Kefalonia doesn't just appeal to the literary tourist
Greek islands have an enduring romantic appeal, in spite of the crowds they attract. Beyond the excesses on
Tucked away on the southeastern edge of Europe,
descends in the afternoon as the population retires for its siesta, and you can picture Penélope Cruz lustrously ambling up the winding alleyways, for this is where Captain Corelli's Mandolin was filmed - and where the novel by Louis de Bernières is set.
The magnificent coastline - Myrtos Beach, in the northwest of the island, often appears on lists of the world's best beaches - and unspoilt olive groves have attracted the attention of a British property developer, Braemore. The valley above
Braemore, which has won prizes for numerous projects in the
Traditional villas remain the most common type of housing on Kefalonia, as a result of strict Greek planning laws. New structures must follow the established rectangular form, be pale in colour and made of comparable materials. Porphyrios has come up with a two-storey courtyard structure in tune with the island's Italianate buildings, influenced by a period under Venetian rule during the Middle Ages. His design cleverly allows every hotel room to have a view over the valley to the sea.
Porphyrios has also designed 35 villas in the valley. Each villa will have its own pool, but the owners and guests of the villas will have use of the hotel pool and spa. The Muse spa, as it will be called, will draw on local resources using olive oil and herbs grown in the surrounding hills and in the hotel's own herb garden. It will also feature thalassotherapy, as marine treatments are a popular part of Greek beauty culture. In addition, the villa residents will have use of the business centre, fitness centre, tennis court, concierge room service and restaurant.
The hotel's signature restaurant will include a deli, making it easy to pick up fresh local dishes to eat at the villas. Local produce includes olives (naturally), apricots, oranges, honey and wine. The nearby Fiovos estate is Kefalonia's most distinguished wine label, selling eight varieties, and Robola wines are known worldwide.
The hotel will organise sailing, waterskiing and a host of other water-based activities whenever villa guests fancy something energetic.
One reason why this striking island has evaded the hordes of mass tourism is that it has been somewhat harder to get to than many others. In the past you had to fly to