The experience that makes the difference at Aqua Blu Boutique Hotel + Spa
"According to Condé Nast this is one of the top 20 hotels in Greece and the accompanying islands and once you set foot into the doors of Aqua Blu Hotel and Spa in Kos it’s certainly easy to see why. I’m not just talking about the contemporary and stylish interiors that abound in this 53 bedroom, all suite, luxury five-star hotel but also importantly and significantly the experience. A house is just a building of bricks and mortar. A home on the other hand is taking that vacant box and creating an experience for those who live there with you or happen to visit. It’s about creating a welcome, a feeling, an embrace, like being wrapped up in a blanket of warmth and kindness. The same holds true for a restaurant, hotel, or any other business in the hospitality industry.
The suites, all with sea view, balcony area, or access to their own outside pool, encapsulate luxurious minimalism, with white walls and linen, open bathroom and rainfall showerhead. In room facilities include free Wi-Fi, which can be a little unreliable in bedrooms but is better in common areas, tea and coffee making facilities, and 40 inch flat screen TVs as standard. Falling into 6 categories from standard double suite to Loft suite, rooms offer spacious relaxed surroundings and as previously mentioned some suites offer access to a private pool with ground floor “Pool Experience” suite, where we stayed, offering a plunge pool on your terrace with a lounge bed on the opposite side. “Pool Signature” suites offer similar but with more private seclusion from the rest of the hotel. There is also a spectacular outdoor pool for all guests to enjoy on the beachside of the hotel. Whatever room option you choose you can be safe in the knowledge of unrivalled luxury and comfort.
Located at the beachside area of Lambi, northeast of the island and just over 2km from Kos Town, it’s an easy walk with a footpath and flat surface all the way to the town centre. If walking isn’t your thing cycling is very popular here with bicycle lanes from the hotel all the way to Psalidi further south down the coastline. If you plan on going further afield there are a plethora of places to hire a car and travelling around the island is easy. Just remember to bring your driver licence.
Sips + Bites Pool Bar
Located by the pool with stunning sea views, Sips and Bites is perfect for an afternoon cocktail or light lunch. Serving up signature cocktails and dishes from with everything from local Greek specialties to pasta. Open from noon until 11pm
Aqua Blu is a haven of decadence and luxury and this is continued in its fine dining restaurant Cuvée. Translated as vintage, there is nothing old style or antiquated about this food. On the contrary this is current, relevant, Michelin quality cooking from chef George Kostis and his team. Honing his skills in restaurants such as the Grill at the Dorchester in London, and one star restaurant 5 in Stuttgart, George has collaborated with chef Pavlos Kiriakis to create a menu that has its base firmly rooted in the technique of classic French cookery with dishes such as the beef short rib, truffle, and lamb but who also take inspiration from classic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine and give it a fresh modern twist, evident with plates such as the red sea bream ceviche, with fennel, cucumber and nasturtium. We opted for the 6 course tasting menu including snacks and petit fours because despite satisfying my voracious tendencies, it is also useful in judging and discerning what a chef “is about”.
The lamb, including crispy lamb belly which is a beautiful, underused cut of the animal, was a triumph using classic, if not a little safe, flavours such as pea and olive served alongside some lightly cooked little gem for texture and freshness. I can say nothing about the short rib other than had I forgotten my table manners I would have licked the plate clean. I wish I had.
In an encouragement rather than a criticism I would love to see George and Cuvée given the freedom to embrace what is wonderful not just about Greece but more distinctly about Kos and adopting on their menu even more local, indigenous ingredients that the island certainly offers with everything from mountain pork to sea vegetables. I understand that this is an establishment with many international customers but given what I ate elsewhere on the island, the quality of produce is certainly available to uphold the Michelin star quality cooking that is taking place here. George is certainly a talented enough chef to conjure Kos on a plate, which I hope to enjoy when I return. There are signs of what I’m referring to in the stunningly light olive oil cake for dessert and indeed further flashes of creativity in the combination of rosemary and bitter chocolate in the petit fours, which were some of the tastiest nuggets of post dinner sweet I’ve had in some time. These steps have already taken with the wines and sommelier Stamatis is confidently passionate, as he should, by the all Greek and Kos wine list. With intricate knowledge yet more than approachable attitude he is more than happy to discuss and recommend the wonderful variety of wines on this list. Cuvée is distinct in that no other restaurant is offering this type of destination dining on the island so even if you are staying elsewhere I highly recommend that you make a special detour as part of your trip to Kos.
What separates a good restaurant from another, or a good hotel from another? Ultimately you’re either serving food, or providing a bed to sleep in. This is an over simplification of the service of course but think about the best meal or hotel stay you’ve had? Most likely it is accompanied by wonderful, perhaps even technically brilliant food, and possibly of abundant luxury but the most defining aspect of any memory is how you felt; it’s about the experience. It’s about the people with you encounter, engage with, and enjoy. It’s about that feeling of effortlessness and ease. The staff at the Aqua Blu provides this in abundance and this makes all the difference here.
Read the review here.