It is probably a quirk of the Greek system of evaluating hotels – historically based on floor space - that Bellonias Villas with its signature restaurant, Elia, has only four stars rather than the five for which it is crying out. The architectural beauty of the main courtyard lifts Kamari’s seafront promenade on an atoll already known as “the supermodel of the Greek islands”. This makes it impossible not to feel that the visual drama of the hotel is somehow a reflection on one’s good taste for staying there, as passers-by stop to photograph the shimmering line of glass boxes decorating the poolside next to the bar and dining area.
Kamari’s soaring nearby cliff is the backdrop to the hotel’s phenomenal yet understated service, honed over several decades. Between 60 and 70% of their bookings are return visitors, they say, which means it’s not unusual to see the owner, Yannis, chatting with guests as if they were old friends: they probably are.
Some of the beautifully proportioned rooms have their own hot tubs. But there are double-bed-sized sun loungers with cushions by the pool as well as on the waiter-served beach, ten yards away on the other side of the path, where you can alternate a swim with a lie-down, with a fabulous cocktail and back again. The wilfully active can enjoy day-trips around the island, arranged with help from the quietly competent 24-hour concierge.
But the horizontal lines of the Big Blue are what it’s all about. If you’re looking for a classy beach holiday, it’s impossible to imagine something more calming or spiritually promising than Bellonias Villas’ clean lines and understated service.