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“an oasis of calm and tranquility”
Review of Villa Costa

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Villa Costa
Ranked #15 of 23 Hotels in Skala
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 14, 2013

Just back from our 3rd stay at the fantastic Villa Costa where we spent a fortnight relaxing and enjoying Mario's wonderful hospitality. I have reviewed twice before and there really isn't anything further to add other than this is a unique place to stay; for the fortnight we are there we feel that we have been welcomed into Mario & Sophia's family home which makes this very special. We have again met some wonderful people there (including a couple we met out at VC last year and lovely Caroline whose company we enjoyed immensly) and spent many a happy hour enjoying wonderfully tasty food cooked to perfection by Dimitris & Vassa; drinking the best ever cocktails made by Theo and tasting & drinking some truly amazing Greek wines recommended by Mario. Thankyou Mario and all the team - you have made our holiday one we will always remember xx

Room Tip: all rooms are lovely - but one is at the back and just has a garden view
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Pinklady9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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79 - 85 of 178 reviews

Reviewed August 28, 2013

V ... Villa Costa......well what can I say ?
I ... Idyllic, immaculate and intimate hotel.
L ... Lounges or beach... What a decision!
L ... Local ingredients for for dinner including freshly picked herbs from their own garden
A ... Amazing attention to detail.

C ... Calm,chilled atmosphere
O ... Oh!, the food...superb food and drinks.Check out Theo's cocktails !!
S ... Skala is a short walk away.Its a pretty small village with plenty of restaurants and bars.
T ... Take a left turn from gates and walk about 500m to the Nautilus restaurant.Well worth a walk !!
A ... An overall, 1st class hotel !!

We stayed for 2 weeks in August 2013.The weather was wonderful, The hotel amazing.We had the garden room which is bigger than the others.It does not have a sea view but has a private patio that gets the last rays of the sun.I would certainly choose this room again
The jeep we hired for 3 days was worth every penny as Cephalonia is such a pretty island with lots to see.The whole island is within easy distance from the hotel. Try Fiscardo, its such a pretty port and has really good restaurants and quirky shops.
The boat trip to Ithaca was brilliant, good value with swimming stops.
Overall this was one of our most enjoyable holidays.
The Villa Costa is certainly the place to stay

Room Tip: We had the garden room. It has a private patio that gets the last rays of the sun.... perfect for a...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank lovetotravelwedo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

Villa Costa was an excellent choice of holiday for us.It was easily the nicest place,we have stayed in.The accomodation was lovely and the food,was superb, like a first class restaurant.The atmosphere in the hotel was so friendly, which was important as being so tiny,everyone got along. We would return again one day in the future.We stayed for a week beginning August 18.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2013

My husband and I have been to Villa Costa twice. Most recently being July. To be honest I don't usually review Villa Costa as I don't want everybody to know about it!, it's a little hidden gem that I want to keep for myself. We had an amazing time from start to finish. The food is amazing!. For breakfast you can have cereals, toast and preserves, juice, tea/ coffee, cooked breakfast, omelette or pancakes. The eggs are cooked to your preference. Dinner is three courses of the finest local ingredients. We never eat out as the food is just too nice at Villa Costa.

We've stayed in several of the rooms, they were all perfect for a quiet few weeks away. What I love about them is that they are a home from home. All light, airy and clean and have everything you need.

The location is perfect as it is just across the road to the beach which is lovely and quiet, the town is just a ten minute stroll along the front and there are plenty of car hire places within walking distance.

We went on a great little excursion arranged by Mario the owner. We spent half a day on a boat with a very knowledgeable local who took us along the coast and educated us on the history of the island. He then took us to a gorgeous cove where we relaxed on the beach with two other guests from Villa Costa and Mario, it was a great morning out so ask Mario about this.

The staff are all lovely and helpful. I do think the review written on the 9th August is a little personal, Mario is a great guy and is very welcoming, he works hard behind the scenes ensuring an excellent experience is had by guests in all areas. He had this villa built and has put years and years into developing it and growing it as a unique holiday experience. This is not a chain, this is one person running every aspect of a 5 star experience. Villa Costa is a calm environment to relax in and I don't think a host that was interrupting your sunbathing to have a chat every half an hour or a manager joining you for dinner would really be in keeping with what they are about. Reviews like that don't assist anybody in choosing a holiday destination and constructive criticism is surely better said to the manager when leaving.

Thank you so much for making my birthday special!.

We made some lovely friends and had a great holiday, hopefully we will be back in October.

Our only regret is that we missed Caroline this year!.

