Although we will forever associate travel to Greece with island hopping, a recent long weekend at Amanzoe on the Peleponnese peninsula proved that the mainland also has serious appeal.
Amanzoe is not exactly on the beaten track, and the sound of a three-hour drive from Athens airport might put a few people off.... But, in fact, the journey by road is no big deal. Sure, it takes some time, but as you weave across the hilly countryside you get some fantastic views, plus we found the roads to be pretty quiet (bar a couple of rather too hairy overtaking incidents).
Arriving on the unspoilt east coast, the journey feels so worth it. Amanzoe is a hilltop hideaway with 360 panoramic views across the Adriatic, and from the point of arrival we knew we'd found excellence in the extreme.
Gone is the concept of 'check in' - instead we were met at the car with a fresh juice and chilled towel. Only after a leisurely tour of the property's highlights (including exceptionally fragrant gardens of jasmine, lavender and olive trees), is the admin of passports and personal details addressed, in the comfort of our villa.
Amanzoe has 38 'pavilions', each with a private pool and large terrace. Pale walls team with natural stone features. The inspiration is classical, while the detailing is elegant and contemporary. What is more, every villa has good views, either out to sea or across the olive groves. My highlight? Large his-and-hers dressing rooms. George's? The metres of marble wrapping around walls, floors and ceilings.
It would have been incredibly easy just to chill in the room for three days. And if that's your vibe, the hotel is totally on board. But if, like us (George), you want to be more active - that's definitely OK too. We managed to tick off cycling, swimming, tennis, paddle boarding, and a trip to the nearby island of Spetses. In 30 mins door-to-door you're on the idyllic island, where horse and cart is still a common mode of transport. Wander from the new port to the old port and back (about 45 mins all in), then find Water of Love restaurant, with its pretty waterside terrace and excellent seafood.
Unsurprisingly the food back at Amanzoe is also exceptional. The main restaurant serves breakfast (a la carte, including a selection of tasty Greek dishes) and dinner, with a Mediterranean menu. The pool restaurant offers easy lunch bites by day and top-notch Japanese food by night. Then there's the private Beach Club, open until 7pm, with a Greek menu. The main bar's cocktails are good, and this is the ultimate spot for sundowners - as you watch the colours play across the sky and look out to misty islands and rippling blue water, there's no doubt you're somewhere special.
This trip was our third Aman adventure - we've also been lucky enough to visit the two properties on Bali in Indonesia. The group has 30 hotels in total, all famous for excellent design detailing and intuitive service. Indeed it has a rather cult-like following - 'Aman junkies' are an actual thing. And, three down, it's very safe to say we're hooked...