Decades ago, after collecting stones smashed by an earthquake on Zakynthos, Dionysios Giatria (a fitting name for the founder of such a pleasure-focused hideaway) slowly built Leeda’s Village on his family’s land. Today, he and his daughter (for whom the stay is named) still manage the hotel, farm, and each of the 12 villas peppered throughout their orange- and lemon-tree-lined gardens. Interiors refine traditional style; terracotta tiling keeps them cool in the cicada-soundtracked summers, and there are vaulted ceilings and hand-woven headboards. And, the kitchen, where generations of Giatrias have spent many a meal, now houses a restaurant helmed by chef Giannis Remos, who expertly grills Greek classics for the hotel’s ever expanding family.
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome basket filled with local delicacies, homemade limoncello and a bottle of house olive oil
10am; check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £86.71 (€100), including tax at 13.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €0.50 per room per night on check-in.
Rates include an á la carte breakfast, served at the restaurant.
Unfortunately, Leeda’s Village isn’t suitable for those with limited mobility due to the rough terrain.
The hotel shuts its doors annually from November until the middle of April.
At the hotel
Public beach nearby, botanical gardens, farm, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, tea-making kit, Nespresso machine, daily turndown service, air-conditioning and Olivia bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the villas at Leeda’s Village have been built with restored stone, some of which dates back to the 19th century, and intricately designed terracotta tiles. But for truly gasp-worthy views, we’d recommend the Grand Villa for its Turtle Island-facing terrace and alfresco dining spots. If you’re travelling as a four or more, all but the Junior Suite, the One-Bedroom Residence and the Lodge have two bedrooms.
You’ll find the main swimming pool (open from 9.30am till 7pm) among the gardens’ lemon trees, flanked by cushioned sunloungers and parasols.
There isn’t a spa onsite, but the hotel has partnered with Contessina Suites & Spa (a 30-minute drive away) if you’re seeking some serious de-knotting. Otherwise, staff will happily arrange for a masseur to set up in your villa.
Bring knockabout clothes for farm fun, and something a bit more Greek god or goddess worthy for evening
Ask for a table on the terrace to catch sundowns and silhouetted views of Turtle Island at dusk.
Meals are set up to replicate family dinners here, so come as you would for any relative gathering.
Farm-to-fork fare takes on a more literal meaning at Zefki Leeda’s Slow Living Restaurant, where head chef Giannis Remos sautés, grills, fries and flips away, using ingredients exclusively from Leeda’s organic farm, including (look away vegetarians) all meat. Doshes change depending on what’s thriving in the grounds that season, but you can expect Greek favourites in the form of salads, souvlaki, seafood, tzatziki and pastitsada.
Mixologists shake up a mean range of cocktails, including the Kalokairi (rum, pineapple juice and blue curacao) at Zefki’s poolside bar, and snacks are served throughout the day for light post-dip bites.
Meal times change seasonally; breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served in Zefki Leeda’s Slow Living Restaurant, and the barkeeps pour by the pool from noon till 11pm.
Dishes are available in villas between 7pm and 9pm.
Leeda’s Village is set in Laganas Bay, on Zakynthos’ southern coast, a five-minute drive from the centre of Lithakia.
Most European hubs have direct flights to Zakynthos Airport, which is 20 minutes away by car; if you’re arriving from the US, flights often require a layover in London, Vienna or Zurich. Private transfers can be arranged by the hotel for collection and drop off.
If you’d rather rent a set of wheels yourself, there are plenty of car-rental booths at the airport and the hotel has a private carpark.
Worth getting out of bed for
Spend mornings in the company of meandering goats, sheep, chickens and ducks at Leeda’s farm. Or swap rusticity for relaxation and head to one of the island’s many sun-blessed beaches; Laganas and Kalamaki are both snorkelling hotspots, while Agios Sostis, a small islet just off the mainland, is a little more secluded. Charter a private boat and set sail to Marathonisi Island, set in the National Marine Park, for a stint of turtle-spotting. Little Smiths (and any accompanying adults) may enjoy splashing about on the slides at the Tsilivi Water Park. For sweeping views of the Venetian Castle, hike up Bochali Hill at sunrise and learn more about the island’s history with an educated wander through the Byzantine Museum and Solomos Museum.
Luckily, traditional tavernas are in abundance here, and Dennis is a long-time player. Set a five-minute drive from Leeda’s Village, this locally-loved spot first opened its doors in 1976, and has since spent days serving tried-and-true Greek favourites (fried zucchini and tzatziki, breaded feta, fresh seafood and marinated grilled fillets of local meats to name a few). If you’d rather something with a slight modern spin, view-graced Aperitto kicks things off with lemon-marinated anchovies before moving on to seafood risottos, lobster pastas and homemade moussaka.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this homey hotel in Lithakia and unpacked their olive oil and handmade limoncello, a full account of their familial break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Leeda’s Village in Zakynthos…
Every great saga starts with an engaging character, and this one starts with Dionysios: former boat engineer, patriarch of the Giatra family and main protagonist in the chronicle of Leeda’s Village. We’ll begin in the late 1990s, when Dionysios spent days collecting pieces of shattered honey-hued stones that had been smashed by one of the Zakynthos’s infamous earthquakes. Though dismayed that his wife Maria questioned his reasoning for doing this (and taking up space in their kitchen), Dionysios continued. A whole lot of plotting and planning (and getting his wife on board) later, he decided he’d integrate his collection into a set of villas across his family’s land. Today, each of the stones remains embedded in the architecture of all 12 of Leeda’s villas, Dionysios still roams and runs the grounds, and his daughter, after whom the hotel is affectionately named, has grown from grinning down at Lithakia from high on her father’s shoulders to carrying on his legacy – not necessarily stone-collecting – ensuring that the guests experience a true family stay, a dynasty whose story is still going strong.