“An intimate, elegantly restored hotel overlooking Symi’s pretty horseshoe harbour”
Rooms are divided between 2 buildings, there’s the original hotel and the adjacent Captain’s Mansion, a newer addition decorated to reflect maritime themes. Andrew scoured antique markets for maps, silverware, and lamps. All technology is cleverly concealed to preserve the period mood. Thoughtful details abound - lightweight beach towels, a well-edited selection of travel books and Turkish delight at turndown.
Each of the 4 rooms leading off the galleria is inspired by a trade route that once supplied The Old Markets.
The Ottoman Room, features a hammam-style bathroom and has a domed ceiling converted from an original baker’s oven. It’s charming, but better for shorter stays.
The Venetian Room references Symi’s sponge trade, with period antiques and paintings of Venice. The Arabian Room, shot through with purple and navy silks, has carved bedheads and an open-plan bathroom, stocked with organic Macrovita toiletries.
It’s well worth paying the premium for The Symi Suite, at the top of the galleria with delicate stencilling on the soaring ceilings. The 2 metre-square bed is extra high, so you can gaze at the view. It was a joy to fling open all 5 shutters in the morning. Apart from occasional rumblings from the nearby bars, mostly we were stirred by the soothing sounds of ship horns, fluttering sails, and church bells.
Arriving in 2016, we’re yet to see this new addition to The Old Markets. Nestled next door to the original hotel, it holds 5 relaxing rooms and suites, all designed with as much care and consideration as the existing spaces. Many have harbour views or fun twin showers – how refreshing.
Andrew is a professional chef, so eating at the hotel is a special event. Brunch classics like eggs Benedict and bacon panini are all made to order. Healthier options like homemade granola with Greek yoghurt, local honey, and artfully presented fruit are equally delicious. The peach and yoghurt smoothies are addictive.
Guests are also treated to an aperitivo on the terrace every evening. We enjoyed a well-chosen selection of Greek wines paired with mozzarella and prosciutto crostini.
Light lunch (gazpacho, watermelon and feta salad) and a sophisticated 3-course dinner (cheese soufflé, stuffed calamari, tiramisu) can be pre-ordered from a daily changing menu, left in your room at turndown.
We had the candlelit terrace all to ourselves for a dinner of perfectly al dente pumpkin ravioli with thyme from the garden, pork tenderloin with a rich but subtle wild mushroom and saffron risotto, and chocolate torte with an unusual lavender ice cream. Service was impeccable – just the right balance of attentive and relaxed.
Beyond the hotel, Tholos Taverna is idyllically placed at the mouth of Yialos harbour, with tables right by the water. Tsati, along the waterfront, serves great mojitos and Marathouda has the best beach taverna, where hungry goats try to steal your zucchini fritters, deep-fried baby shrimps and tender calamari over the fence.