Nikki Beach Porto Heli: French Glam on the Greek Riviera

June 29, 2015
I first visited Nikki Beach in St Tropez in 2002 if I remember correctly, the year it opened. I was very impressed by the stunning setting and the magical combination of a party attitude, the crowds of beautiful people, loud music and great design.

That was back when Nammos hadn’t made having to reserve a sunbed a trend. Having to order at least one bottle of champagne in order to be able to have one of Nikki Beach’s double size sunbeds seemed preposterous but also quite fun at the same time.  We were a good 10 years younger and those were more socially innocent times so we joined in with the spraying of champagne; we drank Dom rose until we dropped, we danced and had some memorable times, and felt like we were part of the international ‘it’ crowd for a few days.

I was reminiscing about those times as I was lying on the double sunbed by the pool at Nikki Beach Porto Heli, enjoying the wonderful Greek sun and the summery soundtrack. Everything was white all around me, from the fluffy cushions, the champagne glasses, the umbrellas, the staff uniforms and the loungers inside the pool, all creating a wonderful modern setting.  There were young couples next to me enjoying their multicoloured cocktails and the beautiful Greek Riviera sea was right in front of me: pure perfection!

Nikki Beach Porto Heli is the first of five hotels in the overall Nikki Beach hotel concept.  The rooms are gorgeous, there are spa services and there’s the ability to party and chill out in equal measure.

Nikki Beach Porto Heli is the old Yiouli which you might remember from the classic Finos films.  It was completely renovated by Gatserelia Design, in collaboration with the Athens based Arch Group and Dolphin Capital Investments (DCI). They effectively kept the shell and demolished everything else taking 163 rooms down to 66 rooms and suites from 55 to 95 sq meters each, and all with a sea view.

Our signature suite was pure white, with one of the most comfortable king size beds I have ever slept in, a huge Atvison TV system, a high tech mini Mybar with a big, customised selection of drinks and alcohol in full sizes, some gorgeous Malin+Goetz toiletries (I actually ordered the rum bar soap to take home), lovely towelling robes and anything else you could possibly need for your holidays, from insect repellent to a beach bag. The only thing missing was condoms…

The communal areas are all white with a few accents in blue and they’re designed to totally relax you until you notice all the speakers everywhere which should prepare you for what is to follow.

The big veranda above the pool with the comfortable tables and director chairs is where breakfast is served and where the main restaurant is. The menu is Mediterranean with a few classic Nikki choices like the sexy salad which you’ll find at all Nikki Beach hotels.

The Pearl Roof Top bar and its incredible view are only open in the evening, serving cocktails and Asian finger food. We enjoyed a lovely sunset there, lying back on the comfortable armchairs, sipping cold vodka and taking in all the incredible colours in the sky and sea in front of us.

The next day, the efficient reception staff organised a water taxi to take us over to Spetses which is only 15mins away.  On my return, I went to the Nikki Spa for a rejuvenating Espa treatment. Before getting ready for dinner I had a glass of champagne at the ladies only Beauty Bar.

What about the party though?  We’re too old for that scene now so as the music got louder, we made our way to Athens leaving the young ones to enjoy the experience, having drinks at the bar in the pool or even better in the sea. We will be back soon though because both the hotel and the value for money ratio combine to make it a perfect getaway spot.

In conclusion, I have to admit that I hate drives with twists and turns so I wasn’t initially sold on the idea of a trip to Porto Heli. The Volvo XC60 was reassuringly comfortable and for the first time I enjoyed the drive which is actually really beautiful. I can’t say I’d noticed before as normally I’d be sitting there crying with my eyes completely shut.

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