Kefalonia and Ithaca, Greece

Emelisse Hotel

Rates from (ex tax)$170.79

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR180.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Mod Med resort village

Setting

Elegant northern coast

Off-the-beaten-track luxury awaits at the Emelisse Hotel Kefalonia’s poshest spa-enhanced hideaway. Each suite is decorated in calm neutral hues, a perfect accompaniment to the subtle nautical touches that tie the stunning sea views outside to the interiors. Projectors playing classic movies, day-beds by the infinity pool and all-day ouzo service mean you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of champagne in your room, and 10 per cent off a massage treatment at the Elemis Spa (when the spa is closed in low season, dinner for two will be offered instead)

Facilities

Photos Emelisse Hotel facilities

Need to know

Rooms

63, including 27 suites.

Check–Out

12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $170.79 (€159), excluding tax at 13 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR180.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include Continental breakfast .

Also

Comfortable Spanish cotton bathrobes are provided – perfect for padding around your bedroom in. On yer bikes… borrow Emelisse Hotel’s cycles and pedal into Fiskardo for a spot of lunch. Horse riding and scuba diving can be arranged nearby.

Hotel closed

Annually from November to mid-April.

At the hotel

Landscaped grounds with tennis court and swimming pools, Elemis spa, gym, open-air cinema, library of books and DVDs, private chapel, free WiFi. In rooms: TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, Korres toiletries, minibar. Apartments also have kitchenettes.

Our favourite rooms

Guests stay in one of several two-storey villas, each of which contains only a handful of rooms, some with shared private pools. Stunning sea views are best enjoyed from upper-floor rooms, particularly north-facing suites 205–208. For larger parties or just for even more space, book one of the two-bedroom apartments or maisonettes.

Poolside

Day-beds flank the stone-lined infinity pool, with additional bathing spots dotted across the terraced grounds. Adventurous swimmers can plunge into the sea from the volcanic-rock shore.

Packing tips

High-end sportswear for adrenalin junkies; sleek swimwear and straw hats for sunseekers. Binoculars will help you make the most of the fabulous panoramic views.

Also

Smoking is allowed in outside areas. Well-behaved pets are permitted to stay free at Emelisse in selected rooms.

Pet‐friendly

Well-behaved pets are permitted to stay free at Emelisse, in selected rooms; enquire when booking. See more pet-friendly hotels in Kefalonia and Ithaca.

Children

Welcome: baby cots (free) and extra beds for under-12s (20 per cent of the room rate in Junior Suites) can be added to suites. Babysitting, €20 an hour (subject to availability; not during low season). There’s a children’s pool and a playground, too.

Overview

Little Smiths are warmly welcomed: baby cots (free) and extra beds (20 per cent of the room rate, free in the Maisonette Apartment, Presidential Suite or Executive Suite) can be added to the Junior Suite and higher categories. Babysitting, €20 an hour (subject to availability). There’s a dedicated children’s pool and a playground, too.

Best for

All ages, although the terraced grounds are not ideal for tiny tots or prams.

Recommended rooms

The two-bedroom family apartments are perfect, with a secluded pool and terraces, kitchenettes, sitting and dining areas – they’re also conveniently located right next to the playground. Maisonettes are similar but spread across two floors.

Activities

There are tennis courts, bikes to borrow and an open-air cinema to keep the kids entertained, as well as a playground for them to romp around in. Horse riding, cruises and scuba diving can be arranged locally; alternatively, hire a boat and choose your own aqua adventure.

Swimming pool

A dedicated children’s pool means adults can enjoy quiet time as well. There’s no lifeguard though, so you’ll have to take it in turns to read your books.

Meals

Children are allowed in the hotel restaurant at all times; high chairs are provided. There is no children’s menu, but staff are happy to provide smaller portions or adapt dishes to suit your tyke’s tastes. The kitchen will heat milk or baby food for you, and packed lunches can be provided.

Babysitting

The hotel can book a babysitter for €20 an hour; they need a week's notice ideally; not all sitters speak English, so please check. Please note: this service isn't available all year round; check with the hotel before you book.

