i have a recurring daydream in which i’m lounging on a deck in the sunshine, my feet hanging over the edge into crisp turquoise waters. all around me is peace and calm, in the distance the melodic chatter of cicadas in the trees, the tantalising aroma of freshly cooked bread gently wafting over in the breeze; not a care in the world.
i found that kind of blissed-out existence at casa cook last week and boy, oh boy, do i wish i were still there now!
casa cook is a new kind of hotel concept from thomas cook, one of the biggest travel companies in europe. remo masala – chief marketing officer of thomas cook and the man behind the casa cook concept – wanted to create an adults-only destination for ‘bohemian spirits’, aimed at young modern travellers seeking respite from the rigmarole of urban life, without wanting to compromise on the creature comforts of home.
welcome to casa cook:
designed by michael schickinger, creative director of berlin-based design agency lambs & lions, interior designer annabell kutucu and architect vana pernariv, the ninety room boutique property is located in the beautiful hillsides of kolymbia, a small seaside town on the eastern coastline nestled in between a stretch of rocky hills. the raw natural beauty of the landscape makes for a stunning backdrop to the mid-century modern architecture – all crisp white lines and sparkling expanses of turquoise pool against an unapologetically wild, untamed surrounding.
every room has swim-up pool access – or a private pool in the case of the two standalone villas – and i was lucky enough to stay in one of the stunning two-storey loft suites, with a mezzanine bedroom overlooking a lounge area, complete with indoor hot tub. i seriously thought i’d died and gone to heaven when i first stepped into the room and spotted that!
like the rest of the hotel, the interior vibe is distinctly boho-chic, but not in a kitsch trying-to-hard way. the casual styling is pared back to just the right accent pieces; woven straw poufs, monochrome ikat and unadorned wire lounge chairs on the deck.
it would have been easy to have laden on the pattern and the colour to really hammer home the ‘vibe’ but instead a mid-century californian cool has been achieved in the nod towards contemporary scandinavian minimalism, as opposed to a traditionally maximalist approach to the boho trend.
with wifi available across the complex, it’s easy enough to check your email quickly by the pool, while still remaining entirely blissed-out on the chilled, rejuvenating ambience. i mean seriously, can you think of a better place to work from than this stunning private deck, with your feet casually hanging over the edge, water lapping at your toes? i think not.
i was keen to explore the rest of the hotel and have a little nosy around the other room types on offer; the premium double was particularly delightful, with a wider poolside deck complete with hammock for the ultimate in blissed-out lounging.
bar / pool area:
the complex has a wonderful mix of secluded snugs for privacy and relaxation and open social spaces that encourage mingling with the other hotel guests. the open air bar area is strewn with large seat cushions, butterfly chairs, long tables and hammocks, while the communal pool next to the restaurant has an abundance of lounge beds surrounding it.
the relaxed vibe continues into the restaurant, where the laid back calm really helps elevate the casa cook concept into new territory. breakfast is a leisurely buffet served all morning, before the focus shifts to lunchtime sharing platters which change daily.
chef manolis giorgakis sources all his produce locally, with the menu constructed around the seasonality of the island’s fare. traditional greek dishes such as saganaki, moussaka and stuffed vegetables take centre stage, while fresh fish and seafood is also in abundance; vast pots of linguine strewn with clams, crabs and king prawns, and grilled ostrich.
as delicious as every lunch and dinner was, it was the breakfast buffet i looked most forward to each day – the quinoa pudding with maple syrup, cinnamon and coconut milk was an absolute dream, especially for someone like me who doesn’t eat dairy. in fact, not eating dairy wasn’t an issue at all during my stay at casa cook; i always had a dairy-free variation of my fellow diners meal and never felt shortchanged by my options. in fact, i was bemused to discover that avocado slices drizzled in honey make for an absolutely wonderful addition to a fruit salad – who knew?!
whispers on the grapevine suggest that thomas cook plans to add three further casa cook hotels in european sunshine destinations by summer 2017 – i for one, cannot wait to see what they do next!
my stay at casa cook was complimentary, with thanks to thomas cook. all views expressed are my own. all photography © georg roske.