Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa: pure escapism on the enchanting island of Kefalonia

Each villa comes with a private pool at Eliamos (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)
Each villa comes with a private pool at Eliamos (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)

Eliamos is a pretty damn near perfect five-star boutique hotel perched on the cliffs of Kefalonia with views over the winking Ionian sea and only the sound of bees happily buzzing in the organic gardens for distraction.

With a small spa, impressive restaurant and serene villas, each with a private pool, Eliamos (part of the Relais & Chateâux brand) has captured the true meaning of rest and relaxation.


At the southern tip of the island, just 15-minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the capital of Argostoli. Eliamos is in the pretty village of Spartia with plenty of small coves and peaceful beaches nearby to throw a towel down on. Flights from London Gatwick take about 3.5 hours, making it a breeze to get there.

A three-bedroom villa at Eliamos (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)
A three-bedroom villa at Eliamos (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)


Twelve terracotta-tiled villas stagger down the cliff, carefully placed among the fragrant gardens  — the scent of lavender, rose bushes and fresh herbs dance on the breeze — and overlook the twinkling ocean and olive groves below. Glance to your left and you’ll see clouds swirling across Mt Ainos, over to your right the island of Zakynthos is visible.

The pared-back villas are the work of London-based interior architect Maike, of Maike Gruna Interiors, and mix of earthy hues, natural stone and polished concrete floors. Huge windows provide front row seats to the views beyond.

There are no bath tubs, but en suite bathrooms come with showers and separate loos. The products by Greek brand Zealots of Nature are superlative — the body lotion in particular came very close to being snuck into my suitcase to take home with me.

The hotel takes sustainability seriously — there is no plastic on site and things like slippers are made from recycled eco fabric. Energy is mostly created by solar power.

The calm and muted interiors (Pikon Photography)
The calm and muted interiors (Pikon Photography)


Complimentary e-bikes are available for exploring the local area — we loved the secret beach at Pessada. Ssh, don’t tell anyone.

Free Pilates and yoga sessions are available each morning at 8:30am. The chic open air gym isn’t hidden away in a dank basement somewhere, instead it enjoys those same views of the Ionian and the lavender-framed swimming pool, making workouts — should you be the type — that much more tolerable.

The spa has two treatment rooms and the skilled therapist will happily pummel and knead you into a state of euphoria using local products. I opted for nourishing argan oil. Always a winner.

The main pool (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)
The main pool (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)


You could just flop next to your private pool for days on end — tempting — but there is much to see on the island which is the biggest of the Ionians. Rent a car — the hotel can help you arrange it and have it delivered to your door with minimal paperwork and fuss — and beach hop your way around the island.

Up in the north, the quaint village of Fiskardo is well worth the journey, with its mix of traditional and high-end tavernas, boutiques and yacht-spotting (Madonna, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Rupert Murdoch have all dropped anchor in the restaurant-lined harbour). Just outside the town is the pretty beach of Emplisi (my personal favourite) with easy access, crystal waters and a friendly kiosk selling ice cold beers, margaritas and snacks. Myrtos beach is touted as one of the prettiest on the island and both Melissani cave and Antisamos beach are well worth a visit.

The team at Eliamos are relaxed (in a very home-from-home way) and beyond happy to share their knowledge. They can arrange guided hikes, stargazing, private boat tours, wine tasting and turtle-watching.

Do make sure you get out and about if you can summon the energy — it’s a beautiful island.

The restaurant (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)
The restaurant (Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa)

Food & drink

You must, without hesitation, ask for the homemade orange pie at breakfast. Freshly made in-house by our waitress’ mother, it is the most delicious, moist, moreish piece of cake you will ever eat. A close contender is the walnut cake. Breakfast is special with a rotating menu of pies of the day — sometimes sweet, sometimes savoury — eggs, superfood bowls and fresh juices and smoothies. It’s served until a leisurely 11am.

For lunch, munch on refreshing salads (the peach and goats cheese was a highlight along with the traditional Greek salad) or opt for something more hearty like pork souvlaki, lamb burgers and fresh lobster rolls.

Dinner is a slightly more elevated affair but still relaxed. Do please order the feta cheese drizzled with local honey. I had it every day. Feast on braised beef cheeks or sea bream fricassee. The shrimp and cuttlefish ink taglioni was another highlight. We did not leave a morsel of food on our plates at any meal. The restaurant is quite marvellous and, to its credit and our shame, we didn’t eat anywhere else on the island — such was its allure.

For sundowners, watch as the mixologist snips fresh herbs from the garden to garnish your cocktails. Bliss.

Which room? 

Guests can choose from one, two and three-bedroom villas each with a private pool or hot tub, kitchen, outdoor dining area, barbeque and terrace overlooking the Ionian sea. The kitchen is a nice touch — for those who might want to save a bit of money and rustle up their own meals. The tap water is also drinkable, saving on plastic bottles.

We stayed in a two-bedroom villa and for my husband and I, who sleep in separate bedrooms whenever possible (his snoring!), it felt very decadent having a wing each to retire to — not to mention the always preferable separate bathroom situation.

One of the villa bathrooms (Pikon Photography)
One of the villa bathrooms (Pikon Photography)

Best for…

Families are welcome and there are two larger, two-storey villas located slightly outside the property which would be perfect for slightly more rowdy rabbles. Other than that, Eliamos is a sanctuary for couples and friends desperately seeking peace and quiet. I am pleased to report that not once did I hear people taking loud calls on speakerphone or playing TikTok without earphones. The hotel, in fact, encourages people to disconnect from their devices. This is a grown up, chilled, peaceful place — party people should look elsewhere.


Rooms from £550 per night; eliamos.com