Hotel Olga

Mouressi, Pelion, Greece Book from

A simple but stylish mountain village hideaway on Pelion's wild, wooded eastern flanks
Of the many village inns tucked into the densely wooded folds of Mt. Pelion, this one stands out for its fresh design, its easy vibe and its great value. Ex-pilot Dimitris and dynamic Lena welcome you onto their sun terrace, perched like an eyrie over the verdant Aegean coast, with fresh plucked cherries or cheese pies hot from the oven. Swallows flit past slate roofs, church bells chime next door, happy guests share coffee. I felt instantly at home.

In summer, you can explore cobbled paths through chestnut woods, kayak through the turquoise coves of Damouhari, plunge into crystalline waters at hidden Fakistra, or sunbathe on the white sands of Agios Ioannis. In winter, there's grappa by the fireside in an airy reading-dining room, with WiFi, mags, maybe fresh snowfall. Return each afternoon to a crisp, rustic-chic bedroom warmed by bold 3D artworks and contemporary lighting; or to deckchairs under the magnolia tree. Lena's breakfast spread is fabled, her rice puddings and savoury breads dangerously moreish. They don't serve dinner, but it's only a 20-second hop to the village taverna for unpretentious home cooking served under a vast linden tree.

Highs

  • Lena's breakfasts were among the best on our trip, and she was always plying guests with her latest titbits from the afternoon's baking
  • We loved the clean, bright decor of the 2 Junior Suites, and their hot power showers
  • The village of Mouresi, with its stately church and scattered stone-and-slate houses, works a slow charm on you
  • The hidden beaches of Damouhari (5 km) and Fakistra (7 km) are two of our favourites in Pelion, indeed in Greece
  • Keen hikers and bikers will find miles of wooded trails on your doorstep - though you'll need to bring all equipment with you

Lows

  • Getting here involves a long drive (over 1 hour from Volos, 4 from Thessaloniki), with some tortuous mountain roads at the end
  • You're 5km above the coast, so you'll need to drive again to reach the beach (but only 10-20 mins)
  • When we visited, the 3 Loft Rooms had not yet been refurbished and looked very dated by comparison
  • This is a husband-and-wife B&B in a simple mountain village: don't expect concierge services, pool or spa

Best time to go

Unlike many Pelion hotels, Olga is open year-round. The hills remain refreshingly cool throughout the summer; you might even get a brief (and welcome) rain shower. This makes it a good option for July-August, which can be baking hot (and quite crowded) on the beaches. June and September are ideal, especially if you fancy doing some hiking or biking. Spring comes late here - typically early May, and often ushered in by the festivities of Greek Easter. Winter weekends can be surprisingly busy as city folk head up in the hope of snow; but midweek it's empty. The hotel has central heating and fireplaces, and the ski station of Agriolefkes normally operates from December to March.

Our top tips

  • Bring some warm clothes for the evenings, and plenty of books to read or swop
  • If you suffer from car sickness, bring a good supply of tablets!
  • Great for...

    Beach
    Cheap & Chic
    Family
    Great Outdoors
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 6
    • Breakfast & snack-bar; restaurant nearby
    • 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
    Room:

    Rooms

    When we visited, 3 of the 6 rooms had been stylishly refurbed with a clean, contemporary look that comes as a refreshing change from the dark-wood-and-stone of most traditional Greek inns. Expect dimmable downlights or tripod standing lamps, plump white duvets offset by cherry red counterpanes, one of those Eames-esque white bucket chairs that are de rigueur in cool homeware catalogues - and, yes, a single exposed stone wall to remind you that you are in a venerable Peliot house.

    Some rooms have glassed fireplaces, others striking textured artwork by Volos-based dentist (yes, you read that right) Vasilis Kapodistrias. Here's proof that you can judiciously use flatpack furniture - for those open modular wardrobes are indeed Stolmen - offset by one or two eye-catching statement pieces to create an altogether cool and classy effect.

