Xenon Estate

Spetses, Greece Book from Eur170

Reviewed by Sarah Gilbert
A secluded hilltop hideaway with 3 stylish villas (for 2-8), a huge pool, and stunning views of Spetses and the Saronic Gulf
Perched on a hillside in a secluded corner of Spetses, a beguiling Greek island a short hop from Athens, Xenon Estate is ideal for those looking for peace and privacy in a sleek, self-catering set up. It's set in beautiful landscaped gardens complete with gnarled olive trees, sun-bleached pebbles, a fragrant herb garden and flower-covered pergolas. A glorious pool, with wooden decking and canvas loungers, provides a shared focal point.

Adjoined but completely autonomous, the 3 villas - with names derived from Greek mythology - blend traditional island architecture and boutique hotel design. You get fully equipped kitchens, sitting rooms, luxurious bathrooms with robes and Korres toiletries, and diligent attention from owners Alex and Elina, who spend summers here with their little girl.

And did we mention the panoramic views? Over pine trees and the rooftops of Dapia, you look across the startling blue of the Saronic Gulf to the jagged islands of Hydra and Dokos, and the mountainous outline of the Peloponnese Coast. Car-free Spetses has some lovely beaches, so explore the island by fishing boat or moped, then cool off in its largest pool.

Highs

  • Stunning views over Spetses and the Saronic Gulf from your balcony or terrace
  • The tranquil location and sense of seclusion, though you can mix with the (few) other guests around the pool if you are feeling sociable
  • Spacious, well-designed and fully-equipped villas with 1-4 bedrooms, thus suiting everybody from couples to extended families
  • Alex and Elina are helpful, hands-on owners; they (or their caretakers if they are in Athens) can arrange everything from a boat trip to a private chef

Lows

  • It’s a 15-minute walk downhill to the centre of Spetses - and longer uphill; it can be costly getting a taxi both ways in the evening, and tiring dodging mopeds if you walk
  • The island can be very quiet outside of weekends and high season
  • There's a minimum stay of 4-7 nights (depending on season), and the estate is closed throughout the winter

Best time to go

Xenon Estate is open from April to October. August is the island’s busiest month. During the low season (April-May and October), and especially on weekdays, Spetses is utterly tranquil; but some restaurants may be closed and normally packed beaches will be devoid of loungers and sporting activities (ideal for some!). The Armata Festival lasts for a week in September and attracts crowds of Greeks and tourists for concerts, plays and exhibitions, rounding off with the re-enactment of a victorious sea battle against the Turks, complete with fireworks and canon fire.

Our top tips

Not a typical beach read, but John Fowles' entrancing novel The Magus was written while living on Spetses.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villas
  • 3 villas for 2-8
  • Self-catering; chef on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 30 Oct 2015 - 27 Apr 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
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

Sharing the grounds and pool are 3 villas, adjoined but completely autonomous. The largest, Astraea, has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, so is perfect for families or groups. Althea sleeps 6 in 3 double bedrooms and Lethe, the smallest with 1 bedroom, is ideal for couples.

The villas are split-level and furnished in a creative mixture of expensive European design - Italian Bonacina, Swedish Berga Form - and Ikea. The spacious living rooms have comfy sofas and traditional stone-set fireplaces filled with candles. The Italian-designer kitchens are fully-equipped, right down to a set of lobster picks. You can eat inside or al fresco on your private veranda or roof terrace.

The bedrooms are bright and uncluttered, with oak wood floors, white walls dotted with original artwork and striking light fittings. We loved the sparkling Murano mosiac-tiles in the luxurious bathrooms, along with the rain showers, cherry wood cabinets and delicious-smelling Korres toiletries.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Mosquito net
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

There’s no restaurant but the accommodating owners pre-stock the cupboards and fridge with basics: milk, bread, butter, cheese, cold meat - organic where possible. Refills and additional items can also be ordered at cost (no markup, which is nice).

The impressive kitchens allow guests to create everything from a simple meal to a lavish banquet, thanks to a full array of appliances (oven, microwave, hob, kettle, coffee maker, blender etc). Alternatively Alex can call in the services of a private chef who will serve a dinner of your choice in the mimosa-scented evening air - bliss!

Dining out is equally easy. Dapia has plenty of cafés and eateries - O Roussos is recommended for its mezzes (Greek tapas). Around the Old Harbour, eat modern Greek on the brilliant-white terrace of Orloff restaurant, or opt for catch-of-the day at seafront Tarsanas. You can walk to any of these in 15-20 minutes, but you might want to catch a taxi back afterwards!

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Xenon can arrange moped or bicycle hire for exploring the island’s hidden coves and pine-clad hillsides, as well as excursions further afield
  • Take a traditional Spetsiot taxi - a horse and carriage ride - along the seafront promenade, past the old harbours where wooden boats are still made (and beautifully painted replicas sold)
  • Don’t miss a tour of the Bouboulina museum, dedicated to freedom fighter Laskarina Bouboulis, Greece’s answer to Joan of Arc
  • Every type of watersport is available on the island, from scuba diving and sailing, to windsurfing and waterskiing
  • Book a water taxi tour to spot the homes of the super-rich, including the Niarchos family’s own private island, Spetsopoula
  • Party till late with assorted yachties, shipping tycoons and international jetsetters in the bars around the Old Harbour
  • Check out the Spetsiots favourite beach, Zogeria, where the pretty taverna serves up delicious fare
  • Take a ferry or water taxi to the Peloponnese town of Kosta, from where it’s an hour's drive to the ancient theatre at Epidavros (Epidaurus) - feasible as a day trip if you start early

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome and families often stay, especially in summer, which can be a great opportunity to socialise. If not, you might feel a little self-conscious, but as you can retreat into your own villa and do your own thing - as long as your children aren't total hell-raisers we think you'll be all right!

Note that the island of Spetses is a 2-5 hour ferry/hydrofoil trip from Athens. For some, the journey is part of the fun, but for others...maybe not!

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Families of 3 should book Lethe which has plenty of space. For those with 2 or more children, Althea has a twin bedroom and 2 doubles, and Astraea can sleep up to 8 in 4 doubles.

Babysitting:

An English-speaking babysitter is available by advance request

Baby listening:

Monitors reach to the pool area, but you need to bring your own

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chair

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

Children's meals:

Villas are self-catering and have microwaves and blenders. There are tavernas, food shops and restaurants within walking distance. You can also get takeaway nearby. Bring unbreakable plates and baby cutlery with you if needed

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool with shallow end
  • 1,500sqm of manicured lawns for children to play in (all fenced in)
  • Children's DVDs

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Horses
  • Beaches
  • Horse and carriage rides
  • Watersports
  • Boat trips

Families Should Know:

The pool isn't fenced and there are no stairgates inside the villas

Distances:

  • Airport: 2-5 hours away by hydrofoil or ferry
  • Hospital: 15 minutes
  • Doctor: 3 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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