Stepping into Casa Grande felt like entering a realm of absolute luxury and sophistication. The villa, set in the enchanting village of Alykes Potamou, offers an exclusive retreat that's beyond words.
From the moment I arrived, I was captivated by the lavish amenities, the meticulous attention to detail, and the breathtaking views that greeted me at every turn. Every aspect of my stay was tailored to perfection, ensuring an unforgettable experience that defined opulence.
Casa Grande isn't just a place to stay; it's a haven of indulgence and tranquility, making my trip an extraordinary memory to cherish forever.
My First Villa Vacation: A Memorable and Personal Holiday Retreat
During our first villa holiday, initial concerns about service quality were quickly dispelled. The owner warmly welcomed us at the villa precisely at 1 pm, and to our delight, the villa was spotlessly clean. Mr. Vanghelis, the owner, displayed genuine kindness as he gave us a thorough tour of the expansive villa and its facilities. He also graciously provided valuable insights about nearby shops, beaches, and taverns.
Entering the well-stocked kitchen, we were pleasantly surprised by an array of thoughtful provisions: Jacobs coffee, coffee capsules, two bottles of still water, honey, packages of fried bread, butter, and more. These thoughtful touches set a positive tone for our stay.
All three bathrooms were equipped with ample quantities of high-quality hygiene products, plush bath slippers for in-house use, and premium towels, including beach towels. The attention to detail was exceptional.
Adding to our comfort, a team of two diligent maids visited the villa every two days. Their exemplary cleaning transformed the villa and the yard, replenishing bathroom supplies and even providing paper towels for the kitchen. Bed linens and towels were changed, maintaining a consistently fresh and hygienic environment.
Despite occupying only three of the five bedrooms, the villa offered an open invitation to explore its entirety. Our granddaughter even chose a cozy bedroom for an after-dinner nap, and we enjoyed watching TV in various rooms based on our preferences.
The living room featured a massive TV and all the TV rooms boasted generous screens with approximately 100 cm diagonals. The Smart TVs, complete with Netflix and YouTube access, provided excellent picture quality, enhancing our entertainment experience.
A standout feature was the hassle-free check-out process. At 10 o'clock, right on time for our departure, the owner met us, received the keys, and surprisingly, refrained from conducting an inventory check within the villa.
In essence, our 7-night stay at the villa exceeded our expectations, ensuring comfort, relaxation, and a true sense of luxury. We appreciated the thoughtful gestures and professionalism of Mr. Vanghelis and his team, making our first villa holiday a delightful and memorable experience.
Exceptional Rooms and Accommodation: A Luxury Retreat Beyond Expectations
The villa, nestled in the charming suburb of Alykes Potamou, just a stone's throw away from Corfu Town's northern region, exceeded all expectations. The area is predominantly residential, boasting numerous villas, and is strategically perched atop a hill, offering captivating views of the sea merely 200-300 meters away.
Designed across a ground floor and two additional levels, the villa offers a wealth of space and luxury. The ground floor hosts an exquisite three-bedroom apartment, complete with a separate entrance, aptly named the luxury villa. Ascending to the 1st and 2nd floors, we found the upper villa, a vast abode boasting five inviting bedrooms, which we had the pleasure of renting.
On the 1st floor, a sprawling living room, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and an expansive kitchen greeted us. The interior was gracefully connected by a wide granite-tiled staircase. A marble-clad terrace encircled this level, furnished with high-quality amenities and accessible from both the living room and the bathroom. A staircase adorned in marble spiral design descended from this terrace to the inviting swimming pool area.
The 2nd floor housed an incredibly spacious master bedroom, accompanied by a grand private bathroom spanning over 15 square meters. Additionally, two more double-bed bedrooms and another bathroom shared this level. Each bedroom boasted a generous balcony adorned with specific furniture, while external blinds and mosquito nets ensured our comfort. Ample wardrobe space was provided in all bedrooms, except for a smaller one on the first floor. Furthermore, a crib for our niece was thoughtfully placed in the master bedroom where the children stayed.
Every bathroom featured a bathtub, with the first-floor bathroom also housing a washing machine. The master bedroom's bathroom showcased a large corner bathtub with a relaxing hydromassage feature. The villa was well-stocked with laundry and dishwashing detergents.
The living room impressed with a sizable TV and all TV rooms were equipped with approximately 100 cm diagonally sized Smart TVs, seamlessly connected to Netflix and YouTube, offering a flawless viewing experience.
The modern, spacious kitchen was equipped with every household appliance imaginable, including a dishwasher and a large induction stove. The array of glassware highlighted the attention to detail. The inviting pool featured separate sections for both children and adults, all surrounded by comfortable sunbeds and shaded by umbrellas. The water was impeccably clean, and a gas grill, conveniently positioned in the shaded area, further enhanced our outdoor experiences.
During our stay, two young, respectful couples from England, of Indian and Pakistani origin, temporarily occupied the ground floor apartment. Their upcoming wedding celebrations added an aura of festivity to the surroundings.
The villa's expansive yard comfortably accommodated multiple cars, with a remote-controlled gate enhancing accessibility. The meticulous architectural and interior design efforts were evident throughout the villa, leaving nothing to chance. Every element of the villa was a testament to careful planning and expert craftsmanship, elevating our stay to an unforgettable level of luxury and sophistication.
Culinary Delights Unveiled: Gastronomy, Gourmet Kitchen, and Table Elegance
During my stay at the villa, meals were not included, so I can't provide a rating in that regard. Typically, I opted to enjoy breakfast at the villa and indulged in barbecue twice, while venturing out to local taverns for the rest of my meals.
