The Gecko

Tsoukalades, Lefkas, Greece Book from £207

Reviewed by Tom Bell
An ultra-chic, impossibly romantic hideaway on the remote west coast of Lefkas, with views that float out to sea (sleeps 2-4)
A perfect 10 - The Gecko indulges every whim, and those in search of the very best should look no further. The 2-bedroom villa stands above a sleepy village with long views out to sea. You're on the quiet side of the island with open country around you; ancient stone terraces zigzag across the hillside, while olive trees shimmer in the sun. Inside, a dreamy, uncluttered style flows as freely as the light. The biggest extravagance here is space, with an open-plan sitting room/dining room that stretches the width of the villa, and stairs leading up to a hugely romantic galleried master bedroom.

Lie in bed, press a button and blinds rise, revealing views of sun and sea. You also get glossy white rafters, tiny balconies, an old armoire and walnut floors. Pull yourself out of bed (no mean feat) and step out onto the terrace to cushioned teak loungers and an elegant strip of pool; in the cooler months, curl up in front of the log fire on huge blue sofas. In the garden you’ll find a hammock, a shady pond, beds of lavender, rosemary, nectarines, bougainvillea and honeysuckle. The sound of goat bells floats in from the hillside. Honeymoon heaven.

Highs

  • The exquisite galleried master bedroom
  • The impeccable style, the stuff of glossy magazines
  • The terrace and pool and the long views to the sea and mountains beyond
  • The wild west coast - remote, beguiling, peaceful, with fabulous sunsets

Lows

  • You’ll probably want a hire car to get here, but will use it little once you've arrived
  • There's a minimum stay of 1 week (Sunday to Sunday)
  • It gets booked up quickly
  • If coming in early spring / late autumn, bear in mind that for environmental reasons the outdoor pool is not heated - though it's fine for a quick dip

Best time to go

The Gecko is a sublime retreat year round. The house is built to be cool in summer and warm in winter. Meanwhile the island is delightful in every season and, unlike many in Greece, has a multitude of bars, tavernas and shops which stay open all year.

From January - March it can rain but is usually very clement; April, May and June are gorgeous with spring flowers everywhere but the pool and sea are cooler; July and August are the hottest months, with cicadas singing and the scent of wild pine and thyme; September and October are beautiful and still very warm with the sea and pool at their warmest; November and December are ideal months for glorious walking and for curling up in front of the log fire though lunch outside is often possible. There is skiing 2 hours away by car.

Our top tips

Though it has 2 bedrooms, we think this works best as a honeymoon hideaway, using the master bedroom. Alternatively, if you're 2 couples travelling together, you can use the second 'deck' suite too. But the owners don't accept children, so it's not a family rental.

Great for...

Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Villa
  • 2
  • Self-catering (walk to restaurants)
  • No children under 18
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2015 - 5 Mar 2016...
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Twice weekly housekeeping service
  • Yoga teacher (on request)
Room: Master Bedroom

Rooms

There are 2 bedrooms at The Gecko: the Master Bedroom in the main house and the Deck Suite below the pool with a private terrace.

However, the villa is exceptionally romantic, and if you’re looking for a perfect retreat for 2, splash out and take the whole place for yourselves. The Master Bedroom is the stuff of dreams. Steps from the whitewashed sitting room lead up to a galleried bedroom where you can lie in bed and look out to sea. You get the very best of everything: Egyptian cotton, goose-down pillows, pashmina blankets, a big old armoire. Walls shine in white, windows flood the space with light, French windows open onto tiny balconies on each side. Amid all the tangible luxuries, it is the sense of space that exhilarates, with light and airy interiors. The bathroom, with fittings from Sottini, is downstairs: expect a huge bath, a walk-in shower, 2 basins, a small potted olive tree, and a Philippe Starck clear plastic chair.

External paths lead to the Deck Suite built into the side of the hill below the dining terrace. The room is stunning. French windows stretch across the front, giving long views down the hill to sea, and you can sit out on the decked terrace in blissful privacy. Inside the design follows the style of the main house: whitewashed walls, pink and purple silk cushions, exquisite linen, silky throws. An enormous shower room has his-and-her sinks and French windows onto the terrace; you can open them up or shield them with shutters. There is also a dressing room and a mini-kitchen at the back (microwave and fridge), so you can make your own breakfast or have a midnight feast.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Honesty bar
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

In the main house, an impeccable kitchen (crisp contemporary stainless-steel design, utterly faultless) comes with every conceivable gadget: a drinks fridge, a food fridge and a freezer; a double oven, halogen hob and extractor fan; a blender, a juicer and a panini maker; a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. You’ll find a welcome hamper on arrival (bread, butter, jam, honey, beer and wine), a well-stocked honesty bar and a larder system; what’s there is yours to use, but if you finish something, you replace it before you leave (Lefkas’s market is a 15-minute drive).

If you don’t fancy self-catering, a cook can be provided either for the week or for individual meals - be sure to request in advance.

You can eat in the living space at a decidedly cool white oval table, but you’re more likely to fling open the doors and venture into the garden or sit out on the dining terrace to the side of the house with impeccable views of sea and hills. Smart wooden furniture awaits you, and at dusk soft lighting magically illuminates the paths and terraces. Head off for picnics and you’ll find hampers and rugs to take with you, or stay put at the house for a barbecue; it’s next to the hammock, so keep an eye on the cook.

If you want to eat out Tsoukalades has a few good tavernas serving good simple Greek food, including the much loved Rose Taverna at the bottom of the lane (500m). Try Sappho in the village of Agias Nikitas for great fish on the beach, or head into Lefkas town for sophisticated Greek food at El Molos (complete with bar and internet café next door) and a range of cool bars where you can dance until the early hours.

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Welcome hamper
  • Larder system
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Pretty Lefkas town is a good place to potter: the cafés, bars and shops (6 days a week) all brim with life. A causeway connects the island to the mainland

  • The villa provides umbrellas and a hamper, so pack up a picnic and head down to the beach for the day. There are quiet beaches in the village, sand-and-pebble coves at Agios Nikitas, miles of sandy beach with a taverna and a cool bar below towering cliffs at Kathisma. Agios Yiannis (Mili) is popular with Greeks and for windsurfing

  • Alternatively, take to the mountains of the interior, chance upon tiny unspoilt villages, walk in the hills

  • Sailing is very popular around the east coast, or head south to Vasiliki for the best windsurfing in Greece; they hold the world championships here every now and then

  • Wander down to the southernmost point of the island; legend has it that Sappho, tormented by the loss of a lover, threw herself off the cliffs here

  • Read, listen, play: the house has an extensive library of books, CDs, DVDs, indoor and outdoor games; book a massage or practice yoga on the terrace - mats are provided

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Yoga

Kids

Children under 18 are not permitted.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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