Eleonas Hotel (Evia)

Rovies, Evia, Greece Book from Book from £47 per night

A tranquil, impeccably run guesthouse set amid olive groves by the sea, offering delicious home cooking and eco-friendly hospitality
There aren't many hotels that can offer guests a ride in a Lamborghini. But that was what pitched up to take our son around the 35 acres of grounds at Eleonas Hotel. Granted, it was a Lamborghini tractor, and the journey was bumpy - but he was thrilled. At the wheel was Stefanos, who together with wife Marina, moved back to Evia in the late 90s to settle on the farm that had been in their family for almost 2 centuries. Over the next couple of years they built a charming 10-bedroomed guesthouse perched on a hill that overlooks their olive groves and out across the Evoikos Gulf (eleonas is Greek for 'olive grove') - a peaceful agrotourism experience for lucky guests in the know.

It's mainly Athenians who have discovered this sleepy island, which is in fact the second largest in Greece. Crystal-clear water, deserted beaches and pine forests are the main drawcards for those making the trip north from Athens. But it was Stefanos and Marina's thoughtfulness and extensive local knowledge that really made our stay unforgettable. Sweet touches such as handmade games for kids, ever-changing home-baked breakfasts, beach umbrellas to borrow - plus, of course, those ravishing views.

Highs

  • Excellent prices and delicious home cooking
  • Simple, light and airy bedrooms with sea views; most have outdoor space, and 3 have additional bunk rooms for kids
  • An impressive commitment to eco tourism, and a careful balancing of sustainability with luxury comforts
  • Breathtaking sunsets and star gazing from the terrace
  • Hiking and biking trails galore on your doorstep: ask Stefanos to organise bike hire for you, and borrow GPS map apps, waterproof backpacks and binoculars

Lows

  • No pool, and the beach is an 8-minute walk down a steep track
  • Limited dining options - lunches aren't available and evening meals are only by prior arrangement
  • No kids under 5
  • Might be too quiet for some, although the small village of Rovies, with its bars and restaurants, is only a 5-minute drive
  • A 3-hour drive from Athens, but it's straightforward, with a bridge separating Evia from the mainland; no need for a ferry

Best time to go

Come for the walking, wild flowers and birdwatching in April, May and June. Or in September to see the olive harvest. High summer is glorious but extremely hot, but you can quickly escape into the mountainous wooded interior; and the weather on Evia is typically a few degrees cooler (and a little wetter) than the Cyclades or Crete.

Our top tips

There's a secret beach just south of Rovies, which you can access directly by car - ideal if you're with younger children who won't enjoy a long walk to the beach in the heat. Just drive along the track, pull in and you're within 5m of the shore - bliss. There's no shade so ask Marina to lend you an umbrella.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 10
  • Breakfast + dinners on request
  • 5+ year olds welcome
  • Closed: November to March
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are 10 light and airy rooms, all sea facing. Each is different, simply furnished with tiled floors, ceiling fans, A/C and excellent Coco-Mat mattresses on kingsize beds. Hues are pastel - pale blue, green and yellow walls - and linens are hand-printed with olive designs, a nod to the farm. There's even a polished olive tree trunk in each room for hanging clothes.

Most rooms have either a private terrace or garden area; some have both. Those on the first floor have better views. Three are Family Rooms with a separate bunk room adjoining the main bedroom. We stayed in one of these - Myrtia - and our son was delighted by the under-the-sea wall murals. Another featured a forest scene; the third, a road circuit complete with magnetic cars. Larger families can book one first floor and one ground-floor room which connect via an internal staircase. There's also a Small Suite, with twin beds, a separate seating area with a single sofabed, and a spacious balcony.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries

Eating

Meals are served on the terrace and all homemade by Marina. Her breakfasts are especially good; a daily changing spread of fresh juices, homebaked breads and cakes, fresh doughnuts, homemade jams and unusual touches such as chocolate tahini. And, of course, olives in various guises.

Lunches aren't available, though coffee, a pastry or a drink can be served at anytime during the day on the terrace or in the gardens. Dinners are available if requested in advance, and the food is simple but delicious. We loved the mainly vegetarian dishes made with their own olive oil, including a fava-bean hummus and stuffed vine leaves followed by a rich chocolate and biscuit torte.

It's a short drive into Rovies for bars and tavernas if you fancy a change of scene (walkable in the daylight), and a little bit further on to Limni for even more choice. Ask Stefanos and Marina for recommendations.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Rovies beach is an 8-minute walk away, a narrow strip of sand and shingle with tiki umbrellas and beach bars. For more solitude, there's a lovely stony beach just south of here - see our Author's Tip
  • Walking paths are signposted around the farm. There are also longer hiking routes straight from the guesthouse, mapped on a GPS phone which guests can borrow
  • Yoga lessons can be booked ahead and take place in a stunning clearing in the woodland; Marina has also built a series of quirky outdoor exercise stations
  • We love the red-roofed seaside town of Limni (10 mins' drive), with its pretty cobbled streets and harbour
  • Edipsos, one of Greece's best-known natural spa towns is 30 minutes drive away, with thermal springs to swim in
  • The dramatic waterfall at Drimonas is a 40-minute drive inland
  • Stefanos can arrange river trekking, rappel and kayaking, as well as bike hire; cycling is very popular here
  • Back at the guesthouse there's table tennis and table football in a games room, as well as a small football pitch for kids to enjoy
  • With virtually no light pollution, the star gazing is amazing at night; there's a telescope on the terrace

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Star gazing
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

5+ year olds are welcome and kids will love the sense of freedom here. There are 35 acres of farm to explore, and beaches are close by.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 3 Family Rooms (a double/twin bedroom and adjoining bunk room) are perfect for younger families, and charmingly decorated. Those with older children should book the 2 Connecting Rooms with the interconnecting staircase to give themselves extra space.

Children's meals:

Kids meals on request

Kids Activities on site:

  • Playroom with books and games
  • Play tipi
  • A mini football pitch
  • Animals to meet, including kittens and chickens
  • Musical instruments made from recycled pots, pans and fans

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches
  • A playground in Rovies for little ones

Families Should Know:

The nearby beaches are pebbly not sandy so bring jelly shoes and watch out for sea urchins.

Distances:

  • Airport: 3 hours' drive (Athens)
  • Shops: 5 mins' drive (Rovies)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Eleonas Hotel is set just above the Evoikos Gulf, outside the village of Rovies in the northwest of Evia island, Greece.

By Air:
Fly into Athens (166km). From here, you'll need to hire a car and drive over the bridge at Chalkida (Chalcis) to Evia; there’s no need for a ferry. If coming from northern or central Greece, the regular ferries from Arkitsa to Loutra Edipsou will save you driving time.

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

Airports:

  • Athens 166.0 km ATH

Other:

  • Beach 0.5 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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