Though you can spend 210 euros on a Vilebrequin swimsuit just footsteps from the ferry at Spetses, the island has a rustic tempo and, in May, no tourists. (Even at high season, it is frequented mostly by Greeks.) It feels very much like a “real” place, with family businesses and a community not at all chasing tourist dollars. When we only had a credit card to pay for lunch at the cash-only Paradise Beach cafe, we were told not to worry, “pay tomorrow.”
Also a short walk from the harbor is the Poseidonion Grand Hotel, which is just as beguiling as it is grand. Set on a broad plaza, the hotel looks out over the water from rooms with soaring ceilings and charming little balconies. A massive renovation has left the hotel’s 19th century charm intact, but allowed for all the amenities of a five-star operation. For example there is a perfectly fine elevator, but the grand stairwell is so beautiful and stirring that I preferred to walk, even to go up.
Had there not been a mountain hike, and swims to take just off the plaza and several fabulous fish restaurants staffed by the most good-natured people I can remember meeting, I would have lingered in the hotel’s majestic and somehow also intimate drawing rooms. Or in the library bar. Or on the terrace, where you can have breakfast under the canopies and watch the sun glitter on the water. The last time I felt so civilized, so fin de siècle, was having breakfast at the Villa D’Este. In back, at the spa and the garden pool, the Poseidonion could be in L.A. But its authenticity of another era is what you won’t ever forget. - Walter Owen
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Poseidonion Grand Hotel comprises 45 rooms and seven large suites, swimming pool, spa, two restaurants and numerous function / meeting rooms. The premier accommodation is the Royal Suite featuring three en-suite double bedrooms and a huge terrace with breathtaking sea views. The Cote d’Azur style hotel has been a landmark on Spetses for nearly a century and has been named in the coveted Conde Nast Traveller Hot List 2010. ... more less
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