OKU Kos, Greece
Simple, soulful and slow-paced. If we only had three words to describe OKU Kos, then those would be the ones we'd choose. Luckily, we've got a few more to play with and boy does this jewel of a resort on Kos' northern coast deserve them.
As soon as you arrive you'll feel as if you've accidentally wandered into a local village, such is the raw authenticity in its look and feel. Its cluster of whitewashed cubist houses are sprinkled among weaving paths, quaint patios and well-manicured gardens filled with palm trees, shrubs and plants that somehow feel immaculately positioned. The buildings are inspired by centuries-old Greek architecture and the pace of life around the resort feels like one in tune with yesteryear.
Nestled on an island known for its rejuvenating qualities, it'll probably come as little surprise to you that adults-only OKU Kos is focused on wellness and mindful stays. But the way it marries simplicity with a deep thoughtfulness for both its guests and the encircling environment is as smooth as we've ever seen at a resort. We're talking yoga on its private pearl-white beach, delicious farm-to-fork dining and sensational sunsets that will never fail to lift your mood.
Its appearance may point to a place stuck in the past but the resort's philosophy is very much forward-thinking. It's a bohemian escape that feels effortlessly current and in tune with the demands of the modern-day traveller. Not that your time at OKU Kos will be demanding – anything but. In fact, you'll submit to its serenity quicker than you can say 'aaaaand relax'...
OKU Kos wants everyone to think of their room or villa as their own private sanctuary and that's exactly how they feel.
The decor is every inch as soothing and rustic as the rest of the resort, with the whitewashed exteriors giving way to beige, walnut and chocolate-brown shades throughout. In keeping with the bohemian-chic feel, the design is very much minimalist and mirroring the nature outside, with natural materials like wood, rattan, wicker, local stone and weathered ceramics featuring prominently. Every accommodation has some form of outside space, starting with a spacious terrace and moving up to secluded gardens with private pools as you escalate through the different room types. The ground floor rooms open out onto lush tropical gardens but if you want to wake up to the sea looking back at you, then pick a suite or villa on the rooftop level so you're always greeted by stunning azure views.
The Swim-Up Junior Suites share a tranquil pool with one or two adjoining suites and come complete with sunbeds, thatched parasols and comfy hammocks for lazing in the Mediterranean sunshine. If you fancy your own personal swimming pool, then the Suites with Private Pool have just that, accompanied by generously sized terraces shaded by pergolas. The Villas with Private Pools are bigger still and with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, are ideal for groups or families to call home.
The dining hub at OKU Kos is To Kima, which is not just a restaurant but also a bar and, with its name meaning 'wave' in Greek, buzzing beach club.
Being the only restaurant at the resort, To Kima is the culinary centre for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In keeping with the rest of the resort's ethos, the focus is on farm-to-fork eating and it's far more than just a box-ticking exercise – head chef Mark Vaessen (formerly of SUSHISAMBA in Amsterdam) has a genuine passion for working with the island's farms to source newly picked vegetables, fruit and other produce, while the fish and meat is just as fresh. Inspiration for the dishes also stays local, with a tasty array of Greek and Mediterranean classics like shrimp saganaki, linguini pomodoro with three different types of tomato and baklava cheesecake. With OKU meaning 'inner space' in Japanese, Asian flavours also creep into the menu in the form of sushi and sashimi.
All-day bites, drinks and expertly shaken cocktails are served from To Kima's poolside bar, where you can come and go as you please to quench your thirst whenever you need to.
Oozing relaxation, OKU Kos' serene main pool is the resort's focal point and a place you could easily while away the hours beside. With its coastal location, it would be rude not to inch closer to the beach and the resort's private sugar-white stretch is one of the best on the island. Comfy sunbeds, thatched parasols and shady cabanas aid your downtime in this dreamy spot and even on the hottest days in Kos, the gentle breeze this area receives year-round will keep temperatures comfortable. If you want your days to be a little more energetic, OKU Kos' beach club has stand-up paddleboards and other water sports equipment you can use to paddle the Mediterranean waves.
But Kos is an enchanting island and both us and OKU Kos known it won't be long before you'll want to explore it further. The resort has plenty of experiences up its sleeve, including visiting the colonnaded temple ruins of Asklepion or the crumbling Byzantine citadel of Paleo Pyli – this is Greece, after all. Agora was once the island's bustling marketplace but now its a fascinating patchwork of ancient mosaics, shrines, basilicas and temples. The island's capital, Kos Town, is also a joy to wander with its pretty architecture and cosy tavernas lining the harbour. Natural wonders abound, too, with the flamingo-dotted salt flats of Alykes and peacock-patrolling Plaka Forest nearby.
There are also plenty of boat trips, whether it's to the volcanic drama of Nisyros or the whitewashed villages of Lipsi.
As you'd expect, the wellness offering at OKU Kos is comprehensive. Daily yoga and pilates classes are offered either in the open-air terrace or the beachside shala, where your meditation will be accompanied by the soft sounds of wavelets lapping the shore.
The OKU Spa is a sanctuary fit for somewhere as serene as Kos. Dressed in local stone and wood, the spa creates an indulgent soothing environment where treatments take inspiration from both modern techniques and ancient Greek practices – much like the rest of the resort – with the likes of body scrubs using locally sourced olive oil and Ayurvedic massages on the menu. The spa also boasts a heated indoor swimming pool, separate relaxation area and a hammam for rejuvenating rituals.
Where is OKU Kos?
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