F Zeen hotel review: Reconnect, recharge and rejuvenate at this adults-only wellness retreat in Kefalonia

Looking for somewhere to live out your 'New Year; new me' mantra? Then follow in the footsteps of Victoria Marston who discovers a perfect break from reality on the Greek island of Kefalonia.

I am sitting cross-legged in the forest, mildly intoxicated by its clean, green scent. The rhythmic crash of waves drifts up from below and I swear I can see them breaking on the shore, on the back of my closed eyelids. ‘Let go of your thoughts,’ encourages our yoga teacher, entirely needlessly — mine have already been drowned out by Nature and the all-encompassing warmth of the Greek sun as it sets pinkly on the horizon.

‘Reconnect, recharge, rejuvenate’ implores the website for family-owned, adults-only retreat F Zeen on the island of Kefalonia (no excited shrieking piercing the calm here — it’s almost as though the child-catcher has been around before our arrival, even if you venture past the private stretch of beach). Sprawling over the hillside leading down to the Ionian Sea, the warm stone and clever landscaping — with little koi ponds and natural-looking planting that is clearly highly thought-out — of the 63 rooms, pools, spa areas, yoga decks, outdoor gym, tennis courts, golf simulator and restaurants blend into the surroundings rather than intruding on them and really do amount to a ‘retreat’ rather than a hotel. 

Yes, there are large boards listing the many activities available each day (hikes, mindfulness and snorkelling; circuit training and body sculpt for the truly dedicated), but it’s more than that. The moment you pass through the gates, the rest of the world seems to melt away, to be worried about on another day, by another you. When the taxi driver tells you you’re staying at ‘the best place’ (in Lourdas? The whole island?), you suspect you’re in for a treat. At F Zeen, you certainly are.

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While you’re there

  • Check the film schedule for the outdoor cinema and book a beanbag chair beneath the stars, complete with white sand, headphones and snacks
  • Keep an eye on the daily specials at the two restaurants, Gaia and Selini — the moussaka is like nothing available on UK shores
  • Grab a paddleboard and head left along the coast, where you will find tiny secluded beaches along the way (and possibly the odd nude sunbather, our waiter warns)
  • Try a tea, juice or smoothie from the wellness-drinks menu: the Bee is a blend of almond milk, banana, bee pollen, honey, tahini, cinnamon and Greek yoghurt that tastes too delicious to actually be good for you — but it is!
  • Walk up the hill into the heart of the old village of Lourdas and celebrate making it up there with a cold beer at Cafe Platanos, which offers one of the best views down to the sea

Did you know?

Kefalonia is the setting for Louis de Bernières Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, inspired by the Italian occupation of the island during the Second World War. You can visit locations used for the film adaptation, but there is also a war memorial and museum dedicated to the soldiers of the Acqui Division massacred by the Nazis at Argostoli, less than half an hour’s drive from F Zeen.

Rooms from €300 (about £265) a night (00 30 26710 31423)