Its travellers cheques once an indispensible part of every traveller’s packing list, Thomas Cook is reinventing itself in a thoroughly unexpected way. Its first salvo is the launch of a new hotel brand Casa Cook Rhodes, the first of what is hoped to be a global chain of easy, relaxed boltholes.
Berlin-based design agency Lambs & Lions, interior designer Annabell Kutucu and architect Vana Pernari have conspired to create a series of 90 one- and two-storey pool villas in Kolymbia, a small seaside town on the mid-eastern coastline of Rhodes.
Set against a stretch of muscular rocky hills, the vibe is resolutely mid-century California louche with accents of exposed stone walls, timber decks and pergolas, while the bright rooms are strewn with woven straw poufs, rough throws, retro wire chairs and rough cotton.
Following some yoga stretches on open-air terraces, distractions are aplenty beginning with breakfast of quinoa and coconut milk porridge, a pilgrimage to Tsambika, a retail strike for small batch olive oil at the resort’s Casa Cook Store, or a siesta in a hammock.
In the kitchen, Manolis Giorgakis sources local island produce and the resort’s own greenhouse to cook up a medley of saganaki and other Greek classics, vast pots of linguine strewn with clams, crabs and king prawns, and grilled ostrich.