Seeking the epitome of serenity and relaxation, with a good measure of fitness thrown in the mix? This hillside retreat couldn’t be a more idyllic escape. F ZEEN KEFALONIA, the adults-only boutique hotel, embraces wellness in the most uber-chic manner, without ramming down your throat. Drummed into the slow-living pace that Kefalonia naturally inhabits, F ZEEN KEFALONIA seamlessly weaves health and well-being into its very essence, drawing in a wellness-centric collective from May to October year on year.

Kefalonia, the largest of the Greek Ionian Islands, has retained its rugged charm through the influx of affluence that has been injected into its neighbouring islands. Sitting pristinely on the southern coast of Kefalonia, F ZEEN KEFALONIA is blessed with jaw-dropping vistas in both directions worthy of all-day gazing. Behind, Mount Aenos looms showcasing chalky limestone sprouted with luscious flora and in front, Lourdas beach, a sandy bay with almost still glassy waters.

Originally I presumed the term F ZEEN was in some way related to the magnetic ‘zen’ energy the retreat destination is filled with but in actual fact, it was monikered from the Greek equivalent of “the good life”…both are sumptuously fitting. 

The art of preserving an unspoilt allure while discreetly oozing with opulence has been mastered at F ZEEN KEFALONIA. Earthy and minimal, the hotel’s calming palette mirrors the ambience evoked in the 36-key retreat. Modern architecture meets a pair-back tonal aesthetic with the Ionian crystallised shore glistening in the backdrop. A gentle hum of lo-fi music sets the tone in the reception area, where the distinction between indoors and outdoors dissolves, revealing a tranquil sea panorama that takes your breath away as you hand over your passport for check-in. Flanked with palm trees, the wooden terrace flows into a two-tier pool with a jacuzzi plunge tailing to the side.

Simplicity is king in the rooms, laced with natural materials and cloud-like linens to dive into at the end of the day. Ragged stone compliments the understated decor within the flowing open-plan design of the spaces. You can bank on a sea view whether you’re in the Classic Garden Retreat, the most budget-friendly, or the Superior Raw Retreat, fit with its very own sizeable pool. The immense suites elevate the standard up a notch and if you’re travelling in a group, there’s a 3-bedroomed villa tucked up in the hillside. 

The retreat is sparsely spread, every stone-paved trail unravels sights to marvel over, in the form of decade-old olive groves, wellness spaces, vibrant blooms, an open-air cinema and countless swimming pools. Hovering over its private slice of beach, which is blessed with the most awe-gazing sunsets, you’d be quite happy tottering between the sun-loungers at the beach to the pool, but F ZEEN is quite the adult playground, and if you’ve got a penchant for wellness you’re in luck!

Clubbed into the centre of the resort, the outdoor fitness areas are split into multiple decks tailored to different modalities, much like a state-of-the-art gym you’d find in the city, but alfresco style! The cardio space houses the newest Technogym treads, bike and cross trainer as well as a series of ergs, a punch bag, TRX and callisthenics apparatus. In the dedicated strength space, the kit exceeds expectations with equipment you rarely find in premium gyms, plus all the necessary free weights. Matted with cushy flooring, the open gym is for functional fitness, with TRX’s dangling from the beams and squat racks lining the wall, not forgetting the undisturbed overview of the ocean as a focal point. If this wasn’t enough, there’s also a Rig area right on the beachfront where morning boot camp-style cross-training sessions take place…turns out burpees are a little more bearable with the sun rising over the mountain tops. 

The timetable is full from sunrise to sunset with a compilation of classes that encourage trying something new. Featuring every modality you could dream of, the classes are innovative and well-aligned with the progression of the fitness industry. From Animal Movement to Resistance Band Pilates, Stretch & Flex, Trail Running, TRX Total Body and much more, there is something for everyone. Further afield guests can keep active hiking, paddleboarding, watersports, kayaking, snorkelling or hitting balls on the tennis courts.

Heavily invested in holistic practices, F ZEEN has five dedicated decks for group classes. Yoga and mindfulness classes are specific and specialised, taught by Greek wellness practitioners with a world of experience, from Hatha, Vinyasa, Pranayama, Yin, Yoga Nidra, Ashtanga, aerial and pre/postnatal to meditation, sound therapy and breathwork. Flowing with the sound of waves brushing against the shore and a drishti gaze of ripples on the horizon, F ZEEN’s unparalleled yoga shala’s are teeming with grounding vitality. 

The wellness element is completed by IDOR, the hotel spa. Cocooned in the basement, the dim-lit setting and rose scent elude to the tranquillity that takes place in the treatment rooms. The movement timetable meets its match with the extensive 12-page spa menu, an eclectic mix of treatments that call upon gua sha crystals, cups, Tibetan singing bowls and rich essential oils to enhance every inch of the experience. Harnessing age-old spiritual uplifting techniques, massages and facials embrace Hamman rituals, seaweed bathing, lymphatic drainage and reflexology to therapeutically calibrate both mind and body.

The sustainable, organic dining concept echoes through Selini, the all-day dining spot with a sea gaze to marvel over, and Gaia, hidden amongst the bougainvillaea trees to escape the mid-day heat over a long lunch. Commending a gastronomic journey, it’s clear that love, care and flair have been forged in the making of every meal. Handpicked herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden embellish the redefined mezze-style dishes with a choice from the local ‘Sea’ and ‘Land’ produce. This menu will have you stuck for choice, featuring blistered aubergine dressed with chickpea stew topped with crumbed nuggets of feta, Milokopi fish paired with couscous pasta, N’duja sausage, clams in a white wine butter sauce and splatters of salsa verde and a humble Greek Mousaka.

Ultra relaxing, F ZEEN KEFALONIA subtly invites you to adopt a slower pace that feels natural to slip into. Guests frequently swap sundowner cocktails for sunset meditation sessions. The nourishing approach to dining encourages you to relish seasonal, nutrient-dense foods. A sense of peace is distilled in this abundant 20-acre hillside sanctuary, granting you access to its calming state. Anticipatingly, the adults-only hotel group will be opening doors to its second outpost, F ZEEN ATHENS. Beaming to see how the concept is adapted to a bustling city location, the restored 1930s building is among the nature, art and history the capital has to offer.

Now feels like an apt time to write something along the lines of ‘I came back feeling refreshed’, which is true, but in all honesty, all I can think about on arrival home is when I can book to go back. F ZEEN truly spoke to my soul, striking the perfect balance between all the things I adore, joy-filled fitness classes, indulgent wellness facilities, food that I can’t stop dreaming about (accompanied by a cheeky cocktail) and a setting that makes you fling yourself out of bed every morning, sparking ‘pinch me moments’ round every corner! If you share my passion for these experiences, then F ZEEN KEFALONIA should unquestionably be your next travel destination.

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