Wellness Escapes: Why W Costa Navarino will forever be one of my go-to holiday destinations

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W Costa Navarino: The lobby
(Image credit: W Costa Navarino)

As Health and Sustainability Editor here at Marie Claire UK, there's nothing I love more than a relaxing holiday destination that prioritises both wellness and sustainable practice.

That's why, heading to W Costa Navarino last year, I couldn't wait to review the hotel. Nestled in Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese of Greece, it's the first W Hotel to open in Greece and the second W Hotel in Europe. While Costa Navarino is currently home to four 5-star hospitality offerings, the W is a vibrant, design-focused addition to the quarter-of-a-century-old hotspot.

Set on a scenic 450-meter-long sandy beach overlooking the uninhabited island of Sfaktiria in the protected Bay of Navarino, the hotel boasts some impressive sustainability credentials - more on that later - and an extensive wellness offering, too, with a focus on fresh local food, soul-soothing spa treatments, a state-of-the-art gym and more water sports than you can imagine.

It's not all yoga and olive oil treatments, though - the hotel manages to effortlessly fuse wellness with fun, also offering a poolside DJ and beach-front bars. Parelia, their beach-side drinking and dining spot, is a marvel in and of itself, firmly cementing it as a five-star destination. Every design detail is considered, with architecture masterminded by renowned Greek architects Tombazis and Associates and art from up-and-coming Greek artists. I'd read that the 226-room hotel feels like its own little Greek coastal village and that it really does, complimented by olive trees and cobbled paths.

Keen to read more about staying at W Costa Navarino? Read on - because it's no exaggeration to say it's now firmly cemented as one of my go-to holiday destinations. 

W Costa Navarino: "Swaying olive trees, rugged mountains and sweeping shores make for a seriously relaxing getaway"

Who is W Costa Navarino for?

Couples, groups of friends, and families with children over the age of twelve years old. While other resorts at Costa Navarino are kid-friendly, the W fosters a more adult, beach club vibe - and I won't lie, lying poolside without the hubbub of children in the background is incredibly relaxing.

The lack of children complements the laid-back, wellness-focused feel of the resort. By day, enjoy a chilled beach club vibe or book a session at the spa, and by evening, take your pick from a handful of different bars, restaurants and eateries with local fare at the forefront of the menu.

W Costa Navarino review: The beach bar

(Image credit: Ally Head)

The setting

The modern yet authentic hotel is sure to tick many a holiday-goer's box thanks to its picturesque beachfront and rich local history (fun fact: the battle of Navarino took place in the bay in 1827). 

Swaying olive trees, rugged mountains and sweeping shores remind you that you're in the heart of the Peloponnese, and their newly opened Navarino Agora - a curated marketplace and incubator of art and culture, a short five-minute walk away - offers handpicked retail, restaurants and street food venues, an open-air cinema and VR entertainment alongside a rich program of events including music and dance performances, art and book exhibitions, an antique's bazaar and more.

What makes it a must-visit, however, is its effortlessly elevated architecture and interior design. It oozes Mediterranean relaxation - think natural stone walls, angular wooden panels and traditional lighting and flooring designed as a nod to the Greek basket weavers of the past. That, paired with light, airy spaces, reclaimed furniture and soft linen upholstery, complements the sweeping blue panorama of the sea.

Pops of colour from young artists at the Athens School of Fine Arts give it a contemporary, current feel. In a thoughtful finishing touch, the iconic W totem has been handcrafted using reclaimed wood collected from old fishing boats. If you fancy checking out the other hotels at Navarino Dunes, a shuttle runs hourly to transport you to your destination.

While there are plenty of different rooms on offer - 226, to be precise - they all offer slightly different options. Choose from a double room with panorama sea views or beachfront villas with your own private pool. We were lucky to enjoy an infinity swim-up room which, despite having a shared pool, felt intimate and luxurious. The room itself was effortlessly chic, spacious, and tastefully designed, with plush bedding, Wildsmith toiletries and an Aperol spritz station set up to welcome us on arrival. 

W Costa Navarino review: The rooms

(Image credit: Ally Head)

The programme and spa

W Costa Navarino offers a wealth of fitness classes, watersports and treatment options in a relaxed and informal way - there's no pressure to jam-pack your trip with activities, rather, a gentle hum of options on offer.

The gym is state-of-the-art with both an indoor and outdoor space looking out onto the bay, meaning you can complete your workout lapping up breathtaking views. Fancy a class or personal training session? There are plenty on offer, from one-to-one options to daily yoga, Pilates and cardio group workouts.

