Villa Gaia Rock: perfect harmony in Corfu

Waking up at Villa Gaia Rock, a new luxury villa on the Greek island of Corfu, is a bit like waking up between the pages of an interior design magazine. Artwork scattered throughout the master bedroom completes the overall “minimalism meets beach house” look. In front of the French windows, there are a few chairs and a small table facing the view. And behind these, there is an outdoor shower. But for now, the shutters are drawn and the room is plunged into darkness. I put on my sandals and walk into the living room. There, framed by the bay window and backlit by the blinding daylight, is the beautiful Ionian Sea. He is perfectly still. Even the boats are motionless, and the whole appears as if in a painting.

I head to the open-plan kitchen, with its new induction hob and new oven, grab a coffee from the bean-to-cup machine, and push open the doors to the outdoor patio—don’t forget my sunglasses along the way. There’s a dining table, and beyond that a cozy covered seating area with stone-colored cushions and minimalist rattan chairs arranged around a coffee table. In the corners, hang speakers that you can connect to via your phone and listen to music on warm evenings over coffee and a cold glass of the local kumquat liquor. But for now, it’s still morning, and the crickets are already up, serenading the arrival of day and the warmth it has brought with it. The cobalt sky announces another hot day on the island.

Villa Gaia Rock is located close to the village of Nisaki, northeast of Corfu, carved into the side of the hill that slopes down to the water. The stone was recovered for the walls of the villa, the sides of the terrace and the infinity pool with a view of the olive trees of the Mediterranean garden. The effect is almost chameleon. When the sun goes down, the sky softens and merges with the water of the pool and the still sea, so that only the thin strip of land that passes in front of the old town of Corfu and the misty outline of the Albanian hills define the horizon.

A cozy chalet

The property also includes a chalet, the rear wall of which is shared with the outdoor living area. Furniture and interior designer Katerina, who owns the villa with her husband, says the idea was to make the property feel like a collection of buildings, like a village and its warm community spirit. The private path outside the chalet descends the hill to the shore and Villa Gaia Rock’s larger sister property, Villa Gaia Sea, as well as the jetty from which boats can be hired. Small beaches are within walking distance in either direction. One is popular with locals and families, with a restaurant and bar. The other is more secluded, located near Villa Gaia Rock. Large groups can rent both properties together, and during the summer months they are catered for.

For my two companions and I this meant local chef Marios was on hand to prepare a selection of Greek and Corfiot mezze dishes one evening. There was noubouloa traditional island salt pork, served with melon, feta mousse with kumquat jam, mixed leaf salad in a fermented fig and ouzo vinaigrette, smoked eggplant and tzatziki, followed by rich red wine and tomato beef pastitsadaand a veal velouté with wine and garlic sofrite. These two dishes are so representative of Corfu. For dessert, a baklava and an orange pie in filo pastry with ice cream.

Here, at the round wooden table by the pool, with Albania and the Corfiot coast settling in for the night, we ate by candlelight, drinking glass after glass of cold Pontiglio white wine from the local Kakotrygis grape. Meanwhile, out in the bay, a couple of dolphins made their way through the water.

Chris was a guest of Villa Collective. A week at Villa Gaia Rock, for eight people, costs between €6,000 and €18,000. See villacollective.com/villa/Gaia Rock

Comments are closed.