Citta dei Nicliani

Koita, Peloponnese, Greece Book from Book from £63 per night

Great rates and food at this rustic-chic boutique hotel in an 18th-century tower house in the Deep Mani
Run by the Sepsas family - Ilias and Tania, and their son Panagiotis - this small hotel in the southern Peloponnese is a treasure. Back in 2006, after several years of living and working abroad, Ilias purchased a stone tower house dating from 1750 in his native Mani. A careful and sensitive renovation project ensued, along with the addition of an extension in traditional Maniot style, and a 7-room boutique hotel was born.

As you step through the arched entrance into the cobbled courtyard, peace and harmony prevail. A stone terrace - with white canvas director's chairs and sunbeds, a shallow pond, bougainvillea, cacti, fragrant lavender bushes, terracotta urns and the family cats - affords blissful views over the surrounding olive groves. And you couldn't ask for a more dramatic location. Here in the shadow of the rugged heights of Mt Taygetus, the Deep Mani is stark, rocky and totally unspoilt. Koita is one of the region's oldest and best-known villages, famed for its traditional Maniot tower houses, built by feuding families between the 14th and 19th centuries. Today, it couldn't be more tranquil - and neither could this hotel.

Highs

  • A beautifully restored building, with a serene outdoor space
  • Just 7 romantic rooms, combining historic details with modern comforts
  • Excellent value
  • Delicious, traditional food prepared from fresh regional produce, and widely recognised as one of Greece's Top 10 Hotels for wine
  • The Deep Mani is wild and unspoilt, offering a total escape from commercial tourism. Come here to hike, bike and relax

Lows

  • No pool or jacuzzi but you're near beaches
  • Koita is well off the beaten track and poorly served by public transport, so you'll want a car
  • You'll need to book well in advance during the main holiday season
  • No bathtubs or twin rooms

Best time to go

For an active holiday of hiking and mountain biking, spring or autumn are the best times. The weather should be warm and sunny, and you're more likely to find cheap flights during these periods. If you're brave you'll also manage to swim in May, though locals generally wait 'til June. Although the Mani remains relatively off the beaten path, it is popular with Greek visitors in peak season (Jul-Aug), when temperatures can soar to over 38C (100F) and the beaches get busy.

Our top tips

Day-trip to Cape Tenaro (aka Cape Matapan), mainland Europe's southernmost point. Hike 45 minutes to the lighthouse, and you'll pass the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon on your way.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 7
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request); restaurants nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Tania was responsible for the interior design, and the result is impressive: a rustic-chic look with total respect for the historic building, along with contemporary comforts. Each of the 7 rooms is different in terms of layout and furnishing, but all have exposed stone, wooden beamed ceilings, subtle lighting and floors of either wood or terracotta tile. You also get wooden antique furniture, white bed linens by Guy Laroche, and framed etchings on the walls.

Ensuite bathrooms have exposed stonework too, plus tiny mosaic-tile shower spaces, marble washbasins and decent mirrors. The windows throughout are small, which is typical of the Mani, so there's not much natural light, but it means your room stays cool and fresh in summer. Some rooms have terraces.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is a treat: each guest gets a platter of traditional Greek dishes, which might include yoghurt with honey, homemade rice pudding with cinnamon, omelette, syglino (Maniot cured ham) and lalaggia (Maniot fried bread). You can eat outside on the stone patio, or in the small dining pavilion - a light and airy space with floor-to-ceiling glazing, stone and brick details, and a wooden beamed ceiling.

Other meals are available on request, prepared by Ilias. The menu changes daily, depending on what's on offer at the morning market, but firm favourites include lobster and lamb tenderloin. We had a lovely pastitsio (oven-baked pasta with minced beef and bechamel) and a bottle of Symmetry red wine from the Zacharias winery in Nemea. The hotel keeps an excellent wine cellar, stocking over 100 quality Greek wines, as well as highly prized vintages from some of the top French estates, such as Domaine Romanee Conti, Château Margaux and Château Lafitte. Panagiotis can advise on wine pairings.

