Elies Hotel

Kardamyli, Peloponnese, Greece Book from Book from £107 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.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.

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 you can have food delivered to your cottage until 8 or 9pm
  • 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, with empty beaches and cheaper 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 a few discerning Greek tourists, and some other i-escapers, but it's never really crowded. 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 the pebbly beach, boots and long trousers if you plan to hike, and a copy of the Sunflower "Landscapes of the Peloponnese" (available in the village bookshop) for local circular walks. History buffs should pick up a copy of Patrick Leigh-Fermor’s book ‘The Mani'.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • 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. 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 quality and attention to detail is exceptional by Greek standards - brushed steel lamps, chic 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
  • Extra beds
  • Family friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

One of the highlights of Elies is its restaurant. The setting is delightful - prettily painted tables shaded by olive trees, geraniums spilling from pots; and as for the food, it is the very 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, staff will bring it to your room any time until 9pm (without any irritating room-service charge) so you can dine on your veranda.

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

For breakfast, collect delicious local provisions from reception (fresh eggs, seasonal fruit, thick Greek yoghurt, local bread; all free for i-escape guests), supplemented by delicious homemade jams, tea, coffee and milk in your fridge. Or you can order breakfast dishes at the restaurant, if you're happy to pay extra. Kitchenettes are reasonably well equipped (toaster, kettle, cafetiere, 2-ring 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's meals
  • Family friendly
  • 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 tasteful cafes, boutiques and an atmospheric C18th walled hamlet

  • 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 between villages – buy the excellent Anavasi 1:25,000 map or the Sunflower 'Southern Peloponnese' book in Kardamyli's bookshop

  • One of our favourite hikes, from Sotirianika via Kambos to Kardamyli (5 hours), brings you out at Elies - 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 Byzantine chapel of Ayia Sofia (1 hour), or past Proastio to the hidden cove of Fonissa (2+ hours)

  • Hire a fishing boat or kayakand explore the coast - there are cliff-backed coves and sea caves, plus an island with a ruined Venetian fort

  • Drive down to Areopolis (1 hour+) to visit the spectacular sea-caves of Pirgos Dirou; stop for fish lunch at Limeni and, on your way home, a stroll around the fishing harbour of Ayios Nikolaos

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis

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.

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:

  • If coming with toddlers, request a ground-floor apartment or studio
  • Bring any special provisions with you (no huge supermarkets here)
  • If flying into Athens, be aware it's a 3.5 hour drive to Elies

Distances:

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

Location

Elies Hotel is 1km outside the coastal village of Kardamyli (also spelled Kardamili), in the southern Peloponnese. It's about 3.5 hours' drive from Athens, and 45 minutes south of Kalamata (or 1 hour from Kalamata airport).

By Air
Kalamata (45km) or Athens (310km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From the airports
From Kalamata airport you could get a taxi to Elies (45km / 45 mins), and from Athens you could conceivably take a bus (4 hours); but most likely you will want a hire car to explore the area and to faciliate shopping. See our car rental recommendations.

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

More on getting to Greece and getting around

Airports:

  • Kalamata 45.0 km KLX
  • Athens, Eleftherios Venizelos 310.0 km ATH

Other:

  • Beach 0.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 17 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

What a beautiful place. Breakfast amazing choice homemade pies cakes. Accommodation very clean and great value. Will be returning next year fabulous.

10/10,

This place is amazing and has such a magical garden. We stayed at the apartment for 5 nights with a our child and it is perfect for families. The apartment is beautiful, spacious, clean and easy to use. The breakfast is generous, fresh and delicious. We loved the restaurant as well, and the hotel's beach.
Can't wait to comeback.

