This could be the most luxurious Covid bubble in the world. Deploying itself along a secluded private bay in the northeast corner of mainland Greece, Sani Resort could be the answer for anyone who hasn’t set foot on a plane for two years.
Sani, on the wild Halkidiki Peninsula (a 45-minute drive from Thessaloniki airport), managed to stay open last year without a single case of Covid.
Each guest is tested upon arrival. Staff are checked regularly and wear masks. Meals can be taken outside and all you have to do in between is go from the pool to the forest hike, to the tennis court to the spa.
Sani Resort, pictured, is set along a secluded private bay in the northeast corner of mainland Greece
Many families, including mine, switched their gym memberships last year to working out outdoors, and Sani is like a giant outdoor gym where you can walk, swim, bike, or run. Or do nothing at all.
Our family of four, including two teenagers, stayed at Sani Club, a dreamy collection of spacious rooms and villas that tumble down the side of a private beach across a stretch of water from Mount Olympus.
The hotel has gone from offering a large buffet breakfast in a lounge to dining outdoors, which means we can order à la carte while gazing out over the bay.
One morning we chatted with a Northampton family. Grandpa and Grandma were at one end of the table eating coffee and cakes. Mom and Dad were in the middle and, perched last, three grandchildren who had barely seen their extended family for a year and a half.
This eco-friendly resort is a 45-minute drive from Thessaloniki Airport. Pictured is the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Thessaloniki.
This, they said, was the perfect opportunity to reunite the clan and spend some of the money they had been saving.
His idea was clear: if Covid and the confinement have scattered your family through the winds, plan a long meeting and leave together.
Ah, you might say, but what about the carbon footprint of those flights in these eco-conscious times? Well, a trip to Sani could almost make Greta Thunberg feel virtuous.
According to Mark, ‘all you have to do between [covid tests] It’s drifting from the pool to the forest walk to the tennis court to the ‘spa’ at Sani Resort. In the photo, one of the resort’s pools.
Guests at the Sani Resort, pictured, can go water skiing and banana boat rides
It was crowned the World’s Best Luxury Eco-Friendly Resort at the world travel awards last year, and was the first carbon-neutral resort in Greece.
They take everything very seriously, with the Sani Green program, which means that the five small hotels located along the bay that make up the Sani Resort are powered by renewable energy, and most of the products served in the 24 restaurants found around the bay come from the interior. 100 miles.
Single-use plastic has also dropped by 80 percent in recent years.
There is an olive planting program that we found surprisingly moving when we joined in one morning, having sensibly left the teenagers with their meal.
We had a lecture on the cultural history of this unique plant from the resort’s resident eco-boffin while looking at a twisted old specimen: an olive tree, not the expert.
There is a Dine Around program covered by half board or full board, which allows you to eat in almost any of the restaurants, as well as in the yacht-packed marina.
So our two teens pored over the menus online, reserved tables through the resort app, and set out to demolish the pork belly at Pines, the souvlaki at Vosporos Grill House, the prosciutto pizza at the Market, and the sea bass. in Cabana on the beach. .
Pictured is Sani Club, which Mark describes as ‘a dreamy collection of spacious rooms and villas that tumble down a hillside onto a private beach’
Seven nights half board from £ 7,849 for a family of four at Sani Club during the mid-term of May 2022 with flights and transfers; book before October 31st. Or seven nights in half board for a couple from £ 939 per person next May with flights and transfers, book before October 31 (destinology.co.uk, 01204 874 435). More information: sani-resort.com.
I? Well, I developed a taste for the Sani Grand Reserve Chardonnay (at £ 9 a glass), while my wife opted for a mixed grape rose. In one restaurant, we resisted the temptation to order Bourgogne 2014 for £ 29,325. Which gives you the feeling that if you want to live well in Sani, it can be a very luxurious experience.
But it has none of the cheeky glitz of Monaco or Nice, and for British families like ours, it’s a vacation worth saving money for.
The kids loved the indulgence of calling a chauffeured golf cart to drive us around. The staff are mostly young, multilingual and more than pleased to see British tourists returning in droves.
The complex is quite remote, so no one tends to explore beyond its borders. But if you just want solitude away from stand-up paddlers, water skiing, and banana boat rides, then you can take a walk through the forest that stretches inland on 250 acres of the resort’s wetlands.
We set out early one morning to beat the heat, enjoying the pine trees like sentinels as we meandered through shady trails.
Just when the kids decided they’d had enough, we headed back to the beach.
Diet Coke and ice plunged into the ultra-chic, white-painted Bousoulas Beach Bar as we fantasized about hopping on our superyacht moored offshore and opening a bottle of that 2014 Bourgogne.