Aman Resorts’ latest Mediterranean property, Amanzoe, offers contemporary comforts on a coast steeped in ancient history
Private islands owned by Greek shipping tycoons dot the sedate, stunning coast off Port Heli, on the eastern shores of the Peloponnese Peninsula—about a 2.5-hour drive from Athens. The area’s rich history extends back to the Spartans, Romans, Byzantines, and Venetians; nearby sights include the still- functioning amphitheater of Epidaurus, the ancient citadel at Mycenae, and Nafplion, which served as the first capital of modern Greece in the early 19th century. The islands of Spetses and Hydra are just a water-taxi ride away.
With Amanzoe, which is set on a hilltop outside town, longtime Amanresorts architect Ed Tuttle has created a mini-acropolis clad in Livorno and Naxos marble with soaring, minimalist columns befitting of the hotel group’s understated elegance.
Each of the 38 neutral-toned pavilions opens onto a sea-facing deck with its own swimming pool and marble dining table that doubles as the base for an outdoor massage bed. Natural breezes keep the high-ceilinged interiors cool in summer, while fireplaces will see guests through the mild winter chill. Interconnecting doors designed for traveling families are a first for Amanresorts, and thoughtfully designed his and hers bathrooms meet at a tub that looks out to a little garden.
A glass-clad studio overlooking undulating olive groves makes an inspiring perch for sunrise tai chi or yoga. Closer to the water, Amanzoe’s private beach club, set in its own bay, gives onto blue-green seas that sparkle almost as much as the baubles by Greek jewelry designer Theodoros Savopoulos (think Burmese rubies and green diamonds) available in the resort’s expertly stocked boutique. There’s also a hilltop bar furnished with leather directors’ chairs and a stone-clad spa with well-padded massage tables.
Amanzoe, Port Heli, Greece; 94-77/ 774-3500; amanresorts.com; doubles from US$1,010
Originally appeared in the August/September 2012 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Greek Drama”)