I recently had the opportunity to visit the Sani Hotel Resort which is located on the Kassandra Peninsula in Halkidiki, Greece to attend the Sani Festival of Jazz. The multi-award winning resort is a 5 star hotel complex offering its guests everything required for a relaxing holiday within its grounds.
It is a hotel village offering 4 separate accommodations including the Sani Beach Hotel, Sani Beach Club, Porto Sani Village and Sani Asterias Suites. All hotels offer various levels of comfort but can only be described as luxurious. From double rooms to private villas and most accommodation in between is available, most within an extremely short walk of the beach.
The waves of the clear azure waters of the Aegean break gently here, the water is warm and inviting offering a variety of watersports for the more active. Sailing, windsurfing, paragliding, towed inflatable rides, pedalos, snorkelling and even a free diving experience are just some of the activities available.
If swimming in the sea doesn’t appeal then there are plenty of pools around each hotel. The pools central to the Beach Hotel are inviting enough especially at night when they are spectacular, unfortunately night swimming is not allowed.
The resort has its own marina and even if you don’t need a berth for a private yacht, wandering around the impressive array of luxury boats here is great for dreamers. Some of the vessels here could more accurately be described as ships, they are huge but my favourites were the small boats which appeared much cosier with more character.
Unsurprisingly there are plenty of places to eat and drink, over 30 in fact. Despite staying in the beach hotel but I experienced dining in the favourite restaurants of the marketing team; the food was excellent in them all. Modern Greek at ‘Tomato’ or traditional cuisine at the deli restaurant ‘Ergon’ and ‘Alexis Taverna‘ were 3 particularly delicious restaurants. There are many more throughout the hotels or lining the marina offering Italian, Asian and seafood options.
I enjoyed an excellent mojito in the exclusive ‘Water Bar’ but the trendy Bousoulas Beach Bar quickly became a favourite. They produce a tasty Greek salad, plenty of iced coffees, cocktails and other refreshing options accompanied by music to chill to. It is also a great place to watch the sun descend into the Aegean at sunset.
Prices for wining and dining throughout the resort are certainly in the luxury bracket. cocktails in particular are quite expensive but snacks are quite reasonably priced. All meals were excellent quality and a glance at the boats in the marina however and it seems unlikely many guests worry too much about the prices.
My room was comfortable and afforded a lovely view over the resort, the blue pools were easily visible, lined by palm trees and the Aegean beyond. If the rest of the resort hadn’t been so inviting its likely more time would have been spent revelling in my balcony view.
Wifi is free and available throughout the resort, though for reliable connectivity the reception areas are best. It was available in my room but at times was patchy as were the outside areas of the resort.
Each of the hotels have excellent spa and fitness facilities, membership for which is included in the package. Bookings are recommended and at busy times necessary as the pools, jacuzzis, gymnasiums and massage facilities are popular. There is also a range of herbal and aromatherapy products available for sale.
As already mentioned I was there to cover part of the Sani Festival, known as ‘Jazz on the Hill’ organised by Artistic Director, Olga Tabouris-Babalis. It is held as the name suggests on a small hillock close to the Sani Beach Hotel. This year was the 20th anniversary and such renowned artists as Ahmad Jamal, Lars Danielsson and Tigran Trio appeared over consecutive nights.
I don’t claim to be a jazz expert but found the music enjoyable, each artist was different and the audience certainly enjoyed them, especially Jamal who received standing ovations. The backdrop of a disused watch tower built to defend the peninsula was spectacular especially under the coloured lights.
The Festival continues for another month or so with more performers from around the world and Greece, finishing with classical music recitals in August.
Sani Resort has plenty more entertainment to offer with theatres providing daily performances and even a cinema showing the latest releases.
Surrounded by pine forest and olive groves there are a number of walking trails around the area including the Koutsoupia-Siviri hiking trail. Taking in wetlands, ancient excavation sites and cliff tops there is ample opportunity to experience some wildlife including turtles, lizards, butterflies and of course birds.
Excursions to Thessaloniki, Holomontas countryside and Meteora are available as well as more local trips to Athitos village and Petralona Caves. Wine tasting tours for those with a thirst can also be arranged through guest relations.
The resort management prides itself in its commitment to sustainable tourism, preserving the surrounding forest and keeping the ocean clean are important aspects of this sustainability. Water preservation, renewable energy sources and waste minimisation are some of the other projects which are being employed.
In the couple of days spent at the Sani Resort it was impossible to even scratch the surface of all it has to offer. I can guarantee those looking for some eco-friendly luxury, with plenty of options for entertainment and excursions will not be disappointed. It is small wonder it is has won numerous awards and is a favourite with various Heads of State and other high profile VIPs, hopefully I can get another invite soon to explore somemore.