No need to pack

Cots can be provided in rooms; if you have smaller children, booking a family apartment will mean you can store food in the fridge and warm up baby meals and milk without hassle.

Food and Drink

Photos Emelisse Hotel food and drink

Top Table

Curl up on one of Riza’s comfy terrace sofas for pizza and a movie or choose an open-air balcony table for a bird’s eye view of the sea, shore and stars. For drinks, we’d linger round the open fire bowl on the far side of the pool.

Dress Code

Softly draped jersey dresses will tap into Emelisse’s casual-luxe vibe: add sandals by day and gold statement jewellery by night.

Hotel restaurant

Hit the teak decking at Kinema, an all-day dining destination with slick lighting, day-beds for decadent Roman-stye feasting, film screenings by night and a great view over the infinity pool to Emblissi Bay. Reserve a table for the Mediterranean à la carte menu at smarter, open-air restaurant Votsalo, a candlelit treat for couples.

Hotel bar

You can order ouzo round the clock if you wish: sip midday drinks or down sundowners by the swimming pool, or lounge till late in the laid-back lobby bar with seasonally flavoured cocktails.

Last orders

The pool bar is open from 11am till midnight; the lobby bar is open 24 hours. Breakfast is served 8am–11am; lunch, 1pm–4pm; dinner, 8pm–11.30pm.

Room service

Snacks and dishes from the restaurant menu are available 24 hours a day.

Location

Photos Emelisse Hotel location
Address
Emelisse Hotel
Emblissi Bay
28084
Kefalonia
Greece

Planes

The nearest airport is Kefalonia Argostoli (www.hcaa-eleng.gr/kefalonia.htm), an hour and 15 minutes away by car.

Automobiles

If you’re intent on exploring the island to the full, hiring a car is your easiest means of getting around, and the airport offers the best place to pick up some wheels – try Avis (www.avis.com).

Worth getting out of bed for

If you’ve booked this break for some serious R ’n’ R, the hotel’s many pools, soothing views and open-air cinema are the perfect antidote to activity. Thrill-seekers can go horse riding or scuba diving locally; ask reception to arrange a wreck dive or mountain trail for you. Sunbathe on the gorgeous flat white rocks at Emblissi beach, snorkel at the rocky cove of Fokis, or hire a boat in Fiskardo and find a totally unpopulated bay to call your own for the day. Fiskardo is a pretty port and fishing village packed with cool cafés, arty boutiques and artisan bakeries; a day spent pottering among its alleyways is a day well spent.

Local restaurants

The pretty harbour town of Fiskardo is only a few minutes from the hotel and has numerous seafront restaurants and buzzy little bars; stroll along the waterside and grab a table at the first one that catches your eye, or explore the winding side streets and find a traditional taverna tucked away from higher-frequency tourist traffic.

Reviews

Photos Emelisse Hotel reviews

Anonymous review

First up, an admission. The last time I set foot on Greek soil it wasn’t pretty. It’s taken a decade and a half to even contemplate returning, such was the fright that was a week’s clubbing in Zakynthos that marked the end of my A-level exams. Bargain-bucket cocktails, nuclear sunburn, neon agogo… But here I am, back in the Ionian Islands on neighbouring Kefalonia, and ‘pretty’ is the first word on my lips.

Pretty, because it’s been half an hour since Mr Smith and I left Kefalonia’s shoebox-sized airport and all we’ve seen is wildflowers. No tour buses, souvenir tat or even tavernas. It’s springtime, and greenery and buds are dotted everywhere along the coast road that leads to the Emelisse – a carpet of starry yellow daisies drops down to half-hidden beaches licked by piercing blue sea. There’s no two ways about it, Kefalonia is stunning. And stunningly quiet.

We pass through the odd village. Mr Smith rounds a bend and narrowly avoids taking out a stray goat. But that’s it. Nevermind neon – we’ve barely seen another sign of life. Our first tip? If you're looking for off-the-beaten-track luxury in Europe, this is your destination. Our second secret? Go in May. All those wildflowers are in full bloom, the sun is just strong enough to kiss your skin to glowing and you’ll practically have the place to yourselves.

