Costa Navarino is the perfect destination for a relaxing all-in-one holiday. The dream of locally born shipping magnate Vassilis Constantakopoulos, Costa Navarino offers eco-friendly accommodations and facilities set in sumptuous surroundings; championing the history and traditions of the region and creating sustainable employment in an area that is culturally rich but in need of economic development.
Costa Navarino already has two golf courses, and is home to two resorts; the casual, family-orientated Westin, and the opulent Romanos. With more developments planned, Captain Vassilis’ vision has become a remarkable fact.
The stay: The Romanos Resort is a series of low, inviting, biscuit-coloured buildings, inspired by age-old local architecture. Each ground-floor room has its own decking area and an individual infinity pool, with walls providing privacy from neighbours. It’s so incredibly relaxing that you might not want to go anywhere else. But a central reception building overlooking a pool with a swim-up bar, and the agora – a public square, with restaurants, boutiques, and an ice cream parlour – might just tempt you outside. The beach is not only great for swimming and tanning, it’s also an important ecological site; closing at night for sea turtles to deposit clutches of eggs.
The food: With more than a dozen restaurants and less formal eateries, there’s no shortage of choice and the quality is excellent. There are specialist restaurants serving traditional local fare, haute cuisine, steak, Italian, Japanese and Middle Eastern foods. There’s even a ‘60s-style American diner, with a cinema and ten pin bowling alley. But fresh fish – such as succulent, salt-baked sea bass – paired with crisp Greek wines at Barbouni Beach Bar, can only be beaten by tzatziki-slathered grilled meats and flatbreads, washed down with Mythos lager from the agora’s habit-forming Souvlakerie. Costa Navarino produces its own wine, olive oil, and other products, that make fantastic souvenirs.
Ask about:The huge variety of activities on offer. These include golf, go-karting, basketball, racquet sports, cycling, diving, water sports, yachting, philosophy, astronomy and nature walks, olive oil tastings, and cooking rustic foods with women from the local community. Leave your children at the day-care centre, and pamper yourself at the spa, or just go crazy on the excellent waterslides.
And after that? Explore the origins of western civilisation at the Palace of Nestor. A fifteen minute drive north-east of Costa Navarino, this hilltop archaeological site is the best-preserved Mycenaean palace yet discovered. With most artefacts dating from around 1300 BC, the site has yielded more than a thousand clay tablets with Linear B script. After a three year closure, it reopened last June with a sweeping arched roof, and suspended underneath it is a catwalk affording visitors the opportunity to examine up close, ancient wall paintings, olive oil storage jars, fitted baths, and a sewage system.
Need to know: Rooms at the Westin start from €220, and at the Romanos from €390. Prices are for a deluxe garden view room on a bed and breakfast basis, based on availability. To book visit costanavarino.com