My well-travelled photographer friend Andre Bakker calls Zakspitaki the best bed and breakfast in Greece. I find “best” something that is hard to define, but Nick and Helen’s Zakspitaki is certainly one of my very favourite places to stay as well. Nick, who in a ‘previous’ life first specialised in vintage car restoration and then became a therapist, met his wife Helen in Zanzibar, where she used to work as a nurse for Medicins sans Frontières. Their stone house with light blue shutters, jasmine creeping on the walls, and roses and geraniums growing from big pots is adorable. Two guestrooms are in the house itself, one set under the eaves of the top floor, and below it, the quirky ‘Africa-styled’ Zanzibar room, which opens directly onto the (very quiet) road. Tucked away in the garden, a little flower-filled paradise with terraces and a plunge pool, is a tiny cottage with a small but sweet double room, and the larger Jacaranda cottage that was mine for the night. It has a bedroom with a handmade double bed (very comfy) from India and mosquito netting hanging from the beamed ceiling, spacious sitting room with a mezzanine where kids can sleep, and a country-style kitchen – everything very pretty, homey and also a tad exotic.
1 cottage (Jaracanda) for up to 4 persons with one bedroom, a sitting room, a fully equipped kitchen (2 single beds on a mezzanine)
1 large double room
1 small double room (this is a small garden cottage with a the bathroom that is right outside the room)
En-suite bathroom (shower)
Television with DVD player (no TV channels, and only in the Jacaranda Cottage)
CD player and/or iPod docking station
Kitchen (only in the Jacaranda cottage)
Internet access in most of the property
Breakfast is served in the garden between 8 and 10.30 am. I thought it was delicious. Helen brought me fresh bread, her own jams (the whiskey marmalade was amazing!), cake, prosciutto, cheeses, yoghurt and fruits. And with it, a piece of aluminium foil, so that I could wrap up whatever was too much and have it later in the day. How thoughtful!
If you stay in the Jacaranda cottage, you have a large kitchen where you can cook your own meals, and if you stay in one of the other rooms, you are welcome to use Helen and Nick’s kitchen. In the evening they sometimes cook for their guests. (They made me a wonderful stir-fry, which came with excellent wine and conversation until late at night.) For eating out there is a simple-fare taverna nearby, and in the coastal villages you will of course also find plenty of restaurants.
Children from the age of 14 are very much welcome at Zakspitaki. The Jaracanda Cottage is most comfortable for families. It has a spacious living room, a large kitchen, a double bedroom and two single beds on a mezzanine level.
There are plenty of beautiful little coves and beaches (mostly small pebbles, some with fine sand as well, and the waters are crystal clear) your children will enjoy. Take your snorkelling gear, or, why not, sign up for diving lessons at one of the scuba diving schools on Paxos. Another great family activity is to rent a little boat for the day (no licence needed).
Zakspitaki is in a hillside hamlet, about 1,5 km from the coastal village of Loggos. It is a very quiet and beautiful location, with views of olive groves, greenery and the sea. You can walk down to the sea to go for a swim, but it’s a bit of exercise to come back up.
If you come with your own car, you can take a ferry from Igoumenitsa (normally, there are two ferries a day, and the crossing takes one or two hours). If you come from abroad, you should fly to Corfu. There are several daily flights from Athens and in the summer there are also direct flights from abroad. There are several boats from Corfu to Paxos; Nick and Helen will assist you with your transfer and pick you up from the port on Paxos.
We stayed here for our honeymoon in June 2013, 5 nights in Jacaranda cottage and a couple of nights in the Summer House. A beautiful island made even more special staying here, the attention to detail, quality of accommodation from beds to outside spaces and wonderful breakfast feasts make this place extra special. Helen and Nick were great hosts, attentive without being intrusive, special touches like frozen water for our day out on a speedboat, tinfoil at beakfast should you not be able to eat the homemade breads and cakes and champagne in our fridge (honeymoon special) elevate Zakispitaki to a 5 star stay.