And so to Kefalonia’s poshest hotel, the Emelisse. Perched above the little port of Fiskardo at the island’s most northerly tip, it’s the kind of establishment where things just tick along like clockwork. We’re transported from carpark to reception by chauffeur-driven buggy and while porters handle our bags, Mr Smith is handed a cold beer.

I should probably mention from the off that we’ve bought 10-month-old Baby Smith. It’s his first foray into luxury hotelville since crawling and – ahem – he is capable of making a bit of a racket. But we needn’t worry. Throughout our stay Baby Smith is treated like a rock star – cooed over by waitresses, spoiled with off-menu titbits from the chef and generally made to feel like the shore’s most significant arrival since Captain Corelli. Efharisto, Emelissians.

With 64 rooms, the Emelisse has all the facilities we’d expect of a larger hotel – a couple of open-air restaurants, two pools, an Elemis spa, tennis. But despite its size, it feels thoughtful and intimate. We can order a picnic and pedal bicycles down to tiny Emblissi beach; it’s possible to cosy up under starry skies to watch movies on the pool bar’s projector; and chartering the hotel’s speedboat to secluded coves for romantic beach barbecues à deux is another option. We’ve found out all of this from the manual in our suite. There’s plenty of space to lounge about in here among the four-poster draped in silky Italian cotton and roomy sofas. It’s pretty minimalist, making good use of natural materials – slate-tiled floors, teak furniture – and there’s a walk-in drench stocked with Korres goodies.

But really our room is all about what’s outside: the panoramic sea views from our balcony elicit a squeal of delight from Baby Smith so shrill that across seas somewhere in Corfu glasses smash. ‘Looooooook!’ he yells excitedly and I agree – it’s breathtaking, the views stretching for miles past the hotel’s olive trees and scented lavenders down to the sparkling shore.

Grabbing our attention most? The infinity pool. Spilling over to the open sea, it’s irresistible for a cooling flop, elbows propped over the edge watching sailboats ease by. Staff in Converse pad past serving drinks from the open-air bar; there’s even a set of steps leading down to a private pontoon from where you can plunge into the sea itself. At dusk we have an Ibiza moment, sipping glasses of fizz to a chillout soundtrack as the moon rises up over the water and staff light lanterns poolside.

While we’re talking pools, there’s also a separate kids’ paddling area underneath the main infinity number which means any over-excitable yelping (that’s Baby Smith again) is basically drowned out by cascading water. So should you have the misfortune to find your lounger next to some ghastly child-bearing couple (us), you’ll barely hear the bambino. (Hooray.)

It’s hard work leaving such a sanctuary but eventually we strike out, following the coastal road south for 20 minutes and braving the winding descent to Kephalonia’s best-looking beach, Myrtos. Lunch is at neighbouring Assos, a deliciously low-key affair comprising a clutch of tavernas such as Platanos. Sitting here, drink in hand, gazing at stupendously clear waters might eat up entire afternoons. Back near the Emelisse, Fiskardo is Kefalonia’s answer to Padstow, a semi-circle of restaurants set around a yacht-filled horseshoe bay. There’s even a Rick Stein equivalent in the shape of Tassia Dendrinou, the ‘Greek Delia’, whose restaurant Tassia has welcomed Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, among many a more pedestrian daytripper.

By now it’s our last night, and from our balcony we’re treated to the spectacle of a rare electric storm. Breakfast rolls around and the sun returns. We eat on the terrace overlooking Emblissi beach and it’s divine: figs, honey-drizzled yoghurt and the kitchen’s never-ending spread of homemade cakes, pistachio, apple, almond. From here we’re catching a ferry to Ithaca and the Perantzada, the Emelisse’s stylish little sister. Word is, it’s stunning and as we head out again along that beautiful coast road, I finally pack away my outdated notions of ugly 18–30s tourism. This corner of the Ionian Sea sure is pretty.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Emelisse Hotel’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The room, pool, facilities and location - all spot on, such a beautiful setting. Elli's restaurant was fantastic.

