Resort ranking: MarBella Corfu, Agios Ioannis Peristeron, Corfu in Greece
Very few destinations escaped the quarantine curse during the pandemic and it is real evidence for Corfu that they have managed to maintain an air corridor with England after flights resumed. This idyllic Greek island is home to some of the most luxurious resorts in Greece and all have stepped up health and safety measures to ensure that the health of hotel guests is of the utmost importance.
MarBella Corfu was the first five-star hotel in Corfu to reopen in July 2020. Since then it has been about regular hygiene of all surfaces, free hygiene kits or the installation of plastic signs at buffet stations and all bar areas.
You wouldn’t suspect the hotel has been around for 50 years, judging by the modern, cozy reception and bar area with well-upholstered sofas that are dangerously easy to sit on but are hard to escape. And bookshelves that are not only about literary livelihood, but also about a selection of porcelain works of art by local artists. They are regularly renovated and the reception and bar areas have recently been modernized, making it more similar to the 2020s than the 1970s.
The owners have added additional buildings over the decades, leaving you with expansive zones with very subtle design differences. But what is a constant is the lush, manicured gardens throughout the complex and the weather, which is always temperate whatever time of year you visit.
The buildings were built to blend in with the local landscape. So you feel like you are getting an authentic Greek island experience instead of being stuck in a chain of hotels with hundreds of guests. Study the folded map you receive on arrival as it can be difficult to find your way around at first, especially when looking for the beach.
Photo credit: Heinz Troll
With so many categories on offer, it can get a little confusing for the uninitiated. Their website lists 15 categories, but there are also sub-sections depending on which building you are in. My advice would be to pay a little more and opt for either the superior double room with sea view or a junior suite with your private hot tub or swimming pool. The view of the strait to mainland Greece is perfect for postcards. And who wouldn’t want to relax in their private pool while enjoying the Greek sunset?
The decor erred on the minimalism side, and it was not surprising that the predominant color was white. All your five-star hotel comfort is available, including Nespresso facilities, multi-channel flat-screen TVs and built-in music channels. The Wi-Fi connection was slightly variable at times, but that’s to be expected when trying to cover hotel guests on several acres of land.
Since there are only a few restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, you must be grateful that there are numerous restaurants on the premises. Most of the hotel guests have booked half board. The most popular venue in the evening is the La Terraza buffet restaurant, which mainly offers an international buffet with some Greek specialties.
It is the perfect place to enjoy the breathtaking Greece sunset. They also offer themed evenings twice a week. And I suspect the menu needs to be changed weekly or fortnightly, as the same food is rarely repeated on the menu. There is generally a varied mix of healthy options, vegetarian options, fried meat station, etc. to ensure that all tastes and dietary needs are catered for.
There are also specialty restaurants on-site for a compliment like Platea Greek for local cuisine, Comodo Italian for your fresh pasta needs, and Dolphin Beach for your quick lunch by the sea. With some packages you can also dine in the sister hotel MarBella Nido and in the soon-to-be-opened MarBella Elix.
Boredom is a word that is missing from the MarBella Corfu vocabulary as there is a daily program schedule that appeals to everyone ages 8 to 80. Highlights for me are early morning yoga to soak in the fresh morning air and afternoon hike around town on the local slope and paddle on the shimmering Ionian waters.
For pure relaxation, enjoy the plethora of entertainment every week, from live acoustic bands to sultry jazz music. There is also a cozy spa for those looking for ultimate relaxation with their unique treatments with APIVITA products, the leading Greek wellness brand. They use active ingredients from organic essential oils, extracts from local Greek plants and exceptionally nutritious beehive products.
In a nutshell
In the difficult nine months, all you want to do is relax. At MarBella Corfu, this is all taken care of for you – just sit back and relax.
MarBella Corfu offers rooms from £ 117 / € 130 per double room per night.
Address: Agios Ioannis Peristeron, 490 84 Corfu, Greece
Phone: +30 26610 71183
All images courtesy of MarBella Corfu and Heinz Troll