I am not quite sure how I have got to this point in my life without ever having been to Greece but I just got back from a 4 day trip over to the island of Skiathos, the famously beautiful island where they filmed award-winning musical Mamma Mia, and I have completely fallen in love! The island is even more spectacular than it looks in the film, it’s the most picturesque location and couldn’t be more perfect for a romantic wedding or honeymoon.
Just a 3 hour flight from the UK, Skiathos is home to a collection of family run 5* boutique hotels called the Santikos collection. I came out to Greece to visit their brand new Marpunta Village hotel which is located on Alonissos Island inside Greece’s first national marine park and is only a 1 hour boat ride from Skiathos. I was invited to come and have a sneak peek at the new property ahead of its launch later this month.
Alonissos is one of those picture perfect islands that still has all its original charm. The site of the new property used to be an old fishing village back in the 70’s and they have kept the authentic style of the village in mind when designing this property. All the white washed rooms and suites are scattered around a ‘village square’ and there are windy little lanes leading around the property.
Surrounded by the breathtaking marine park, the property has a real air of peace and tranquility. It boasts 110 rooms and 15 family suites, many of them with magnificent views out to sea. They are all decorated in a chic Greek style and have terrace areas with tables and chairs for relaxing in the sun. There is a lovely restaurant where you can dine Al Fresco while you enjoy taking in the views over the marine park and there is even an old open air theatre. With 3 private beaches and a pool overlooking the crystal blue waters you would be hard pushed to pick the most romantic spot to tie the knot.
As Marpunta Village had not officially opened yet, we stayed at the nearby Skiathos Princess Hotel which is situated on the beautiful Agia Paraskevi beach, one of the most stunning spots on the island. Set amongst lush gardens with direct access to a white sandy beach this hotel is just as beautiful and you can’t help but feel all your stresses slip away as you sink your toes into the sand and stroll along the pristine beach.
All 131 rooms and suites are elegantly decorated and some of the suites even have their own private swimming pool. We even got to have a look at what I like to call ‘The Brosnan suite’, where Pierce Brosnan stayed while filming Mamma Mia. It was a remarkable, stylish suite which was bigger than my whole house! It had two terraces with magnificent views overlooking the beach, one with a large table and chairs for Al Fresco dining and the other with sun loungers, a Jacuzzi and its own private staircase leading down to the beach.
One of the things I loved about this collection of hotels was the mouth-watering food we ate. Every single meal in each of the restaurants was of the best quality so you can be sure your wedding menu will impress your guests. With most of the food being sourced locally everything was so fresh, from the delectable sushi to the most divine steak to the traditional Greek meze, each meal was even more delicious than the last. When it comes to your wedding food the world is your oyster. Whether you are looking for a 4 course wedding breakfast or traditional ‘family-style’ Greek cuisine, the team of chefs will work with you to create your perfect menu.
The pool area and all the restaurants overlook the beach, so you always have a picture perfect view from wherever you choose to sit back and relax. Speaking of relaxing, you will need to make sure you make time for some pampering treatments at the spa. The massage I had was so relaxing I could barley make my way back to my sun lounger afterwards.
The third property in the collection is the stunning Aegean Suites Hotel which is perched on a hillside, nestled amongst the olive trees on the quiet outskirsts of Skiathos town’s idyllic port. I absolutely adored this property from the moment I arrived. With just 20 suites it feels like you are in your own private residence and for those looking for the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity, it can be taken over in its entirety for wedding parties giving you exclusive use of the property. Picture drinks and canapés by the pool and a wedding breakfast on the terrace overlooking the sea, followed by dancing to a live band under the stars, it really is an idilyc setting for a small intimate wedding.
The suites are ridiculously beautiful too and many of them offer spectacular views out to sea and boast private Jacuzzis so whether you are looking for that special somewhere to hold your wedding or a perfect honeymoon spot this hotels caters perfectly to both.
During my stay I was lucky enough to meet some of the team at the properties, including the members of their dedicated wedding team. Everyone was so passionate and chatted to me with such enthusiasm about making each couples special day the most memorable day of their life. I was also really impressed with their vision, they had so many ideas when it came to making weddings unique for each bride. Whatever you desire they will make sure it happens from boho beach ceremonies to fun filled beach/pool parties or, for something really different, setting sail and getting married on board the hotel’s wooden sailing boat ‘Planitis’ which can comfortably hold up to 50 people.
All 3 properties offer an enviable variety of locations, settings and styles for both ceremonies and the all-important reception. With the assistance of a creative director and floral team every fine detail can be arranged, from table centrepieces to personalised hand bouquets. Wedding cakes can be designed and ordered on request and a DJ or live band can be booked to ensure you and your guests dance the night away in style.
As for things to do on the island, there is plenty to keep you busy with an abundance of water sports, snorkeling and diving, relaxing boat trips around the Mamma Mia locations and dining at authentic Greek Tavernas.
Now, all I need to do is get invited back for a wedding!
To find out more about holding a wedding at one of the Santikos Collection properties visit www.skiathosprincess.com or call 0030 24270 49731.
Direct flights to Skiathos are available through www.thomascook.com