Opened in May 2018, MarBella Nido Suite Hotel and Villas is a sister property to neighbouring MarBella Corfu Hotel, which opened in 2009. The MarBella brand is family owned and run; the first hotel was built on owner Vassilis Dracopoulos’s grandfather’s land.
The idea behind the latest opening is to provide a relaxed, adult-only option to compliment the more family/action-orientated hotel next door, which is much larger and less intimate, though with a far wider choice of facilities.
There are plans in the making to open an additional hotel on the Greek mainland, right opposite Corfu, in 2020.
Where is it?
On the south-east corner of Corfu in Agios Ioannis Peristeron. The hotel is just across a road from the beach and a 20-minute drive from the airport.
What’s it like?
Corfu is having something of a moment, thanks to popular TV programme The Durrells. And quite right, too; it is one of the most beautiful Greek islands, with a wetter climate that translates into a verdant landscape. MarBella Nido certainly capitalises on these natural charms.
The property comprises 70 suites in classic Corfiot colours of warm ochre and terracotta, which climb up a densely wooded hillside; a picture perfect combination of emerald vegetation and tranquil turquoise seas.
Nido means nest in Greek, and that’s the guiding principle behind the design of the property. The idea is that your suite is your “nest” and this layout gives the illusion of a traditional Greek village.
Despite the fact I visited on the very day the property had opened, a remarkable job had been done of concealing the fact work had carried on up until the 11th hour. Staff had been well briefed, and were eagerly greeting guests outside as they arrive at the entrance to the property.
To the right of the entrance is a shady arbour with comfortable seating, where guests can relax with a drink or while they wait for transport back from the airport or up to their rooms. The reception itself is an impressive lofty space, with towering windows. Staff at the desk were friendly and helpful on my visit, and I was offered homemade lemonade and a soft towel during the check-in procedure.
Décor is a subtle blend of Italian, Corfiot and British design elements, referencing the island’s history. Light streams through huge arcade windows in the lobby, which has comfortable armchairs and sofas clustered around a monolithic marble fireplace. The space is peppered with antique mirrors, artworks and sculptures and there is also an orangery with chequered flooring and fruit trees.
To get to the rooms, guests can either walk – not for the faint-hearted, especially in the height of summer – or take one of several golf carts that traverse the winding road up through the complex. These are great fun and easily procured via a series of shelters with phones for calling for a cart.
The grounds are generously planted with indigenous plants such as lavender, rosemary, jasmine, thyme and wild rosebush – in their infancy when I arrived but no doubt soon to thrive.
Accommodation comprises a range of Junior Suites (30 sqm interior, 12 sqm terrace), Deluxe Junior Suites (35 sqm interior, 15 sqm terrace), Grand Terrace Deluxe Suites (interior 50 sqm, terrace 40 sqm) and the Luxury Villa (50 sqm interior, 70 sqm terrace).
Each has either its own small pool or a whirlpool and panoramic views across the sea to the jagged landscape of the Greek mainland beyond. All rooms have their own entrance, complete with doorbell.
My Grand Terrace Deluxe Suite is almost right at the summit of the complex. Once through the door, there is a console table and huge mirror on the left and a capacious cupboard unit to the right with generous hanging and drawer space, plus a minibar and kettle. This section of the suite is also home to a small table and chairs with a Nespresso machine, and beyond that a seating area with TV, armchair and sofa, surrounded on both sides with French windows.
To the left of this is the sleeping area, which features a second TV, with more French windows, so I was able to drink in the views while lazing in bed.
Things get even better as the suite curves round to the bathroom area. Raised on a step above the bed, a capacious freestanding bath also faces the French windows – yet more opportunity for gazing at the sea. A walk-in shower is on one side of the bath and toilet on the other, both in separate spaces with individual doors. Left of the bath is a long vanity unit backed by a mirrored wall. Bathrobes and slippers are provided in all rooms.
A palette of dusky neutrals and subtle blush shades create a relaxed ambience with visual interest coming from decorative floor tiles. Schemes blend contemporary and traditional design elements, with wooden floors and a mix of period furniture and modern metal pieces.
Sumptuous fabrics have been sourced from brands including Designer’s Guild, Osborne and Little and Manuel Canovas. Indeed, the curtains are so heavy that I found them difficult to open and close. My bed was clad in white sheets with cushions and big fluffy pillows, though the mattress was a little too hard for my taste.
Outside the room, on a large L-shaped terrace, there are two sun loungers, a whirlpool tub, and a table and chairs under a shelter. The views from here are exquisite, as is the sense of serenity; little else was audible but birdsong and the occasional beeping of a reversing golf cart.
My room was serviced a couple of times a day and there was a turndown service at night.
Food and drink
The hotel has two main restaurants. San Giovanni, which is where an extensive buffet breakfast is served, including tasty freshly cooked frittatas and a mind-bending selection of meats, cheeses, yoghurts, fruit, eggs, bacon, sausages, cereals, nuts.
In the evenings there is a buffet dinner, running the gamut of Greek dishes, from tasty stews to seafood to salads, with a diet-destroying selection of desserts to finish. Large arched windows allow plenty of light into the simply decorated space. There is also covered and uncovered outdoor seating.
The second restaurant is alfresco Appagio, with an a la carte menu of Greek and Italian dishes – perfect for a romantic dinner a deux against an epic panorama of the sea.
With poolside bar and restaurant Aquavit adding to the armoury of eateries, there is little incentive to leave the complex. Here tasty lighter bites such as burgers, club sandwiches, catch of the day and smaller sharing plates are served.
At sundown, I was pleased to be introduced to the Corfiot spin on an Aperol Spritz, featuring locally made grapefruit soda, Mastika liquer and aperol. For a cosier experience, there is an additional bar, the Heritage, in the lobby area, with elegant velvet art deco seating and custom-made bronze and green marble tables.
Guest can also take advantage of the several bars and restaurants at the neighbouring hotel.
The USP of the hotel is that a stay here is entirely for relaxing. As such there aren’t many activities to distract guests from that worthwhile pursuit. Instead, there are plenty of options for lying about on the terrace beside the infinity pool on smart outdoor furniture, sun loungers and ridiculously cosy nest-like pods, in which I found snoozing impossible to resist.
Both hotels also have serviced beaches (though not private, as all Greek beaches are public) with loungers. The beaches are clean and safe, with a mix of sand and shingle.
Near reception is a small spa facility with sauna, steam room and massage treatments using Cinque Monde products. I took a facial, which was extremely pleasant, both refreshing my skin and sending me into a serene, zen-like state.
Those who are feeling energetic can use the facilities of neighbouring MarBella Corfu, with its watersports and fitness classes, including morning yoga on a terrace beside the sea. There was also a running club and boat trips to watch sunset.
The owner’s vision for this hotel – to pay homage to Corfiot culture and offer a supremely relaxing experience – has certainly been achieved. MarBella Nido is stylish yet inviting with every communal space and suite thoughtfully designed to take advantage of the exquisite sea views.
I have very few criticisms, though as I arrived on the day the hotel had opened, there were a few minor teething problems – such as a lack of signage to direct guests around the complex. Nevertheless, they had very little impact on my experience and I was assured they were being resolved. A stay here offers an unrivalled opportunity for completely unwinding.
- Best for Exquisite sea views from every part of the hotel
- Don’t miss Enjoying a sundowner on the terrace beside the pool
- Price From £135 per night on B&B basis
- Contact Agios Ioannis Peristeron, 490 84 Corfu, Greece; +30 26610 76452; marbellanido.gr