Less than a half-mile south of the Kyrimai Hotel, a sign warns of the “last gas station” ahead. Ten miles down the road, you’ll not only have passed that last gas station, you’ll also have reached the southernmost point of mainland Greece—which, according to ancient myth, is home to the entrance to Hades.
This is the Deep Mani on Greece’s Peloponnese Peninsula. It’s one of the three small fingers of land that reach into the Aegean, about four hours southwest from Athens by car. While people have been living here for centuries, warring among themselves and plundering passing ships, it’s still largely off the tourist track. The road that travels down the Mani Peninsula was only paved a few decades ago, and until then, many of the traditional stone tower houses that dot the scrubby land were abandoned. In recent years, many have been remodeled and refurbished and turned into hotels and holiday homes. One of these is the Kyrimai Hotel.
Set on the edge of the bay, just a two-minute walk from the small town center, the Kyrimai Hotel looks like an old stone fortress. The building has been standing on the port of Gerolimenas since the 1870s, but a four-year renovation brought it firmly into the 21st century. The hotel’s lobby, restaurant, and 22 guest rooms are spread throughout the building’s several levels. Walk through the stone archway at the entrance and you’ll see the restaurant on your right, the lobby on your left, and the pool—and the ocean beyond it—straight ahead.
While all the furniture and decor is new, its muted tones of taupe, grey, and blue blend seamlessly into the stone surroundings. Plush fabrics help absorb sound and add a warm, cozy feeling in the common spaces and the rooms. Many of the rooms are multi-level, located in the old stone towers. Most have stone walls and wood floors, and some have fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs.
Rooms come in 11 different styles, including classic, premier, and superior rooms and junior, loft, and master suites. My husband and I sprang for the master suite, a two-level corner room with views of the sea from every window.
On the ground floor, we had two seating areas: one with two couches and a large coffee table, and one with two chairs in front of the fireplace. There was also a small balcony with a table and two chairs, a work desk, fireplace, mini fridge, coatrack and luggage rack.
Our bathroom had a large jacuzzi tub and a view of the sea. The hotel provided plenty of toiletires and towels, including beach towels.
Upstairs, a comfortable queen bed with a COCO-MAT mattress was dramatically centered on the loft platform. There was also a small closet, another small desk and chair, and a flatscreen tv.
The hotel breakfast is a feast of several small plates such as yogurt and honey, fried pancakes, fresh fruit, sausage, and cheese, along with made-to-order egg dishes. There’s also an all-day menu of light dishes, such as traditional fava puree or boiled greens topped with a poached egg and yogurt sauce, and a nightly dinner menu. We opted for breakfast each day and a few poolside snacks, but walked the two minutes into the small town for dinner each night.
In addition to a pool lined with lounge chairs, there are several areas for jumping into the sparkling blue sea. A long jetty holds about a dozen umbrella-shaded lounge chairs, and a ladder makes it easy to climb in and out (tip: the water is shallow at the entrance point so wear water shoes if you’re squeamish about standing on rocks). We spent our time between the pool and the sea, jumping off the jetty into the waves. The hotel also provides snorkel gear for those inclined.
Throughout our stay, service was excellent. Staff carried our bags up the flight of stairs to our room, offered restaurant recommendations, and replaced our pool towels and bottled water frequently. While we loved spending time at the hotel and taking in the gorgeous views of the sea, the location also made it easy to go explore other areas nearby, including the abandoned hilltop town of Vathia and the beach town of Limeni.
Room rates start at around $130 per night. There’s free parking, wifi, and breakfast. Check-in time is 2pm. Check-out time is noon. There is no ATM in the town of Gerolimenas; the nearest one is in Areopoli, about twenty minutes north. Book directly through the hotel website or you can go through Booking.com.