Don’t expect

Lively nights out.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Sep 2016

We loved

Our apartment shared a pool with a group of 4 other apartments - and the pool was about 22 metres in length - so we could swim proper lengths. This was in addition to the huge family pool and the adult pool (though this was smaller than our apartment pool) - and was a huge unexpected bonus. Book apartments 401-405 to get this pool! There are secluded beautiful beaches that we saw on a 3 hour hike organised by hotel...but not sure how accessible if you're not hiking. Also, you can do day boat trips to all the lovely beaches on Ithaca

Don’t expect

To have a relaxed breakfast outside enjoying the lovely views - wasps all over the place despite hotel's best efforts to burn coffee and discourage them with smoke. Wasps all disappear by evening meal so definitely can enjoy outside eating and beautiful views at this point..

Rating

Stayed on 14 Aug 2016

We loved

Friendly and helpful staff; large swimming pools; incredible views; swimming in the sea; being able to walk to Fiskado (and get the hotel shuttle bus back); Benny the hotel dog. Alaties Beach cafe (Acqua) for cocktails and innovative food.

Don’t expect

Rooms stuffed with technology.

Rating

Stayed on 3 Jul 2016

We loved

The fantastic food in the hotel restaurant. The hotel organised boat trip was amazing - secluded coves and beautiful turquoise sea

Don’t expect

A buzzy getaway - the local town was quite sleepy (although this could be because we went earlier in the season)

Rating

Stayed on 12 Jun 2016

We loved

Our room (SS) was really lovely with a great view of the sea. The overall hotel design was nice. The food is really good, better than anywhere in Fiskardo (though there is good food there too). The shuttle service to Fiskardo is great and very prompt! Staff are genuinely warm and friendly. A very nice place to stay.

Don’t expect

Peace and quiet if it's school holidays, it's pretty kid friendly, so there will be a lot there if it's not term time. Also the bed in our room was very very uncomfortable which was such a shame as everything else in there was lovely, and it meant we didn't sleep well at all. The heated pool (which is the small pool, not the main big one) was only heated for a few days of our trip, but when it was it was a really good temperature and has a lovely view. Spa treatment was good but not great.

Rating

Stayed on 26 May 2016

We loved

We loved it! It ticked all the boxes we were looking for in a holiday this summer. It was child-friendly for our two young children but still with the style and sophistication suited to adults so you didn't feel you were at a kids camp. The views were gorgeous. The pools were great and the views around them spectacular. The food at the hotel was fresh, local and delicious. Breakfast was great, especially with the view. We would highly recommend going out on the hotel's boat. The day was magnificaent, the boat is lovely, the driver was fantastic. The staff were briliant in everyway. Nothing was too much trouble. Couldn't fault our stay and although we don't usually go back to places twice, we would definitely come back to the Emelisse. Thank you

Don’t expect

A rainy day!

Rating

Stayed on 27 Aug 2015

We loved

Free transfers to Fiskardo centre.

Don’t expect

Super slick service. Service at pool seemed slow and food not great.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Aug 2015

We loved

The views of the Ionian. The food at the restaurant.

Don’t expect

Great rooms - they're a little tired, in my opinion. Value for money - to me it seemed expensive for what you get.

Rating

Stayed on 29 Jul 2015

We loved

Food, hospitality were great and the setting and its location you can't beat !

Don’t expect

Their staff were good but found they were stretched a bit so sometime the customer service lacked.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Jul 2015

We loved

The hotel and it's style and look. The setting and area is a wonderful part of Keffalonia. The staff on the whole were fantastic - Patti (Patricia)in the bar/restaurant and John the guy that drove folk around and picked guests up form Fiscardo.

Don’t expect

Too much peace and quite at the hotel as contrary to what we thought, the main pool was often full of screaming kids. Children have every right to enjoy themselves, but the parents should be more considerate to other guests.

Rating

Stayed on 11 Jul 2015

We loved

Very comfortable, attentive but unobtrusive service from delightful and helpful staff. Excellent restaurant too. The golf carts for giving lifts around the estate.

Don’t expect

Roaring nightlife.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Jun 2015