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.
- 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
- 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
Our top tips
- Beach Cottages
- 24 cottages for 2-5
- Seasonal restaurant; others 1km
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Bicycles Available
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.
- Air conditioning
- Extra beds
- Family friendly
- Safe box
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.
- Children's meals
- Family friendly
- Full kitchen
- In house cook
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian options
- 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:
- Plantlife / flora
- Table tennis
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).
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 available by arrangement
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.
- High chairs
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
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
- Airport: 1 hour (Kalamata), 3.5 hours (Athens)
- Chemist: 3 mins (Kardamyli)
- Hospital: 45 minutes (Kalamata)
For more family-friendly places, see our Kids Collection
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).
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
- Kalamata 45.0 km KLX
- Athens, Eleftherios Venizelos 310.0 km ATH
- Beach 0.0 km
- Shops 1.0 km
- Restaurant 1.0 km