“A romantic 13th-century manor house set in picturesque vineyards and olive groves, close to the medieval city of Monemvasia”
The Kinsterna opened here in 2010, just before Greece's economic woes reached crisis point. Other businesses might have floundered, but this boutique hotel and spa thrived, soon clocking up recommendations as one of the world’s best new hotels. Its location is a major draw - just secluded enough, and set high on a hillside with views of the Aegean Sea and the medieval castle-city of Monemvasia. The local owners took their time over their tasteful renovation of the Byzantine-era rural mansion and its private grounds, creating a relaxed haven with just 35 rooms and suites. The rich white-sand beaches of Elafonisos are within reach, as is the hidden port of Gerakas with its excellent seafood. But most couples come here for the romance, peace and calm of the hotel itself.
- Beautiful rooms, kept cool with restored stone walls, and comfortable thanks to Coco-Mat beds and luxe furnishings
- The hotel is surrounded by a moat-like pool, which emanates from a fresh-water spring. It feeds a central cistern, then flows on to create the lovely swimming pool
- Excellent food and wine, served on terraces over the cistern, and mostly grown from their own land and vineyards
- A restored Ottoman hammam in the spa, along with indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and decadent treatments (citrus scrubs, a detoxifying honey massage and Arabic razul)
- The peace and tranquillity of the Peloponnese
- A mission to get to, and once here a remoteness from everything. You will need a car or taxi to get to Monemvasia (7km) and beaches
- Patchy WiFi
- Music by the swimming pool can feel loud and imposing
- Some feel the service is not attentive enough but we found it very good
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- Welcome but not ideal
- Closed: Between 8th Jan and 21st March
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
The stylish, comfortable rooms are a highlight of a stay at Kinsterna and it is hard to find fault in the tasteful restoration. The original building has been painstakingly recreated with traditional construction methods and local materials. Exposed stone walls make the rooms a cool sanctuary in summer while the furniture is luxuriously comfortable. You're sent a pillow menu prior to your stay, and we slept so well it came as no surprise to discover the beds are award-winning Coco-Mats.
Marble bathrooms are decked out with rain showers - 3 of the Kinsterna Suites also have tubs. All have bathrobes and slippers, heated towel rails, Korres toiletries and scales.
For the most part, rooms have a view; some of the sea, castle and mountain, others of the surrounding gardens, olive and orange groves. A handful come without views, and a couple don't have a lot of natural light, so check on booking if this bothers you. All have flat screen TVs with a movie and music library, plus air con and WiFi.
Classic Rooms are cosy but not cramped, while some of the Deluxe Rooms come with an authentic fireplace or private veranda, as do some of the larger rooms. Byzantine Suites have vaulted ceilings and Junior Suites have a lounge area. Deluxe Suites have a separate sitting area. Top of the pile are the Kinsterna Suites - the hotel’s honeymoon suite offering, with masses of space.
Since our visit, 8 Residences have been added to the mix. These sumptuous offerings are more spacious, with magnificent views of the Aegean and private terraces with sunloungers. The Master Residence is ideal for 2 couples or a family, with 2 bedrooms and a private dining room.
- Air conditioning
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Mosquito net
- Music and film library
- Pillow menu
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
The centrepiece of the hotel is the cistern, and cantilevered over it are platforms where dinner is served, overlooking the rock of Monemvasia. It's a stunning setting, especially by candelight - perfect for romance.
Eating locally is the ethos and flavours are Mediterranean: extra virgin olive oil, citrus fruits and vegetables are all grown and produced on-site, using traditional methods. For our dinner, a delicious velouté of broccoli was from the hotel garden, served with foam of local cream cheese and homemade bread sticks. Other tempting options included just-caught lobster, crispy local 'tsaiti' pie with wild mountain greens and fennel or local veal fillet with mushroom ragout and a red Kinsterna wine sauce. Staff can recommend nearby eateries if and when the in-house menu gets tiring.
The hotel’s private vineyard produces wines to match your meal and tastings can be arranged by request. In winter, meals are served in the fireplace-warmed restaurant, or in your own room.
Rates include an excellent a la carte breakfast. There's freshly squeezed orange juice from the trees that shade you by the pool, along with pastries, crepes, fruit from the orchard and local treats like orange-scented rice pudding.
For lunches, the Pool Bar serves big sandwiches, healthy salads, and signature burgers along with detoxifying fruit juices or retoxifying cocktails.
- Light meals
- Organic produce
- Room service
- Relax under the orange trees by the pool then amble over to the hotel spa with its hammam, hydrotherapy circuit, indoor and outdoor treatment rooms and outdoor Jacuzzi looking out over the Aegean. The authentic Ottoman scrubs are a treat
- Visit the medieval citadel of Monemvasia, which, with its car-free narrow streets, still exhibits signs of its Byzantine, Ottoman and Veneitan heritage
- A day excursion to Elafonisos island and Simos beach is a must; with turquoise, clear waters it rivals the famous islands, but without the crowds. Sarakiniko beach is also stunning
- Or head to smaller, beautiful beaches - Gefiras, Pori, Ampelakia, Xifia and Kastellas; reception can advise
- Go hiking along the Byzantine trails of Koulentia village
- Take a speedboat to the small village of Gerakas, celebrated for its seafood. We dined like kings on battered shrimp patties, roasted herby feta on pitta, calamari and red mullet at Diamantis
- Migrating birds use Gerakas as a stop-off on their way to Africa, so bring your binoculars
- Marvel at the underground caves of Kastania, with their stunning formations of limestone stalactites
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Traditional cultures
- Wine tasting
Well-behaved children are welcome but this is a tranquil place and parents are expected to respect other guests and monitor any children, especially by the pool and the restaurant.
Family friendly accommodation:
Deluxe Doubles and Byzantine Suites have space for a baby cot; Junior and Deluxe Suites can fit a baby cot or a rollaway bed for a child aged 2-12; Kinsterna Suites have space for 2 rollaway beds, 1 for a child aged 2-12 and 1 for an adult. The Master Residence has 2 double/twin bedrooms.
Babysitting available with advance notice
High chairs and baby cots
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kinsterna Hotel is set 7km outside Monemvasia, in the region of Lakonia on the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese. The drive from Athens is about 4 hours, mostly along interstate highways but surprisingly picturesque.
Most people fly to Athens (300km) then drive from here. Or, from late April to early October, you can fly to Kalamata (160km) with a charter company. This is nearer (a 2.5-hour drive) and avoids driving through Athens, but it usually restricts you to 7 or 14 night trips and the timings may not suit you. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.
From the Airport
The hotel can arrange transfers, but this will leave you reliant on taxis during your stay, so we'd recommend hiring a car. Click here to see our recommendations.
There are occasional ferries (1 or 2 per week, 8 hours) and hydrofoils (2-4 per week, 4 ½ hours) from Piraeus (Athens), passing via Hydra, Porto Heli, Leonidion, Kiparissi and Ieraka. This is both an authentic and easy way to arrive if you can time it right. But we advise that you check boat timetables (see GTP) before confirming your hotel booking.
Detailed directions to the hotel will be sent when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Greece and getting around
- Athens 300.0 km ATH
- Kalamata 160.0 km KLX
- Beach 1.3 km
- Shops 7.0 km
- Restaurant 7.0 km