Return to Greece

Return to Greece

Greece’s Sani Resort is a destination that somehow magically continues to pull me back time and time again.

My first visit was ten years ago when we were young parents and our three daughters were all under five. We chose Sani as it suited to families, together with the fact that it is a relatively short flight and transfer.

We loved the accommodation, opting for inter-connecting rooms with plenty of space and gorgeous interiors, and took full advantage of seven kilometres of pristine beaches with shallow, clear waters (the resort boasts ten Blue Flags which is the most in the world), swimming pools galore, not to mention the 40 or so restaurants in the resort.

The magnetism of Sani pulls guests back, with the award-winning resort experiencing 40 per cent repeat visitors.

My most recent Sani ‘fix’ was with my best friend Mars, to celebrate 25 years of friendship.

The resort features five award-winning hotels within walking distance (Sani Beach, Sani Club, Porto Sani, Sani Asterias and Sani Dunes) and for this trip we chose to stay in Porto Sani's new five star €30 million complex.

This includes 50 suites — the complex has 148 suites in total, two new restaurants, heated pools, creche club, gyms and a spa.

Accommodation at Porto Sani is ideally positioned, central in the resort and next to Sani’s glamorous yacht marina.

Another reason why I, and many others, return is the cuisine. As well as its outstanding Sani Gourmet festival held each year in May and which sees the world’s best chefs creating innovative menus for guests to experience, there is a wealth of dining choices available. Guests have the option of half or full-board, with restaurants offering simple Greek cuisine to the finest Michelin Star dining, baby & kids’ menus, vegetarian and vegan.

At Porto Sani itself, there are plenty of places to eat. Elia is one of its two new restaurants, run by its friendly manager Tasos and assistant manager Elena, both greet guests with infectious smiles and share their recommendations. Chef Panagiotis Togias has created an innovative menu that offers delicious Greek food, elevated for a discerning palette. Elia is the perfect spot for a relaxing breakfast, a lazy poolside lunch where the rosé can flow, or chilled sunset dinner. Lima is the second new restaurant on the complex, located on the veranda above Elia with views overlooking Sani Marina. Headed by chef George Matziaras, the restaurant serves authentic Peruvian cuisine.

Wellbeing is at the heart of Sani and you name it, they have it. To balance the gourmet foods, artisan cocktails and wines we were enjoying to the full, we downloaded the Sani app and were presented with a huge choice of sports and fitness activities. Guided jogging, mountain biking, HIIT, tennis, football, TRK, aqua aerobics were all available to book. Without fail, every visit to the resort I’ve always found an interesting new class or experience to try. This year, a new Breathwork and Meditation has just launched.

I had read about the art of conscious breathing and its therapeutic effect on the body, emotions and wellbeing so we were keen to try. Led by Sophia, a former classical singer and now sports instructor, we donned on headphones and tuned in to her soporific voice and spent an hour of pure mindfulness.

A completely new experience and something we never get the chance to do at home, it was so relaxing, Mars fell asleep towards the end and we both left with a cleared mind and feeling calm.

We also enjoyed sunset yoga under the careful guidance of instructor Maria and morning pilates with Raphaelle, both located on a shaded deck with views out to the Aegean sea and Mount Olympus.

Sitting on the beach on our last day, I watched a young family building sandcastles with their baby and toddler-aged children, together with grandparents looking on. It instantly brought back such happy memories and I charted all the special milestones I’ve enjoyed at Sani and the magic it brings each time I return. It is a resort which stays with you for life, continually evolving, providing space to relax and breathe. I can imagine being the grandmother (in a few decades time) doing the same, and I know I would be in my happy place, again and again and again.

Caring for the environment

Sani resort was the first certified carbon neutral resort in Greece and has been awarded World’s Leading Luxury Green Resort in 2021. Its location in the heart of a 1,000-acre ecological reserve and 270-acres of wetlands means that sustainability is front of mind. New for this year is the launch of the largest Bee Spot in Greece in collaboration with non-profit organization Bee Camp. This gives shelter to the pollinators and provides guests with an opportunity to learn first hand about the role of the pollinator in the local eco-system.

It has also just teamed up with ISea to monitor the resident dolphin population and create the first catalogue of cetaceans in Halkidiki. For those who want to further explore the area, it has a new fleet of hybrid plug in cars for transportation.

There are also new solar tree panels at Sani Marina for charging ‘phones, and the resort has announced its zero waste ambition by 2024.

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