Notos Hotel

Kardamyli, Peloponnese, Greece Book from Book from £73 per night

A cluster of simple chic studios and cottages sleeping 2-4, with stunning views over Kardamyli village and the rugged Mani coastline
Notos was the Greek God of the south wind, and this sublime spot - perched above sparkling seas not far from the southernmost tip of the Greek mainland - is perfectly poised to receive warm winds from Africa. At your feet stretches the pretty harbour town of Kardamyli, with its olive groves and long pebbly beach; above loom the 8000-foot peaks of Mt. Taygetos, gleaming with snow until April, swathed in fir forest, wild flowers and ancient stone hamlets.

The Outer Mani is a spectacular region: one of our favourite in Greece, if not Europe. These studios and apartments, lying a short drive or 30-minute walk from the restaurants and boutiques of gorgeous Kardamyli, are ideally placed to explore its pretty villages and Byzantine chapels, its most dramatic hiking trails and limestone gorges, its prettiest sand and shingle coves. This is essentially a self-catering set-up, with kitchenettes for DIY meals and no full-time reception; but the delightful English-speaking owners Maria and Giorgos live on site and are happy to give insider tips and local info. They know the area better than anyone, and by happy coincidence run one of Kardamyli's most sought after seafront fish tavernas, Lela's.

Highs

  • The 13 studios and apartments are clean, calm and contemporary, with handy kitchenettes and sitting areas
  • A choice of sizes means they are suitable for couples and families alike
  • Most have balconies with far reaching views
  • It's great value, especially if you stay 5+ nights and select the discounted rate
  • A great base for those seeking tranquility and inspirational views

Lows

  • There is no pool, but it's just a 10-minute walk to the sea
  • The local beach is pebbly, but there are sandy beaches at Stoupa (10km)
  • The studios are set quite close together, and the shower rooms are quite small
  • It's hard to get to - 1 hour from Kalamata (occasional flights from the UK), and 4 hours from Athens
  • You will need a hire car: the village of Kardamyli is 2km away: a lovely 30-min walk, but not if 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 (June-August), expect hotter temperatures and a few more people on the beach - though it is never crowded.

Our top tips

The reception room at Notos has some maps and guidebooks to borrow, and Giorgos (if he's around) knows the trails inside out. But if you really want to get under the skin of this stunning area, buy the Sunflower Guide (2019 edition), which has several hikes and secret picnic spots in this area. (Full disclosure: I wrote it). Walk 7, which includes an Ottoman mulepath, a Mycenean beehive-tomb and a Frankish hilltop fort, ends at your door.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 13
  • Self-catering (shops 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
  • 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. The studios, which are housed in 2-storey cottages (one studio on each level), are open-plan spaces with 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 sea-facing terrace, and enough bedspace, using an extra bed or cot, for a family of 5.

Expect simple but stylish interiors with unfussy decor: tiled floors, pale grey beams and shutters, wafting white curtains, a smattering of local art. It's definitely on the minimalist side, but we loved it. There's air-con, bright bedside lights, fluffy towels, TVs and good WiFi. Shower bathrooms are compact but functional; kitchenettes are well equipped by Greek standards. Best of all, there is barely a sound, other than the buzz of cicada crickets and the distant breath of waves breaking over Kardamyli's pebble beach 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).

For breakfast, you can pick up supplies in Kardamyli (2km), which has a couple of small supermarkets, some delis and a baker. There's no better start to the day than fresh orange juice, Greek yoghurt, pastries and coffee on your sea-facing balcony or terrace.

For lunch and dinner, we highly recommend you head out to one of Kardamyli's many charming restaurants . 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 - and lots of other cognoscenti! - love Lela's taverna, now run by Giorgos who is the late Lela's son. Expect superb fresh seafood and classic home-cooked Greek dishes, served next to lapping seas and mewing kittens. Book ahead in summer.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Explore Kardamyli's old town, Byzantine church and medieval keep - now a simple museum; then browse its surprisingly classy boutiques, delis and seafront cafés

  • Swim, snorkel or kayak at the pebbly beach below the hotel; or hop in the car or bus to Foneas (5km) for its tiny cliff-ringed cove, and Stoupa (10km) for sandier shores with seafront bars

  • Follow hiking trails over foothills, gorges and rugged coast - there's a 2-hour loop to Petrovouni hamlet and Kalamitsi beach, and longer hikes to the spectacular Viros or Koskarakas gorges - all described in the Sunflower Guide

  • Visit the spectacular sea-caves of Diros (1 hour's drive), followed by a mooch through the historic village of Areopolis, and fish lunch at Insta-worthy Limeni, with its resident sea turtle

  • The adventurous can attempt the 2400m peak of Taygetos, starting from the forest settlement at Ayios Dimitrios: you will need sturdy boots, map, water, fitness, experience and a high clearance car

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 outside the coastal village of Kardamyli (also written Kardamili), 45 mins' drive south of Kalamata in the Peloponnese.

By Air
Fly into Kalamata (45km / 1 hour's drive) or Athens (320km / 3.5 hours, wider choice of flights).

By Car
It's worth having a car, as Notos is 2km outside Kardamyli, and some of the area's loveliest beaches, villages and chapels are hard to reach by bus. See our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

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 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
10/10
Food
8/10
Service
8/10
Value
9/10
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.

10/10,

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

9/10,

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