“A small, charming hotel in the historic citadel of Ioannina, a bustling lakeside town in northwest Greece”
Within the confines of a medium-sized Ottoman townhouse, the Rittas and Zannis families have done their best at packing in 7 tastefully decorated bedrooms and a breakfast room. Fully renovated in 2011, the bedrooms come in pastel shades of green, peach or magnolia, with very comfy twin- or double beds (though a little narrow for couples, perhaps), neatly painted ceilings and wooden floors. Floral drapes and rustic, distressed wood bedside furniture add a pretty, feminine touch. There's air-con, plasma TVs and WiFi, too.
In the compact, marble-tiled bathrooms - also refurbed in 2011 - you'll find excellent, glass-walled showers with reliably hot water, good pressure and detachable shower head; plus hairdryer, towel rail and the standard sachets of shampoo and gel.
The 4 rooms off the first floor landing-salon are higher and more spacious, with tall wooden doors and windows looking onto either the city walls or the hotel courtyard. The largest can sleep three, thanks to an additional single bed alongside the double. The 3 ground floor rooms are darker and slightly smaller, with compact shower cubicles and mullioned windows opening onto a courtyard of red and white potted geraniums, or onto the carpark outside. Avoid these 3 if possible.
The hotel can serve you a simple breakfast of bread, cake, orange juice, jams, hot drinks and – a nod, perhaps, to the Dutch and German hikers who pass through here on their way into the Pindos mountains – cold meats and cheeses. Other than that, you’ll have to wander into town for lunch and dinner – no hardship, given the abundance and variety of tavernas, cafes and restaurants.
Our favourite restaurant is Es Aei, a converted Ottoman residence with a delightful glass-covered, fountain-cooled inner court. A truly unusual selection of salads, starters and cooked dishes from around the Ottoman empire graces their menu: Cretan rusks with cottage cheese; fresh orange salad with potatoes, herbs and olives from the Mani; crunchy chick-pea balls from Sifnos; and, even though they use tinned ingredients for this, irresistible spicy grilled mushrooms. Their home-bottled Zitsa white wine is among the crispest we tasted, and excellent value.
Other recommended options include Stoa Louli, a bustling arcade in the Jewish quarter serving stylish modern Greek cuisine, somewhat overpriced wines and, in the separate gallery bar, cocktails until the small hours.
At the molos – the quay for the little passenger boats to Nisaki island – you’ll find a buzzing, shady piazza of tavernas serving everything from breaded frogs legs to burgers. Just along the lakefront is a booming waterside café from where you can observe trendily-clad university students from behind a ‘frappé’ coffee and a cloud of Assos and Karelia smoke.
Children are welcome, but no special concessions are made for them - although under 2s are free in the cot provided. A couple of rooms can sleep a child plus parents, some rooms have a folding bed, and there is an extra cost per additional person.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting available by arrangement
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking