“A funky, family-friendly retreat with playful design, 2 restaurants and a noteworthy spa, set on a secluded bay near Mount Athos”
The imaginative rooms and suites come in various styles and categories. Décor runs the style gamut - some rooms are minimalist white-on-white spaces or whimsical playrooms with tinted glass partitions, others are attic lofts with retro, homespun furnishings.
Comfort goes hand in hand with design, especially when it comes to sleep. All of the air-conditioned rooms and suites are outfitted with hypo-allergenic Coco-Mat mattresses and a choice of pillows. Amenities include free WiFi, satellite TVs with CD and DVD players, minibars, free coffee and tea, bathrobes and Ekies' signature flip-flops. The simple functionality and the open-plan shower bathrooms in many rooms (loos are separate) are meant to break down barriers - "We don't like separate areas," the manager told me. It’s often not what guests are expecting, but it quickly grows on most so come with an open mind.
Some rooms have sprawling terraces and views of the sea, others overlook the forest with patio access to the pool. Space is also a factor. Standard Double are the smallest (24-30sqm) and I had to duck my head in mine, set under beams in the attic. Superior Double are a little larger (up to 36sqm) and have small sitting areas. Large Suites (36-80sqm) are perfect for families of 4; all have hydro-massage tubs set beyond sliding glass doors, with screens for privacy.
Since our visit, the hotel has been rather busy expanding the property and as such we are yet to personally view the following roomtypes: Family Suite, Family Suite with private pool, Pine Suite, Evergreen Suite, White Suite, Cabana and Penthouse Suite.
The 2 restaurants and bar flank the sprawling beachfront deck. Breakfast is a mega-buffet served in Koutali, the Mediterranean grill. Counters and farm tables overflow with traditional Greek fare - feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, yoghurt, fresh and dried fruits - along with eggs, meats and cheeses, cereal, pastries and bread, homemade marmalades and 3 kinds of honey. A cook is available for made-to-order omelettes.
During the day, the sea-facing bar, Kanata, is open for snacks, drinks and light lunches. There’s also an organic juice bar by the pool.
As darkness falls, people drift down for cocktails under the deck’s white lights, before heading off to one of the restaurants for dinner. Between 7 and 9pm, Koutali offers a buffet of Greek appetisers, salads and desserts to accompany the changing main courses - your choice of meat or locally caught fish such as sea bass and prawns. The quieter waterfront Kouzina has an à la carte menu of seafood and traditional Greek dishes interpreted with gourmet flair. My salad was stacked with 3 kinds of bruschetta, and my delicious main course was a seafood tortellini in a delicate herb foam.
On Sunday evenings, guests are treated to a Greek-style barbecue on the beach, with prawns, chicken and potatoes on the grill. Staff can also serve private meals anywhere, anytime. A romantic dinner in the tree house? Done. A picnic on nearby Diaporos Island? Just say when.
If you fancy a change of scene one evening, there's a pizza restaurant within walking distance of Ekies, and a handful of casual restaurants dotted around the bay.
Ekies is a paradise for children and their parents - the grounds are safe, with few steps and no dangerous drops, and the sea is shallow. Common areas are compact, so you can easily keep an eye on kids playing with their new friends while you relax on a lounger. Many of the design elements are colourful and playful, and there’s plenty to engage children on site, including a playground with swings and a playhouse, and toys and games in the library. There are Watersports programmes and an option to watch movies while parents dine.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family Suites can sleep up to 6 people (2 adults + 4 children). Junior Suites each have a daybed which can be made up for a child (best for infants). Large Suites are larger and can accommodate families of 4 with kids of any age. Note that most rooms have showers only, and many bathrooms are open-plan
Available if you give at least a day's notice
Baby monitors will work from the Junior or Loft Suites nearest the beach to the restaurant, you'll need to bring your own
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The buffet meals in Koutali are useful for fussy eaters, the kitchen can adapt dishes on request, and there’s an organic juice bar by the pool. Snacks are available all day and picnics can be made up for you with 24 hours' notice. There's a mini-market just five minutes' walk away if you need to buy baby food. Nightly, a movie and board games are on offer for children in the Nest so parents can dine a deux
There's a lifeguard on duty June-September