Food & Wine Lifestyle Travel Wellness & Spas

More on the luxury Romanos resort at Costa Navarino

Looking across 1317's pool and private beach

Looking across 1317’s pool and private beach

Yes, here it is, the ideal villa for anyone who cares about aesthetics and fresh air and privacy. This is a view from Villa 1307, 1,200 sq ft of interior plus a 30-foot pool and its own private beach. There are six of these at the idyllic The Romanos luxury hotel, part of Costa Navarino near Messinia in the Peloponnese. Many would probably never leave the villa, and have all food brought to them (the gal had one room service meal, it arrived on the stated dot and was carefully set up, with a bouquet of wild flowers, on one of the tables in the main salon, though it could have been laid outside on the table on the wood deck).

Yoghurt to wallow in...

Yoghurt to wallow in…

I preferred, as always, to go to the restaurant for breakfast, to see what the buffet had to offer (order, say, croissants from any hotel’s room service, also known as private dining, and unless, from previous experience in that particular hotel you know what they look like, you might end up with a tiny bite-size or a sumo-wrestler size). Anyway THIS buffet, here at Pero, also has about the most delectable and more-ish yoghurt that I ever remember. Look at it, chalk-white and tasty enough to wallow in. Why, I wonder again and again, do people insist on having fruit-laced yoghurts? It is so much nicer to have fruit, and plain yoghurt – which absolutely must be full-fat, none of the zero-fat yoghurts that the ample-sized seem to choose.

I picked these olives!

I picked these olives!

There is a massive list of activities every day, chargeable and also free, for adults and kids (who even have a stay-over hotel, in case parents can bear to dispense with their little darlings overnight). One of today’s free activities is olive harvesting, which runs from October through to December.  There are 40,000 trees on the estate, with either green or black olives. I am driven in a 1960s British Jeep, with Greek plates, to one section of olive grove, to help with the harvesting, but first I am shown the produce. Some trees have black olives, others have green, which make the better oil. No, no trees have both.

A new fitness activity, bashing olive trees with a long paddle

A new fitness activity, bashing olive trees with a long paddle

During a day-long shift, apparently, a team of four workers can harvest 40 trees. Big green nets are spread beneath them and, with a yellow-tined fork, I help bash branches, which is jolly good exercise.  Later, the olives are gathered, put into plastic containers and then sacks to be taken to a communal pressing station at Kremmoydia (which means onion) – this is remarkably like a winery, except here the equipment, costing up to €300,000 an item, is all Alfa Laval. The charge is ten percent of the value of the final product.  We are given hot toasts with just-pressed bright-green dunking oil and then the Jeep rattles back to the luxury hotel that is my temporary home.