BY AURELIA

Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depends on simplicity.”

Plato (BC 427-BC 347) Greek philosopher.

BLUE BAY HOTEL

The beauty that Plato famously declared comes from “style, harmony, and grace,” can be found in understated simplicity of the Blue Bay Hotel on the undulating Kassandra Peninsula. It is a short distance from the Pomegranate Hotel and Wellness Spa, the first stop on my odyssey through Northern Greece. I could not stay overnight at the Blue Bay, but during my next visit to Halkidiki, I definitely plan an extended stay.  The tranquility beckoned me and the harmony of the hotel and its natural surroundings soothed me. The Blue Bay Hotel is a true gem, offering services, luxury, and accommodations that are best described as “discrete.” It is modest in comparison to the huge resort hotels, but has sixty very well appointed rooms, twenty-two with enchanting sea views.

It was designed by Jannis and Evgenia Tsapanidou whose vision was to offer a package of subtle luxury for the discriminating guest.  The apartments are made of stone from the area as found in the ancient, nearby village of Athytos (well worth visit). Mr. and Mrs. Tsapanidou’s goal was to create a relaxed, cozy atmosphere in a setting that blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings.  They accomplished this and then added luxury services. It is no wonder that most of their guests are “repeats,” or those who come year after year and make their reservations for the coming year at the end of their stay.

The Blue Bay Hotel opened in 1997 with twenty-two rooms; twelve were added in 1998 and twenty more in 2000.  The renovation was completed in 2008 and the hotel now has sixty rooms, twenty of which have direct views of the sea; the remaining rooms have lateral or side views. Their lovely daughter, Olga, manages the hotel.

I almost hesitate to broadcast the charms of the Blue Bay Hotel for fear there will be no room available for me on my next visit, but it would be an injustice to the visionary owners and their daughter not to sing its praises.

As was the case with all of my visits, I had no idea of the beauty of this hotel until I was met by Olga Tsapaidou and taken to the veranda 60 meters above the sea.  Unfolding below me were stunning views of the Aegean Sea. One does not see this from the main road. With the Blue Bay and the other coastline hotels, I felt I was entering a hidden paradise; I experienced what some poets refer to as entering “a secret garden.”

There are five buildings, all ground floor, two swimming pools, and a “Relax Center” with services designed to make you as loose as a rag doll.  You may indulge yourself in a three-step “Aqua Magic” therapeutic treatment that includes a steam bath, hydro massage with ozono therapy, and aero therapy with essential oil treatments.  Or, you may decide you want to “float” and you will be introduced to Nuvola, a floating system on a special bed that promotes relaxation of muscles in the neck and spin as you are made “weightless.” I was told you have to experience this to appreciate the sensation of floating weightless on a cloud.  There is the obligatory Haman, of course, and a variety of massages, all designed for the well being of body and mind, are offered.

Imagine spending your day relaxing in the spa and your evening on the veranda overlooking the cliff for your evening meal.  In this very private, exquisite setting, you will be offered dinner from the chef’s a la carte menu and wine from the hotel’s cellar.  You can arrange to sit with other guests or you can be alone.

I would choose to be alone in order to be one with the surroundings. I would request a table on the very edge of the veranda and watch the sunset as I sipped wine, specially chosen for me by Olga, who is studying oenology.   From our conversation at lunch, I discerned she was a true wine connoisseur with excellent taste.

Mr. and Mrs. Tsapanidou had the dream and talent to create a discreet gem that could be called a “Hideaway in Halkidiki.”   Their daughter Olga’s goals are to manage the hotel to the highest standards, complete her studies in oenology. and offer guests a selection of the finest wines.  The pursuit of excellence is reflected in the parents’ vision and their daughter’s goals, proving that “the apple does not fall far from the tree.” The beneficiaries of all of this expertise are the guests—the ones who come year after year and the ones yet to discover the joys of being one with nature at the Blue Bay Hotel.

For further information please visit the hotel’s website at http://www.bluebayhotel.com.gr.

TELOS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Aurelia is a free-lance writer and the author of A Lone Red Apple, a novel set on Mykonos, Delos, and Rhinia.  Her second novel, Labyrinthine Ways, is set on Mykonos and Crete.  She writes for The Hellenic  News of America and for a variety of travel publications.  Her articles can be found on www.sweetspotsofgreece.blogspot.com