In the last few years something really good happened in my native country. A number of big names in the hotel world started making an appearance on the Greek shores. The latest chain to do so is Thomas Cook, which has a long standing relationship with most islands in Greece but has now launched three signature resorts under the brand name Casa Cook.
Currently in three popular locations (Kos, Rhodes and lately Chania, which launched late in 2018 and missed most of the action over the summer), Casa Cook brings California cool vibes, with pared back interiors where the surrounds make most of the talking. It is a boutique hotel but not a luxury hotel. For luxury head over to Elounda Beach Hotel in Crete or Myconos Blu (a Grecotel resort).
In Kos, close to Marmari in the north part of the island, the brand claims to take inspiration from traditional Greek island architecture. That's probably a personal interpretation, although the tadelact style sinks and showers are most definitely a thing in the Dodecanese islands (a group of 12 islands in central East Aegean sea, opposite Turkey).
Casa Cook Kos has a village-like feel with one and two-storey cubist houses grouped around gardens and patios. With no more than 100 rooms ranging in size from Classic Rooms to Villas, they are all open onto a private terrace and are outfitted with COCO-MAT mattresses, rainshowers, mini-bars, free WiFi and air conditioning.
Junior Suites are tiered with a lounge area, a garden and a pool shared with only one or two other neighbours.
The spacious Suites and two-bedroom Villas are the ultimate indulgence with a private garden and pool. No matter which level of luxury you choose, the low-key style comes with lots of comfort.
Clean-lined furniture combine with rough, natural textures, and exotic accessories to create your perfect down-time sanctuary. From here you can enjoy daily walks to Mastichari and Marmari along the beach.
Cosmopolitan flair meets the Greek "parea" philosophy in this 100-room boutique hotel, located on the northern coast of Kos Island. Signifying a group of friends that gather and nourish each other's spirits, the parea notion is deeply embedded in all that is Casa Cook Kos.
Remember that this is a very relaxed place. You have to walk on wooden planks all the way to the beach and the surroundings are untouched. No trimmed gardens and lawns here! If you are a little bohemian in spirit, this will be the right place for you.
About the island
Located in the Dodecanese group of islands, the Greek island of Kos is around 4km from the coast of Bodrum in Turkey.
The island is around 40 km long and 8 km wide and has a number of towns and villages. The main town and port is also called Kos, but the island's other villages include Kefalos, Tingaki, Kardamena, Mastihari, Antimachia, Marmari and Pyli.
Kos Town is usually quite busy and there is lots to do there. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs in the town which have led to the island as a whole becoming very popular with tourists. For those visitors looking for a bargain, practically everything is available in the island's shops from ceramics to fur, shoes to books and clothes and jewellery to leather products.
The most popular tourist centres on the island often also have many small shops offering handmade goods such as ceramics and embroideries along with more traditional local products such as honey, herbs, wine, sweets and spices.
Places to visit
While Kos has many beaches to spend your days in, you should also try the 40' ferry to Kalumnos, even to admire the capital. Kalymnos is known for its sponge divers and sponge fisheries and its inland terrain is steep and rocky and is popular with climbers.
There are over 1,300 different climbing routes on the island that range in difficulty and terrain. Some routes are on slabs, some on big walls or on overhangs. The landscape used to be a curse for the island's residents but as it attracts visitors to the island it is now a blessing, certainly in terms of tourism. You can find ferry tickets here.
Magic Beach Kefalos - snorkeling paradise
This south-western sweep in Kefalos has caramel sands and waters so clear, you can look down and see shoals of fish. It’s also the island’s broadest beach, so there’s plenty of space. Better still, the whole place is backed by tavernas serving tasty menus of seafood dishes.
This place is as lively as they come. This 3-kilometre-long golden sweep runs parallel to a palm-studded promenade, which is lined with bars, pubs and restaurants serving everything from Greek meze to fish and chips. It’s by far the best beach in Kos for watersports – you’ll find the likes of jet skis and banana boats for hire down by the shore.
Castle of the Knights
Kos Town’s castle may have fallen into ruin since it was built in the 14th century, but it’s still got all the hallmarks of a noble fortress. We’re talking a moat, turrets, battlements, and even cannons. Next to the entrance, you’ll find Kos’ pride and joy – its Plane Tree. This enormous tangle of trunk and branches is thought to be the oldest in Europe.
Time it right and you can wade over to this little islet from Kefalos Beach. Reason being, Kastri is connected to Kos proper by a sandbank, so at low tide, you can wade out through the water over to it.
When you get there, turn 180 degrees on yourself to take in the fantastic view of Kefalos. Plus, there’s a dinky blue-roofed monastery here that’s got ‘photo op’ written all over it.
SHOP THE CASA COOK LOOK
Left to right: Croft Collection Arundel Marble Salt and Pepper Shakers, £15 | Yanaelle African Wicker Mask 2, £35 | Taserki Leather Rug, £50 | Taupe Fabric and Acacia Camp Bed with Pillow, £105 | MERLIN Solid Oak Block Side Table, £109 | LEON Soapstone Dip Serving Bowls, Set of 3, Dia.9cm, £20.00 | THÉOPHANE Designer Rattan Chair, £249 | Teak Sun Lounger with Ecru Cushion | ANTALYA Turkish Style Hand Towel, £10
SHOP THE CASA COOK LOOK
Left to right: Qualimna Glass Carafe with Wooden Strapping | Dulwich Designs Heritage Washbag, Black, £65 | Pleat Front Chino Shorts, £27 | Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Scrub Bar, 250g, £15 | Georgina beaded fringe-trimmed bag, £465 | Mouna + Malou triangle bikini set, £210 | 2 woven coir cushions 63 x 63cm and 83 x 83cm, £150 | BADIANE Handcrafted Woven Basket, £70 | LSA International Mistral Oak Candleholder, Medium, £65 | Tribute Nu Pieds leather sandals, Saint Laurent, £425