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2013: an eye-opener and a toe-dipper

2nd January 2013 Print

A new way to get to Greece, a Peloponnese secret, the introduction of Cyprus, 11 glorious new properties, and an airline of first-rate repute at your service.

Greek villa specialist GIC The Villa Collection launches its 2013 brochure this week. Over 44 years the team has worked happily and tirelessly to build up the UK’s most admired portfolio of superlatively-situated, fabulously-secluded, luxuriously-appointed villas in areas of Greece untouched by time. This year’s new programme features an unusual means of travel to Greece, two completely new destinations (including Cyprus for the first time), a number of outstanding new properties, and the assurance of German efficiency at either end of your trip.

New for 2013

Travel to Greece by train... the Orient Express, even having received many requests over the years from clients wanting to travel to Greece by rail, GIC The Villa Collection has now introduced an overland travel option. Whether because of a fear of flying, looking for a more environmentally-friendly way to travel, or simply a journey with a difference, taking the train adds a new dimension to a holiday in Greece. Why not super-style it and experience the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, journeying through the Swiss Alps?

Prices start from £1,650 pp (based on two sharing) including one-way train travel, overnight hotel in Venice, seven nights at Villa Ioanna in Corfu including car hire, and return air travel. Orient Express prices start from £3,200 pp.

Stoupa – an enchanting Peloponnesian secret

The Peloponnese is hugely alluring and, after a long search, GIC The Villa Collection has found the right properties to begin its programme here. New for 2013, these are charming stone built villas (sleeping two – six), overlooking the incredibly pretty harbour village of Stoupa (boasting blissful sandy beaches). Each has its own private swimming pool and overlooks olive groves and the sea beyond.

A seven-night stay is from £671 pp (based on six people sharing) including flights (Gatwick) and car hire.

Starting Cyprus, in true GIC style

Dipping its toe into Cypriot waters, GIC The Villa Collection has found two villas in a spectacular location, near to the seaside village of Pomos on the northern coast, with dramatic views: straight out to sea from the black, volcanic promontory on which the villas are perched, with the Akamas peninsula visible to the west, plus, 300 m behind, the pine-clad foothills of the mountains. Villa Stella Maris and Villa Buffavento underwent complete refurbishment in 2010 and offer extremely comfortable, contemporary accommodation within a short scramble of a shingle cove. A couple of kilometres or so from the villas, a renowned seafood restaurant, the Kanali, benefits from the fish caught from the newly stone-built harbour, and each September the International Cyprus Jazz Festival takes up residence.

A seven-night stay is from £540 pp (based on six sharing) including flights (Heathrow in winter, Gatwick in summer) and car hire.

An airline with precision performance and timing

This year German airline Germania (pronounced with a hard ‘G’) will base one of its aircraft at Gatwick on behalf of GIC The Villa Collection. In operation for over 30 years, Germania has modern aircraft and an excellent reputation. A hot meal service, 20kg baggage allowance and pre-allocated seating give other operators (and independent travellers booking flights on low-cost airlines) a run for their money – GIC’s prices are very competitively pitched.

Says Managing Director of GIC The Villa Collection, Chris Wright: “Many of our repeat clientele adore the total seclusion and privacy offered by a good number of our villas, but we’re finding that new clients often seek both privacy and private pool plus the convenience of being within walking distance of tavernas so that they need not drink and drive. Our team can advise which properties suit individual requirements, and we also provide local taxi service details so that, for a modest €10 taxi fare, clients can enjoy the best of both worlds – privacy and people-watching.”

New villa highlights for 2013 include:

Villa Halikounas, sleeps six, Corfu: overlooking a private pool, Lake Korission and the sea, the property is walking distance of a beautiful sandy beach. Recently renovated to a high standard, it has three tavernas within a kilometre’s radius and a number of historical sites, including the magnificent castle at Gardiki, nearby. Prices from £577 pp (six sharing)*.

Villa Islands View, sleeps six, Kefalonia: set to be a favourite, this delightful stone villa, set in extensive gardens (featuring a built-in barbecue) and surrounded by pine trees, has spectacular views across to the islands of Ithaca and Lefkas. The village of Antipata, which has four tavernas and a mini-market, is a five-minute walk away, and sophisticated Fiscardo but a five-minute drive. Prices from £623 pp (six sharing)*.

Athermigo, sleeps ten, Crete: the perfect setting for a family reunion or special occasion, this place has the feeling of a private boutique hotel. Having recently undergone extensive renovation, the main building is set around an eighteenth century olive press, and there are three individual suites in a beautiful garden of fruit and nut trees. It’s possible to bring in a chef to cater for celebratory meals. Prices from £819 pp (six sharing)*.

Villa Petra and Villa Pelagos, each sleeps six, Paxos: the mirror image of each other, these two adjacent (but otherwise neighbourless) villas will appeal to two families wishing to holiday together whilst maintaining a level of privacy. Each impressive villa has its own swimming pool overlooking green valleys and deep blue seas. Prices from £683 pp (four sharing)*.

Villa Blue Stone, sleeps two (plus one or two children), Skopelos: a cosy new villa, furnished to a high standard, it’s ideal for a young family and set to be a very popular addition to the programme. Positioned high above Skopelos Town, views across the valley to the sea are stupendous. Prices from £704 pp (four sharing)*.

* Prices include return flights, car hire where applicable - or transfers - a complimentary welcome pack, plus maid service and linen change twice weekly.

The lead-in price for a seven-night stay at Villa Marina in Kefalonia is from £565 pp (four sharing), including return flights (Gatwick) and car hire. Early booking offers (book before 28 February 2013) include reductions of up to £300 per booking for two-week stays at selected properties. Multi-centre holidays are easily organised.

Through GIC The Villa Collection’s in-house wedding planners, tailor-made arrangements can be made for anyone who has a dream wedding in Greece or Cyprus in mind. From a small ceremony in a friendly fishing village overlooking azure waters to something full of pomp and circumstance at Corfu’s historic town hall, all scales and budgets can be accommodated followed, naturally, by a relaxing and oh-so-private villa-based honeymoon. GIC The Villa Collection has several grouped villas, each with private pool, that allow small wedding parties to enjoy celebrating together alongside that all-important “me-time” for everyone.

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