10/10,

Our second stay at Elies. We first came 3 years ago, and it was wonderful. Lovely to see the garden having matured on our return - the hum of cicadas in the olive and citrus trees and the kitchen beds all abundant with vegetables for the restaurant. There are swallowtail butterflies and bumble bees buzzing - and bright red geraniums, lavender and rosemary shrubs give the air a lovely scent. The added breakfast bar every morning, full of mouthwatering home made treats was great to wake up to. We then wandered down to the beautiful Rita’s beach (2 mins walk!) and swam in the clear water all day, in between reading books from our beach beds, provided by Elies.
In the evening we ventured into Kardamyli, The town is a 10-15 min stroll - full of independent shops and cafes with local crafts and gems, all very well stocked. Restaurants on the seafront are all great. Leila’s taverna is a treat at sunset, and the little jazz pub towards the harbour is fun for a cocktail.
The rooms are lovely - we preferred being up higher than in the ground floor. Room 17 / 18 are perfectly positioned. The beds are really comfy and the home made marmalade and jams in the fridge so tasty!
Couldn’t recommend enough. Thank you, Elies!

10/10,

We were blown away by Elies Hotel. The room was even better than we expected, and the proximity to the beach is just perfect. Every detail is thought through, and the breakfast every morning is so delicious and sets you up perfectly for the day. We will definitely be back, thank you for a beautiful stay.

10/10,

Simply perfect! Such a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by olive trees looking out to sea. A perfect mix which combines quietness and convenience; self contained with excellent wifi, a superb restaurant (1-9pm) and daily fresh breakfast offerings you can choose from and take back to your house to enjoy at your leisure. The team effort continues to shine through in all areas, the cleanliness, gardens and beach (your own sun-bed and umbrella) .. thank you! I look forward to returning.

10/10,

Fabulous tastfully designed and decorated accommodation with a relaxed atmosphere. Situated in an old olive grove with beautiful vegetable patches growing produce for the restaurant between the stone apartments.
The delicious breakfast was an added bonus, a buffet selection you took back to your apartment.
The restaurant had a good menu and lovely seating under the olive trees.
Each apartment has a reserved umbrella and beds on the pebble beach (3 mins away). Highly recommend and would return.

10/10,

Second time staying at Elies and we can't recommend highly enough. We love this place having been first time as a couple and now with a toddler and baby in tow.
Elies is clearly a real labour of love for the owners Stavros and Fani with the houses/apartments beautifully designed, all finished to a high standard and set seamlessly among the lovely gardens and olive trees.
As noted in the description, the food at the restaurant is the best in the area and is available from 1 - 9pm serving classic & local Greek dishes alongside excellent pasta choices, fresh fish, salads etc. The breakfast for hotel guests is the same quality and laid out so you can choose from a good selection of breads, cheeses, yoghurts, cakes, fruit etc to take back to eat on your balcony/terrace.
The service from everyone there is fantastic, nothing is ever too much trouble and it's delivered with an informal, friendly efficiency which all adds to the relaxed energy. We will definitely be heading back soon!

10/10,

Great location and superb setting. Fantastic beach. Unusually good food, and value too. Delightful people. Perfect for a lazy break. Easy walk to the village. Good hikes too.

10/10,

We spent 5 glorious days here in June. We had the best holiday ever, and the accommodation was wonderful!

10/10,

Elies is one of those places you hesitate to praise and recommend too highly, only because you want to guard it selfishly and jealously for yourself.
Hidden under the olive trees, it doesn’t shout loudly. It doesn’t need to: even in these strange pandemic times with lots of empty tables everywhere else, it seemed quite normal and there were also many Greek guests - and what could be a better recommendation?
Stavros and his family and the utterly charming staff in restaurant and housekeeping are wonderful. We have stayed many times for the last seven years, as couples and with groups of adult children: everything is just perfect. Dinner in high season at Elies, or in Kardamyli at Lela’s or Charilaos, the youngsters hang out late in the bar at 1866 while we walk back under the moonlight to the peace of Elies, just the sound of cicadas and the waves lapping the shore.
The houses have incredibly comfortable beds and bed linen, cool, solid design in bathroom and kitchen (everything just works), the new breakfast spread in the reception house (with homemade pastries by Fani) the breeze from the pristine beach with its clear water, the fabulous fresh Greek dishes, memorable long lunches- at incredible value- in the impossibly pretty setting of an olive orchard. Stavros helped with Covid test pre-return, driver (The lovely Adonis).

10/10,

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