Location: Halkidiki, Northern Greece, which is roughly one and a half hours drive from Thessaloniki airport, 4 km from the famous Mount Athos’ (one of the holiest places on earth) gates and right on the beach.
Rooms: 165 air-conditioned rooms (all facing either the sea or the hotel’s gardens), suites and bungalows, 9 of which have private pools, including the Maria Callas Suite, which is named after the Greek soprano who holidayed here in 1976, and has a private staircase leading to the hotel’s private beach.
Food and beverage: Melathron – Eagle Palace’s formal dining restaurant, Eagles Cafe, Kamares terrace restaurant, Armyra (pool and beachside dining and bar), Vinum Kouziva, Eagles club (cocktails and live music after sun-down), Ammos Beach Bar and all day in-room dining service.
Other amenities: An Elemis spa and gym area, an indoor pool and outdoor saltwater floatation pool, a diving and water sports center, a kids’ club and water sports center, a private, European blue flag-awarded sandy beach, beach service, boat and taxi excursions, car and mountain bike rental, a tennis court, and a conference center. The hotel also arranges and facilitates pilgrimages to Mount Athos for men; women are strictly forbidden from accessing the holy mountain.
Tripadvisor ratings: Certificate of Excellence 2014, number 1 out of 9 hotels in the Ouranopolis area and rated excellent or very good by the majority of reviewers.
Luxury Travel Beat’s Last word: Eagles Palace manages to combine elegance and 5-star luxury with accessibility and a relaxed atmosphere, something which I have found a lot of luxury resorts struggle to strike the right balance. The most memorable quality about the hotel, however, is just how much above and beyond the call of duty the staff go to ensure guests are satisfied. When I managed to forget an item of great sentimental value in my room after check-out, the concierge team was able to send this to my home address swiftly – something which I don’t always take for granted, having forgotten an item or two in hotel rooms over the years and had them disappear without a trace. Also of note is the variety and quality of food on offer in the hotel’s restaurants, my favourite two being the Armyra restaurant right on the beach and Melathron – which introduced me to the doughy goodness that is loukoumades. My only gripe is that some of the in-room electronics – notably the TV and the hair dryer – could do with an upgrade, but this is me being nit-picky so you don’t have to.
The lowdown: Eagles Palace hotel and spa (+30 23770 31070, eaglespalace.gr, doubles from €146.