As many previous reviewers have remarked, if you are going to stay in the historic walled medieval city of Monemvasia, this is a wonderful place in which to do it. Yes, there are a number of logistic challenges. The Malvasia Hotel is at the far end of the sole "road" in the town, which means toting your bags 200 yards through the cobblestoned walkway, although there usually is a young man or his father who waits by the entrance to the city with a luggage cart (we used the son upon arrival and the reception called his father to help us upon departure). There is no parking near the city, so during high season you will have to leave your car on the "mainland' and take the shuttle bus or a taxi across the causeway to the town (the shuttle bus does not run in off season, although you can drop off your bags at the city gate and try to have some luck parking alongside the road leading to/from the city). The handful of hotels in the walled city have an idiosyncratic reception system that has understandably perplexed some visitors (the Malvasia is not unique in this regard): immediately inside the gate there is a reception office staffed by a person who simply directs you to continue walking another 150 yards to the real reception at the hotel itself (easy enough to find, since the Malvasia is housed in a complex at the terminus of the main "road").
The rooms at the Malvasia vary greatly in size and configuration, which is determined by the reality of being in restored historic buildings (one of our rooms, No. 7, even had part of the bedrock protruding into the room!), and in some the bathrooms are small (No. 7 has a small bathroom, but No. 11, which we also rented, had a spacious bathroom). The website has a virtual tour, which is helpful to a point. All rooms do have windows with views to the sea, but the strict building code for restoring historic buildings requires keeping the original windows, which were small and inset deeply in the thick stone walls. These do not give any sort of panoramic view of the sea; few are even located in a place from which you can comfortably look through them. However, each room has a balcony that does let you enjoy the view. Furnishings are tasteful (in keeping with the surroundings) but minimal (bed, desk, chair, dresser, TV). The rooms were clean upon arrival, and the beds were made and the bathroom cleaned each of the three days of our stay. The buffet breakfast is basic and straightforward (breads, yoghurt, omelettes, bacon, corn flakes, fresh orange juice); it is fine for a short stay but would get old soon, although the room in which it is served is beautifully decorated and appointed. Unlike a previous reviewer, we found the staff friendly and we had no trouble paying for our bill (which was large, since we had two rooms) with a credit card. Each room has a separate water heater, which you need to turn on at least 20 minutes before you want to shower (morning people beware!).
It's almost impossible to speak about value in this context. There certainly are cheaper hotels with more amenities on the personality-free "mainland," which also has a greater variety of restaurants, cafes, and other tourist facilities (there is no night life in the historic city beyond a handful of restaurants and coffee shops and there are maybe 10 small stores, including one with drinks and snacks). Moreover, you can get a great deal out of visiting this spectacular archaeological and cultural site while staying in the modern area, as I did while single in 1994 and newly married in 1997. However, this is a magical place with a charm of its own, and the experience from dawn to dusk of watching the sun play on the medieval buildings and the massive rock face of the Gilbraltar-like mountain that looms over it is best had while staying in the historic city itself. Our three children (12, 11, 5) were completely captivated by exploring their "home" and seeing what happens in a world without electricity when the sun goes down (the historic city has only 8 permanent residents, so away from the main walkway it is eerily dark in the lanes between the many still ruined buildings that await restoration). I loved sitting on our balcony and staring out over the crennelated walls to the sea below and the tall mountains in the distance as the sun rose. There is a reason why we met two honeymooning couples in the hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In a magnificent setting at the furthest tip of Monemvasia Castle, 300 m from the Castle's gate, you may find New Malvasia Hotel. The view is amazing, breathtaking.Built with stones from the surrounding area and with a great respect to the architectural style and the aesthetics of the Castle, some with balcony with sea view and some with fireplaces for warmth in the winter, the rooms of New Malvasia Hotel offer a special experience of accommodation. Here, the traditional elements combine perfectly with all the modern amenities plus some designer touches.All the rooms are equipped with air conditioning, mini fridge, telephone, flat screen satellite TV, hairdryer. Free wireless Internet access (WiFi) is available in public areas of the hotel.Please note that New Malvasia Hotel features a café with spectacular sea views and a peaceful atmosphere that is worth visiting. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Malvasia Hotel Monemvasia