JC Stays: Angsana Corfu hotel review

Checking into a new spa hotel on one of Greece's most popular islands


It’s a Greek spa hotel, but not as we know it. For one thing, as Banyan Tree’s first property in Europe, Angsana Corfu has Asian parentage; for another, its decor has a distinctly Nordic feel. Then add to that its location on perhaps the least essentially Greek island in the whole archipelago, packed with British ex-pats.

Corfu is therefore a fitting home for a ritzy resort attracting primarily the British market, with an attempt to create a beach club vibe half-way up a mountain, on the island’s eastern shores.

And as you won’t find those typical Cycladic white sugar cube houses, blue domes and windmills here, I fretted less about the acres of blonde wood, porcelain tiles and other hard surfaces, which are chic but slightly at odds with the feel of a seaside resort.

Once the site of a grande dame hotel in the 60s, when Corfu attracted the first rush of post-war foreign tourists, the minimalist decor is certainly restful. With 159 rooms and suites, as well as 37 pool villas, all are spacious, most overlooking the sea and as generously furnished on verandas outside as indoors.

My suite had a choice of living area with table, chairs and small sofa for sipping a cuppa from my in-room Nespresso and tea station, or a large daybed on which to lounge while listening to live music.

Bathrooms are large enough to accommodate bathtubs as well as walk-in rainfall showers, and my tub, open to the bedroom and veranda beyond, allowed me to enjoy a chamber ensemble playing in the sunset while I took a pre-prandial soak. Along with the traditional robes, you’ll find kimonos in the resort’s signature orange and white print.

There’s an equally generous choice of places to eat. Botrini’s, Angsana’s fine dining restaurant, presided over by a local Michelin-starred chef, is really something to write home about.

Many tables look out to the ocean, and knowledgeable, friendly waiters demystify the complex but extremely tasty dishes of six or 12-course tasting menus which — however modern the twist — are firmly based on Greek island food traditions.

Two floors down, Sofrito’s offers casual Greek fare and is the only restaurant in the resort serving lunch. Most guests must barely need it, given the lavishness of the breakfast buffet, where it was good to see rarefied Greek treats like Cretan dakos salad and pickled caper leaves as well as the usual feta, Greek yogurt and copious salads, fruit, pastries and hot dishes, not to mention honey served straight off the comb.

You’ll find a whole row of tavernas in the charming village of Benitses on the hotel’s doorstep, while a 25-minute drive away Corfu Town, with its historic harbour, fortress and museums, is another option for eating off-site.

After its launch was delayed to last summer, Angsana is still somewhat of a work in progress, with two of its best dining options opening only in June this year. Koh widens dinner options with excellent sashimi, poke and other Asian staples, while the Vertigo rooftop bar makes sophisticated cocktails and live jazz a late-night option once the DJ’s have gone home after dinner.

Not that music is compulsory at Angsana, although DJ sounds are ever-present around the huge semi-circular infinity pool. For a taste of serenity, the tranquil spa feels very Asian and a world away from the beach club atmosphere of the hotel.

Or a shuttle takes guests to the actual beach club at the bottom of the mountain, where nature is the main attraction — rocks, sand between the toes and the company of yellow butterflies to enhance the pleasure of a dip in the Ionian Sea.


Doubles at Angsana Corfu cost from around £190 per night.

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