Venetia & Karl

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank WaterfallDerby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

We have just returned from our third annual holiday in a row at Villa Costa. And yes indeed, the living was very easy. Biggest decision of the day is probably 'pool or beach', although when the beach is literally across the road, a blend of the two each day is what we tend to prefer.
So much has been said of this place, it's hard to come up with something new - and perish the thought for some it seems of coming up with something verging on the critical. But here are a few thoughts which I think might be worth bearing in mind from someone with three holidays experience at Villa Costa.
Firstly, there is no doubting the high quality of the setting - the pool, the gardens, the dining area can make you sometimes feel you're a special guest at an ambassador's palace. There's no getting away from the high quality of food and drink either - cocktails superbly created by Theo, food exquisitely produced by Demetris. The fact that the chef regularly receives a round of applause as he leaves for home after his evening shift, probably gives you a good idea of how much his food is appreciated.
This year, though, we felt there was the odd chink in the armour of the one worn at the palace. Nothing major and probably nothing that will stop us returning but a few details which we feel might be worth considering for some.
Our room, though well appointed, was quite small for what is part of an upmarket offering. There were signs too that refurbishment might be a little overdue - sellotape around the bathroom hairdryer, chipped paint on the bathroom cupboard, a plug that didn't fit the sink, plates for casual eating worn and unsightly.
Then there was the occasional hint that cutbacks are at play here too - no welcome wine on arrival, no happy hour early evening, dressing gown but no slippers (not that I wear then but there you go).
Next is the fact that breakfast in particular can feel very samey - especially if eggs aren't your thing and especially if you like bread toasted and not dry and hard. Maybe a bit of variety in the bread basket might help, maybe a juice option as opposed to orange every day.
And then a couple of potentially more controversial issues, one regarding Mario himself, and one regarding the size of the establishment and how this works in practice.
In terms of Mario, for us he remains something of an enigma. He invites guests for a Greek night at 7 and starts cutting his lawn at ten to that hour. He is around all the time but usually this involves surveying his land and capturing stray leaves, as opposed to actively contributing to the service of food and drink. He comes to life as he talks of Greek wine but fades into the background as guests sit down to his excellent barbeque. He knows we've been before but only addresses us by name as we're about to leave in our taxi.
We love your palace Mario but maybe you could lighten up?!
Now to the number of guests resident at any one time - there are only seven rooms so you can do the maths. In previous years, just like this, we have met some lovely people, and without putting too fine a point on it, 'people like us'; often empty nesters and often professional types, some not even averse to paying 18 euros a bottle for house wine at Villa Costa.
But such a small establishment can leave some guests unsure as to how to behave when it comes to connecting with one another, whether at the pool or at the bar or dining. In previous years we have to come to talk to people gradually - a nod at breakfast, a tentative conversation at the pool, a more in-depth conversation after a glass of wine perhaps.
This year, though, things seemed to have moved on apace - at times it felt like one or two felt they were at a networking event as opposed to having a quiet holiday. You are, in a way, thrown together and people do act in different ways. But there were a couple of times on our stay when it felt like new arrivals were being seized upon in efforts to force fast 'friendships', and ones, let's face it, which are probably unlikely to stand the test of time.
I'm not knocking those people who are more extrovert in this way but sometimes it made us feel the need to retreat rather than 'go for it' at the bar pre-dinner.
A point of clarity here that the people who have recently contributed reviews on this site are not a part of what I'm describing - Nick, you're a star, Caroline, it was a pleasure, Wendy, I wish we'd spoken more and earlier in the week, you're wicked in both senses of the word.
So to sum up - fantastic holiday again. Brilliant setting, amazing evening meals, some lovely housemates. A room probably over-ripe for refurbishment, some evidence of cutbacks for a thrid-timer. A host that remains an enigma but oversees a quality experience for all his guests.
In the final analysis, if he allows us after this, we probably would like to return to Villa Costa in the future - this is an attempt to help improve on excellence - not exactly an easy objective to achieve.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank PLR352a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2013

You really do smile each day and all day when you stay at Villa Costa! This was my second visit and once again it was the most memorable experience and I can't add anymore to what NickMJ has already said except to say that VC and Skala are magical. Theo as ever created exceptional cocktails which I enjoyed on more than one occasion, Dimitri and Vasso produced marvellous meals for us with an exceptional last evening meal - Clare and Barry if you read this it was really, really special!!!!!! Sophia is amazing - up very early helping to keep the garden in its tip top condition and Mario, well we all have to thank Mario for allowing us all to share his very special place as when you stay at Villa Costa you do feel like a very special guest indeed.
Thank you to you all for making this once again a fantastic visit - see you next year hopefully!!!!

Room Tip: Go for Artemis - it's fabulous. But really whichever room you are given or choose you will not b...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Hyphenalia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2013

From the moment I set foot inside the gates of Villa Costa, I always seem to have a permanent smile on my face. I try to return here as often as I can - or rather, as often as finances allow - but staying here is always worth it. Owner Mario has set this up to be a complete experience of excellent food, great wine, good companionship, sunshine, smiles and relaxation from start to finish. He has a vision for this place, and that vision is still growing, but always something special to be savoured.

