Elies Hotel

Kardamyli, Peloponnese, Greece Book from Book from £95 per night

Secluded stone cottages with stylish interiors, tucked among gnarled olive trees a pebble's throw from Kardamyli's lovely beach (each sleeps 2-5)
With so much coastline in Greece, you'd think it would be easy to find a stylish little cottage by a secluded beach. But it's not. Most islands have rows of cheap identikit pensions, or a busy road between you and the water, or both. But this isn't an island; it's the southern Peloponnese, a 3-hour drive from Athens, way off the island-hoppers' radar. And the beach is pebbly (though the waters are gloriously clear). Both of which go some way to explain how there comes to be such a hidden gem on this lovely sweep of azure sea, fringed by those famous olive groves and backed by cloud-capped Mt. Taygetus.

But it doesn't explain the wonderful, unexpected, almost Scandinavian chic-ness of the interiors - pastel shades, gleaming kitchenettes, contemporary sofas, white-painted eaves and pure pine floors. That's down to owner Stavros' obsessive quest for the best: it took him 5 years to build the first 10 cottages, stone by stone, with another 14 completed later. He and wife Fani also run the taverna by the beach - which, unsurprisingly perhaps, is among the best in the region.

Highs

  • The privacy: tucked among shady olive groves, each cottage has a secluded terrace, some with glimpses of sea
  • It's 2-3 minutes' walk to plunge into some of the cleanest seas in the Med
  • If you don't feel like cooking, try Fani's superb Greek cuisine (and that will be the end of your self-catering)
  • We love the fantastic hiking trails behind Kardamyli - wild flowers, limestone gorges, snow-dusted peaks
  • The laid-back fishing village Kardamyli, 1km away, is a long-standing favourite: I've been coming regularly for over 20 years

Lows

  • It's hard to reach: a 3.5-hour drive from Athens airport or 1 hour from Kalamata airport (but flights to Kalamata are limited)
  • The beach is pebbly, but there are sandy beaches at nearby Stoupa for the kids
  • The restaurant can get a little busy with lunchers in summer
  • Outside summer, the restaurant closes at 6pm - but Fani can bring dishes to your door until 8 or 9
  • WiFi is not the most reliable in the cottages

Best time to go

April, May, late September and October are the ideal times, in our opinion: warm but rarely hot, not too crowded, easier-to-find flights (except April). In spring there are wonderful wild flowers, in autumn the sea is much warmer - take your pick. In midsummer (mid June - early Sep) there are increasing numbers, especially Greeks, as well as higher temperatures. In winter (Nov – March) there are some lovely, cool, clear days and some not so lovely, wintry ones, but it rarely gets properly cold (i.e. below 10 celsius).

Our top tips

Bring sandals for rocky beaches, boots and long trousers if you plan to hike, an iPod if you want music in your room. Hikers can get the excellent 'Anavasi' map locally; history buffs should pick up a copy of Patrick Leigh-Fermor’s book ‘The Mani'

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • Beach Cottages
  • 24 cottages for 2-5
  • Seasonal restaurant; others 1km
  • 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
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Here you sleep among the 'elies' - the olives. Stavros has built 24 pretty stone cottages among the sun-dappled, oleander-speckled groves, within sound of the sea: life doesn't get much sweeter than this. Some are open-plan studios, others have a separate bedroom, a few have 2; some are single storey, others double, these getting the sea views. All are built of natural materials and blend seamlessly into their surroundings.

The feel is light and airy, the decor crisp and fresh. Walls are pastel or white, floors are pine, rafters are limewashed, lighting is subtle. Each cottage has its own personality, part dictated by the colours: sofas may be cherry red, cream or striped blue; kitchen units could be canary yellow or burnt orange. The attention paid to the detailing is exceptional - Italian brushed steel lamps, cool white circular basins, German chrome toasters and kettles. Muslin hangs at French windows, behind which lie shutters; there's air con for summer which doubles as heating (along with fireplaces) for out-of-season stays - but no radiator central heating.

Covered patios protect you from the sun and are furnished with canvas directors' chairs and painted metal tables.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Kitchenette
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

One of the highlights of Elies is its restaurant. Not only is it a delight to be served at pretty tables under the olive trees - geraniums spilling from pots, gravel crunching underfoot - but the food is among the best we have sampled in the area. Wild greens, grilled meats and fish with aromatic herbs: it is fresh, flavoursome and liberally infused with the oils of Kalamata. The only proviso is that the restaurant is shut in winter, and closes around 6pm in shoulder season (typically April-May and Sept-Oct); but if you want to preorder your dinner, Fani and Stavros will bring it to your room any time until 9pm - chosen from the lunch menu, and without any irritating room-service charge.

There's also a boho-chic bar for cocktails and espressos, and a winter dining room with high rafters.

For breakfast, you can prepare your own in your kitchen or, in season, pay extra for the hotel's delicious spread of fruit salad, fresh OJ, creamy yoghurt and more. Kitchens are reasonably well equipped (toaster, kettle, cafetiere, hob, fridge) but they don't have ovens, microwaves or dishwashers.

As for dining out, you're spoiled for choice in Kardamyli, 10-15 mins' gentle walk away: beachfront Gialos is the nearest (and recommended), Kiki's has authentic home fare, while Lela's boasts an unrivalled seaside setting.