If you'd rather get your heart rate up by taking in the local nature, Navarino Outdoors offer guided tours to the nearby Kalamaris waterfall, Voidokilia beach, Palaiokastro and more. There's also paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing on offer at  Navarino Watersports by Moraitis, and four signature golf courses, twelve tennis courts and five paddle and pickleball courts at Navarino Dunes just a short drive away. If swimming is more your thing, there's also a dedicated lap pool.

Enjoy their warm Greek hospitality with a treatment at their AWAY spa - a soothing, dimly lit oasis with an impressively extensive menu of treatments. We enjoy one of their award-winning olive oil treatment in a "room for two," and leave feeling like a floaty, tension-free cloud. 

What I enjoy most about the wellness offering at the hotel is that it's weaved seamlessly into your day-to-day - working out isn't a chore or add-on, but something you can't wait to get stuck into thanks to the facilities on offer. Refuel post-workout with the fresh fruit protein smoothies Green Pepper, their all-day vegetarian hub.

W Costa Navarino review: Ally by the pool

(Image credit: Ally Head)

The food

I love good food - I once worked at a food magazine - so can be quite fussy. That said, you're spoilt for choice at W Costa Navarino. Choose from Platia - a take on a traditional Greek food market with delicacies from around the country, the W Lounge - a relaxed bar with great cocktails, small plates and the best view of the sunset, and Parelia - their signature beach club overlooking the Bay of Navarino. After dinner, enjoy a sundowner at the Between Bar, an Ibiza-inspired bar with live music DJs, cocktails and spritzes. 

There's also a gorgeous cafe with fresh juices, homemade pastries and Freddo cappuccinos on tap. 

All of their restaurants serve Mediterranean dishes designed to be shared and some excellent local wines. Our go-to for our trip was the unbelievably flavourful Greek salad packed full of local Kalamata olives, the whipped cod's roe with fresh bread, and any of their locally sourced seafood.  

W Costa Navarino review: The greek salad

(Image credit: Ally Head)

Don't miss

The magic of W Costa Navarino lies in the relaxed, laid-back vibe that oozes from the resort - so much so, that it's almost impossible not to feel peaceful.

I'd be lying if I said my favourite part wasn't relaxing by the pool lapping up the glorious Greek sunshine and reading my book, that said, it'd be a shame not to make the most of everything the hotel has to offer. A trip to the spa is a must, as is a waterfront cocktail at their newly opened marketplace. Another highlight of our trip was a dedicated olive oil tasting where we got to learn about the rich history of Grecian olive oil and the many different varieties, just one of the many authentic experiences guests can enjoy at Costa Navarino.

Being only a few hours from Athens, you're also in a prime position to split your time and venture into the Greek capital. We divided our trip and loved being able to explore the hilltop citadel, which is brimming with ancient history and sites including the Parthenon temple and the Acropolis.

W Costa Navarino review: The poolside

(Image credit: Ally Head)

Sustainability efforts

Staff have worked hard across all five resorts to ensure that noise, light, and infrastructure don't impact the local environment or wildlife - one small part of what makes their sustainability credentials noteworthy. Last year, the destination reduced the use of guest-related single-use plastics by 57% and plastic bottles by 59%, not to mention recycled more than 200 tonnes of waste, aiming to eliminate the use of plastic. 

Partnering with WWF Greece,  they've long worked hard to preserve the landscape and biodiversity of Messinia, a region with one of the highest biodiversity levels in Europe. Not only are they implementing the most extensive olive tree transplanting program in Europe - 7,000 olive trees have been replanted so far alongside more than 9,900 new indigenous trees and 1,200,000 endemic shrubs of different species - but in collaboration with the Navarino Environmental Observatory and the Department of Science and Mathematics of the American College of Greece (Deree), they're working on a project to monitor the population of the endemic and critically endangered African chameleon. They also have an extensive monitoring and protection program for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in cooperation with Archelon, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, having recorded 66 nests in 2023 along The Dunes Beach.

Also worth noting is the destination’s bioclimatic architecture, with approximately 90% of the total land area dedicated to indigenous and planted greenery and plenty of free-standing open and planted rooftops. 

Their efforts aren't to be shrugged at - the entire ethos of the resort is centred around building a better tomorrow and making sustainability the norm not the exception for guests.

W Costa Navarino review: The lobby

(Image credit: Ally Head)

The cost

Rooms start from €340 for a "Fabulous Bay Room." Book your trip now on the Costa Navarino website. You can get a direct flight, which takes around three and a half hours, from London Stanstead to Kalamata via Jet2.

What to pack

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.