There are good local restaurants; staff can advise.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hike in the mountains - over 20 marked trails lead to isolated villages and remote Byzantine churches, and there are 2 challenging canyons
  • Borrow mountain bikes and cycle to the windswept Tigani peninsula to explore the ruins of a Frankish fortress
  • Explore the region's medieval tower houses - some of the most notable are in Vathia, midway between Gerolimenas and Cape Tenaro
  • Swim at Porto Kagio, a deep horseshoe bay of emerald-blue water with a fine pebble beach
  • Don't miss Diros Cave near Areopolis (19km) - you enter by boat to see a huge cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites
  • Panagiotis can arrange a wine-tasting tour of the Nemea region in the north Peloponnese

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Mountain biking
    • Swimming
    • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome, though the ambiance is restful, romantic and sophisticated, and so the hotel is best suited to adults. There are no special facilities for kids.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Premiums have a double bed and a single bed, plus space for a baby cot. The Grande Ground Floor has 2 double beds and space for a baby cot. The Grande has space for a baby cot.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

We had the cheapest room available, but it was very sweet, well furnished and served our needs. Other rooms will be a bit larger, but otherwise similar. Most probably the best food to be had on Mani. Never had such a delicate Greek salad. Only the breakfast was more or less always the same and could do with a bit more of variation. Excellent, very friendly and personal hosting. We felt very welcome. Excellent value for money. It is an oasis of tranquility and beauty. I'd definitely recommend it!

10/10,

We loved staying here! Well off the beaten track (you'll definitely want a car) and beaches everywhere. There's only one sandy beach nearby so if you're not keen on pebbles (delightfully round, white pebbles) then this might not be your cup of tea. The water is crystal clear and there are heaps of fish to be seen - we snorkelled every day and loved it!
Tania & Elyas were the most incredible hosts - Elyas does all the cooking, with good reason - it's delicious! Tania has seemingly infinite knowledge of the area and quickly discovered that we were more keen to swim & laze on a beach than explore cultural/historical sites. She then had a new beach suggestion for us every morning! They make you feel like part of the family and nothing is too much trouble - as Tania says - 'If you want something, you will ask & we will help'.
The room was lovely - very comfortable and with some unique design features (stone walls and quirky tiles in the bathroom) that made it so lovely. Very different from other places we have stayed in Greece.
The hotel has a number of cats and when we visited, there were four identical kittens on site and they provided the evening entertainment whenever we chose to dine in! We would recommend this place to anyone!(Unless they get very car sick - there are a lot of winding roads in this area! We loved the weaving of the roads and the view of the rugged coastline but some people may not). We'll definitely be back here!
Great location, great views, great sea (temperature was lovely at the beginning of September), delicious food and excellent hosts. Thank you.

10/10,

The warmth of the welcome by Panos and his parents, Elias and Tanya, is tremendous; we parked up nearby and Panos came running to greet us, helped with the luggage, gave us a delicious welcome drink, talked about the hotel and then showed us to our room. Nothing seems to be too much trouble for any of the family; we were asked about the extensive breakfast and if we wanted any changes - more fruit, no omelette please - no problem.
The dinners prepared by Elias are delicious, home cooking. Slipper lobster the first night was amazing - "come down and pick your lobster in the kitchen" - home made breads, and Manì speciality orange salad, and everything else. Sitting out under the stars, the dinner was topped off by seeing the family of Little Owls (Athene Noctua) on the next door tower.
Our room was great,though some might find the steps quite steep. Shower tended to oscillate in temperature, by +/- 10C, which was odd but manageable. air con worked well, as did the wifi - though not throughout our room. Noticeable that wifi is free in all the hotels we've stayed at in Greece, unlike others in USA, Canada, Australia that should know better.
Family all gave good recommendations for where to visit, especially their favorite beach. All in all, a wonderful experience.

10/10,

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