The island of Zakynthos, or Zante as it’s better known, may not immediately spring to mind as a rest and relaxation destination – fresh-faced eighteen year olds and girls and guys heading on their hens and stags literally swarm you at the departure gate – but The Peligoni Club, up on the quiet north-east coast, is proving that it really should be high up on your list.
Open from May to October every summer, this family-run beach club is a members-only retreat. And unlike your usual clubhouse, weekly membership to The Peligoni Club includes access to not just daybeds, pools and idyllic tanning spots nestled on the white-washed cliff tops, but the likes of yoga classes, fitness sessions, guided bike rides, tennis coaching and an ocean-facing gym equipped with Peloton gear and Oyogo London trainers.
We headed out earlier this year to take part in PACE, The Peligoni Club’s latest 5-day wellness retreat offering. It combines their usual membership with a programme of activities dedicated to all things mindfulness and wellbeing. Think breathwork sessions with industry pros like Richie Norton; cold exposure workshops with Wim-Hof certified coaches; yoga sessions running from dawn til dusk on the sun decks; crystal healing sessions under moonlight; a pop-up massage tent overlooking the Ionian Sea; morning bike rides led by the one and only Olympian Sir Chris Hoy; daily (and very sweaty) beach runs; and high intensity classes from some of London’s top fitness instructors. All of which you can dip into as and when you wish.
And when it came to the food, we were well looked after too. The on-site deli and restaurants were a cut above usual resort offerings, with the option to upgrade to brunches, long lunches and evening BBQs prepared by top chefs and served on the dreamiest of terrace settings. Whilst we were there, we brunched with Rosemary Ferguson, re-fuelled throughout the day with Lily Simpson of London’s The Detox Kitchen, and tucked into a mega vegan feast with Steve and Dave Flynn (aka The Happy Pear). And not only are their names behind the food, but you also have the opportunity to chat with them throughout the evening and pop along to workshops hosted by them throughout the week too.
Obviously there was plenty of wine and cocktails to wash it all down with because although this is a wellness retreat, it’s all about balance. And whether you’re there for PACE or not, the guest chef series runs all summer long, with Ben Tish (of Cubitt House), Olivia Burt (of Stanley’s in Chelsea) and Ben Lippett (of our fave Dr. Sting’s and MOB) all heading behind the Greek grills this year.
It might sound a bit overwhelming, but you really can take it at your own pace (sorry, had to be done). And even though the club was reaching max capacity whilst we were there, we never had to pull a German to nab a sunbed and nor did we struggle to book into any of the classes. It’s a beautiful place with a family feel, but not one that suffocates you.
Accommodation-wise, The Peligoni Club does things a little differently. With no on-site hotel or properties, guests are booked into a carefully selected range of private villas and cottages, situated along the sea or within the Zakynthos hills. We were lucky enough to stay at Meraki, which we can only describe as a luxe, way more-sophisticated Love Island-esque villa. All five of the en-suite bedrooms look out onto the sea, making them a great place to watch the sunrise (this was a wellness retreat after all), and are decked out with boho-chic features, floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony. The lounge areas are just as stunning – there’s an outdoor kitchen and dining space, a cosy living area with emerald-velvet sofas, shaded sofas, secluded daybeds, and a pretty epic infinity pool with sea views. Obviously all that doesn’t come cheap, but there’s a wide range of accommodation available to suit all budgets.
All in all, we loved our time at The Peligoni Club. Did it feel a bit like a Fulham-on-Sea? Just a tad, but it really is a place that pleases everyone. And even though the PACE Wellness Week offers a lot, it doesn’t shove it in your face or leave you feeling guilty if you’d rather practice your breathwork on your sunbed. With the next one happening from 22nd – 26th May next year, we can highly recommend rounding up your pals or heading their solo for five days of sunning, self-care and sinking a few drinks. Yep, The Peligoni Club knows the real meaning of balance, so much so they’re even putting on The House Party later this year (20th – 23rd September). Think festival-meets-holiday vibes, with DJ sets, the usual feasting and a touch of wellness thrown in there too. Ticks all the boxes, right?
Agios Nikolaos, Volimes, Zakynthos, 29091, Greece