Emelisse Art Hotel

Fiskardo, Kefalonia, Greece Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Luxury on a sublime stretch of coast with exquisite sea views and rooms that spoil you rotten
This place has the lot: exquisite views over turquoise seas, unyielding luxury in super-cool rooms, smartly-cushioned loungers flanking the pool, and a path down to a smooth belt of rock where you can swim into a cave. It's the rarest of places, one that fulfils every detail of the dream. You're alone on a tiny peninsula with views across to the islands of Lefkada and Ithaca.

The hotel's rooms and family apartments are spread across colour-washed houses with soft yellow walls, tiled roofs, manicured rose gardens and watery views. Some have access to additional swimming pools; all have terraces or balconies that look the right way. Wander around and you find sofas on terraces that look out to sea, an enormous infinity pool down by the bar-restaurant, and 2 breakfast terraces up at the main house (one for the sun, one for the shade). At night, hundreds of candle lanterns illuminate the paths, while flames from a bonfire leap into the air. Food is irresistible and threatens waistlines, so make sure you do your lengths in the morning.


  • The setting: enormous views over the Ionian Sea
  • The infinity pool, flanked by smart loungers and parasols
  • Simply sumptuous bedrooms that indulge you ad infinitum
  • Despite the Corelli factor, Kefalonia is a gorgeous island with breathtaking coastline and little mass development


  • Luxury comes with a price tag, but you get the lot
  • The buildings look a bit suburban, but they ooze style inside
  • You’ll want to a hire car, but will hardly use it
  • It's a largish resort by our (and the island's) standards, but it still feels intimate

Best time to go

Try and avoid the summer holidays if you can: May, early June, September and early October are ideal - perfect for spring colours and gentle exploration, though the sea is a little chilly before June. In July and August you get lots of Greek visitors and English yachters. Direct charter flights run from late April to mid October; the hotel's opening period extends a few weeks either side, and if you can get there in that pre- / post-season dip, you'll have the island to yourselves.

Our top tips

The only bad news here is that the luxuries are so unremitting, you may be tempted to stay put. But, hard as it may seem, impose an iron will and explore the island: it's gloriously seductive, and you'll be rewarded for your efforts.

Great for...

  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 63
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 28 Oct 2016 - 30 Apr 2017
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Family Apartment


Rooms are deeply indulging with a smart, airy, colonial feel. The style is contemporary and uncluttered, but the influences are classical: four-poster beds, cavernous armchairs, stone floors, bamboo matting. You get the best of everything. Beds are dressed in crisp Egyptian linen, white pillows are piled high. Olive green walls soak up the light, doors open onto small balconies (rooms on the top floors get the best views). Head into the bathroom for power showers, tiled floors and smart bathrobes. Fabulous Korres smellies include wheat soap, basil and lemon shower gel, citrus body milk, and aloe and soapwort shampoo.

You get all the kit: TVs, DVD and CD players (with discs up at reception), and air conditioning too. Tea lights are left flickering outside your room at night, and beds are turned down. Size and position are what you pay for, but the same smooth style runs throughout and none of the rooms are small. Most get uninterrupted views out to sea; some get side views, but there's no standing on your toes or craning your head to glimpse a distant sea. Peace and privacy are assured, as are oodles of comfort.

Rooms are defined by the number of bedrooms, the type of view you get, and whether you have a shared access to a pool (see Rates). Double Rooms sleep 2; Junior Suites generally have sofabeds (and can take an extra bed in their sitting area). There are also Family Apartments and Maisonettes (the latter on 2 floors) with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a kitchen area and a shared plunge pool outside. Executive and Presidential Suites also have 2 bedrooms and sofabed, whilst at the top of the tree, the Master Suite has 3 bedrooms and with a sofabed and can sleep up to 7.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries


Breakfast is served up at the main house. There are 2 terraces, one for sun, one for shade; both have views out to sea. If you want, you can eat inside in the dining room, or ask for a tray to be brought to your room so you can munch away in bed. Impeccable service complements a sinful menu, largely homemade: breads, jams, pastries, croissants and cakes (the latter are quite exceptional). There are also freshly-squeezed juices, fruit and yoghurts, platters of cold meats and cheeses; you can even have a cooked breakfast if you like. Sleep until 10, breakfast at 11 and you won’t need lunch until 4; but just in case you get hungry, a table of cakes is left out and you can pop in and help yourself (tricky not to).

