“A sociable eco-retreat of 4 villas and 3 apartments with a communal dining room and pool, set in the mountains near Achlada, but only 10 minutes from the beach”
The residence’s simple but comfortable cubic Villas and Studio Apartments (which we’re yet to see) each provide accommodation for 2-4 people (Villas can fit 6 at a push with the use of 2 rollaway beds). Although they're quite close together, they have been built to maximise privacy, so you're not overlooking one another. The furniture is wooden, whitewashed and locally made, and splashes of colour are added by the curtains and bed-covers, either mauve or beige, depending which Villa or Apartment you’re in.
The split-level Villas (named Alpha, Vita, Gamma and Delta) have an open-plan living room with a tile floor and fireplace (logs are provided for chilly nights), plus 2 sofas which can be made up as extra beds. Wooden stairs lead up to a mezzanine with a double bed, plus a terrace with 2 sunbeds and a table, from which you'll see fine sunset views across the olive groves towards the sea.
Studio Apartments are spread over a single floor; they have a double bedroom and spacious living area with a sofa that can be made up as an extra bed.
All Villas and Apartments have a kitchen (with a small oven, a fridge and a table seating 4) that leads off the living room. This opens onto a stone patio with another table so you can sit out with drinks and snacks. There's also a tile-floor bathroom with a tub and handheld shower.
With mountain air and total peace and quiet, you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep. We like the idea of returning in autumn or spring, to light the log fire and see the landscape take on russet hues, or come to life with wild flowers.
Each Villa and Apartment has a kitchen with a cooker (small oven and 2 hot plates) and fridge, plus plates, cutlery and pots and pans. Basic ingredients are supplied (salt, pepper, flour, oil, washing up liquid etc). The best place to shop for provisions is the Carrefour supermarket, a 10-minute drive away.
There's also a communal dining room if you don't feel like cooking (as it's generally cooler indoors than out). Guests can stop by for breakfast - there are no set times - and we enjoyed local yoghurt and honey, fresh fruit, bread, hard-boiled eggs and coffee.
In the evening, there’s a a la carte dinner where everyone eats together (unless they specifically request otherwise). A long table is set in the dining room or on the poolside patio, and the meal lasts for several hours as people enjoy chatting and drinking. Conversation flows easily and amusingly from one language to another.
All the meals are prepared with local produce, organic when possible. We stayed for 2 nights. On the first night, we feasted on barbecued lamb and pork chops, salad, and baked potato and tzatziki. On the second night, we chose aubergine slices baked with tomato and feta cheese, followed by a tasty gouvetsi (lamb stewed in a rich tomato sauce and served with pasta). Light lunches are available on request.
If you decide to eat out, there’s a kafenio (coffee house) in Achlada serving light meals, plus a handful of tavernas in the villages of Rogdia and Fodele, both just a 10-minute drive away and very popular with Greeks.
Throughout the winter months, the dining room and terrace will operate as an evening café, serving drinks; there will be occasional live Greek bands playing, too.
The Villas are designed to sleep 2-4 (5 at a push) and the Studio Apartments can also sleep up to 4, making them ideal for a couple with 2-3 kids. Although there are no special facilities for kids bar the pool, the friendly relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect for families. Though as there are only a handful of Villas and Apartments, a lot depends on who you're sharing the space with.
Each Villa has a double bed on a wooden mezzanine level, plus an open-plan living-room with 2 single sofabeds providing sleeping space for 2 on the ground floor; 2 extra beds can be added on request, too, but this makes things very cosy. On occasion, an extra bed can be added on request. Studio Apartments are set over a single floor; they have a double bedroom and the living area has a single sofabed, as well as space for an additional rollaway bed. Baby cots can be provided in all Villas and Apartments.
There's a small fee per night for making up the sofa beds and adding an extra bed. Bathrooms have bathtubs and showers.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The villas and studios have basic self-catering facilities, and an a la carte breakfast and dinner menu are available daily. Eating out isn't easy nearby - there's only a small coffee house in Achlada so you'll have to drive 10 minutes to find a taverna. The supermarket is 10 minutes away.