Aria Estate

Limeni, Peloponnese, Greece
Book from Book from £132 per night

Immaculate suites (sleeping 2-5) with breathtaking sea views, stylish restaurant, pool and small spa, perched above the dramatic Mani coastline

Covering the central prong of the south Peloponnese, the Deep Mani is a wild and enigmatic region – even most Greeks consider it remote. From the arid interior of the Taygetos Mountains to the craggy coastline of sheltered coves, it remains wonderfully off-radar. Sleepy villages hide peacefully amid ancient olive groves, while abandoned stone towers hint at a more turbulent past. Here, on a hillside that drops steeply away to the Messinian Bay, the spectacular Ariá Estate was built.

Inspired by traditional Maniot architecture, the 15 apartment-style rooms and suites complement their natural surrounds. Terracotta-tiled roofs and thick walls of pale stone reflect the calming palette of the local landscape, while the stylish and superbly finished interiors reveal a strong eye for contemporary design. Each features a kitchenette, and suites have a private terrace, but you won't want to miss the 4-course breakfasts on the main verandah, with its stunning panoramic view. Take a dramatic drive south to Cape Tenaro, glide by boat through the Diros Caves, eat fresh fish and swim with turtles at picturesque Limeni just below the hotel. Couples and families with teenagers looking for peace and rugged beauty away from the crowds will be in heaven.

Highs

  • A spectacular setting on the Mani Peninsula, with uninterrupted west-facing ocean views: a perfect spot for sunset aperitifs
  • We were blown away by the quality and beauty of the suites: truly 5* materials, stunning organic design, and masses of space
  • Youthful staff and well-travelled owner Xanthi (when she is there) are super helpful, going out of their way to make your stay special
  • We loved the delicious 4-course breakfasts and tasting-style dinner menu: local recipes and seasonal produce presented with flair
  • You're just above the most picturesque fishing village in the Mani (Limeni), and one of its few sandy beaches (Neo Itilo)

Lows

  • The sandy beach at Neo Itilo, and the off-rock swimming at Limeni, are a 5-7 minute drive: just too far to walk
  • It's a peaceful place so won't suit those looking to party
  • A few rooms lack sea view (the clue is in their names)
  • The area is remote so you'll want a car to get here and explore

Best time to go

Each season has its merits, but spring (April-May) is my favourite: the fields are covered in wild flowers, the weather is nicely warm for walks and car tours (with occasional winds), and the distant peaks of Mt Taygetos still have patches of snow. Try and coincide with Greek Easter if you can. Autumn (late September and October) is ideal for swimming: the beaches are quiet but the sea is still beautifully warm. Summer (especially July-August) is peak season for domestic visitors, but you're pretty much guaranteed sunshine and temperatures in the 30s. Ariá Estate is closed November- mid April.

Our top tips

Beaches on the Mani Peninsula tend to be pebbly, but the clear water means they’re great for swimming and snorkelling. Neo Itilo (4km away) is one of the few sandy beaches, but the prevailing onshore wind can bring seaweed and debris. For more sheltered coves, head south into the Deep Mani: our favourites include Alypa (east coast), Mezapos (west coast) and Gerolimenas (south facing). It's best to take everything you need with you and find your own secluded spot.

Great for...

Beach
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 15 rooms & suites
  • Breakfast + light meals; restaurants nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: November to mid April
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 15 rooms and suites are spread across 3 stone buildings, arranged like an amphitheatre overlooking the sea. Flawless whitewashed walls give a calm, fresh feel while exposed stone and earthy tones add character and warmth. Décor is minimalist and successfully fuses sleek modern design (corner sofas, wicker moon chairs, carefully placed pebbles, candles and cacti) with more traditional features (huge beds, chunky wooden furniture, rustic wall alcoves and arches). Bathrooms have big walk-in showers and kitchenettes are equipped with a fridge, hot plate, Nespresso and crockery; useful for preparing snacks and drinks.

All suites have a private terrace with an outdoor shower. In our opinion, it's worth paying extra for a sea view room/suite for the uninterrupted ocean views and spectacular sunsets. Honeymooners will love the Romantic Double Room with its high eaves, cream walls and cosy fireplace - a really calm and meditative space. Or choose one of the suites with private Jacuzzi for maximum romance! If you're coming with friends or children, the Villa, Premium and Superior suites all have 2 bedrooms and a living/dining area; the villa also has a fully equipped kitchen.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • DVD player
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Multi-course breakfasts were a highlight of our stay. Each day brings a different but equally delicious sequence of seasonal produce and local treats. Expect fresh juice and coffee, creamy yoghurt (served sweet with fresh fruit and honey, or savoury with carrots and beetroot), cheese- or custard-filled pastries, perhaps a local pork sausage with orange peel, or rusks with olive tapenade and soft cottage cheese. And the best thing about it is the ever-changing view from the terrace of glinting seas and dramatic mountains.

