Renting a house on one of the Greek islands has long been a classic spring and summer escape for Americans, as well as for northern Europeans. An Arcadian landscape of olive groves and lemon trees, limpid sea, healthy food, friendly local people and reliably perfect weather all contribute to the allure. And in the time of coronavirus, a self-contained vacation with family or friends has obvious appeal. The choice is dizzying, both in the number of islands and the types of property available. However, starting points are provided by two of our recommended hotels — Amanzoe and Elounda Mare — both of which offer glamorous villas of varying sizes.
Amanzoe is located two hours by car southwest of Athens, on the Peloponnese peninsula, close to the fashionable yachting town of Porto Heli. (Helicopter transfers are available.) The region has several important archaeological sites, including the classical theater at Epidaurus, the citadel of Mycenae and the temples of ancient Corinth. The exceptionally picturesque islands of Spetses and Hydra are within easy reach.
In a stunning hilltop location overlooking a cobalt-blue bay backed by craggy mountains, Amanzoe comprises 38 freestanding Pavilions with private plunge pools, designed by American architect Ed Tuttle. The resort also offers fully serviced one-to-nine-bedroom Villas, with views over olive groves to the Mediterranean. For example, a four-bedroom Villa comes with traditional dry stone-clad walls, sand-colored marble floors, a 66-foot heated swimming pool, a private chef and a dedicated host. As well as a spacious living and dining area, the property offers a spa room, a media center and an expansive terrace.