“In a leafy mountain village of northwest Greece, a comfortable stone-built guesthouse with a cosy restaurant, ideal for hikers, birders and botanists”
All 10 rooms are housed in the stone-faced xenonas (inn) bearing the name of Nikolas, the founder of the Corfu-based family who now own it. Newly rebuilt from near dereliction in 2004, it is split into 4 parts.
The main Hagiati contains 6 rooms over 2 floors, most of them with views over the central terrace to the densely wooded slopes of Mt. Mitsikeli. Inside you can expect twin or double beds, pale blue or peach walls, prettily painted panelled ceilings and stripy runners on the floor. There are hand-painted fireplaces in the corner, radiators under the windows, thick quilts for the chilly nights. It's all very neat and tidy, spoiled only by the undisguised mini-fridge and the boxy TV (and DVD player) trailing cables from its articulated metal arm. Bathrooms are functional tiled affairs with boxed-in shower cubicles. Two rooms have a double sofabed; others can take a 3rd (foldaway) bed.
Alongside the Hagiati are 3 semi-independent annexes, each with 1 or 2 rooms. Kamares, meaning 'vaults' because it is built over an arched entranceway, contains 2 ensuite rooms (one double, one twin) linked by a landing, which can be taken together as a family apartment. The style is a little simpler and more rustic than Hagiati, which seems more fitting for this environment: marble-topped bedside tables, handsome cast iron bedsteads (though be aware that the double is on the narrow side).
Petrino and Kalderimi are cosy yellow doubles with additional sofa, flagged floors and stone-surround fireplace (petrino means stone-built). They look a bit more homespun, with their matted red rugs and mix of pine and wrought iron furniture, though they are spacious enough, and have the benefit of being set a little apart.
The reception room doubles up as a breakfast room, and you can order mezes (snacks) and tsipouro (grappa) here too, if your cockles need warming after a chilly mountain hike. We have not visited in its latest incarnation, but you can expect breakfast to include homemade jams, yogurt, eggs, bread (sadly not fresh – it comes from Ioannina), plus something special like a local spinach pie or crepes with aromatic honey.
For dinner, pop just outside to the village square, where outdoor tables are set under the shade of a vast plane tree. Starters might include yigantes (butter beans) with wild greens, red peppers stuffed with feta cheese (a typical northern Greek dish) or a ratatouille of seasonal vegetables. Mains might be oven-baked pork, grilled lamb, fresh trout or chicken in a creamy lemon sauce, served with ‘tsips’ or rice, while desserts are a mouthful of sweet stickiness, such as glacéd fruit compote or baclava. If this taverna is closed, there's a second one 5 minutes' walk away.
Children are very welcome, and outdoorsy families will have a great time. The 2 Kamares rooms would suit a family of 4 (one double, one twin room, both ensuite). All rooms have a TV (and DVD player on request) in case the weather turns nasty. Bear in mind that the alleys are cobbled, making pushchairs hard work.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)