You'll find a couple of small but well-stocked supermarkets at the entrance to Kardamyli, plus a butcher and a baker in the village, and several roving fishmonger vans.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Kitchenette
  • Oven
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore the laid-back village of Kardamyli 1km (15 mins' walk) away, with a sprinkling of cafes and shops (stock up on oil, honey, herbs) and an atmospheric walled hamlet with C18 towers and beautiful churches

  • Swim at the long, empty beach in front of the cottages (pebbly, but better as you go further from the village); or the sandy ones at Stoupa, 10km away

  • Hike the old cobbled mulepaths and tracks between villages – get the excellent Anavasi 1:25,000 map or the Sunflower 'Southern Peloponnese' book, if you can find one

  • One of our favourite routes, from Sotirianika via Kambos to Kardamyli (5 hours), brings you out at the cottages - perfect for plunging into the sea, then staggering the 50 yards to dinner

  • Others take you down the Viros gorge (3-4 hours), up to the the chapel of Ayia Sofia (1 hour), or past Proastio to the hidden cove of Fonissa (2+ hours)

  • Hire a fishing boat and sail down the coast to an isolated cove or village; or swim from Kardamyli harbour across to an islet topped by a ruined Venetian fort

  • Drive down to Areopolis (1 hour+) to visit the spectacular sea-caves of Pirgos Dirou; stop for an iced coffee or ouzo at the fishing harbour of Ayios Nikolaos on your return

  • For (very modest) nightlife, head to Stoupa, the only remotely developed village hereabouts

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome and this is a great place to stay, especially with older, outdoorsy kids. Though stony, the beach here is safe (no tides or currents, though occasionally an undertow when wavy), and there are sandy beaches 10km away in Stoupa. Greeks are always very welcoming to children, and it is considered a safe country for them to play alone. It's a 3.5 hour drive from Athens, so plan a stop en route - and stay for at least a week to make it worth it.

Extra beds or cots for children under 3 are free; older children are free if using existing bedding (including sofabeds), otherwise there is a small charge if an extra bed is needed (but often it won't be).

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Our pick of the bunch are the larger maisonettes, which sleep up to 5 in 2 bedrooms (one double upstairs, one twin downstairs, both ensuite).

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Baby listening:

If you want to use a baby monitor while dining in their restaurant, ask for one of the cottages closest to it. You need to bring your own monitor.

Baby equipment:

  • Cots
  • High chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The restaurant serves fresh Greek food which should go down a treat with youngsters. Discuss any special requirements before arrival. The cottage kitchens are basic but there's enough kit for a simple family meal and you can buy local and fresh food to stock the fridge in the village. Local tavernas are, as with the majority of Greek places, happy to welcome children.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Small playground next to the taverna
  • Plenty of space to run around in the olive groves
  • A donkey and various cats to befriend
  • Sea kayaks can be hired

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The quiet pebbly beach is great for families
  • Hiking paths and old mule paths lead to coves and villages
  • Boat trips in summer

Families Should Know:

There are some steps and balconies; if you're concerned, request a ground-floor apartment or studio. Bring any special provisions with you - you won't find any huge hypermakets nearby.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour (Kalamata), 3.5 hours (Athens)
  • Chemist: 3 mins (Kardamyli)
  • Hospital: 45 minutes (Kalamata)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 41 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Rooms
10/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We loved it and it exceeded expectations. The owners and all the staff were delightful and welcoming. The fridge full of oranges was an added treat.

10/10, , April 2017

Our stay at Elies was everything we could have wished for. The setting in the heart of an olive grove is special in itself, but being so close to a beautiful beach made this the perfect location for a relaxing family holiday. The hotel restaurant is great but closed for evening meals from the end of September but no matter. The lovely village of Kardamyli has plenty of choices (Lela's Taverna is highly recommended) and the walk into the village along the shore is delightful. Highly recommended.

10/10, , October 2016

Good-sized, well-appointed studio apartment among the olive trees and a shaded terrace with a pebbly beach (swimming shoes recommended) just over the road with water as clear as bath water, excellent for snorkelling. The restaurant was only open for lunch when we were there but a lovely space under the olive trees and very good food. Also Stavros will bring dinner to your room if you book at lunchtime which is a great bonus. Kardamyli ,about 1 mile's stroll along the sea front, is a lively little town with an excellent choice of restaurants, cafes and shops. Our favourite was Lela's right by the sea and fab food. <br>Our only request was for there to be some information in the apartment about the place, what was available for breakfast, nearby restaurants, etc.

10/10, , September 2016

Had a great stay. Were in a studio apartment, but was bright and spacious and felt you had plenty of room. Lovely to stroll down and flop on the beach and great to have option of eating great food in the restaurant or heading out to the village. Area around is also stunning so you can laze on beach or head out and enjoy the views!

10/10, , August 2016

This hotel offers excellent value for money. Located right on a beach (only a quiet road divides the hotel and the beach). Service is great and people are always around if you need help..if you don't need help then you are left to own devices. Just how things should be. <br>Rooms are simple in design and just suited to a beach hotel. <br>The restaurant is popular and food hearty and good. A very short walk or even shorter car ride takes you to many good bars and restaurants. A place I can see myself returning to.

10/10, , September 2016

It is perfect!

10/10, , August 2016

Highly recommended for families with young ones and for everyone who enjoys being treated as part of the family from morning till dusk. Great beach, tranquil location with villas set amidst olive trees, delicious food that reminds you how simple and fresh ingredients make a whole lot of difference. I could go on and on...

10/10, , July 2016

Wonderful relaxing stay with friendly staff, delicious food and beautiful clear sea. Perfect for our first holiday with our 10 month old baby. Thank you Elies!

10/10, , June 2016

Fantastic setting, great great lunches under the olive groves and superior quality accommodation for Greece with sea views.

9/10, , June 2016

We love staying at Elies. This was our second trip, and we enjoyed it as much as the first. The staff are friendly and helpful, the cottages are relaxing, clean, well furnished and attractive, the grounds beautiful and the beach marvellous! 10 out of 10!

10/10, , June 2016

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Rates for Elies Hotel