Stay here: The Skiathos Princess Hotel, SkiathosBy Gemma Perlin
Greece: simple, stunning white architecture and of course, taramasalata.
Over 8,000 miles of coastline along the Aegean and Ionian sea, some of which still feels undiscovered. Skiathos, only a mere three hours away (outwards, yes we were shocked too), offers sparkling seas the colour of the Maldives. It is situated northwest of the Aegean Sea, part of the Sporades archipelago and home to the family run Skiathos Princess, the spectacularly located beach hotel.
Opening soon, we also had a sneak preview of Marpunta village, in an old fishing village, owned by the glamorous family behind the Skiathos Princess. If you are looking for a romantic break – we recommend staying here, located on Alonsiss Island, an authentic old Greek town.
The family behind the Skiathos Princess want you to feel wholly at home in their hotel. Fun fact: the hotel was home to the stars of Mamma Mia. Yes, this quaint island was home to the big Hollywood Meryl Streep starring blockbuster. You can see immediately why the cast ahem Pierece Brosnan (he stayed in the Presidential Suite) felt so at home here. It’s five star without the pretension, excellent service but the atmosphere feels as free as the rocking lounge chairs.
The hotel has two pools, one for the kids to frolic in and a more grown up pool with comfy sun loungers. But what sets the pool area apart is the proximity to the beach, so if your holiday companion prefers the sand below their lounger, you can probably see them from the pool.We recommend booking the gazebos, for privacy and plushness, warning though; once you have a pillow on your sun bed you cant go back.
The Princess Skiathos offers luxury accommodation across the resort. The rooms are deluxe and comfy with a real family style feel and vary from standard doubles to the presidential suite, where we hear royals do stay. It’s not edgy and trendy, but comfortable and certainly not dated. A nice addition are the marble bathrooms which give a Roman-esque feel as you brush your teeth.
The spa fittingly entitled ‘Harmony’ located on the lower ground floor deserves some attention, especially when it occasionally drizzles. The spa is home to a state of the art steam room, sauna and nicely toasty relaxation beds. Treat yourself to a massage by one of the skilled therapists or facials to look truly glowing on your last night.
The resort is home to various restaurants including the PR Amnos bar with a tavern feel by the beach and the Italian Pipera restaurant with the best accompaniment, a stunning setting overlooking the Aegean suites.
Breakfast is served in the light spacious main room, our highlights were the fluffiest omelettes prepared fresh at the live cooking station and buttery warm pastries. Nothing was too much trouble, they even had soya milk and gluten-free bread, which for an island in the middle of the ocean was pretty impressive.
Even the fresh produce here tastes better, the tomatoes and strawberries were caricatures of the Tesco variety, sweeter, plumper and juicier.
You might get so comfy on the lush sun loungers, that it might be necessary to order frothy greek frappes and a cheeky pina colada from the attentive beach staff.
But saving the best for last, was the sushi we had on the last day. Sushi in Greece, doesn’t sound automatically that great, but the Skiathos Princess flew a sushi chef to train their chefs in a 10 day intensive course. It was worth it, our favourites were the eel dragon roll and the tuna and avocado tartare with fish freshly caught that morning from nearby Alonsiss.
It can often feel like one has to travel so far and wide to find somewhere untouched by British mass tourism, but Skiathos offers the perfect place within Europe for an authentic, chilled out holiday. It’s so hard to imagine down the coast, ‘lads’ are going mental in Malia, sure tourism is present but it feels more understated and in keeping with local tradition. The Skiathos Princess offers a great break in comfortable relaxing surroundings only a literal stones throw from the beach.
Direct flights to Skiathos are available through Thomas Cook Airlines www.thomascookairlines.com
Thomas Cook offer 7 nights at Skiathos Princess, departing May 2017 from £478pp on a B&B basis including flights and transfers.
For more information or to book visit https://www.thomascook.com/destinations/greece/skiathos/aghia-paraskevi/skiathos-princess-hotel/