License to Chill
Marq Riley finds more than a quantum of solace at the mesmerizing new Elixir Spa 007.
photo © Marq Riley
"The warm August air blew through Bond's open-top Aston Martin DB9 as he made his way down the winding Attica coast road. He caught himself enjoying the scenic approach to this rare furlough granted by M. 'Take some R&R,' he had been told, or 'Retreat & Resist getting into trouble,' as Bond jokingly accepted. It was at least a quantum of solace from his many missions, a welcome respite from 'occupational stress'.
As the road curved around olive groves and terracotta coves, the marble columns of Poseidon's Temple appeared upon their impressive rock, cleaving into the Aegean sea, an ageless homage to an untamable god. The entrance to his destination, the Cape Sounio Exclusive Resort, lay right across the bay. After he had checked in,a courtesy cart drove him up the pine- and cypress-dotted hill to the Elixir Spa. Even by his experience the setting was stunning, enough to distract him from the receptionist's sincere smile. 'Good afternoon Mr Bond, we have been expecting you,' she welcomed, but his attention was diverted. Something about the place seemed strangely familiar: the copper-studded doors, the minimalist fireplace and maze-like corridors. Where had he seen this before?"
The first time I read about the presence of a spa at the Cape Sounio Grecotel Exclusive Resort, I felt as if I had uncovered a well-kept secret about an exotic locale. Now before you get all excited about the prologue,it is not an excerpt from the upcoming James Bond movie novelisation. The Elixir Spa 007 is so named because Grecotel architect Dimitris Peppas styled the premises based on the characteristic sets of Dr No, the first James Bond movie.
photo © Marq Riley
Also stemming from the sixties, the original building's layout, a cookhouse, was preserved to incorporate a glass-walled reception area facing the sea, a kitchen turned into the ladies' changing rooms (complete with fireplace), while treatment chambers let in diffused sunlight and the sound of chirping cicadas. This unique design combined with the spectacular surroundings inspired me to write a special introduction. My mode of transport may not have been a DB9, but otherwise the experience is much like entering a classic Bond adventure, sans technicolour explosions but also without sparing any modern comforts.
Beyond the cinematic concept and unbeatable environment, Elixir Spa 007 holds its own as a spa. An octagonal satellite building forms an impressive whirlpool and Jacuzzi with a view to the temple, sauna cabins are present in both changing areas and amenities include complimentary toiletries by Apivita.
My scheduled Poseidon Massage (95 euros for 60 mins) consisted of a total body aromatherapy, a drainage massage with highly effective almond oil as well as head, face and reflexology massages. Inspired by the grooming rituals of classical-era beauties, it was the perfect accompaniment to the historic topography. Foundations of the temple builders' encampment still show on the resort's grounds, yet I doubt they had the luxury of a soothing muscle massage after a hard day's marble-hauling. Obviously the romantic destination lends itself well to special signature treatments for two, including a tantalizing hot chocolate body mask (220 euros for 60 mins).
photo © Marq Riley
All in all, the Elixir Spa 007 lives up to expectations, even if you have never seen Sean Connery and Ursula Andress get caught up in Dr No's lair. Flirting with the movie's decor is a welcome alternative in Attica's spa-scape,but be warned, you may not be able to escape the place's mesmerizing beauty. Like a dry martini, it lingers on for quite a while; chilled, not stirred.
The Elixir Spa 007 is at Cape Sounio Grecotel Exclusive Resort in Greece, tel 22920 69700. Closed from November to Easter
© 2008 Marq Riley - www.marqriley.com
First published: October 2008, Athens Insider
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