Checking In To The Splendid Angsana Corfu – Review

By Anwer Bati

7 months ago

The perfect base to explore this idyllic Greek island


From a base to explore everything the Greek island has to offer, to a fly-and-flop sanctuary, Angsana Corfu is hard to beat, says Anwer Bati.

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Hotel Review: Angsana Corfu

Angsana Corfu Emerald Beach Club

Emerald Beach Club

Corfu has undergone quite a change in the last few years. Until recently the island sold itself on cheap(ish) and cheerful package tourism, particularly in the south. Though, admittedly, some visitors came not only for sea and sun, but to explore the British connection, and others for the dramatic scenery and the link to My Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell’s memoir of his idyllic pre-war childhood.

High life was hard to find: mostly confined to the villas of the wealthy, many of them British, including the Rothschild family, on the north east coast. But the last couple of years has seen the flowering of luxury hotels, including the splendid Angsana Corfu, opened in 2021, the first in Europe from the Banyan Tree resorts.

STAY

A 40 minute drive north of the airport, and of Corfu city, the Angsana is perched above the Ionian sea on a wooded hill on the east coast – with sweeping views of Benitses bay and, on a clear day, of both mainland Greece and Albania.

Ionian Seaview Grand Room

Ionian Seaview Grand Room

It’s modern, of course, and capacious, with substantial public areas, combining a strong local connection with calming Asian influences – in both décor and ambience – and works by Greek artists on display. The 139 rooms and suites make full use of the hotel’s size, and even the cheapest rooms, where a bottle of local red wine welcomes you, are pretty spacious. And all of them come with balconies – whether with sea views or those of the hillside. But seaview rooms are the ones to go for to fully appreciate the place and its lovely setting.

The contemporary room design is simple and unfussy but sophisticated; soothing with muted tones, grey tiled floors, and Asian-style sliding partitions. To aid calm, the lights are dimmed and fragrant T-lights appear at turndown. There are king size beds and the marble bathrooms come with rain showers. Amenities come in ceramic dispensers. Suites have similar décor, but larger balconies, walk-in wardrobes and freestanding bathtubs.

Though the Angsana is perfect for couples, families are also well looked-after, and many choose the hotel’s 37 villas (from one to four bedrooms, some on two floors), designed to look like traditional Corfu houses, all with their own pools.

A bedroom at Asagna Corfu

The whole, relaxed experience of staying at the Angsana is enhanced by warm, smiling staff, throughout the hotel.

EAT

Breakfast is in the bright Ruen Romsai, with barista-made coffee, a very large choice from the beautifully displayed buffet, and chefs cooking eggs – with options like eggs Benedict – to order. And it’s served until 11am, so no need to rush down. Like the hotel’s other restaurants, it’s overseen by celebrated local chef Tasos Andriotis.

Vertigo Sky Bar

Vertigo Sky Bar

Sofrito, with outside tables and a sea view, is the place for Corfiot and Greek cuisine, sometimes with modern twists and wider Mediterranean influences, in a taverna-style atmosphere. Reflecting the hotel’s Asian heritage, the hotel’s flagship Oribu (where you can also eat al fresco) serves a range of Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese inspired dishes, using sustainable local produce. The latter includes kumquats, ubiquitous on the island and used in many ways. They were originally introduced to Corfu in the 19th Century by an Englishman who had encountered them in the Far East and decided to grow them locally.

The Angsana also has two indoor, and two unusually comfortable, and well shaded, outdoor bar lounges serving an all-day light menu.

Literally above all, however, is the Vertigo Sky Bar, on the huge rooftop, offering amazing 360 degree views of the island, and serving distinctive locally infused cocktails and tempting cold snacks. There’s also live music. It’s open until late – but in summer only.

Pool Bar

Pool Bar

DO

The Angsana’s huge – and spectacularly located – infinity pool is stunning, with its fabulous views of the sea and coastline; and there’s also a heated indoor pool for those colder days. Or you can get a shuttle down to the hotel’s beach, with its lively Emerald Bar and the various water sports on offer.

The superlative spa, both seductive and luxurious – with 11 treatment rooms – offering many Asian treatments, such as rain mist and Thai massage, is another ideal place to unwind, with a first-rate fitness centre nearby to tone up in. Yoga is another option to help you chill out, and there’s an in-house beauty salon and hairdresser, too. Children from four to 11 will find plenty of fun activities to occupy them at the Angsana’s Rangers kid’s club – with its own pool.

You may not feel like moving far, but if you feel like exploring the island, it’s a good idea to hire a car, or you can hire a bike at the hotel to explore the dramatic countryside. Otherwise, walk to the tavernas of the nearby town of Benitses (the hotel shuttle will take you down to the road).

Asagna Corfu

Vertigo Sky Bar

If you don’t have a car, reception can book a taxi to take you to Corfu city: a must-see. And in summer, the hotel can get you there by boat; great for seeing the coast. Buses, which stop near the hotel, are another option.

If you think of Greek islands as full of little whitewashed houses, the city is quite a surprise: a sophisticated mix of the architecture of former rulers: Venetian, French and British (there’s even an M&S), some of it rather grand, and entirely unlike other islands. There are some lovely squares, picturesque pedestrianised streets, and numerous shops and restaurants to pop into. Pick up some delicious kumquat liqueur or some local olive oil to bring back, or get them from the hotel’s shop. It’s well worth getting a guide, such as Wafaa from the always reliable ToursByLocals who can supply someone to fit your needs.

The hotel is also near Mon Repos, the splendid villa which was once the summer residence of the Greek royal family, and where Prince Philip was born on the dining room table.

THE FINAL WORD

The Angsana combines high standards of modern luxury with Asian calm, fine facilities and amazing views. It’s hard to beat on Corfu, whether you want a place to chill out or a base to explore from. It’s as good for a romantic time as it is for a family break.

BOOK IT

Double rooms at Angsana Corfu start from £210 a night B&B. There are several flight options from the UK. angsana.com


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