pure escapism on the enchanting island of Kefalonia

Eliamos is a near-perfect five-star boutique hotel, perched on the cliffs of Kefalonia with views over the winking Ionian Sea and only the sound of bees buzzing happily in the organic gardens for distraction.

With a small spa, an impressive restaurant and serene villas, each with a private pool, Eliamos (part of the Relais & Chateaux brand) has captured the true meaning of tranquility and relaxation.


On the southern tip of the island, just 15 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the capital Argostoli. Eliamos is located in the beautiful village of Spartia, with many small coves and quiet beaches nearby where you can lay down a towel. Flights from London Gatwick take around 3.5 hours, making getting there a breeze.

A three-bedroom villa in Eliamos (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)

A three-bedroom villa in Eliamos (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)


Twelve terracotta-tiled villas stagger down the cliff, carefully placed among the fragrant gardens – the scent of lavender, rose bushes and fresh herbs dance on the breeze – overlooking the sparkling ocean and olive groves below. Look to your left and you will see clouds swirling over Mount Ainos, to your right the island of Zakynthos is visible.

The understated villas are the work of London-based interior architect Maike, of Maike Fruna Interiors, and feature a mix of earth tones, natural stone and polished concrete floors. Large windows provide front-row seats to views beyond.

There are no bathtubs, but the private bathrooms have showers and separate toilets. The products from the Greek brand Zealots of Nature are superlative – the body lotion in particular was almost put in my suitcase to take home.

The hotel takes sustainability seriously: there is no plastic and items such as slippers are made from recycled eco-fabric. Energy is largely generated by solar energy.

The calm and muted interiors (Pikon Photography)The calm and muted interiors (Pikon Photography)

The calm and muted interiors (Pikon Photography)


Free e-bikes are available to explore the area – we loved Pessada’s secret beach. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Free pilates and yoga sessions are available every morning at 8:30 am. The chic open-air gym isn’t hidden away in a damp basement somewhere, but enjoys the same views of the Ionian Sea and lavender-framed pool, making workouts – if you’re that type of person – much more bearable.

The spa has two treatment rooms and the experienced therapist will be happy to bring you into a state of euphoria and knead you using local products. I chose nourishing argan oil. Always a winner.

The large swimming pool (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)The large swimming pool (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)

The large swimming pool (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)

Extracurricular activities

You could lie next to your private pool for days – tempting – but there’s plenty to see on the island that is the largest of the Ionians. Rent a car – the hotel can help you arrange one and have it delivered to your home with minimal paperwork and fuss – and take a beach walk around the island.

To the north, the quaint village of Fiskardo is well worth the trip, with its mix of traditional and luxury tavernas, boutiques and yacht spotting (Madonna, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Rupert Murdoch have all dropped anchor in the restaurant-lined harbour). Just outside the town is the beautiful Emplisi beach (my personal favourite) with easy access, crystal clear waters and a friendly kiosk selling ice cold beers, margaritas and snacks. Myrtos beach is touted as one of the most beautiful on the island and both Melissani Cave and Antisamos beach are well worth a visit.

The Eliamos team is relaxed (in a very homely way) and happy to share their knowledge. They can arrange guided walks, stargazing, private boat trips, wine tasting and turtle watching.

Make sure you hit the road when you can muster the energy; it is a beautiful island.

The restaurant (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)The restaurant (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)

The restaurant (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)

Eat Drink

You should ask for the homemade orange cake at breakfast without hesitation. Freshly prepared in-house by our waitress’s mother, it is the most delicious, moist and delicious piece of cake you will ever eat. A good contender is the walnut cake. Breakfast is special with a changing menu of cakes of the day – sometimes sweet, sometimes savory – eggs, superfood bowls and fresh juices and smoothies. It is served until a leisurely eleven o’clock.

Enjoy refreshing salads for lunch (the peach and goat cheese was a highlight along with the traditional Greek salad) or opt for something heartier like pork souvlaki, lamb burgers and fresh lobster rolls.

Dinner is a slightly higher affair, but still relaxed. Please order the feta cheese drizzled with local honey. I had it every day. Enjoy stewed beef cheeks or sea bream fricassee. The prawn and squid ink taglioni was another highlight. We never left a piece of food on our plate at any meal. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful and to our credit and shame we didn’t eat anywhere else on the island – that was the appeal of it.

Before sunsets, watch the mixologist cut fresh herbs from the garden to garnish your cocktails. Bliss.

Which room?

Guests can choose from one, two or three-bedroom villas, each with a private pool or hot tub, kitchen, outdoor dining area, barbecue and terrace overlooking the Ionian sea. The kitchen is a nice touch – for those who might want to save some money and prepare their own meals. The tap water is also drinkable, which saves on plastic bottles.

We stayed in a two-bedroom villa and for my husband and I, who sleep in separate bedrooms whenever possible (his snoring!), it felt very decadent to each have a wing to retreat to – not to mention of the always preferable separate bathroom situation.

One of the villa bathrooms (Pikon Photography)One of the villa bathrooms (Pikon Photography)

One of the villa bathrooms (Pikon Photography)

Best for…

Families are welcome and there are two larger two-storey villas located slightly outside the property which would be perfect for slightly more rowdy crowds. Apart from that, Eliamos is a haven for couples and friends desperate for some peace and quiet. I’m happy to report that not once did I hear people talking loudly on speaker phone or playing TikTok without headphones. The hotel even encourages people to disconnect from their devices. This is a grown-up, laid-back, peaceful place – partygoers should look elsewhere.


Rooms from £550 per night; eliamos.com

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