Notos Hotel

Kardamyli, Peloponnese, Greece Book from Book from £86 per night

A cluster of beautifully decorated stone cottages, each sleeping 2-4, with stunning views over Kardamyli village and the rugged Mani coastline
‘Notos’ is Greek for south, and you can’t get much further south than this in Europe: you are more or less on a line with Tunis, Algiers and Gibraltar. And yet, for six months of the year, the mountain peaks looming above Kardamyli are covered in gleaming snow, and their foothills swathed in the greens, pinks and yellows of grassy terraces, olive groves and springs flowers.

The ‘Outer Mani’ is a spectacular region, no doubt about it, and these apartments have one of the best views in the area. Stretching southwards to land’s end at Cape Tainaron, the jagged, blue coastline unfolds before you, while up to your left are the limestone peaks and forested slopes of Mt. Taygetus. Dotted all around are stone villages and Byzantine chapels, which make for fascinating walks and car tours. Throw in a couple of days at the beach, some fish dinners at a seaside taverna, plus a bit of R&R in your cool and spacious apartment, and you have a perfect week’s holiday for couples and families alike. The beautiful south, indeed, and a perfect 10 from me.

Highs

  • The calm, contemporary studios and apartments, with well-appointed kitchens, sofas, balcony and that Greek rarity, the kettlus electricus.
  • A lively welcome and advice from owner Giorgos and his wife Maria, both fluent English speakers
  • The breathtaking scenery - from the pristine sea up to snow-capped Mt. Taygetus, with ancient villages and frescoed churches galore
  • A personal favourite - after 20 years of exploring and travel writing, Kardamyli still tops my list

Lows

  • There is no pool, but it's just a short walk to the sea
  • The local beach is pebbly, though there are 2 sandy beaches 10km away
  • It's hard to get to - 4 hours' drive from Athens, 1 hour from Kalamata (occasional charters) - but that's part of the appeal?
  • You will need a hire car: the village of Kardamyli is 2km away (a nice 1/2-hour walk - unless you are carrying shopping!)

Best time to go

April, May, late September and October are the ideal times, in my opinion: warm but rarely hot, not too crowded, easier to find flights. In spring there are wonderful wild flowers, in autumn the sea is much warmer - take your pick. In midsummer (mid June- early Sep) there are increasing numbers, especially Greeks, as well as higher temperatures. In winter (Nov – March) there are some lovely, cool, clear days and some not so lovely, wintry ones, but it rarely gets properly cold (i.e. below 10 celsius) down here. Ask about special winter rates.

Our top tips

If you want to really explore this stunning area, buy a copy of the Sunflower Guide to the Southern Peloponnese: walks 6-10 and car tour 2 cover Kardamyli and the Outer Mani. Walk 9 to the villages of Petrovouni and Proastio, then down to Foneas beach, is a particular favourite of mine (and I have done them all).

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 13
  • 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
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

There are 9 studios and 4 apartments spread over the hillside in (semi) independent stone buildings, rather like a little village. All of them have a balcony, a bathroom with shower (except apt. 131: tub), and a well-equipped kitchen (see Eating). The studios, which are housed in 2-storey cottages, one-up one-down, have one twin or double bedroom; the apartments, some of which are free-standing, have a second room which can be used as a sitting room or a children’s bedroom, using the 2 sofa-beds. The largest apartment, no. 131 above reception, has a huge living room and terrace, and enough bedspace, using an extra bed or cot, for a family of 5.

The open-plan arrangement, combined with simple tiled floors and light pine furniture, gives the apartments a cool, contemporary, spacious feel. The German kitchen fittings are seriously efficient, and the bathrooms a cut or two above the Greek average. Giorgos has chosen tasteful outdoor furniture for the balcony (or terrace), as well as tasteful pictures and prints inside (in the past he exhibited watercolours and arty photographs at his mother’s restaurant). Air-con, Venetian blinds and a mountain breeze keep the rooms pleasantly cool, and there is barely a sound, other than the rasp of cicada crickets and the melodic tootling of the 4 daily buses as they pass through the village below.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone

Eating

All the rooms have a well-equipped kitchen corner, with fridge, toaster, kettle, pans and cooker (but no oven). There is a wooden table and chairs, cutlery and crockery to suffice easily for 2 (studios), 4 (most apartments) or 6 (apartment no. 131).

You can pre-order a continental breakfast which Maria will bring to your room - and there's no better start to the day than orange juice, pastries and coffee on the sea-facing balcony or terrace. But after the first day or two you may prefer to get your own supplies and do it yourself. You'll find all you need for simple meals (omelettes, salads etc).

