Greek villa operators have been whistling a happy tune, and it’s partly down to The X Factor.
When N-Dubz singer and judge Tulisa Contostavlos took her band of hopefuls to a luxury villa on the beautiful island of Mykonos, interest in the destination soared. Sunshine.co.uk reported a 47% increase in Mykonos searches following The X Factor, while Travelsupermarket said there were 433% more searches on Mykonos following the show at the villa.
Reality TV aside, it’s no wonder villas in Greece are enduringly popular. Simple, barefoot living combined with beautiful scenery and excellent weather make villas the perfect getaway. We’ve rounded up some of the best options for different budgets, though our ‘save’ categories reflect value for money rather than bargain basement deals.
Perfect for couples
Splurge: Bacchus House, Anti Paxos.
What’s it like? The perfect private getaway for couples looking for authentic Greece. Lounge by the pool and take in the views. Chris Wright, managing director at GIC – The Villa Collection, says: “For couples and honeymooners wanting to escape the crowds and experience peaceful island life at its best, Bacchus House cannot be beaten.”
Or try: The Artist’s House on Paxos with Simpson Travel, or Porto Zante de Luxe Villas, Tragaki, Zante, through Planet Holidays.
Sample product: Seven nights at Bacchus House costs from £998, twin-share, in June, including self-catering, car hire and flights.
020 8232 9780
Save: Villa Rhodia, Polis Bay, Ithaca.
What’s it like? Overlooking a pretty bay, this villa in a group of three has an outdoor spa bath on the terrace and lovely views of Kefalonia. Bernadette Askouni, agency sales manager at Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays, says: “Being small, it’s perfect for couples as they do not pay for under-occupancy.”
Or try: Villa Rhodia’s sister property Villa Elia, or Eleni’s Cottage, Fiscardo, Kefalonia, with GIC – The Villa Collection.
Sample product: From £629 twin-share for seven nights at Villa Rhodia including flights, transfers, car hire and a welcome hamper with Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays.
020 8459 0777
Perfect for young families
Splurge: Sivilla, Nissaki, Corfu.
What’s it like? Recently refurbished, the Meon Villas brochure namechecks this four-bedroom villa as great for families. Stephanie Pritchard, programme director for Meon Villas, says: “Its large pool makes it perfect for families and a shallow children’s section allows smaller children to enjoy the water too.”
Or try: Periyali Villas, Zante, with Simpson Travel, or Aldemar Knossos Royal and Royal Villas, Hersonissos, Crete, through Planet Holidays.
Sample product: Prices for the summer start from £345 per person (based on eight sharing) for seven nights including a saving of up to £578.
0844 415 1990
Save: Villa Victoria, Acharavi, Corfu.
What’s it like? As well as a pool, there’s a lawn for little ones to run around, and all the accommodation is on one storey. Neighbouring Villa Venus can be booked for two families holidaying together. Cosmos product manager Jill Marshall says: “The villa provides light, airy accommodation and the location is perfect being close to the beach, supermarket, restaurants and the resort centre.”
Or try: Villa Zamora, Tsilivi, Zante, with Villa Parade, or Nefeli Villa, in the Dassia area of Corfu with Olympic Holidays.
Sample product: From £399 for seven nights’ self-catering based on flights from Gatwick in May.
cosmos.co.uk0871 423 8417
Perfect for families with teens
Splurge: Villa Lagonissi, near Athens.
What’s it like? What grumpy teen wouldn’t be won over by a holiday at a luxury six-bedroom villa with a pool, tennis court, satellite TV and separate studio? Adam Coats, Abercrombie & Kent Villas’ head of sales and operations, says: “The resort of Lagonissi is a stone’s throw from the villa with access to some beautiful beaches. Probably the most important aspect from a teen’s point of view would be the separate studio to escape to.”
Or try: Panorama Villa, Corfu, through Simpson Travel, or Villa Grace, Mykonos, through A&K Villas.
Sample product: Rates from €4,074 per week with Abercrombie & Kent Villas.
Save: Mamfredas Resort Villas, Tsilivi, Zante.
What’s it like? The villa is in a pretty setting with a lovely sandy beach. Teens seeking independence can get the bus to the local town. Ben Cook, Thomas Cook product manager for Greece, says: “It is close to the action of a family-friendly resort, but still offers the privacy and traditional style of a typical Greek villa.”
Or try: Bungalow accommodation at Mark Warner, San Agostino, or Villa Anna-Maria, Skala Beach, Kefalonia, through Villa Parade.
Sample product: From £485 departing in May for seven nights’ self-catering.
0844 412 5970
Perfect for groups of adults
Splurge: Villa Cercis, Lefkada.
What’s it like? Kathryn Enoch, head of product for the Greek Islands at CV Villas, says: “There’s nothing worse than feeling short changed in terms of your room size or quality, especially when someone managed to get the master suite. Villa Cercis is a great option for adult groups because all the bedrooms are of similar standard and size, have a shower or bathroom en-suite and private balcony overlooking the pool.”
Or try: Villa Flora, Paxos, through Simpson Travel, or Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites, Crete, through Classic Collection Holidays.
Sample product: The lead-in price for 2012 is £2,655 based on eight sharing and includes car hire, maid service and welcome food hamper with CV Villas.
020 7401 1010
Save: Olive Trees Villa, near Gaios Town, Paxos.
What’s it like? A villa sleeping six or eight adults can be one of the most economic ways to enjoy the Greek islands, according to Photis Lambrianides, commercial director at Olympic Holidays. “For three or four couples holidaying together, a villa offers luxury at an affordable price.” This three-bedroom villa comes with a private pool and a large patio with barbecue.
Or try: Villa Arozza, near Fiskardo, Kefalonia, with Ionian and Aegean Island Holidays, or Villa Gina Klimatia, Corfu, through Cosmos.
Sample product: Olympic Holidays offers seven nights’ self-catering at the three-bedroom Olive Trees Villa on Paxos, six adults sharing, for £499 in May. The price includes flights, car hire and transfers.
0844 499 4449
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