Deciding on a honeymoon destination is an arduous task. When I first told people that my husband and I had booked to go to Corfu, I received mixed reactions.
Areas of stunning natural beauty surround the Greek Islands, however, Corfu carries the stigma of being a ‘party island’ similar to that of Ibiza or Mallorca. I continued to keep an open mind as this was my first visit to Corfu and I am so glad I did.
One of the largest Ionian Islands, Corfu is far more than its trademark blue-hue seas and mountainous coastlines. For those who love history, exploring ancient monasteries and escaping the 21st Century for a little while, you will love revealing the layers of this unspoilt and unchanged island one step at a time.
The Atlantica Grand Mediterraneo Resort & Spa was our home for seven nights, in the quaint village of Ermones on the West Coast of the island, roughly 40 minutes from the airport via transfer. This stunning 5 Star adult orientated hotel not only exudes luxury and style, it offers a sensational cliffside setting with unobstructed panoramic views of the Ionian Sea.
It’s rare that I get to stay at a hotel embedded into a mountain, so it was no surprise that getting up and down came with its own challenges. We had three choices, the first being a ride using the hotels golf buggy / car service, or we could take the cable cart elevator, ( note for those who dislike looking at steep drops – this option isn’t for you ); finally, if you were feeling energetic, you could walk up. We liked to mix it up during our stay, though walking downhill was much easier.
The resort was beautiful spreading across 110 acres of cypress and eucalyptus trees and pine woods that cascade along the shoreline offering spectacular views.
There are 166 rooms, suites and villas in the hotel, styled with a contemporary and neutral décor. Whatever type of accommodation you choose, whether it is a Double Mountain or Sea room or Deluxe Suite with private pool, you will be well-looked after by the friendly hotel staff, happy to help.
As this was our honeymoon and such a special occasion we stayed in the Deluxe Sea View Room, which had the use of our very own swim up pool. We had never stayed in a room with a swim-up pool and it was a treat without a doubt.
One big advantage to this room was that it takes the pressure off having to wake up early to get a sun bed for the day, (no towel reservations for us this holiday). It also gave us a little more privacy, after all not everyone wants to sunbathe half-naked with strangers!
If you do not choose the luxury of a swim-up pool, don’t feel you’re missing out; the hotel has an impressive outdoor freshwater infinity pool with its own boardwalk overlooking the sea.
The terrace lined with loungers and umbrellas, is ideal for those who want to soak up the Greek sun. There’s also access to the beach at the bottom of the mountain; however, a local charge applies for loungers on the beach.
Anyone seeking further relaxation can head to the spa. Here you will find space to relax, a Turkish bath, sauna, hot tub and an indoor pool. There is also a well- stocked gym; we found ourselves there most days trying to work off the food we had consumed from the day before. For tennis lovers if you can bear the heat there are also hard courts available.
Food lovers will be smitten with the hotels emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, and for vegetarians like me, dreading to see what’s on offer, to my surprise the hotel even had a small vegan and vegetarian section as well as plenty of other offerings.
As an additional honeymoon treat we went the whole way with an ‘All Inclusive’ package, although Half Board is also available. This included our meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner served buffet style, specialising in Mediterranean cuisine, in the main restaurant – not forgetting the unlimited alcohol supply… which can be dangerous!
One thing that stood out was the presentation of food; often we would stumble across dishes that looked like pieces of art, on the dessert counter! We spent more time there than we should have.
Guests may also take advantage of a complimentary meal at the Kulinarium À la Carte beach restaurant during their stay, which was nice for a change of scenery. Here you can experience wonderful Greek Fusion Cuisine with views overlooking the sea whilst watching the sun set behind the hotel mountain.
We also visited the Vertigo Italian Restaurant on site. There is an additional charge to eat here but you will receive a good discount on your bill as hotel guests. The clue is in the title of this eatery, with mouth watering Italian dishes on offer, paired with fine wines… and once again not forgetting the impressive views of the Cliff tops, a visit here is well worth the extra cost.
Our evening entertainment was also first class. Not your usual cabaret style acts. During the evening you will see everything from Greek Dancing to Ukulele strumming and Spanish singers, with a cocktail in hand, your evening will be set.
If you are an active traveller, you may wish to venture out of the resort and the best way to do this is by hiring a car. We walked just outside the hotel to find a car rental company (as the one at the hotel is double the price). Our vehicle of choice was a Suzuki Jimny, lucky too, as you would need a durable car to tackle the potholes!
One other thing to be aware of, the rental businesses only let you have a 1⁄4 tank of petrol and most of the petrol stations around area have gone bankrupt. So keep an eye on your fuel and hit the stations when you find them.
Our first stop was Paleokastrisa, home to one of the most popular golden beaches. Take a boat ride out to visit the caves or hike up the mountain to visit a historic monastery, stop for a cold drink and capture those magic photo moments.
We then ventured to the Northern part of the Island and stopped in Sidari, which was once a small fishing village. Here things are more lively with busy bars, restaurants and those all important souvenir shops. I ended up coming home with a pink flamingo lilo of all things.
Eventually we stopped in Ipsos, which used to be recognised for its 18-30 crowd, but now enjoys a quieter life with a small harbour, contemporary eateries and lots of cats!
Hiring a car was a great way to see the island and I didn’t think it could get any better until my husband had a light bulb moment… hiring a scooter. After letting him practice for an hour I muscled up the courage to get on the back, and in hindsight I am so glad I did.
For a completely different experience of getting around the island the scooter is so easy to jump on and off, plus, at 15 Euros a day it was much cheaper than the car hire.
Unfortunately my husband forgot the advice we were given, again, ensure you check the petrol first before you end up stranded up a mountain as he was – luckily this happened in his practice hour!
We spent our last day relaxing and reading by the pool, strolling on the beach and making the most of the remaining hours in this magical hotel.
My final verdict on the Atlantica Grand Mediterraneo Resort and Spa
The hotel offers a luxurious retreat; perfect for our honeymoon as well as any other special occasion. After speaking to other guests it repeatedly draws visitors back year after year and I can see why. I would be more than tempted to revisit again myself.
Address: Ermones, 491 00, Corfu, Greece
Phone: +30 2661 095381
Read my review at Luxury Lifestyle Magazine here > https://www.luxurylifestylemag.co.uk/travel/hotel-review-atlantica-grand-mediterraneo-resort-and-spa-in-corfu/