Costa Navarino ticks all the usual boxes when it comes to luxury resorts in Greece: nice beach, clean pools, swish bar.
But it surprised me like no other with its range of cultural events: olive oil tasting, philosophy walks and a dedicated exhibition centre with art straight from the Benaki Museum in Athens
Even the lobby, calm and beautiful, turns out to host a rich collection of locally significant art.
And what’s more, tours are given for free, daily and you can catch up with an overview of one here:
This marks, I believe, a new trend in luxury hotels and even airport development. One I’m excited about and keen to see more of: bringing culture to places where people want or have to be instead of simply waiting for them to venture to a single museum.
Besides, let’s face it, who doesn’t want more of the best of both worlds? Luxury and hedonism plus the feeling of learning something new?
Bring it on (or gia ela as Google Translate tells me.)
Bring it on.
Less a resort and more an entire redevelopment of an area, the Costa Navarino plan is both criticised and celebrated for its boldness and ambition.
The Plan for Costa Navarino…
It will comprise a number of distinct sites featuring 5-star deluxe hotels, luxury residences, conference facilities, spa and thalassotherapy centres, signature golf courses, as well as a wide range of unique year-round activities for adults and children.
Navarino Dunes, the first area, is home to two luxury 5-star hotels, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort and The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino. There is also the Dunes Course – the first signature golf course in Greece.
Navarino Bay, the second area is home to the signature golf course, The Bay Course.
For now, let’s talk about where we stayed: The Westin.
Purpose-built series of large resorts in straw and brilliant white with plenty of views of the sea. Decorated with locally significant art and mosaics that reflect the region’s 4500 year old history.
Unspoiled beach in Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese. The closest airport is Kalamata but it’s only a 3 – 5 drive from Athens too (depending on your temperament and need for pit stops.)
We stayed in a suite, which was fantastic as we could spend time together in the lounge in the evening as baby Lab slept in the bedroom. With 445 rooms to choose from, the Westin was much larger than the places we usually choose. That said, it only really felt as though there were 100 or so rooms due to the good design of the place.
The blues and whites of the rooms are calming and clear and the rooms themselves are spacious (although they don’t reflect the art on display in the lobby.)
With a self-made internal village, Costa Navarino offers a range of dining options (11 restaurants and 7 bars) and you need to check with most in advance as to whether you need to make a booking.
(Alas, we didn’t do this so didn’t get to test too many out!) It is tricky, but not impossible, to eat outside the resort.
Agora serves Greek dishes, sometimes with a backdrop of local women singing.
The Morias evening and breakfast buffets were some of the best I’ve ever seen and staff are extremely helpful with highchairs and young children.
Plus, the dessert counter needs to be seen to be believed…
Designed to be and fulfils its design well. There are cultural clubs aimed at children and a special playground for 4 – 12 year olds.
The entire Costa Navarino complex is a result of the dreams of local boy turned billionaire Captain Vassilis. After making his fortune, he bought up barren land in his native Messinia and set about creating a project that would bring thousands to the area and yet also showcase the region’s history and art. It’s an incredible story. And so far, it looks like a success…
Ambitious multi-resort plan on the Mediterranean in the Peloponnese with a focus on culture and luxury. Swim by day, party by night and learn more about the history of Greece in between.
Disclosure – we paid a reduced rate to stay at the Costa Navarino for review purposes. As ever, as always, we kept the right to write what we like. Otherwise, there’s just no point.
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