Domes Miramare: Corfu’s adults-only haven reserved for the stylish traveller

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The last thing I expected when landing in Corfu from London was to be met with rain. I’m aware you can’t count on the weather, but it would be fair to say my expectations (and luggage) were a little dampened. “Don’t worry,” says our chauffeur as he winds through leafy roads fringing the water’s edge, “it’s always sunny at Miramare.” 

Optimistic, hopeful or perhaps just a seasoned local, he’s right. Half an hour south of Corfu International Airport, we arrive at the sunlit, waterfront Domes Miramare hotel – the Corfiot outpost from the award-winning Domes Resorts, one of the fastest-growing luxury hospitality groups in Greece with sister hotels dotted across the country’s islands, from Milos to Mykonos. Basking in the rays of the Greek sun, the private gates of the five-star property open up to reveal modernist suites, olive trees and picture-perfect views of the Ionian sea from pristine manicured lawns. 

Built in 1962, the property was owned by the Onassis family in the late 1960s. Headed by shipping magnate Aristotle, one of the world’s most famous men at the time, it was Gerasimos Patronikolas, husband of Aristotle’s sister Callirrhoe Onassis, who saw the potential in the island’s natural beauty and chose this 500-year-old seafront olive grove to build his passion resort. 

Today, Domes Miramare is still centred around a large olive tree (kept alive via the temperature-regulating skylights) found in the hotel’s lobby and encompasses a large complex of waterfront villas, suites and guest rooms within seconds of the hotel’s private beach. Last year, unsurprising demand for a room at the adults-only resort warranted a huge 7,000sqm extension to the rear of the complex. Named the Panoramic Wing due to its sweeping views, the extension – accessed via an underground passage – continues Domes Miramare’s original modernist aesthetic in a contemporary style with the façade reinvented with clean archways inspired by Corfu Old Town’s heritage buildings. 

Interiors are immaculate. The lobby-based Blu Bar – once a popular drinking den for the crème de la crème of Europe who hosted parties here during the Sixties (think Jackie O, Maria Callas and US President Jimmy Carter) – features art available to buy and overlooks an Assouline corner boasting coffee-table books dedicated to the hotel’s heyday to its east and a sushi-serving Raw Bar to its west. 

Thoughtful touches abound: large wooden chains draping the entrance to the reception replicate the chains belonging to a sunken ship of the Onassis fleet. Inside my waterfront Emerald Retreat – accessed via paved walkways along the waterfront or chauffeured golf buggies – blue conch lamps, soft white linen bedding and seaweed-shaped mirrors pay homage to the Ionian sea beyond the window while the soothing cream and beige palette complements the relaxing atmosphere. Fitted with a king-sized bed, an en suite marble bathroom with pastel mosaic sink, and walk-in shower, white marble tables and tree trunk stools furnish the space alongside flourishes of hand-picked local and international artwork. 

The northern slice of the Seafront Wing is referred to as the Haute Living section, a signature part of the Domes’ brand, and often houses the resort’s high society and royal guests in its HRH Pearl and Ivory Villas (in fact, so frequently do they visit that the hotel has installed bulletproof glass) and boasts luxury and enhanced privacy in equal doses. 

These fully-detached, single storey villas sit adjacent to two spa suites with captivating vistas across the sea towards Albania, as well as hot tubs and a large pool deck. Reserved for VIP explorers of Greece’s most aristocratic destination, package-paying guests have the option to utilise the Haute Living Room, where a never-ending stream of refreshments and concierge services are on offer at no extra charge. 

Back to the weather though (I really am a typical Brit), the locals tell me that it’s strange for this time of year. The entirety of Europe seems to be suffering from a late start to the summer season – and you’d be forgiven for thinking that such a beach resort would rely on a splash of sunshine to elevate the experience. But naturally, the hotel has already catered for unpredictable island weather, offering daily Pilates and yoga classes on its terrace, sound healing experiences under a canopy of palms, authentic Greek coffee tastings in the Blu Bar and a host of local musicians serenading guests as they while away the hours, all before the sun comes out to play so you can take a dip in the azure waters and bask on the sunbeds fringing the shores. 

Worked up an appetite? The Waterfront Wing is home to three restaurants to sate your appetite, whatever your dining preferences. Fine-dining foodies should book a table at the award-winning Makris where executive chef Petros Dimas has prepared a delectable menu combining the best Mediterranean and Corfiot cuisine. Sushi lovers should head to the aforementioned Raw Bar, or perhaps to all-day dining destination, 1962 Restaurant, where healthy buffet breakfasts are served in the morning before making way for a seasonally-driven a la carte in the evening. Come July, the Panoramic Wing will add two more culinary offerings to the resort: elevated Greek restaurant Korypho and the Panorama Pool bar. 

But, what about the rest of the island? Excursion options are plentiful and I recommend the artisanal candle making workshop at family-run atelier Choé, located in the hills of Corfu, which designed the fresh aroma that fills Domes Miramare’s halls. 

Those willing to splash the cash, and travel in serious style, can hire the hotel’s speedboat, Mirametta, which will pick you up from the jetty for a transfer to the beating cultural heart of the island: Corfu Old Town. The leisurely ride – which can be accompanied by bottles of Moët & Chandon champagne, ice-cold wine and fresh charcuterie boards upon request – follows the Corfiot coastline, with scenery akin to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Once on dry land, you’ll discover the town’s plethora of cultural and architectural influences, ranging from British palaces to Byzantine churches, and French esplanades to Asian art galleries. A stroll around the town highlights Corfu’s Venetian architecture (it was under the Italian state’s rule for 400 years) and I’d recommend a jaunt to the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George where Prince Philip was baptised in 1922, and happens to be a short walk from the marina where Mirametta docks. 

An integral aspect of Miramare’s appeal is the fact it’s an adults-only resort, but those looking for the Domes experience with toddlers in tow can book into the Domes of Corfu. Enveloped in pine and cypress woodland  – and just a short drive from Corfu Old Town – the hotel is the only luxury resort standing on the island’s most famous, blue flag beach Glyfada. Family-friendly buffets, swimming pools and spas (which offer a roster of parent and baby classes) are key draws, but the Ofsted-approved kids club, Kiepos, is one of the hotel’s most helpful additions, on hand to entertain little ones with kids yoga, herb craft, messy play and finger painting sessions. And relax. 

From £515 per night, visit

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