For dinner, we highly recommend you head out to one of Kardamyli's many charming restaurants for fresh seafood and classic Greek dishes cooked the way they were always meant to be. The nearest - and one of the best - is the taverna attached to Elies, about 10 minutes' walk away by the beach. In the village itself (20-30 minutes' walk), we can particularly recommend Lela's taverna, run by Giorgos' elderly mother, for its fresh home cooking and unrivalled seaside setting. There are also several seaside eateries in nearby Stoupa.

There are two small but well-stocked supermarkets at the entrance to Kardamyli, with fresh fruit and veg as well as lots of familiar packet food. There is a butcher and a baker in the village, and several peripatetic fishmonger vans.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Walk the old, zigzagging mulepaths and flower-lined tracks between villages – Giorgos can give you advice and a sketch map of trails from 2-5 hours

  • Explore the old town and chapel of Kardamyli, or the many frescoed Byzantine chapels dotted among the olive groves, such as Ayia Sofia (ask about the key before going!) and Likaki monastery

  • Swim at the pebbly beach below the hotel, or the sandy ones at Stoupa, 10km away; there's also a dramatic, cliff-ringed cove at Fonissa, 5km away

  • Hire a fishing boat and sail down the coast to an isolated cove or village, or across to Koroni on the western peninsula

  • Drive down to Areopolis (1 hour) to visit the spectacular sea-caves of Pirgos Dirou

  • Hike through the breathtaking Viros gorge from Exohori or Tseria (4 hrs), or the lesser-known Koskarakas gorge below Gaïtses (3-6 hrs)

  • Trek up to the 2400-metre-high peaks of Taygetus: you will need a map, lots of water, sturdy boots, good fitness and a high clearance car to get to the trailhead at Ayios Dimitrios

  • Visit the crumbling Frankish forts of Zarnatas (near Stavropigio) and Kapetani (Sotirianika); or the Mycenean beehive-tomb at Kambos - all are within an hour's drive

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Sailing
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Trekking
  • Windsurfing

Kids

A great place for children young and old: beaches, small castles to explore, a bit of nightlife for older kids, and a separate sitting room with comfy sofa-beds (apartments only) for them to sleep in. The cost of the apartments is the same for 2 or 3 people with a 10% surcharge of the room rate for a 4th person. There are cots available but bring a high chair. Make sure your children have sun protection and plenty to drink. Remember, it is a 20-minute walk from Kardamyli itself.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Location

Notos is just outside the coastal village of Kardamyli (also written Kardamili, Kardamyle) which is near Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese. It's about 4 hours' drive from Athens.

By Air
Athens (320km) or Kalamata (40km - restricted flights). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

By Car
From Athens it is 4-5 hours drive, following a motorway via Corinth to Tripolis and then a country road via Kalamata to Kardamyli. Driving through Athens is fine now that the Attiki Odos (ring road) is ready. Pick up the latest leaflet from the airport info desk before setting off. See our car rental recommendations.

By Taxi
If you don't want to drive you can take a taxi. It's 1 hour from Kalamata and 4.5 hours from Athens - see Rates for an idea of cost.

By Bus
If you're feeling brave, you can take a bus from Athens to Kalamata (4 hours+) and another bus or a taxi from Kalamata to Kardamyli (1 hour). The buses from Athens leave from Kifissou Street bus station ("KTEL Kifissou", best reached by taxi from the airport) and they go every 1 - 1½ hours. Notos is about 1 km outside Kardamyli so you'll need to call Maria to come and collect you.

By Train
The train from Athens to Kalamata is much slower (7-10 hours) but also cheaper.

Detailed directions to the hotel itself will be sent when you confirm your booking.

More on getting to Greece and getting around.

Airports:

  • Kalamata 35.0 km KLX
  • Athens, Eleftherios Venizelos 320.0 km ATH

Other:

  • Beach 0.5 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
6/10
Food
7/10
Service
7/10
Value
7/10
Overall

We stayed beginning September, beautiful weather, about 10 minutes walk from the sea, a pleasure to walk down the hill in the morning to the beach - wonderful swimming and then a coffee (and lunch) in the Elies Hotel fabulous olive garden restaurant right on the edge of the beach. The Notos apartment was comfortable, well designed and appointed, with new shower room. Each apartment had a terrace, some with better views than others - ours was OK but with restricted view. We felt the buildings were a little close together and terraces overlooked each other - but this was a minor criticism. Overall it was a great place to stay. Giorgos and Maria were delightful, helpful hosts, and the rooms were well cleaned and serviced everyday. We did have some issues with hornets, but they disappeared as soon as the grapes were removed. It did mean though that breakfast had to be indoors.

9/10,

We stayed here back in May. Wonderful room with views. Helpful hosts but no breakfast so had to fend for ourselves.

9/10,

Rather basic accommodation and not as comfortable as we'd hoped to chill out for a few days in the middle of a longer road trip; hard bed, hard chairs, small, awkward shower. And our apartment was tucked away without the views of some of the others, so no sitting on the terrace and looking out to sea either.

6/10,

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