It's a similar approach at dinner time, with a carefully curated menu of small but perfectly presented tasting dishes brought in unhurried bar style to your table. On cooler evenings you eat in the airy lounge, otherwise on the sunset-facing terrace. Dishes are inspired by local recipes with an unusual ingredient or twist. We particularly enjoyed giant lupin seeds and tiny cherry tomatoes, a juicy salad of orange segments and herby fennel roots, baby potatoes stuffed with anchovies and tarama cream; then baked pears in saffron syrup, and semolina halva with ice cream. There are also homemade cakes at tea time, and a good range of aperitifs and digestifs.

At least once in your stay, head down the hill to Limeni for fresh seafood right next to the sea. Fish are grilled over burning charcoals, best served with horta (boiled greens) and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. Look out for kakavia (traditional fish soup) or spaghetti with lobster in a rich tomato and garlic sauce. Mini-markets for groceries can be found in Areopoli (2km east).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Wander down to lovely Limeni (3km), a tiny seaside village tucked into a bay below the estate, for fresh fish and a dip off the rocks
  • Visit historic Areopolis (2km) with its beautiful stone alleys, churches, shops and pretty central square
  • Take a subterranean boat trip through the Diros Caves (3.5km) where stalagmites and stalactites are reflected in the water
  • Explore the region’s medieval tower houses; hilltop Vathia (35km) has some of the best examples of these fortified structures
  • Walk to the salt pans and ruined Frankish fortress at the tip of the windswept Tigani Peninsula
  • Drive to the southern tip of mainland Greece, Cape Tenaro (40km); a path leads past the ruins of Poseidon’s Temple and hidden fragments of mosaic to the lighthouse
  • Hike through olive and carob groves to frescoed Byzantine chapels - cliffside Panagia Odigitria near Stavri is a favourite of ours
  • Ariá's spa offers a range of treatments, including Swedish fusion massage and facials, and an indoor pool

Kids

All ages are welcome, though it’s more of a couples' retreat than a place for a family holiday. Having said that, it's ideal for older kids who are happy to relax, read a book, splash in the pool, and explore the region, and a great opportunity to experience authentic Greek culture and cuisine.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The best options for families are the Villa, Premium Suites or Superior Suites, which offer 2 separate bedrooms (one kingsize, one twin) and plenty of living space.

Kid Friendly:

Location

The hotel is just above the village of Limeni and below Areopoli, on the Mani peninsula of Greece's southern Peloponnese. It's 3.5 hours' drive from Athens or 1.5 hours from Kalamata.

By Air:
Kalamata airport is closest (90km / 1.5 hours); Athens is served by more airlines (328km / 3.5 hours, the first half on motorways, the second on good provincial roads).

Although the hotel offers airport transfers, we'd recommend you hire a car upon arrival as this will give you flexibility to explore the region. See our car-rental recommendations. You can park for free at the hotel.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Kalamata 90.0 km KLX
  • Athens 328.0 km ATH

Other:

  • Beach 3.0 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 3.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

A lovely property in a mesmerising location on a rugged southern tip of the Peloponnese. The view of the sea, with an endless horizon, and the coastal cliffs from the restaurant's patio was just so enchanting, Hotel's staff were nice and helpful.
Limeni and its picturesque harbourside location with a couple of places with good access to crystal clear swimmable waters and good (albeit pricier than elsewhere) waterside restaurants has a very enjoyable vibe. Mostly Greek crowds when we stayed. A short drive from the hotel but you can walk to it (which I would not in the July/August heat!).
Elsewhere in the Deep Mani, we had a relaxing day in Porto Cagio, which we highly recommend for a stop to swim and break for lunch.

10/10,

Everything about the Aria Estate is perfect, and we had the most relaxing week we've ever had. The staff are super-friendly, the layout, the buildings, the interior and exterior design - all amazing. The quality of the furnishings in both public areas and rooms/suites is also superb. I would say that the photos don't really do justice to the views over the gardens to the sea. We were really pleased to find that a gorgeous outdoor pool had been added just before our arrival, with the comfiest sun-beds I've ever had the chance to laze on.
There are so many places to visit, on advice of one of the staff we found a lovely beach and taverna at Skoutari. Lots of other villages, beaches and history within easy driving distance.
It isn't cheap, but it is top, top quality, so if you are unsure whether to splash out a bit, I would say don't hesitate, you won't regret it. We hope to be back

10/10,

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