“Quiet, simple cottages (sleeping 2-7) a leafy stroll from a stunning beach, hidden away on a very under-rated Greek island.”
Onar's subtle design brings out the best in the surroundings by reflecting the natural world as much as possible in its décor. So expect to find wooden beams, brushed concrete floors, natural fibres, splashes of modern art on the walls and colours that, like the turquoise throws and white bedsheets, echo the blue skies and brilliant sand outside. It's simple, but it packs a punch.
There are 9 houses of varying sizes; the 1 bedroom Small House, the 2 bedroom Large House, and the 3 bedroom Superior House which has its own private garden. They all have modern bathrooms and private patios plus a living room, kitchenette, fireplace and large picture windows. All have views of the river or sea.
The one thing we should highlight is the simplicity of life here: kitchenettes lack ovens, there's no formal reception, and you're a long way from supplies (25km, half of it on a rough track). Each house does have a limited internet connection (available only on request!), satellite TV, a DVD player and a mini HiFi with an iPod jack, but keeping in touch with the outside world isn't really the ethos; instead, the desert island feeling means that you really do get away from it all.
Food at Onar follows the wonderful Greek tradition of eating fresh food bursting with flavour in the shade outdoors. The hotel serves up a delightful communal breakfast of Greek coffee, juice, seasonal fruit, homemade jam, local honey, cereal, eggs from the village, olives, feta cheese, traditional cookies and bread, all served underneath a giant plane tree.
This communal feel extends to nights spent drinking wine and chatting beside the fire in the central building, but you can easily self-cater and eat at your own house if you want to be private. Each house has a kitchenette with with hob (no oven or microwave), fridge and basic cutlery and crockery: enough for simple home cooking but nothing fancy.
In 2013 Ilias Kariotoglou, who trained under Michel Roux, took over Onar's kitchen. He uses fresh fish from local fishermen and ingredients from the garden and local markets to create classic Greek dishes with a modern twist. Start with zucchini frittas and fava, followed by Mussels with white wine and lemon or a traditional Andros froutalia omellete for two, and end with Onar pear belle helene. As well as this, local women from the village of Vourkoti occasionally offer their secret recipes and home cooked Mediterranean meals for lunch and dinner. The three-course menus include Greek salad, stuffed tomatoes or peppers, chicken with baked potatoes, meatballs, moussaka, spinach pie and fish on the grill.
The closest taverna is in Vourkoti, about 8km away on an unlit dirt road, so it is easier eat out at lunchtime than in the evening. The nearest market is in Hora, about 25 km from Onar, and there's a supermarket at Andros port, just across from the ferry.
We think that Onar is great for children and would make a fab family holiday spot. It might not necessarily have all the mod cons and comforts you'd expect (be prepared to bring them with you - there's no shop nearby for example) but the access to nature is unparalleled and there's a natural swimming pool. Older children and teenagers will love the opportunity to run, swim, climb, explore and hide.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The Small Houses are best for families with one child, the Large Houses sleep up to 4 adults and the Superior House sleeps up to 7 so they are better for families with more than one child. Note that there are no bath tubs.
Can be arranged on request, see Rates
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The staff are happy to prepare meals for children when required so they don't have to wait for adult mealtimes. There are no microwaves in the kitchens, but there are plenty of pots and pans for heating baby food. Note that there is just a small cantina-beach bar on the beach and a taverna at the village of Vourkoti 8km away.
Families with babies and/or toddlers may have to bring a lot with them - there isn't a shop nearby and specialist items like baby suncream may be hard to find on Andros. Note that there is a mobile phone signal throughout the property.