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Laidback luxe in Greece

Y&YW's Sarah Kershaw headed to Halkidiki to stay at the 5-star Sani Resort

Seductive Sani

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Beside the sparkling, stunningly clear Aegean Sea, and only three hours from the UK, the unique Sani Resort stretches over 1000 acres framed by golden beaches. With no less than four hotels, three of them 5-star, three spas, 16 restaurants and bars and several beaches, Sani could seem like a bustling metropolis resort but thankfully it doesn’t. The individual boutique suites, generous beaches, mouth-watering food and impeccable service make this the perfect honeymoon retreat and a place to visit time and again. I met a UK couple who married here and have since been back twice a year without fail the staff know them by name and treat them like royalty, and that’s the welcome you’ll get at Sani.

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Honeymoon in Halkidiki

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Family-owned Sani sits in its own little corner of northern Greece, on the Kassandra spit of Halkidiki’s three-pronged peninsula, set among the pine forests that surround monastic retreat Mount Athos.

Perfect for a romantic honeymoon à deux, the luxe-lovers choice is Sani Asterias Suites, with its private beach, huge suites and Michelin-standard restaurant. But Sani’s also great for a familymoon – the 5-star Sani Beach Club and Porto Sani Village both have top-notch family suites and there’s a kids club and Babe Watch service so you can have some couple-time too.

Beauty and the beach

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The beaches here are fantastic – long stretches of sugary sand and so many loungers, you’ll never have to get there early to lay your towel. Sani Asterias Suites has its own private beach, and there are separate beach areas for the other hotel, plus the stunning 7km Bousoulos beach with its stylish white bar. Try watersports including windsurfing, catamaran, kayaking and diving at Sani Beach Hotel – then, after all that hard work, flop down under a parasol and ask for champagne to be brought to you beside the waves. Bliss!

Day tripping

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If you can peel yourselves off your loungers, take a trip to the hub of the resort, the Sani Marina. Here you can have a go at sailing, moor your yacht (if you happen to have one handy!), find a must-buy in the luxe boutiques, or simply sample the range of food and cocktails at the many bars and restaurants. Or, head out into the hills and visit the mountainside village of Athitos for a taste of the pretty Greek countryside and architecture. An iced coffee overlooking the cliff-tops and crystal-clear Med tastes just perfect.

A taste of heaven

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The food at Sani is amazing, from modern Greek fayre at Tomata to Asian-fusion at the totally glam Sea You Up via Michelin-starred fine dining at Water restaurant. We loved the Ouzerie at Sani Beach Club – a cute, whitewashed building that just reeks of Mediterranean style, with wildflowers on the tables. Leave the menu choice up to the hosts – waiters will bring you plate after plate of mouthwatering mezze faves like crispy calamari, mussels, grilled halloumi and fish soup, all washed down with crisp local wine and a shot of aniseed Ouzo in the sunshine.

We were there for the Sani Gourmet Festival, an annual treat for holidaymakers when famous chefs including Gordon Ramsay’s right-hand-woman Clare Smyth and Maria Elia descend on the restaurants to create stunning tasting menus to make your tastebuds tingle. Find out more here.

Pampering palace

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But Sani’s not all about food and activities. With a strong emphasis on pampering, the resort has three spas, which offer luxe treatments by Anne Semonin. Leave your new hubby at the beach and head to the Spa Suites at dedicated wellbeing hotel Porto Sani Village, with its indoor pool, heated stone chairs, steam room, sauna and gym. Or, head to the brand new Club Spa at Sani Beach Club. You’ll find a tranquil, upmarket atmosphere, white designer décor, and treatments from around the globe. Utter bliss.

Room with a view

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Sani Asterias Suites could just be the perfect boutique honeymoon hotel. The huge marble suites, with their stylish décor and massive beds, have private terrace or doors opening onto private gardens and plunge pools.

With luxe additions like Bose iPod docks, Nespresso machines and Jacuzzi baths, each suite feels like a mini-palace. Room service will bring silver platters of champagne and treats if you can’t bear to leave. If you’re having a familymoon, choose the equally luxe Porto Sani Village with it’s amazing pool, or Sani Beach Club for a family villa.

Honeymoon highlight

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The beauty and sweeping romance of the Aegean and the mountains of Halkidiki are the backdrop for Sani, and there really is nothing more romantic than sharing a cocktail or two looking out over the ocean. We loved the Dunes bar at Sani Beach Club for its stunning views and menu of healthy blended juices in the day, and the glam Sea You bar for the evening: blend in with the beautiful people at the stylish bar, sip a mojito or two, and dance together to the cool tunes spun by DJs. The perfect end to a day of honeymoon bliss.

Get married at Sani

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If you’re looking for a stylish wedding abroad that all your family and friends can enjoy, Sani is perfect for you. Wedding planner Anna Wolfhart can create a bespoke package to your taste, whether you want a barefoot-on-the-beach ceremony and party at Bousoulas beach bar, or a more traditional service by the Byzantine Tower on the cliff, followed by gourmet dining at Water Restaurant.

There’s even a brand new chapel, soon to be licensed for Greek Orthodox ceremonies. To find out more, click here or contact Anna on awohlfart@saniresort.gr or +30 23740 99510.

Go there

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Contact the resort on +30 23740 99500.

Visit sani-resort.com for more info.

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W&O Travel Kids in the Med (www.wandotravel.com; 0845 277 3300) offers seven nights at Sani Asterias Suites from £695pp on a B&B basis, based on two sharing a Junior Marina front suite and including private transfers and return flights with BA from London Gatwick.