Scattered with coves lapped by turquoise waters and bathed in a cinematic sunset every evening, the Greek island of Corfu lends itself to high-end, self-indulgent travel. To make choosing a five-star base easier, we’ve brought together 12 of the best luxury accommodations on this natural wonderland, from beach resorts to clifftop boutiques.
The Domes Miramare, a five-star operation by Marriot, comprises 113 airy beachfront rooms and suites with direct access to 400m of pristine sands. Treat yourself to one of the Pavilion or Emerald Suites, all of which have their own gardens, replete with gnarled, century-old olive trees (the Pavilions also have pools and private beach access, and the Emeralds have unbroken sea views). Dinners are courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Tassos Mantis, poolside cocktails are from Bar Verde, and rooftop sushi and drinks can be enjoyed at Raw Bar.
The east coast’s Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa faces out to Albania and the Greek mainland, a 15-minute drive north of Corfu’s capital. Wake yourself up with a morning class of yoga or aqua aerobics before heading to the spa to steam or soak, or for an Indian head or Thai massage. For maximum tranquility, take one of the bungalow rooms: separated from the main hotel building and set among the resort’s manicured gardens, they overlook the Ionian and some have their own pools. Swim in the sea or fresh water pools or off the resort’s private beach.
Despite the fierce competition faced by every luxury hotel on Corfu, this one distinguishes itself with its huge choice of activities. You can spend a day exploring wrecks and reefs with instructors from the on-site Amphitrite diving centre, take a trip on the resort’s luxury boat or explore the island on horseback, to name just three. For the best views, choose something from the Waterfront Collection, a selection of suites, maisonettes and villas clinging to the rocks above the Ionian. Sea bathing is off three private coves backed by Italianate gardens.
Even if its accommodations were horrible (which, of course, they’re not), MarBella Corfu’s gastronomic offering would still make it a luxury resort. Scattered across its sprawling premises on Corfu’s northeastern coast are no less than ten bars and restaurants, serving Greek, Italian, Mediterranean and American cuisine, from seafood and pasta to burgers and milkshakes. All of its modern, minimalist rooms and suites have private balconies with views of the sea, the mountains or the romantic gardens, and some have their own pools. Luxury speed boats can be rented at reception.
Guests at Ikos Dassia, a plush resort 7ml (12km) north of Corfu Town, are lucky to count Ouzo amongst their on-site eateries. This classy beachfront restaurant showcases the creations of Lefteris Lazarou, who in 2002 won the first Michelin star awarded for Greek food (he’s since retained it). Foodies will also love the gastronomic outing to the nearby island of Vidos, where the hotel offers a dining experience centred around local produce such as sea bass and haloumi. Rooms, suites and villas wear light, soothing hues and all have sea views.
Grecotel Eva Palace’s Aphrodite-inspired Elixir Rooftop Love Spa is one of the finest on Corfu: geared towards couples, it offers private treatment rooms overlooking the Ionian’s turquoise waters, as well as a sauna, beauty salon and high-tech fitness centre. The resort spreads itself around a secluded, pebble-beached bay and a seawater pool the shape of a piazza, surrounded by loungers and serviced by a swim-up bar. Eat at poolside Steak and Sushi, inspired by a Mediterranean take on surf’n’turf, and drink sunset cocktails at the Serenissima Bellini Bar.
The couples-orientated Rodostamo Hotel & Spa sits in dense greenery above Kommeno Bay, one of Corfu’s most secluded and exclusive coastal areas. Despite the resort’s gloriously reclusive setting, there’s still plenty happening – with nightly live music in either the Yiasemi or RR restaurants (venues for breakfast and dinner buffets and fine dining, respectively) – and nearby, in the trendy beach town of Dassia, half an hour on foot. Accommodations are spread over rooms, suites, bungalows and villas, all of which feature views of either Kommeno, the gardens or the cypress forest out back.
Corfu Palace was designed and built in the 1950s by prominent Greek architect P.A. Sakelarios. Full of high ceilings and marble staircases, columns and floors, this stately property now houses 106 rooms and suites, some with balconies, others with gardens and all with sea views. Entertainment options are practically boundless, with the Unesco-protected Old Town a 10-minute walk away, a glittering casino on the ground floor and four restaurants and bars offering international cuisine and live music. Relax around the outdoor saltwater pool or in the spa.
Kairaba’s five-star Sandy Villas resort is situated in southwest Corfu, close to the beaches of Issos and Marathias and the village of Argyrades. Its rooms, suites and villas are spread throughout several buildings centring around a rectangular pool and terrace, where Bar Oasis provides cocktails and snacks. An international buffet is available all day at the Ermis Restaurant, and guests have access to the well-equipped Labranda Sandy Beach Resort, located 700m (700yd) down the road. Lefkimmi, Corfu’s second largest town, is a 20-minute drive away.
Quaint hilltop village, or one of Corfu’s most attractive beaches? There’s no need to decide at Mayor’s Pelekas Monastery, a sumptuous resort located between Pelekas village and Kontogialos beach (also known as Pelekas beach), where the sandy shore and shallow, calm waters are perfect for kids. Its double rooms and suites can sleep various combinations of adults and children, and some have limitless sea views. Join a guided walk to the 270m-high (300yd) Keiser Observatory Rock, so-called because German Emperor Wilhelm II headed up there to get away from it all.
Premium services at the Delfino Blu, a boutique hotel located off the northern beach of Agios Stefanos, include horse riding, water sports, yacht rental and a world-class spa. Accommodations range from doubles to family studios and have views of either the gardens or panoramic perspectives on the Ionian. If you don’t fancy a ceiling, there’s the option of sleeping on a heated water mattress on the veranda, after an ocean-front candlelit dinner and spa shower. Sip cocktails at the beach and pool bars and sample traditional Corfiot fare at the Kohili Restaurant.
Formerly the Cyprus Hilton, the Corfu Holiday Palace is set back from a private beach 2.4mi (4km) south of the island’s capital, surrounded by fragrant pine and cypress trees and wild flowers. The top-floor Superior Sea rooms represent great value, sleeping up to three guests and featuring furnished balconies overlooking Mouse Island, so called because of its miniature proportions. Don’t miss the 17th-century Vlacherna monastery directly beneath the hotel, from which you hop on a boat to visit the 12th-century church.