    In due course Dimitris and Lena plan to refurb the 3 Loft rooms, housed in their own wing beneath the terrace, and also split-level. Meantime the Junior Suites and Deluxe are the ones to go for. If you're a couple, request Junior Suite #2 - the loveliest room in the house, where we stayed. For a couple with child, or 2 friends travelling together, Junior Suite #1 is the answer - a split-level room with cosy sleeping platform upstairs, and a living area (with single sofabed and fireplace) plus shower room downstairs. Single travellers, or couples on a short stay / tight budget, could opt for the smaller Deluxe room - but at these rates you might decide to splash out on the altogether lovelier Junior Suite #2.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • CD player (on request)
    • Central heating
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Extra beds
    • Fireplace (some rooms)
    • Hairdryer
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Safe box (on request)
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • Tv
    • WiFi

    Eating

    Come breakfast time, Lena lays out a wonderful spread - either outside on the sunny terrace, or in their dining room if it's cooler - of whatever she has just baked, plucked and whipped up. We tucked into cinnamon-dusted rice pudding, savoury loaf filled with sausage and cheese, fresh apple pie, juicy Cantaloupe melon slices, pastries with homemade cherry and peach jams - and there was plenty more besides. Sitting at marble tables (repurposed from vintage sewing machines), under the shade of a triangular sail or the vast magnolia tree, there can few better starts to the day.

    They don't serve lunch or dinner, but if you're around in the afternoon you may be invited to test Lena's latest pie or Dimitris' coffee-making skills. And it's only a minute's walk to the Plateia taverna where, sitting under a huge spreading linden tree behind the church, I enjoyed a Greek salad, finger-licking chicken stew, dessert and local wine for the princely sum of 8 euros. There are a couple of other eateries in the village, and plenty more on the coast (Damouhari enjoys an idyllic setting).

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Breakfast
    • Coffee tea making
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Restaurants nearby
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • It's a 5-10 minute drive to 2 of our favourite beach hideaways in Pelion: the tiny fishing harbour of Damouhari (used as a location in Mamma Mia), and the pirate-like cove of Fakistra below Tsangarada (this involves a short, steep walk from the end of the road)
    • If you prefer a bit more bustle, Papa Nero and Agios Ioannis can oblige: both have pale sands, clear blue waters and parasols for hire, as does the rock-arched Mylopotamos further south
    • There's a lovely footpath from Mouresi down through the woods to Damouhari, then up to Tsangarada (bus back), or along the coast through flowering scrubland to Fakistra (taxi required)
    • Alternatively, head up from the nearby villages of Kissos or Xourihti into the endless beech and chestnut forests of the 1400-metre Pelion ridge, a world apart from the coast: take a good map, waterproofs and plenty of provisions
    • Kissos has a handsome 17th-century church with intricate wood carvings; Anilio a women's co-operative selling preserves and baclava; Zagorá a bustling high street with cafés, fountains and apples galore
    • Rent a sea kayak from Pelion Secrets in Damouhari and paddle along the indented coastline to find your own sea-washed rock or secret bay

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Hiking
    • Kayaking
    • Mountain biking
    • Skiing
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming

    Kids

    This is not an obvious choice for families, being tucked away in a remote mountain village - but if you do venture here with kids, they will be warmly welcomed by Lena and Dimitris.

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    One Junior Suite has a single sofabed; the other rooms can fit a cot (book early as there's only one cot). Families with 2 or more children will need separate rooms.

    Kids Activities nearby:

    You'll find several fantastic beaches within 1/2 hour's drive, including the sands of Agios Ioannis and the pirate-like cove of Damouhari (a great spot for snorkelling and sea-kayaking, if your children are confident swimmers). There's also a small shady playground next to the hotel, with swings, see-saw and a slide.

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    8/
    Rooms
    10/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    10/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

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    Rates for Hotel Olga