Sam Norton waxes lyrical about her latest Greek discovery...
It is early dawn. I purposely left the shutters open in order to be awoken by the early light flooding my vast, white bedroom. I am at The Courti Estate in Messonghi, Corfu and I don’t want to leave. Today is our last day and I wanted to capture the sunrise. It’s my favourite time, when most of the world hasn’t yet stirred and the endless possibilities of a new day stretch before you.
We arrived at this beautiful private villa a mere 2 days ago but such is the magic of Courti it feels more like a week. Tucked away up a winding path flanked by cypress trees and set back from the road, Courti was a former farming estate. Bought in 2010 by new owners, Chryssa and Kieran and renovated over 4 years, this 18th century historic Estate is now a breath-taking ode to serenity and luxury. And when I say luxury I don’t mean opulence and lavish riches, here we are talking understated, rustic chic. Thick flagstone and wooden floors, traditional stone walls, uncluttered simple lines, cool interiors, polished concrete walk in showers, clean fresh linens, high ceilings and picture-perfect views await you.
The ethos here is one of sustainability. There’s a no plastic policy, water is replenished daily into glass bottles by the bed. The toiletries are all in reusable glass containers, and fresh produce is made in the gardens and served up when crops permit. We had the sweetest strawberries at breakfast, and eggs from chickens in the gardens. Fresh flowers are cut from the grounds and arranged in rooms, and even olive oil is made and bottled on site. It’s these small touches that add to the beauty here at Courti.
The property is painted a gorgeous, warm, peachy pink. The main house is in the centre with stone stairs to the side of the building – perfect for descending brides leaving the master bedroom and dressing room. The rest of the rooms are in the courtyard adjoining the spacious dining room, named The Olive Press. There is space aplenty to either party or relax in, whatever your preference there’s room for it all. Courti can cater for any event; be it a wedding, a relaxing and fun trip with friends, or a big birthday celebration away. You can forget the world and lose yourself in sun soaked days and balmy nights.
Lunch might be a casual affair by the pool under the cabanas or set up with views of the sea from the huge stone table where everyone can gather and sit for hours enjoying good food, chatter, and the smells of jasmine and orange blossom on the breeze. Dinner can also be enjoyed alfresco by candlelight or in the sublimely perfect dining room with its windowed walls and vaulted ceilings.
Although the building is historic and the renovations sympathetic to its heritage, it is state of the art in terms of comfort and luxury. If you can prise yourself away from the Villa and its grounds, you are not lost in a remote space up in the countryside. A short stroll out of the gates will take you to the nearest beach with its crystal-clear still waters, and local tavernas that serve you up all those delicious Greek specialities. A further 10 minutes along the beach is a fabulous bar for those nights when you fancy cocktails and dancing. Corfu’s old town is about 40 minutes by car and is certainly worth a visit. While away the afternoon meandering around narrow paths stopping in shops and cafes. If shopping isn’t your thing you’ll find plenty of places to just people watch while enjoying an iced coffee, or a carafe of wine.
Meanwhile back at the villa lazy hazy pool days are happening. An infinity pool stretches out with views across the countryside and I’ve had Lana Del Rey on repeat, a cool glass of Rosé and a well-worn paperback are next to me in the blistering heat. A more perfect situation I cannot imagine.
Courti has it all - utmost privacy and unparalleled luxury. Around every corner there’s a simple elegance and an atmosphere of peacefulness and calm. It’s a place of inspiration, to contemplate, to write, to draw, and to simply just be.
For more information and prices, visit thecourtiestate.com.