“A gorgeous 6-suite hideaway set above the pretty fishing harbour of Kini on western Syros, with access to stunning beaches”
Hidden above the pretty fishing village of Kini on the west coast of Syros, Pino di Loto ticks all these boxes, and a few more. First off, it's all done with a touch of class: the just-baked croissants and loose leaf green teas at breakfast, the net-draped four posters and salvaged mirror frames in the all-white suites, the generously tiered outdoor spaces (patios, pool-bar, pergola) - and all for a maximum of 16 guests. The service, from multilingual young Terezdina and her cultured parents (Mum did the interiors), is also a cut above; nothing is too much trouble. And Syros itself is something of a hidden gem: overlooked by most foreign visitors, though popular with Athenians in high summer. The northwest hides some of the Cyclades' loveliest little beaches, accessible by boat from Kini; Ermoupolis, too, is a real eye-opener, with its grandiose Neoclassical buildings, opulent churches and labyrinthine hill quarter of Ano Syros.
- With just 6 rooms and devoted family management (staff consists of Terezdina, her parents, two maids and a bartender), it feels just like staying with friends
- Hook up with 4 other couples and book the whole place for a heavenly house party
- Each suite has a sitting room as well as a kitchenette
- The sublime food at Armirikia, one of Kini's seaside restaurants, will make you rethink Greek cuisine
- Just an hour by boat from Mykonos (direct flights from Europe), not much more from Tinos, Paros and Naxos; or you can fly here from Athens in a little prop jet
- This is strictly a summer place: in April/October it can be chilly and there's no cosy indoor sitting area
- These are more like serviced apartments than hotel proper
- Syros is not Greece's prettiest island: the south is dotted with summer villas, there's a working shipyard - but the north is wonderfully wild, Kini is sweet and Ermoupolis is impressive
- It's not right on the beach but 5-10 mins' walk above Kini and Loto, both sandy and sheltered, with parasols and eateries
- Children and young teens are not accepted (guest must be 15 or over)
Best time to go
Our top tips
Remember to pack mask or goggles for the excellent snorkelling, and DVDs or CDs if you envisage spending much time in your suite (there are players for both, but no discs).”
- Boutique B&B
- 6 suites for 2
- Limited self-catering; restaurants nearby
- Children aged 15+ only
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
There are 4 Suites and 2 Executive Suites that occupy a pair of low bungalows one level up from the pool, each with dazzling white walls, dove-grey shutters and plenty of patio space out front. All feature a pair of rooms inside: a sitting room with attached kitchenette, and a semi-separate double bedroom behind a folding screen. There's a (smallish) bathroom with shower, and A/C to keep it all cool (or warm in shoulder season).
Mary has kept the interiors pleasingly simple: lime-washed walls, polished cement floors and a mix of Ikea-style furniture and antiques from their family home, which is next door, under the shade of the homonymous pine. The bed might be a wrought-iron four poster draped with decorative nets, or a wicker beach-house affair. There's a bit of art on the walls (simple watercolours, sepia photos of Kini), a hatstand, a couple of mirrors in salvaged frames, maybe a driftwood monolith or a smooth white beach stone to prop open the French doors. You also get Korres toiletries, free bottled water, stacks of towels, a good bottle of wine and some Turkish Delight.
Overall it feels comfy and unpretentious, not trying too hard to be boutique, which makes a nice change. If you're being picky, you might find the bathroom tight, or the sitting room sparse; and don't expect to whip up 4-course meals in the kitchenette (see Eating). But we liked it.
All 4 Suites are very similar. If anything, number 4 has the edge for its corner location with marginally better sea views. Although we are yet to see the Executive Suites, we have already fallen for the idea of our own private plunge pool that looks out to the glistening Greek ocean.
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Coffee / tea making
- DVD player
- Ipod dock
- Microwave (on request)
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
Served around the pool, breakfast is a classy spread of freshly baked bread and pastries (including mini cheese and spinach pies), Cycladic cheeses (try the flavour-packed San Michali, from the island) and local jams and Cretan honey. Drinks-wise you get just-squeezed orange juice, freshly brewed coffee and beautifully presented teas (which included a blossomy loose-leaf green tea when we visited). It's all very flexible and nearly all local; you can ask for muesli with yoghurt, or toast and ham if that's your thing.
For dinner, stroll down to Kini (5-10 mins) and you've a choice of 2 fantastic seafront tavernas, plus a couple of simpler eateries a block or two back. On Terezdina's recommendation, we chose Dyo Tzitzikia st'Armirikia (usually shortened to a more manageable Armirikia) on the first evening - and never looked back! Refreshingly different salads (minted tabouleh with cucumber and tomato, or lentils with grated carrot and orange) are followed by fresh fish (we had the most delicious sargos whose flesh is so soft and white it was like melted snow), or home-cooked dishes like courgette fritters with cheese and herbs. It's all washed down with an extremely palatable draft white wine which costs less than a soft drink - though beware, the fresh fish is not cheap.
In your suite, you'll find a small kitchenette - a functional all-white affair with fridge, 2-ring hob, sink, basic pans and crockery - where you can prepare a light lunch or snacks: maybe a Greek salad or pasta dish. During the day, fresh salads and club sandwiches are on offer from the bar. There's a mini-supermarket in the village, a fantastic deli in Ermoupolis (Prekas), and you can dine outside on canvas chairs overlooking the pool and valley (or perch on stools inside).
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Wander down to the sandy beaches at Kini or Loto (5-10 mins' walk); both are sheltered and safe, with parasols, showers and eateries. Swimming and snorkelling is wonderful
- If they're too crowded for your liking (possible in July-August, when Kini fills with holidaying Athenians), follow the small path from Kini's fishing harbour around the headland to Delfini beach (30 mins' hike): it's stonier but there's some sand at the far end, by the lovely seasonal taverna (which you can also reach by car)
- Better still, take the Perla speedboat (normally leaves around 11am in summer, or on demand) to the secluded beaches of Lia and Grammata in the north of the island; backed by rugged stony hills (there's no road access) and a brilliant green fringe of pines, they feel blissfully remote and Crusoe-ish
- Take the taxi or bus into Ermoupolis (9km) to explore this gracious town, the administrative centre of the Cyclades island group, with its handsome Neoclassical town hall, whose marbled square becomes a de facto playground for pigeon-chasing, scooter-riding kids; browse the pedestrianised alleys where fish stalls sit cheek by jowl with Swarovski outlets; climb to the summit of Ano Syros, a winding hillful of photogenic, pastel coloured lanes topped by the Catholic church of St. George
- Explore some of the old footpaths - the Anavasi map marks them all - which bissect the terraced hillsides of the interior; one takes you from Ermoupolis, past the sleepy hamlets of Richopo and Plati Vouni, to a Bronze Age hill fort; others from San Michali / Papouri to the coves of Grammata / Aetos respectively
- There's horse riding in Manna, a windsurfing school on Voulgari Beach, and pedalos and kayaks in Galissas
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Shopping / markets