Lunch and dinner are taken down on the lower terrace by the pool. It’s very informal, but if you want to dress up for supper, no-one will stop you. You can have a bowl of pasta, a salad or something fresh from the sea, followed by homemade ice cream and accompanied by wonderful island wines. In the evening, a full à la carte menu is available, so you can have as much or as little as you want. Alternatively, you can head down to the relaxed Kinema ('Cinema') Terrace for oven-fired pizzas, or traditional dishes such as Souvlaki pittas from the grill. Afterwards, sip a cocktail or tuck into dessert while watchng a movie on the large outdoor screen.

If you want to eat out locally, head down to pretty Fiskardo, where a string of tavernas hug the harbour. You won't go hungry.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service


  • At the bottom of the hill is Fiskardo, a pretty little fishing village with tavernas on the waterfront

  • You can catch the ferry across to Ithaca for the day, visit Kioni and Vathi, and still be back in time for supper

  • Head south and visit all the places you usually see in postcards. Drive along the mountain road and you'll spot tiny Assos paddling in warm waters beneath its fort: drop down the zig-zagging lane to swim from the beach, visit the fort, and eat at one of the harbour tavernas

  • Come back up the hill and head south for a few miles and you’ll come to Myrtos, a huge arc of sand, shingle and pebble, and the best beach on the island (and much photographed)

  • Head south to Argostoli, Kefalonia’s happy capital, where you can get whatever you want. Ferries here cross over the bay to lovely Lixouri: the rivalry between the 2 towns is fierce, so visit both and declare your loyalty

  • The east coast north of Poros is wild and lined with turquoise. Explore the town of Sami (you'll recognise backdrops from the Corelli film), drive up to mountain villages (ditto), and hike among the firs and eagles of lofty Mt Ainos

  • Active types can borrow mountain bikes, or hike the ancient path from Assos up to Drapanitika

  • If you want to explore in luxury, charter the hotel's speedboat or hire its chauffeur-driven air-conditioned Mercedes for tailored tours

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Pool table
  • Private guided tours
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Trekking
  • Yoga


Emelisse is chic and rather wonderful with a plethora of activities nearby for families who love the water and a good blend of privacy and shared facilities. Children are made welcome. Those under 6 go free; baby cots are also free

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 5 family apartments and maisonettes sleep up to 6 in 2 bedrooms, and have a kitchenette and living room for extra privacy and limited self-catering. Note that the maisonettes, as you'd guess, are on 2 levels.
Junior suites can sleep a family of 3 (but all in the same room); all the rooms have showers, not baths


Babysitting is available by arrangement. See Rates

Baby listening:

Baby listening/monitors are available on request. They don't work everywhere in the complex - ask for accommodation near the main house if this is important.

Baby equipment:

  • 20 cots, all free
  • High chairs
  • Pushchairs
  • Baby bedding
  • Baby baths

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

In the hotel itself, food is served all day, with half-portions for kids, and family suites have a kitchenette with a blender and a microwave. There are child-friendly eateries and takeaways within walking distance; the nearest shop for food is 1km away

Kids Activities on site:

  • Unfenced infinity pool; some houses also have access to additional shared pools
  • Playground
  • Children's DVDs

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Plenty of beaches, including Myrtos, our favourite
  • Series of flat rocks leading down to the sea, amazing swimming cave
  • Ferry trips to Ithaca and Lixouri
  • Mountain biking and walking trails
  • Small fishing towns to visit

Families Should Know:

The pools aren't fenced. You can buy food and nappies etc in the nearby village of Fiskardo. There's a mobile phone signal everywhere


  • Airport: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Doctor: 1 hour
  • Shop: 3 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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