Hotel Review: Lesante Cape, Zakynthos, Greece
New to the Zakynthian hotel scene is the third Lesante Collection property, from the family-owned luxury hotel group, who brought the first five-star destination – Lesante Classic – to the island back in 2009.
Located in the eastern Akrotiri area (once belonging to the island’s nobles who had their summer houses there, as it is the coolest part of the island), Lesante Cape was built from scratch, keeping 408 of the ancient olive trees as part of its design. Very much conceived around the traditional Greek village, the heart of the complex is its market square, where you’ll find a museum, church, taverna and shop – plus ice cream parlour and game rooms for the kids (watch out: there’s a PlayStation there, so you may lose your little gaming addicts for a while – this is either a good or a bad thing, depending on your views).
Three pools (one adults-only), a small, rocky private beach with pontoon and sunbeds, playground, spa and Padel tennis court mean there is plenty to keep you planted within its elegant surrounds, and don’t miss a cookery lesson with head chef Manos. Taking place in the outdoor kitchen, sheltered under a gazebo from the blazing sun, within a couple of hours you’ll have created an incredible Greek three course feast – starting out by picking herbs and vegetables from the Bostani kitchen garden. Once a week, the Greek taverna comes alive with songs, Greek dancing and music. There are also private boat and yacht tours to take you to the island’s maritime highlights such as the Blue Caves and the sulphurous waters that offer such healing benefits.
Views across to Kefalonia and the Peloponnese become shrouded in hazy pink as the sun sets and you settle back with a glass of Lesante rose, bottled by superb local vineyard Grampsas. Water and greenery – vegetable gardens and vineyards – feature heavily among the terracotta-tiled roofs and smart white-washed buildings – 55 suites and 10 private villas in all (many with their own pools), plus four restaurants and four bars. The splash of water, children’s laughter, the soft strains of easy jazz emanating from the bar, the omnipresent (delicious) breeze, and the Greek charm of the staff make Lesante a superbly easy and elegant choice – for all ages.
When you’re ready to venture out for a change of dinner scene, head out of the gates, turn left and wander (carefully) along the road for 10 minutes until you reach the beautiful, vine-strung, family-run Taverna Akrotiri. Traditional in the absolute best sense, you’ll tuck into oozing moussaka, the tenderest lamb and potatoes cooked in the oven, oregano-infused Greek salads and local wines, dishes which most likely haven’t been tampered with much since the taverna opened in 1923.
Further along – and you’ll need a car or taxi – it’s worth heading down to bustling Zakynthos town for local sweet treats like Mandelato, pastelli and fytoura, pan-fried semolina cakes. The town itself was destroyed by an earthquake in 1954 but was rebuilt exactly the same. Only three buildings survived. For the best view of the island, drive up to Bochali village. A lovely small village on top of the promontory rising behind the city, it’s the perfect place to catch sunset – and a cold beer.
Doubles from around £360 a night. lesantecape.gr