Stay the night: Anna's House, Zakynthos

This stylish villa offers the privacy of home, plus easy access to watersports and restaurants, finds James Litston

Situated towards the northern tip of Zakynthos in the Ionian islands – an hour's drive yet a world away from the rowdy resorts in the south – Anna's House sits in a hilltop grove of ancient, twisted olive trees. This lofty position affords far-reaching views down the coast and across to the mainland beyond. In the foreground, a garden of fragrant shrubs tumbles down from the terrace to a large, private pool. Turtle doves purr from secret perches, adding to the sense of sleepy seclusion. With the summer sunshine beating down, it's peaceful, enchanting and utterly relaxing.

When activity does beckon, Anna's House is one of a sizeable collection of villas attached to the British-owned Peligoni Club, an upmarket and laidback seafront complex with sailing, windsurfing, tennis, spa and a very good brasserie-style restaurant and bar. The union results in a traditional villa holiday with the refreshing option of adding resort-style extras.

The Rooms

Although it looks to have been part of the landscape for centuries, the house only dates from the late 1990s. Inside the single-story, tiled-roof structure, whitewashed walls and antiqued doors and rafters add to the illusion of age. The large open-plan living space – incorporating country-style kitchen and comfortable seating area – is decorated in a rustic-chic style, mixing local farmhouse artefacts with paintings, furnishings and embroidered fabrics collected on the owner's global travels.

There are three en-suite bedrooms in the main house, all of which have direct access to the garden terrace. A fourth bedroom occupies the separate, original olive-grower's cottage adjacent to the front door.

Outside, the covered terrace runs the length of the house and offers daybeds and seating for dining al fresco. This leads on to another, open terrace and on through the gardens to the pool beyond. Whether you prefer baking suntraps, or the welcome shade of an olive tree or poolside pergola, the two-acre plot feels endlessly spacious, even when the house is fully occupied.

The terrace The terrace  

Out and About

The Peligoni Club (020-8740 3001; peligoni.com) provides a sociable hub when you feel like a change from the privacy of the villa. Less than a 10-minute drive away, it's an exclusive and well-designed waterfront enclave with more than a hint of a beach bar on Ibiza. Membership (from £60pp per week) includes access to the outdoor gym, swimming pool, sun loungers, tennis court and all non-motorised watersports (with tuition). Choose from sailing, windsurfing, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, or upgrade to a package including waterskiing and wakeboarding.

Away from the water there are massages and beauty treatments at Peligoni's Goat Shed Spa, plus all manner of group excursions hosted by Sheila, the exuberant events manager. Popular options include boat trips to Shipwreck Cove (the island's signature sight) or a sunset stroll to an abandoned monastery. There are also activities specifically for children.

Elsewhere in the area, there are pleasant villages to explore, while at the other end of the island lie the shops and museums of Zakynthos Town. Don't miss the sandy beach at Gerakas, on the island's far south-eastern tip, where a ranger station provides information on the loggerhead sea turtles that nest there.

Food and Drink

Prior arrangements can be made for the villa to be stocked from an extensive grocery menu. Further supplies can be ordered for delivery from a supermarket in Katastari (details of this service are provided in the welcome pack); or top up yourself from the bakery and mini-market on nearby Agios Nikolaos' picturesque waterfront. Peligoni's excellent open-air restaurant serves burgers, salads, wood-fired pizzas and other familiar fare.

The rustic-chic kitchen The rustic-chic kitchen  

For something more authentic, the area has plenty of good family-run tavernas. Highly recommended is Kaminaki (00 30 269 503 1304), situated inland from Anna's House in the tiny hamlet of Ano Volimes. The ingredients are mostly organic and produced in the village and the charismatic owner, Dennis, turns a simple dinner into a memorable event. Or try Mikro Nisi (00 30 697 3050 680), just up the road from Peligoni, for superb seafood in an improbably pretty seaside setting.

The Essentials

Anna's House, Askos, Zakynthos, Greece (020-8740 3001; peligoni.com/accommodation/annas-house). A week's rental costs from £3,125, with membership to The Peligoni Club from £60pp. Sleeps eight.

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: .NET Developers / Software Developers

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: our .NET Developers / Software Dev...

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-Qualified Accountant) - Manchester

    £23000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat