We arranged a car transfer with Amanzoe, and our driver arrived at the Sofitel Airport Hotel 15 minutes before our scheduled pickup time of 8AM. We were up early from the time change, so we appreciated the fact that he was early, and we departed on time.
It is a 2hr 45min drive to the resort from Athens. On a previous stay at Amanzoe (before I started the blog), we drove it ourselves, and it’s definitely doable. Just make sure you hire a car with some pep because you will likely do a lot of passing. Since we were arriving on a Saturday, there was minimal traffic. It definitely feels like a hard-to-reach place, so we really enjoyed not having to worry about driving. Plus, the views during the last hour of the drive are gorgeous!
Our greeting was a tad overwhelming with a swarm of employees opening the door and unloading our car in less than 2 minutes. We were given a welcome drink made with local honey, and then were driven to our room in a golf cart, which was ready for our 1030AM arrival. I always appreciate the effort Aman makes to have your room ready no matter what time you arrive and was impressed that ours was ready so early, given the hotel has been fully booked for most of the month of August.
Deluxe pool pavilion premium view
When we booked, there was only one room available for our dates since August is an extremely popular time to visit Greece. Our room was actually on hold with another guest who didn’t end up booking, so we snagged a partial ocean view room. Before we arrived, a premium ocean view room opened up, so we upgraded to the higher room category.
The stand-alone pavilion was marble clad and massive. It felt extremely spacious with the bed in it’s own alcove, separate living room with desk and ginormous bathroom with separate his and his sink/toilets and a shared shower/tub area. The private terrace had a big marble dining table, chair and loungers. The pool was 12m(~39 ft) and had a gorgeous view of the sea. It was quite cold when we arrived, but thankfully the team was able to heat it for the duration of our stay.
In my opinion, the only design flaw of the bathroom is the sunken shower area, which is down 3 marble steps. You had to go down and back up these small flights of stairs to access the other side of the bathroom. This actually felt kind of dangerous if you had to get up in the middle of the night and wanted to use the far toilet. It was also very slippery when wet.
There are 38 pavilions, each with its own private pool, 4 cabanas at the beach club and several private residences on property, most of which are available to rent. Depending on your needs/group size, there are lots of good options to choose from.
The main entrance and welcome area is dramatic and stunning. It is classic Greek architecture with a modern understated luxurious feeling. From the top of this area you can see the Aegean Sea and the Peloponnese coast. There is a library, shop, bar with lounge and main restaurant located here.
The spa is located to the right of the main entrance and is very large. It offers a steam room, sauna, cold plunge pool and multiple treatment rooms. Due to COVID, they were restricting access to only one person at a time, so you had to call ahead if you wanted to use the spa facilities. Nearby the spa there was a large gym with updated machines, as well as a beautiful yoga/pilates room.
The main pool is located next to the restaurant Nama, which is only open for dinner, but lunch is served out of this kitchen as well. Since each room has its own private pool, I was surprised that the main pool was so popular.
Amanzoe also had a beach club, which is about a 15-minute drive from the main property down to the water. You could also take one of the Amanzoe bikes (20 minutes) or walk there (45 minutes). At the beach club, there are 2 huge pools and a ton of loungers overlooking a private stretch of beach. The beach club restaurant is open for lunch and serves more casual fare.
This is also where the 4 beach cabanas are located, which have access to a small gym and spa treatment rooms as well.
On property there are 2 restaurants and the beach club cafe. We ate at Nama, the Japanese restaurant that several Aman properties have, and found the dishes to be quite bland. Nothing stood out as especially tasty, and it wasn’t as popular with guests as the main restaurant.
The main restaurant has unbelievable views of the sea and is absolutely breathtaking. The menu here offers a good variety and ironically, my favorite dish on the menu is their spaghetti napoli. It was simple but delicious.
Breakfast is included in your rate and is served at the same location as the main restaurant, or you can have it delivered to your room for a 15 euro charge. I found this especially thoughtless during Covid. Over the course of our stay, I tried traditional Greek dishes as well as more American breakfast items and it was just okay. I enjoyed my cappuccino and a butter croissant the most.
Overall, the food consistently left something to be desired. Unfortunately, it always sounded better than it tasted.
Amanzoe excels at service. We had a lot of communication with the hotel before our stay, and they always responded in a timely manner and were helpful. Once on property, I found the service to be attentive and helpful. There was only one staff member who asked for our room number twice at breakfast.
The housekeeping staff here really is magical. They never rang once during our stay and always seemed to know when we were away at meals or excursions to refresh the room, clean the room or turn down the room.
One of the hallmark aspects of Aman service is that you never sign a bill during your stay, which is pretty neat when they get it right. Unfortunately, there is almost always something wrong with our bill. Upon checkout we noticed several incorrect charges on our bill that, when the team looked up the receipts, said they were for cocktails. We only drink wine, so that definitely wasn’t us, and we wondered if the staff confused us with another same-sex couple staying at the resort.
Activities at Amanzoe are very expensive. There is plenty to do on property, and the beach club offers a change of scenery, so there really isn’t a need to leave the resort. But if you do, there are a lot of activities and excursions the team can arrange.
To give you an idea of cost, we arranged a day trip to Hydra, and these were our transportation options:
|Hire Amanzoe One (the resort’s boat) for half a day||1800 euro|
|Water taxi pick up at Amanzoe beach club||400 euro each way|
|Amanzoe car transfer and water taxi||148 euro each way|
We elected for the car transfer to water taxi, not only because it was the most “reasonably” priced, but because Jason normally gets seasick easily, so we wanted to minimize time on the water. Thankfully, he did just fine on the 10-minute water transfer.
Hydra was a neat excursion because there are no motorized vehicles on the island, so it feels like you’re stepping back in time. The only modes of transport on the island are water taxis and donkeys. We spent the afternoon wandering the streets and got a coffee. Around 1pm we arrived at Omilos restaurant, which Amanzoe had made a reservation for us. It was a beautiful setting with great views, yummy food and delicious Greek wine. I’d highly recommend lunch here if you’re on Hydra.
Overall, I think this is an exceptional Aman property. It has everything I love about Amans – a far flung destination, thoughtful design and impeccable service. I had a few thoughts upon checking out:
- Every room has a pool, so had the base room been available, I think we would have been just as happy in that room category. No need to splurge for the premium view.
- The food was just okay – this is where I think the resort has the biggest area for improvement.
- Activities are very expensive, so plan for that or just enjoy your time at the resort.
- The staff did a phenomenal job with COVID measures. I always saw the team in masks and felt the guidance was clearly communicated. This is a great resort to visit if you’re COVID sensitive because the rooms have plenty of outdoor space and most restaurants are an indoor/outdoor concept.