Set into a hillside like a theatre seat along Corfu’s spectacular coastline, Marbella Nido mixes Italian and Greek influences (a reflection of the island’s own cultural mosaic). Here is an understated-luxe boutique hotel for honeymooners seeking attentive staff in a child-free (splash free) environment.
The pared down charm of the terracotta suits, the bed-to-sunlounger rhythms and truly spectacular views over the Ioanian sea speaks to the frazzled honeymooner, in need of some R&R. There is something endlessly romantic about the scenery – pines and olive trees scratched into a blue haze, where sea and sky appear to converge. Couples while away the hours with cocktails by the pool bar or, for more adventurous types, there are of course daily jaunts available to surrounding islands. Just make sure you are back in time for sunset and a leisurely evening at the hotel’s Apaggio restaurant.
Set the scene
Terracotta suites and villas scatter the island’s pine-studded hillside above the hotel entrance – in formation reminiscent of a dolce vita setting. Honeymooners are greeted at the orangery lobby with a Prosecco and apple purée medley as they soak in the blue-on-blue surroundings, framed by terracotta arches and cascading wisteria. Pathways to the suites are lined with fragrant citrus, pomegranate and olive trees, and it’s a challenge to walk them at pace without stopping to admire the heart-thumping Ionian views.
Those with go-slow ambitions can make their way to the hotel’s quaint coffee stand, just outside the chapel (a no nonsense introduction to Greek coffee-culture) before docking themselves on sunloungers with a zesty cocktail or wallowing in the pool as the sun winks along its surface. Golden hour is unequivocally the most magical part of the day at Marbella Nido (not to be missed) with guests scattered around the bar, sipping on mojitos using fresh mint leaves as the sun lingers over the horizon. Suppers here are drawn out, with a cicada chorus and delectable Greek classics drizzled in local olive oil. For honeymooners, they typically end in the suites’ private jacuzzis, digestif in hand and an unpolluted starry sky above them. While cabin fever is nigh impossible in this light-filled warren of villas and photogenic pool areas, the hotel’s white catamaran sails to nearby Paxos or couples can scoot over to the UNESCO-listed city of Corfu, and immerse themselves in its pastel-hued history.
All 70 suites are connected via a steep, winding pathway that snakes through the lush gardens, and that all bags (and guests) are duly golf buggy’d up upon arrival. Dominating these villa-style suites are wildly comfortable kingside beds and views across the sea – the sort that sap hours of your time, tracing the movement of the water and lonely boats floating across the horizon. The balconies and terraces are ideal for such antics – better still from a private pool or hot tub (check your room booking if you are keen to bag one, or both). Inside, rooms are spacious rooms, light-filled and pulled together using contemporary shapes and neutral palettes. Expect oversized wooden headboards, statement lighting framing an elaborate bathroom mirror and a cavernous waterfall shower (big enough for two). From the sweet-toothed turndown service to the congratulatory sparkling wine and cake for newlyweds, the hotel knows a thing-or-two about in-room pampering,
In our opinion, the most romantic of these is the deluxe suite with a private pool, where couples can hide away from the world in a vast, open-plan space and amid sumptuous furnishings.
Food and drink
For romance personified, book a table at the Apaggio Restaurant, whose staggering views across the sea and warm, Grecian air are a thrill in themselves before the food even arrives. Wafts of lavender and rosemary cling to the air and faces are animated by candle-light.
The menu reflects the island’s Italian-Greek cultural medley, with from-the-fisherman seafood and seasonal vegetables taking centre stage. Go for the grilled calamari or share a generous and wholly delicious plate of lobster pasta. Small-but-mighty details elevate the Appagio experience, from the smoked paprika-infused butter in a heavy granite bowl to the chef’s welcome – ours was delectable mushroom risotto croquettes.
For a relaxed alfresco breakfast, San Giovanni offers à la cart menu along with a bursting at the seams buffet, catering to all breakfast tribes. Drizzle local honey on Greek yoghurt with summer fruits, and ensure you sip their fresh orange juice with plates of eggs, cold cuts and cheeses. Expect to be serenaded on Saturday mornings with gentle live music as you sip your coffee and plan your day.
Sister hotel, MarBella Corfu, was the first of the MarBella collection and known for its family-friendly credentials. The owners looked to mimic its success and aesthetic, but with a more boutique flavour and adults-only environment. Hence the creation of MarBella Nido. The MarBella hotels are a family-owned collection, which is easily discerned in the finer details found throughout both hotels – the sorts larger chains and corporate-owned hotels are unable to match, from the trinkets placed around the hotel to the affable nature of the staff.
As an adult-only hotel, couples can be assured their leisurely evenings won’t be interrupted by tantrums or zealous pool splashing. However, those traveling with family can head to its sister hotel MarBella Corfu, just a short walk away. When staying at Nido, guests are welcome to use the facilities at MarBella Corfu, but this rule is not reciprocated for Marbella Corfu guests, for obvious reasons.
Couples wanting to sweat out the wedding cortisol (and over-indulgent dinners) while on their honeymoon can work out at Nidos’ well-equipped gym. In contrast, those prioritising relaxation can head to the spa and choose from various massages, therapies, and treatments. These all use tropical botanicals from Cinq Mondes of Paris, guaranteed to rejuvenate and boost the skin. Finally, finish up at the steam or sauna to banish any toxins.
MarBella Nido is a breezy 20-minute drive from Corfu airport and Corfu old town. The hotel is also a short, scenic stroll away from the beach, where honeymooners can lounge on the white sand and plunge into the glistening Ionian when the Greek sun becomes too much. Better still, book a tour to catch a catamaran to see the other islands, including Paxos.
Cost / rates:
Book: visit marbella.gr/marbella-nido
Price: MarBella Nido starts from £190 including breakfast.