Yannis Laspas, CEO Flegra SA, told this writer today of exciting new plans for his family’s flagship Flegra Palace Hotel. He recently finalized a lease on a nearby beachfront hotel, restaurant and beach bar in Pefkohori. This ancient village is one of the premiere seaside resort locations in Halkidiki, Greece. The new beachfront hotel, slated to open in May, will be a nice compliment to the Flegra Palace – currently guests cross the street for the short walk to the beach. The addition of the new property will provide guests at both hotels with first class beach and seaside dining facilities, including 500 beach sun beds.
Halkidiki’s three peninsulas – Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos – have long been sun-kissed summer playgrounds for Macedonia, Greece. Easy access to dozens of public beaches, natural hot mineral spas, classic white washed villages climbing dramatic cliffs and the incomparable clear blue water of the Aegean attract tens of thousands of visitors annually, especially from Eastern Europe. This being Greece, the landscape is strewn with monuments of its storied history adding to the allure.
The Flegra Palace Hotel is ideally situated to maximize a beach vacation as well as to explore natural and historic beauty. Pefkohori, on the peninsula of Kassandra, is an easy 50-mile drive on modern highways from Thessaloniki’s international airport. Family owned since it opened in 1989, the hotel underwent multimillion-dollar renovations in 2008. The rooms surround an opulent pool that is the focal point of the Flegra Palace including the Soleil Bar with its dramatic glass floor jutting over the water. Mixologist Bledor Qapja (Bledi) is also the hotel’s farmer tending to an extensive organic vegetable and herb garden. His Yannis’ Mojito, made with mastika liquor and freshly clipped mint, will soothe any aches the day may have produced from water sports or hiking.
The attractive modern rooms all have private balconies overlooking the lush landscaped grounds and pool. Many rooms offer views of the Gulf of Kassandra just across the street. All room amenities, including wi-fi, anyone could expect in a resort hotel are available. Since Halkidiki is a family-friendly environment, the Flegra Palace Hotel provides children with many diversions besides the pool and beach. In the warm Greek evening the entire scene is lit by a computer controlled LED system that cycles through soft colors. The light plays on olive and palm trees, flowering plants as well as fountains and a waterfall. Dozens of candles flicker on the tables of the Soleil bar and the Flegra Palace’s two restaurants.
The glass walled Titanes room offers both buffet and a la carte dining for breakfast through dinner. The extensive buffet breakfast, included in the room rate, covers all culinary bases and will please carnivores and vegans alike. The mix of Greek and Eastern European foods includes eggs in several styles, sausages and bacon, fresh salad fixings, cheeses and deli meat selections, an array of fresh fruit, juices, yogurt, breads, cereals, granola, nuts and pastries and freshly brewed, strong Greek coffee. It will not fail to fortify a guest for either a day of activities or lounging with a good book. The lunch and evening buffets are equally generous. After all, this is Greece where eating is a national pastime.
The open air Ambrosia restaurant offers superb a la carte dining for lunch and dinner – and deserves its own article. Under the skillful hands of chef Aphrodite Balanou, classic Greek and Mediterranean dishes using the finest meats, seafood and fish with many vegetables and herbs from the hotel garden are given fresh interpretations that will not fail to please discriminating foodies. Dining pool side, or at a table on the glass floor over the water, provides the romantic setting.
Day and evening entertainment is an easy walk or ride into Pefkohori. During the summer season, this family oriented resort town is a marriage of sun, sea and Coney Island. A lengthy beachfront pedestrian walkway becomes a carnival of street food and vendors selling everything one expects from sunglasses to helium balloons. A small amusement park will delight children. Shopaholics will be pleased with the number and diversity of stores. Bar and restaurant hoppers will be sated with dozens of attractive beach venues and music opportunities.
The Halkidiki peninsulas are not as well known to North Americans as the more famous Greek islands, but that is changing through imaginative marketing by the Halkidiki Tourism Organization and the Greek National Tourism Organization. Greek tourism broke all previous records in 2013 with over 17 million visitors and confidently expects to exceed that number this year. Based on the relaxed, comfortable, affordable and delicious hospitality offered by the Flegra Palace Hotel, 2014 ought to be your year to explore both the timeless and less discovered corners of one of Earth’s most fabled destinations.
The Flegra Palace Hotel 2014 season runs from May 13 through mid-October. Reservations with early bird specials are available through their web site www.flegra.gr
The gateway city of Thessaloniki is served by direct flights from London and other European cities. Numerous flights from Athens are available and affordable for the short 35-minute journey.
Disclaimer: the author was a guest of the Flegra Palace Hotel and the Halkidiki Tourism Organization