Found on the impossibly scenic bay of Kefalos, on the southwestern tip of Kos, the latest hotel opening from Ikos Resorts is the group’s prettiest yet.
An ideal place to soak up the sun, get fit – there’s a huge amount of activities in store – or as a base to discover the charms of the island, Ikos Aria will soon have you cosseted in its easy-breezy, ‘pre-paid luxury’ approach to all-inclusive hospitality. There’s no naff wrist-bands here, just sophisticated dining, beautifully curated interiors and an enlightened harnessing of local culture.
Don’t miss: The Local Discovery focus is progressive for an all-inclusive hotel. Guests are given a complimentary Mini Cooper for the day, complete with tickets to a selection of local attractions to encourage you to move from your sun-lounger and explore the destination.
A must is a visit to the picturesque village of Zia, on the slopes of Mount Dikaios (where you can pick up some natural sea sponges, olives and ceramics) and a pitstop for wine tasting at the Triantafyllopoulou Winery (try saying that after a few glasses of Malagouzia). You can also dine out at local tavernas as part of your experience. Highly recommended is Mylotopi – an authentic local restaurant, serving just-caught fish, and found in a traditional windmill settlement on the highest point of Kefalos.
The stay: Designed by architect Niki Manou-Andreadis, the décor gives nods to traditional Greek homes – with plenty of white-on-white spaces with touches of blue – blended with a boho-chic feel. Bright and airy lounges, lobby spaces and terraces bring a mix-match of textures to keep it feeling homely with rattan chairs, Moroccan cream-and-black rugs, hand-painted cushions and greenery from living walls and elegant plants. Rooms are spacious and sophisticated with fabric headboards, statement lighting and marble bathrooms.
The food: Dining here is a highlight with eight restaurants to choose from – all spearheaded by Michelin-starred chefs. Italian to French, Asian to Mediterranean – there’s enough to satisfy all. Seasonal ingredients, comprehensive wine lists offering guests 380 varieties, and little extras like tasty amuse bouche at each evening meal elevate your experience further.
Kos is great for local delicacies, while Oliva – with its Spanish tapas menu – gives a nod to the brand’s next opening in Andalusia. The standout restaurant is the semi-al-fresco Ouzo, found at the tip of the resort, overlooking the tiny island of Kastri (which has its own blue-roofed chapel). At lunchtime it’s a must for its traditional Greek BBQ – octopus griddled on the flames, a Greek salad station and homecooked breads are delicious. For dinner, the menu, designed by Michelin-starred chef Lefteris Lazarou, gives a contemporary twist on Greek cuisine – think perfectly formed moussaka, lamb kleftiko, grilled sardines and seabass.
Ask about: The Deluxe Collection of rooms gives guests even more luxury with larger spaces, private pools, outdoor gardens and round-the-clock concierge service. You’ll also get a bottle of Tattinger cooling on arrival, a massage in the Anne Semonin spa and other treats.
And after that? The resort has two archaeological sites within its walls. One was destined to be a children’s pool until it was uncovered by builders, and is now preserved behind glass walls. The other is adjacent to the beach and you can wander around the fallen-down pillars, crumbling walls and broken steps as though you are in a film set.
Rates at Ikos Aria start from €256 per night based on 2 people sharing a double room. Visit ikos-aria.com or call +30 23730 95300