Last month I did two things that were brand new to me, I went ‘on holiday’ on my own and I travelled to the Greek island of Skiathos.
The first of the two new ventures I’ll be tackling in another blogpost because having spoken to so many of you on social media and via email I feel compelled to focus entirely on a solo specific travel post here on C&C but as for the second ‘first’ I’m happy to divulge all about my first visit to Skiathos.
The island of Skiathos has never really been a location that I had pegged as somewhere I passionately wanted to travel to but when I saw the details of the brand new Elivi Hotel that opened this year boasting the ‘most high-end, five star luxury hotel on the island’ the pictures and press release lured me in to want to see it as soon as possible and with some time free in my schedule last month I decided that Elivi Skiathos would be the perfect escape for me. So I booked in for a five night stay, three to enjoy on my own and then my friend joined me for the last two evenings so that I could have the best of both worlds, reflective time to myself and time to see the more social side of the hotel.
Turns out I picked the perfect place to get my fix of both! Elivi Skiathos is one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve stayed in in Europe, it offered everything I and what turned into ‘we’ needed to have the best stay in both class and comfort. As a content creator there wasn’t a corner turned that I didn’t want to capture a still image of, it was one of the most picturesque hotels I’ve stayed in this side of the world. Minimalist decor with an authentic blue and white coastal-chic grecian twist. The whole resort was spacious and fresh with just enough modern furnishings, fittings and artwork to compliment that natural beauty of the location. Getting there was a breeze, the flight was short and direct to Skiathos and within a 40 euro taxi ride I arrived on site to the newly opened resort. As a whole, the hotel grounds were huge, with over 200 acres of lush land to play with the resort is divided into a few separate residential areas each offering their own perspective, views and accommodation types. I was staying on the side of the resort (that felt like it’s own private island) that lead up from Big Banana beach, the Elivi Nest Suites and Villas. My room, which is listed as a double deluxe room with private pool came complete with a large bed and bathroom, in-keeping with the space and luxury guidelines of it’s awarded five stars and then an outdoor space with plush seating, a dining area, sun beds and the true wow factor addiction of a private swimming pool. My room also boasted a glittering sunset view of the sea which, as a result, won me over as one of my favourite European hotel rooms.
The room itself could have easily kept me a willing rather than weary prisoner for the duration of my stay but the walk to the beach was too alluring to keep myself submerged in my private pool. The coastline of Skiathos is famous for the crystal clear water and turquoise blues and the sandy beaches at Elivi were the perfect example of such beauty often described. There were a few options for relaxing by the sea as there’s actually four beaches that border the hotel but I fell in love with two in particular which I alternated attending each day 😉
Ambelakia beach which is an extension of Skiathos’s most famous Koukounaries beach that creates the show-stopping views from the hotel’s main reception was, in my opinion, the prettiest and it was also the better spot to spend a day truly relaxing. Though beaches in Greece aren’t able to be declared as private the hotel sure did create the illusion of exclusivity with a double row of comfy day beds, wicker parasols and waiter service. This side of the resort was so peaceful and calming and the water stays shallow for longer creating that enviable reflective pattern on the water that us Brits go nuts for when we see it metres away from our feet whilst laying soaking up the sun! This was my preferred beach for the view and the serenity, I spent my day reading and swimming, all the while not having to come out of my own little zen bubble! I travelled last month so towards the end of the season which could have been in part responsible for the fewer people on the beach but even if the beds were full, the lay out works perfectly for a secluded romantic get-a-way or as to my own preference, some much needed ‘me-time’.
The other option of a beach day was the stretch of sand closer to my room, so the other side of the resort to the above landscape, Big Banana beach. Not only was this beach by my favourite pool and restaurant (I’ll move on to that) it was the livelier of the two locations by a long shot. Big Banana beach was far more populated with locals and people travelling in by boat for the day and there was a really warm and fun atmosphere there. For me, this beach was more about ‘getting involved’ in the buzz of the European summer, interacting with people, having a glass of vino (or two, or three) and splashing around in the sea with more of a giddy giggle. I loved the contrast between the them and the fact that I had two completely different views, vibes and spaces to enjoy from one day to the next.Then there’s the pools. Asides from my obvious swim of choice, two steps from my own sleeping quarters the hotel had two gorgeous pools for me to stretch my lengths a little further, both as with the beach area, offering guests a full day lounge experience with the luxury details. Separated by location and therefore offering unique views once again, it was a case of being spoilt for choice between them but this pictured pool below was walking distance from my room and it took the top spot for me as there was just something about the isolated space, the towering tree canopies and the restaurant by it’s side that just so happened to serve the yummiest food in Greece, that sealed the deal for me.
Leading me quite nicely on to my next point of call to detail with delight, the food. The food at Elivi Skiathos was quite simply divine! There wasn’t a meal, or single bite for that matter, that was disappointing for me and as someone with quite hefty diet restrictions it’s quite the statement to make! The breakfast was a huge spread that left absolutely nothing to the imagination and you had the option eat in inside or out on the terrace with the most beautiful view of the Aegean Sea. Lunch, though there was an option of a few different restaurants, was every day served to me at the Nest Restaurant as it was love at first taste on my arrival and I couldn’t bear to eat anywhere else midday! The menu was traditionally Greek with a fine dine twist and a few universal dishes added in for good measure. I alternated between the salads each day whilst also ordering a daily dish of honey glazed baked feta – a dish that I am salivating over whilst writing this blogpost!
For dinner, as I’d spent the first few evenings indulging in the luxury of room service I ate out just once during my stay at Leda and The Swan where we were seated outdoors over looking the sea in the summer evening heat whilst being treated to a three course fine dining experience. The dishes were beautifully presented and generous portion sizes all served with complimenting wine pairings . The wine selection at Elivi was incredible, so much so that I have a labels album on my mobile for me to seek out the wines served in future, there’s nothing better for me than staying at a hotel and distinctly remembering how amazing the food and wine was. Elivi is one of those hotels!
Location wise Skiathos is a small island so I chose to spend most of my time enjoying my doorstep beaches and pools rather than exploring too much but when my friend joined me for the latter part of the trip we hired a quad bike for the last two days to explore a little and the process was made quick and easy by the hotel’s front desk services, we simply signed the form, settled the bill and explored at our leisure. Seeing the rest of the island helps to bring to life the scale of Skiathos as well as ‘showing off’ just how beautiful the beaches are at Elivi. We rode chasing the sunset on our shoulders and discovered that the very best place to view it was, in fact, from our hotel.
Whilst on strict relax and reset duties I didn’t venture to the gym or visit the spa during my stay so for once I am unable to review the fitness facilities but there’s enough space (and water!) to keep active within the resort, I’ll have to test out the spa for you next time 😉 Speaking of, I’ll definitely be looking to return to Elivi, I loved every moment of my stay and as mentioned at the very start of this post, it was one of the easiest places for me to make pretty with minimal clicks of my camera.