The first boats moored up are definitely for pleasure of a certain kind – round-the-island cruisers dressed up like pirate galleons to pour gallons of all-inclusive booze down the throats of their passengers.
“A Booze Cruise To Shipwreck Bay” with the emphasis much more on the wrecked than the ship. Then come the charters, 40ft sailboats which trail around these Ionian islands like ducks in a row in search of those beaches inaccessible by road.
“And finally the privateers, the serious money, with uniformed staff, teak decks and big boys’ toys.
When we settle at a table in front of the Porto bar, nursing a chilled bottle of Mythos as the sun turns the brown walls of the glorious Saint Dionysius Cathedral a fiery orange, it dawns on me that we have just seen Zante in microcosm.
Just like the plastic tat that spills out on to the pavements cheek by jowl with the high-end designer boutiques in the old town’s narrow streets, so the occupants of these berths represent Zakynthos in a nutshell.
Yes it’s got all the trappings of mainstream tourism, good and bad, punters packaged up and sent over from northern Europe, bussed into the massive resorts with their water slides, crazy golf and crucial bottomless glasses.
But like those charter sailors, it is possible to go off the beaten track and find something a little, well, calmer, quieter. Classier.
Like the Lesante Blu.
Greeted by one of the hotel’s Range Rovers at the airport, we drive along windy country roads past vineyards and groves of olives and citrus.
A sharp turn in the road reveals the sculpted, modern, refined world of this new hotel with colours that are muted and lines sharp and modern.
The architecture of this adults-only resort is sympathetic from wherever you look.
Swim out from the private beach and look back, and it appears to emerge from its surroundings, the vast windows of each room like caves in a rock face.
Yet from the top floor of the main building it pours into the sea; roofs covered in grass, the mini canals that thread through the resort all stretching towards an infinity pool the colour of which blend perfectly with the Mediterranean beyond.
The mood of the place is reflected in the rooms – simple, airy and elegant, every one with a balcony offering a glorious sea view.
We watch the sun rise over the mainland before ambling down to spend a day lounging on the beds around the pool or on the little garden beside the beach, where the bar serves snacks and excellent cocktails.
Dinner is the extensive spread offered in the Gaia buffet restaurant, or fine dining in the Melia beside the pool – don’t look any further than the fish of the day, simply grilled, lemon-spritzed and salted.
Taste that matches its surroundings quite perfectly.
Rather like the hotel.
● GETTING THERE Sovereign Luxury Travel (01293 832459/sovereign.com) offers seven nights at the Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort from £1,160 (two sharing), B&B.
Price includes return flights from Gatwick with Norwegian Air and transfers.
Greek tourism: visitgreece.gr