At Emelisse, one turquoise infinity pool spills endlessly into another, which seems to pour directly into the glittering Ionian Sea. Down below, a private pontoon juts out from the volcanic rock into piercing blue water. Sailboats tilting gently in the wind drift by. At night, dozens of glowing lanterns illuminate the stone terraces, the pools, and two outdoor restaurants, as well as an open-air cinema. The suites, villas, and maisonettes (two-storied abodes)—which cater to every combination of adults and children—are framed by dark cypress and cedar trees. The rooms all feature modern teak canopy beds, dressed in fine Italian linens. By day, activities abound. Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands and offers a myriad of landscapes, from steep cliffs and mountains (Mount Aenos is the third-highest in the country) to stunning beaches of both sand and pebbles. At the hotel, guests can sign up for everything from scuba lessons to tennis matches. A small stretch of pebbly beach is just a five-minute walk, and another few minutes gets you to the quaint port town of Fiskardo.
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Just a 10-minute walk or a short shuttle ride away, the charming port town of Fiskardo is populated with pretty pink and yellow Venetian-style buildings and a smattering of tavernas and shops.
Need to Know
Rooms: 64 suites, villas, and maisonettes. From $175, including breakfast. (Closed November to mid-April.) Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Breakfast at the Riza is a lavish spread set against the spectacular backdrop of the bay. It includes everything from omelets to warm pastries, to caviar and Champagne. The Kinema is perfect for a daytime snack with the kids, or for pizza, mezzes, and an outdoor movie at night. For a romantic evening, make a reservation at the Voltalso, which serves elegant Mediterranean cuisine on the terrace under starry skies. Spa and gym details: The day spa here is small but offers a laundry list of treatments by two trained Elemis specialists—from advanced-performance facials to deep-tissue muscle massage to half-day and daylong packages, with a light lunch included. A well-equipped gym and tennis and squash courts are also available.
Who’s it for: Couples, families, and groups of friends; the many different room types can accommodate it all. Our favorite rooms: If traveling with young kids, book one of the maisonettes. Two separate bedrooms, a kitchenette, and a shared private pool will keep everyone, even the dog, happy. Explore the area: At some point, ask to try Kefalonia’s native robola, a white wine with notes of citrus that makes for an ideal sip in the sun. The hotel can organize a winetasting trip to Gentilini Winery—one of the island’s premium producers of robola. The hotel also organizes a boat trip through the islands. Or, charter the Emelisse’s own Princess v50 Fortuna for a private day out on the water.