If you’re looking for harmony, head south on Rhodes island to one of the latest Greek 5-star eco hotels – Gennadi Grand Resort – where you can holiday without a guilty conscience.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Rhodes such a magical place, because it is the combination of the island’s many charms that make it so special. Even a series of economic setbacks have been unable to dull the shine – if anything, the island is better than ever, boasting a slew of luxury hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and exclusive wine tasting experiences that have holidaymakers coming back for more. A four-hour flight from London, but a world away from the Capital, Rhodes continues to hold its place in the world of luxury travel. I can’t wait to see what the fuss is about.
Nestled on the peaceful and charming south-eastern coast of the island, positioned halfway between ancient Lindos with its beautifully preserved acropolis, and the island’s southern tip, we discover the tiny coastal village of Gennadi and there, the Gennadi Grand hotel. Having made its debut less than two years ago, it is one of five hotels on the island owned by the Minettos family. The Gennadi Grand claims to be the best in the family’s portfolio, and one of the best for luxury on the island, and from first impressions, I’m confident it will live up to its billing.
The low-lying resort surrounds itself with nature; verdant wild gardens and palm trees beautifully complement the angular and minimalist grey stone facades of the buildings. Eco-friendly by design, the large floor-to-ceiling windows are fitted with energy-saving glass and a huge sustainable living roof aids natural cooling, helping to save energy and seamlessly blend the hotel into its natural Rhodian surroundings.
Our sea-view room is a stone’s throw from the resort’s very own private beach, offering sweeping views of the Aegean Sea and the luscious hotel gardens behind. It is comfortable and well appointed with a super king-sized bed, spacious living area and private terrace, complete with infinity plunge pool. The decor is minimalistic: a simple colour scheme of pale white, grey, charcoal and beige helps to emphasise the glorious natural light from those floor-to-ceiling windows. In the bathroom I discover a large powerful shower but no bath – an initiative, I’m told, that is designed to help save water, tying in with the hotel’s strong sustainable ethos. It is all very impressive.
Keen to truly unwind, we soon discover that we are in the right place; should you so wish, you can potter around all day without a plan here, thanks to the many facilities that the hotel has to offer. From yoga and tennis in our more active moments, to lounging on the comfortable day beds beside one of the three fresh water swimming pools in our quieter moments, we are truly spoilt for choice.
The ultimate rejuvenation and relaxation comes at the hotel’s state-of-the-art subterranean spa, though, with its heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and Hammam. Pampering sessions here focus on treatments that promote inner balance and harmony, all carried out by expert therapists. I opt for a restorative massage and settle myself onto the bed in the peaceful treatment room as my masseuse begins to tend to my stiff back with smooth, purposeful strokes. Thirty minutes later, in a state of total Zen, I am led back to the pool area to relax. Reclining on a lounger beneath the soaring ceiling, with no vibrating phone to jolt me back to reality, I sip a glass of Champagne and relish the feeling of uninterrupted bliss.
The pleasure seeking doesn’t end there: with 12 à la carte restaurants, the foodie offering at Gennadi Grand is well worth breaking the bikini diet for. One not to be missed is Greek fine dining restaurant Edesma. The modern restaurant opens out onto a large rooftop lounge offering glorious views of the glistening aqua sea. Here, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Greek hills, we discover a culinary experience that makes us forget everything we think we know about the country’s traditional cuisine. Redefining the traditional flavours that everyone associates with Greece, the food at Edesma is fresh, bold and creatively prepared. Everything, from the meat and the fresh produce, to the wine is sourced locally on the island.
Over the course of a glorious week at the Gennandi Grand, it becomes abundantly clear that one can holiday here without a guilty conscience, knowing that the team are doing everything they can to keep things green. It is the definition of perfection in simplicity.
The season at Gennadi Grand Resort runs from May to November. Rooms start from €250 per night, with breakfast. Half-board and ultra-all-inclusive options are also available (gennadigrandresort.com)