Villa Costa is run by a small team, and they work very hard to ensure that your stay is a memorable one. Everything seems to happen effortlessly, calmly and quietly in the background, but of course it takes extremely hard work, good management and teamwork to make it seem this effortless. Beautifully balanced and mouth watering meals appear as if by magic from the downstairs kitchen at Sophia’s Terrace, and it is only when you venture downstairs that you realise just how much effort and hot hard work goes into making each meal. The meals never overface you, are never too large, and are absolutely excellent. The bar is always open throughout the day into late evening - again, good teamwork ensures this - and is well stocked with all the ingredients for some wonderful cocktails. Mario’s wine cellar is to be savoured and my advice would be to simply do as I do - give up choosing your own wines and just let him do the choosing for the ideal accompaniment to each meal. He won’t rip you off, you will get a perfect addition to your meal served at exactly the right temperature, and by the time you have finished saying the equivalent of “oh my goodness, that’s gorgeous” so many times you will wonder how much better it can genuinely get. Do try the lunches too, as there is some great seafood on the menu and you will not pay any more than going out to an “ordinary” taverna.

To produce an experience of this quality, takes a lot of skill and teamwork. Kind, lovely Mario heads the team, aided by his mother Sofia who is a beautiful lady with a great heart. Smiling, warm Theo is Bar Manager, always ready to brighten your day with a cocktail, a cool drink or just to chat. I’m running out of adjectives already, but I have to also mention chef Demitris beavering away in the kitchen and therefore rarely seen by guests other than when he leaves work in the evenings and is always without fail given a round of applause and thanks by the guests for the food he produces under Mario’s guidance. He is helped by Vasso, who also does the lunches, and again she is friendly and warm and always so helpful. Elona too, the maid, works so hard cleaning the grounds before the guests even wake up and then carries on to clean the rooms so that they are sparkling every day with crisp white linen and soft white towels. Each member of the team seems to know exactly what to do and when, and thus creates a feeling of calm and rest whilst doing exceedingly hard work, 7 days a week, throughout the season to ensure we have the best holiday experience possible.

What else can I say about Villa Costa that hasn’t been said already? The gardens are amazing this year, a riot of colour, attended to lovingly by Sofia and watered every morning, with the rich green grass tended perfectly each week by Mario. When you walk in through the gates it really is an “oh wow” feeling, and you feel so incredibly lucky to be staying there. It is like an oasis of calm and colour.

The top quality wooden sunbeds with deep mattresses are really comfortable and there are plenty to go around, two for each room, so there is never any need for “sunbed wars” that you can get elsewhere at even the best hotels. Shade is plentiful too if required, from huge parasols to the natural shade of the tree. The swimming pool is where everyone congregates in the late afternoon, just standing to chat in the water, or to enjoy the jacuzzi.

I have now stayed in every room but one at Villa Costa on various visits, but this time I so enjoyed the Artemis Suite, two bedroomed with sitting room, full kitchen and huge balcony. This really feels like home (which it is to Mario and Sofia during the winter months) with family tapestries, Sofia’s china and silver in a large cabinet, and the most snuggly sofa you will ever have seen! It was very hard to leave, because it had become “my home” for the two weeks I was there and I felt so settled that it was hard to go. Very special. I have already booked it for next year. Mario has further plans for this suite to include a wet room I believe, and it will be so good to see how these plans develop.

Others, including myself in the past, have spoken of the Greek night when all the new guests get a chance to meet those already staying there, and the wonderful wine tasting and BBQ night which is second to none. A long table is set on the lawn, so that you eat together under the stars, surrounded by the colourful plants and the glistening water of the pool, gentle music playing in the background. I have attended many of these themed nights now and all have been thoroughly enjoyable. I have met so many different people and formed long lasting friendships which have carried on back in the UK.

To sum up, staying at Villa Costa is a complete experience from start to finish. It is not just a “laying on a sunlounger” holiday, it is something to be savoured and remembered for a long time. You will find it hard to leave the grounds and go through the gates, but if you do manage to drag yourself away for a few hours, please do hire a car and see the rest of this gorgeous island. Kefalonia will become my home in the not too distant future, I have plans to live there for at least 9 months of each year (although I’m tempted to say I’d still holiday at Villa Costa as a food and wine retreat week, even if I’m only living just up the road!) and I have never yet met anyone who hasn’t liked Kefalonia and who hasn’t returned. Most people you speak to return time and time again to this beautiful island with welcoming, warm people who will do all they can to make your stay on their island memorable. I only got back from Villa Costa last night and I am returning in just 3 weeks time. That’s how good this place is. You have to book early for Villa Costa, it gets booked up very quickly, but it’s truly worth planning your trip a year ahead.

To Mario and his team at Villa Costa, my much loved “adopted family”, all I can say is a big thank you. Words are not enough. You always make me feel so special every time I visit, and that means a great deal.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank carolinelaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa Costa

Address: Scala Beach, Skala, Greece
Location: Greece > Ionian Islands > Cephalonia > Skala
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#13 Romantic Hotel in Skala
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Villa Costa Hotel Skala
Costa Hotel Cephalonia

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