us the vegetable garden, the olive grove, and the main building – the heart of Kea Retreat – with the big veranda. While we walk around the property, he keeps on spotting various kinds of herbs when he stops by a short bush, cuts off a tiny purple flower and gives it to us to try. It’s a kind of garlic and yes, it also has the taste of it!
After a while he shows us to our cute one-room cottage which comes with a private spacious yard (outdoor shower, dining setting under a big Lygaria tree and sunbeds included), totally invisible from anyone else. Locally produced and traditionally designed towels, pareos, robes and soaps are provided in the en suite amenities.
We simply can’t wait to open this little wooden door to the beach and swim. So the first thing we do is enjoy the sea under the glorious Cycladic sun! Kea Retreat has not touched the beach landscape at all – it would be disastrous to put umbrellas and sunbeds but they have strategically placed a pool with comfy sunbeds in the estate, close to the sea.
On our way to the beach, I can’t help observing the decoration details. There are custom-made ceramics created by local artisans, tiny pots and cups that look like small objects of art. There are swaying lights made of off-white cotton fabric, custom-made by an artist for the hotel and heirloom Moroccan carpets. There is an honesty bar, full of fruits of every kind. There is no lobby or reception, only a spacious but cozy living room and dining area which has the look and feel of a friend’s house. The interiors are whitewashed and wood-toned, peaceful, beautiful and light-filled. This place is the epitome of raw-luxury.
The unprecedented experience of Kea Retreat Gastronomy
After our swimming, at about 14:00, it’s the time the hotel serves lunch to its guests. There is a communal table, as well as seats at the bar and small tables. We sit by the bar and watch Yoni making a cocktail, a classic spritz with a Greek twist, using basil and Metaxa cognac. Then, several culinary miracles start happening in front of our eyes. Drawing from his experience in numerous Michelin-star restaurants in Europe and the USA (including Copenhagen’s 3-Michelin-star Noma), Uriel combines innovative techniques with a farm-to-table philosophy.
Until we leave, each meal is an unprecedented gastronomic experience. We never ordered anything; we just kept on trying divine creative dishes by the team of Kea Retreat among which, was a flatbread with turmeric butter, a strapatsada sando with grilled tsoureki and the most delicious grilled fish with Greek coffee powder. As nature on the island is constantly changing, the menu takes on the same spirit, changing every day, based on what has the highest energy and flavor at that given time.
Helmed by Uriel Eshet, Kea Retreat’s cuisine embodies the project’s slow-living and nature-conscious principles, offering guests dishes exclusively based on seasonal and local ingredients, a lot of which grow on the property’s olive groves, fruit orchards, vegetable and herb gardens, and vineyards.
Uriel’s cooking is not confined to any national cuisine, focusing instead on offering guests unique, flavourful, and unexpected culinary experiences.
Kea Retreat’s small restaurant which also welcomes visitors that are not guests of the hotel is named Lygaria and offers an authentic, shared dining experience, again inspired by the Cycladic sun, the Aegean breeze & the beautiful traditions of Greek island culture. Check its Instagram here
Kea Retreat offered us a really blissful weekend. Its virgin landscape, bountiful farm and traditional design, allow visitors to enjoy the silence and peace of nature and the passionate authenticity of the vibrant Greek culture. Kea Retreat is inspired by pure love for Greek culture, which celebrates nature, food, and life, and meditative practices such as yoga and silence. Melding these worlds, Kea Retreat gives its guests a sanctuary to rest, relax and reconnect with nature and their natural selves.