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The Costa Navarino development has the immaculate Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda region firmly in its sites. The pitch is pretty much identical – luxury hotels and villas in a highly controlled (and seriously beautiful) environment where one of the main aims is to retain the physical charm of the region while providing superb resorts and services for discerning guests.
Speaking of superb resort and services, the cherry on the top in Navarino Dunes - the first stage of the development which opened in 2010 - is undoubtedly the Romanos hotel, part of the Starwood Luxury Collection. There are a total of 321 rooms and suites, but don't be put off by the size because this is a seriously luxurious set up.
Designed to resemble the mansions of wealthy Messinian merchants, the rooms and suites appear in clusters of villas dotted around olive groves and overlooking the Ionian Sea, with most groundfloor rooms (121, to be exact) featuring infinity pools. The lead in rooms start at a pretty decent 460 sq ft and go up to a whopping 2,000 sq ft and three times that for the top villa.
Once you finish exploring your room(s), there are a number of pools, areas where families can cook their own barbeques, bars and coffee shops.
Guests can choose from a number of dining outlets including Eleon which serves modern takes on classic Greek dishes, and the Barbouni beach bar, serving lighter snacks and lunches including freshly grilled fish served with chilled Greek wines.
In the Agora, the communal 'village' centre shared between the Romanos and sister hotel (and far more kid-friendly) the Westin Resort, there are many further options, including Da Luigi's Italian specialising in delicious antipasti and pizzas, Nargile for Middle Eastern classics and even an authentic Greek ice cream parlous, Kayak.
Elsewhere in the Agora are a number of shops and boutiques selling everything from men's and women's fashion, and homeware.
The Anazoe Spa has plenty of treatment rooms, but also thalassotherapy and flotation pools, ice-grottos, mist showers and herbal saunas. The particular USP is the menu of 'oleotherapy' treatments, using the oil from the region's vast olive groves and designed according to instructions found on ancient tablets from the nearby Palace of Nestor.
One of the more activities on offer is the Philosophy Walk, a wander around the beautiful Messinian countryside, all the while being introduced to the main themes of ancient philosophical thinking. Now that's original.
Tom, Original Traveller