The real problem with the Amanzoe hotel in the Argolid hills near Porto Heli, the huge elephant in the room, the glaring flaw that no-one wants to mention, is that it renders you completely incapable of dealing with the outside world, unfit for anything that has not been filtered through the prism of Aman sensibility, training and polishing.
In the Aman world, lofty halls and soaring columns reflect in pools of cool water, artfully placed cypresses wave gently across the sky, the breakfast eggs have been hand-picked by Chef Boutsalis from Mr Paschalis’ chicken coop in the farm in nearby Fourni, mountain tea has been spiked with cardamom and herbs from the mountain behind, and lavender, thyme, cystus and white oleanders bloom quietly on all roof tops and path verges. Angels glide around silently, dispensing chilled towels, cold drinks, and smiles, yoga mats in the yoga platform are placed to face the wonderful views.
Even the solitary baby that was here during my all too brief stay cried in hushed tones and the tortoise outside my terrace seemed in a positively indecent haste. A young couple who clearly didn’t get it, had bicycled the 7 kilometres down to the beach club. I think that the Aman minivan went to pick the bikes up while they had lunch down there, so that they got back in time for their honey and yogurt facial wrap, session in the Watsu therapy pool, and holistic massages. Though the prospect of staying till dusk down on the beach with its airy pavilion and warm, shallow turquoise waters would be greater enticement for me than the spa.
It is a dangerous state to be in; the sweet young waiter forgot the milk for my coffee one morning and I almost wept in despair, nothing so terrible had ever happened to me before in my life – or at least since I was born on Planet Aman. Goodness knows if the hotel ever manages to get anyone to go on any of the wonderful tours to the historical sites of the Peloponnese, although one of the hotel angels can accompany guests in case of post-Aman panic attacks.
In front of my eyes, one of the hotel staff suggested to a guest that she visit the nearby island of Spetses. ” Oh no,” she exclaimed, a look of horror on her face, “I couldn’t possibly!”
I know exactly how she felt.