Pylaia Hotel

Astypalaia, Greece Book from

Reviewed by Rachel Howard
A stylish, modern hotel with wonderful sea views and friendly service, on one of Greece’s most unspoiled islands
When we told an English couple who own a house on Astypalaia that we were staying at Pylaia Hotel, they sniggered: “Ooh, rich people!”. In fact, the slickest hotel on this remote, rugged outcrop is neither hugely expensive nor hugely luxurious. But anything remotely fancy is a novelty on Astypalaia, an island of wild landscapes and welcoming locals that’s still relatively undiscovered. So Pylaia - a 26-room hotel on the outskirts of Chora with a small spa, twin pools and an upscale restaurant - seems almost out of place.

Owner Dimitris Petridenas clearly has ambitions to put Astypalaia on the map: he also runs Akti, the island’s poshest seafood restaurant, and the Iliana bakery, which produces (and exports) the delicious saffron and almond biscuits given to i-escape guests as a welcome gift. His wife Anna is the local music teacher. From the lifesize papier-mâché donkey in the dazzlingly white lobby to the sophisticated dishes at the in-house restaurant, Pylaia Hotel is a classy choice.


  • Smiling staff always ready to go the extra mile
  • Wonderful food (eg monkfish with lemon, fennel and lemongrass) and views in the top-floor restaurant
  • And an excellent buffet breakfast with local specialities
  • Spacious, romantic rooms with great beds by Cocomat, plus a self-catering apartment that's useful for families
  • Lovely beaches within walking and biking distance, including Livadi, the island's best


  • Tricky to get to (a hopper flight or 9-hour ferry from Athens), but the island's remoteness is its appeal
  • Built on a steep slope, the hotel's split-level layout is a little awkward - and not suitable for toddlers
  • Although all rooms have outdoor space, few balconies and terraces are really private; rooms by the pools can be noisy
  • Bathrooms are not well ventilated, and some are tiny
  • The pools are too small for proper swimming

Best time to go

The hotel is open from May to mid-October. Availability is limited in August, when Astypalaia is at its busiest - too busy for some. Many restaurants and bars operate a very short season from mid-June to mid-September. The weather can be unpredictable towards the end of the season.

Our top tips

On August 14-16, there’s a major church festival at Panagia Portraitissa in Chora, with festivities including blindfolded yoghurt feeding and climbing a greasy pole to catch a fake rooster!

Great for...

  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 26
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 25 Oct 2016 - 18 May 2017
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Deluxe Partial Sea View Room


For a small hotel, Pylaia has a lot of different room categories. Bright and spacious, bedrooms differ widely in size and vantage point, but all have excellent all-natural mattresses and bed linen, and décor is clean, neutral and uncluttered, with the odd designer piece. Bathrooms are attractive, too, with walk-in showers plus tubs in the bigger categories. Every room has outdoor space though most are tiny terraces and the larger ones tend to be quite exposed.

Executive Doubles near the top of the hotel have big bathrooms and fabulous views across the valley to the sea. The Junior Suites at the bottom of the hotel are the most peaceful and private, with unbroken sea views. Split-level Honeymoon Suites have steep stairs down to rather dark, musty bathrooms, but lovely terraces. The Master Suites, clustered around the pools, are best suited to families, with separate bedrooms and large indoor and outdoor living areas. There’s not much of a view or privacy when the pools are busy, though.

There's also Pylaia’s House, a serviced apartment with 2 bedrooms (double and twin), a shower bathroom, an open-plan living/dining area with a kitchen, and a spacious veranda.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Breakfast is a generous spread of freshly baked breads and cakes, saffron and raisin pastries, pouggia (cream cheese and cinnamon turnovers), eggs, bacon, heaps of fresh fruit, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Only the cappuccino, which is charged extra, was a letdown.

The top-floor breakfast room doubles as Plori for lunch and dinner, a smart restaurant with a modern Mediterranean menu that’s anything but traditional. Dishes such as cheese and lavender rolls, monkfish with lemon, fennel and lemongrass, or sea bass with martini sauce are delicious and make a welcome break from standard taverna fare. There’s a decent selection of Greek wines, too. Room service covers the basics (burgers, club sandwiches, Greek salad), but is underwhelming. Simple snacks and refreshments are served at the small pool bar throughout the day, but it’s closed in low season.

Akti, the hotel’s sister restaurant, was already closed for the season when we visited in late September. However, there are plenty of other eating and drinking options in Chora, a 5-minute walk.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Climb up to the 13th-century Venetian castle that crowns Chora, via a delightful maze of sleepy, whitewashed lanes
  • Swim at Kaminakia beach or walk to Tzanaki, a tiny pebble beach 10 minutes down a dirt track, with amazing views
  • Take a boat trip to Koutsomiti and Kounoupes, tiny islands with castaway beaches that could be in the Caribbean
  • Drive to Vathy, an otherworldly lagoon and archaeological site, for fresh fish at one of the tavernas
  • Go to Castro bar at sunset for exotic cocktails and unforgettable sea views
  • Relax in the hotel spa with a hot-stone massage or some 'ouzotherapy'!
  • See our other top tips for the island

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures


The hotel is very welcoming to families, and messy eaters are tolerated with good humour. Travel cots and highchairs are provided free of charge, and there's a special room service and even a spa menu for kids! However, the hotel is built on multiple levels with lots of steep stairs, so it’s best suited to older children who are steady on their feet.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Most rooms can fit a baby cot or rollaway bed. Master Suites have a double bedroom and a large lounge with space for 1-2 baby cots or rollaway beds. Pylaia's House has a double bedroom and a twin bedroom, plus space for a baby cot or rollaway bed.

Baby equipment:

Travel cots and highchairs.

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

Kid Friendly: Master Suite Sea View

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