For breakfast, the villa provided a delightful start to the day. On one occasion, I decided to savor breakfast at a cafe situated at the picturesque Marina in Kontacali. The experience was truly elegant, featuring a spread of fresh and delicious dishes. While the cost for two people amounted to 35 Euros, the quality of the offerings certainly justified the price.
Interestingly, the flavors at the local taverns didn't resonate with my palate during this trip. It's possible that the specific spices or seasoning used in Corfu's cuisine didn't align with my taste preferences. This was a unique experience, as I've thoroughly enjoyed Greek cuisine in my previous visits to the country, having been to Greece eight times prior.
Comparing this trip to my visit in 2018, I noticed a notable increase in prices. Towards the end of the month, while near Kavala, I had a different culinary experience with an All-Inclusive meal plan that seemed to suit my taste better. The variety and flavors provided a more satisfying dining experience compared to my culinary explorations in Corfu.
Seaside Wonders and Beyond: Exploring Beaches, The Sea, and Coastal Gems
Nestled amidst lush greenery, the villa offers tranquility merely 80-100m away from the main road, ensuring a peaceful retreat. As previously mentioned, its prime location provides easy access to Corfu Town—approximately a 7-8 minute drive by car or a convenient trip via nearby public transport stations. Moreover, the vicinity boasts practical amenities, including a Lidl store and a supermarket within walking distance.
While exploring this picturesque island, the historic allure of Corfu Town stands as a major highlight. Adorned with two imposing fortresses and a multitude of charming Orthodox churches, the town's centerpiece is undoubtedly St. Spyridon, steeped in historical and religious significance. Spanning a vast area, the old town is a bustling hub of activity.
In my personal experience, however, the condition of the old town left me less than enthralled. The quaint charm was marred by dilapidated buildings and uneven pavements, a stark contrast to the beautifully maintained old towns of Croatia. Despite this, shopping enthusiasts will find an array of options catering to all budgets.
Dining in the old town proved to be a pricey affair, with taverns significantly more expensive compared to those in the resorts. The intimate yet congested settings, coupled with pedestrian traffic, diminished the overall dining experience. I would caution against choosing the old center for a leisurely meal.
Interestingly, the old center appeared to attract more local Greeks than tourists, particularly during lunch and in the evening. This was a notable departure from the larger tourist presence in other parts of the island, especially from the United Kingdom.
Navigating toward the old center was often met with traffic delays and a shortage of parking spaces, despite two sizable paid parking lots. This led to a few instances where we had to divert back to the villa due to parking unavailability.
In the midst of the urban hustle and bustle, the southern resorts beckoned, promising a change of scenery and ambiance. Regrettably, the extended travel time posed a challenge, especially for my granddaughter, prompting us to forgo this part of the island on this occasion. Despite these logistical concerns, the villa's peaceful location provided a welcome respite from the chaos, ensuring a relaxing stay during our Corfu adventure.
Corfu Escapades: Embracing Leisure and Enjoyment on this Greek Isle
In Corfu, the epitome of fun and relaxation unfolds against the breathtaking backdrop of pristine beaches, inviting taverns, and vibrant bars scattered across the island. During my stay, the focal point of leisure was undeniably the multitude of offerings along the island's captivating coastline.
For me, the closest retreat to the villa, Alykes Beach, stood as a tranquil oasis. Nestled next to a quaint tavern of the same name, this small, semi-wild beach was a hidden gem. The ambiance was serene, with a scattering of sunbeds available for use, typically occupied by retired Greeks or families with little ones. The entrance to the sea was exceptionally smooth, revealing crystal-clear waters and a seabed adorned with fine sands. This beach offered a unique experience, boasting an entrance so gentle, surpassing even those I've encountered in Skiathos.
During my explorations, I ventured to other prepared beaches in Kontakali, Gouvia, Dasia, and Ipsos. These offered a different experience, where sunbeds were available for a fee. In the evenings, I relished the ambiance of a beach tavern in Ipsos, adding a delightful touch to my seaside experiences.
Regrettably, our visit was greeted with less-than-favorable weather. From the day we arrived on Thursday, the heavens opened up, and rain became a regular companion each day, reaching its peak on a stormy Sunday. Despite the weather challenges, the beauty of Corfu's leisure offerings and the memories created amidst the island's diverse landscapes remain etched in my heart, leaving a lasting impression of the joy and relaxation this Greek paradise has to offer.
In conclusion having experienced both Corfu and Skiathos, it's clear that the allure of a beautiful sea and a relaxing atmosphere can be found across various Greek islands. However, personal preferences often shape our perception of a destination. For me, Skiathos holds a special place in my heart as the most enchanting and meticulously maintained island, making the journey there truly worthwhile. The pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and overall ambiance make it a standout choice.
In the case of Corfu, although the villa was undeniably stunning, my personal inclination leans towards a 4 or 5-star hotel situated on the beach, ideally offering at least breakfast as part of the package. It's a matter of individual preference and what type of accommodation aligns with one's travel desires.
Our group consisted of six adults and a young child, and the journey cost us 580 Euros for two adults, including one piece of checked luggage. Our companions traveled by car to maximize convenience and flexibility during our stay.
Considering the villa's overall cost at 3,500 Euros for the entirety of the property with its five bedrooms, the average cost per family amounted to approximately 1,170 Euros. If divided among five families, the price would significantly reduce to a very attractive 700 Euros per family, making it a compelling option despite potential variations in room preferences. Ultimately, the value for money and the shared experiences with our loved ones enriched our time in Corfu, allowing us to create lasting memories, even if the island didn't resonate with us as much as Skiathos did.