We stayed 3 nights (married couple with a 2yr old toddler and some friends) 27-30 December 2013. We have been many times in Pelion and Portaria. I personally find Pelion the best all-around and winter destination in Greece because it has everything: Mountain, sea, forests, skiing, activities, amazing view, excellent food and it is only 3 hours drive from Athens (2 from Thessaloniki).
The hotel is located very close to the square of Portaria but in order to go there you have to walk a considerable 300-400 metres, half of which uphill.
Despotikon hotel was better than expected. We stayed at the old (renovated) building, which means that it was more traditional and matching with Portaria village but without a lift. It also means that in order to go to the breakfast area (also lobby with fireplace and sofas) you have to walk 50 metres outside.
In my opinion, the breakfast was excellent. I had tasty omelette, fried eggs, delicious honey with yoghurt, mpougatsa (Greek traditional sweet cream pie topped with sugar and cinnamon) and nutella but there were many other things to eat. I would personally add scrambled eggs and fresh squeezed orange juice (it was commercial) to make it the best breakfast ever.
Sleep quality was also excellent (great mattresses and pillows). Cleanliness was very good with some room for improvement. The cleaning lady by mistake took a towel of our own that we used for the kid but it could happen everywhere (it was also white).
The indoors playroom for the kids was cold (we had to ask the reception to turn the heat on) and did not have many toys. As a result, most children were playing at the lobby, around the fireplace and next to the breakfast area, creating a lot of noise. Obviously, we did not use the outside pool because of the cold but I liked the fact that it was full and clean.
Opposite the hotel there is one of the best (but expensive) restaurants of the whole region: "Geusokratoras". Make sure you make a reservation before you go because it is very popular but very small.
The hotel has its own parking area (basement and outside) which could be a great advantage in Portaria if it wasn't for the access. In my opinion, the biggest problem of the hotel is the car access. The road that connects the hotel with the main road is very narrow and can be very dangerous in case of snow. This road is a 2-way road which makes it a real nightmare when two cars face each other in the middle of the road. This means that one of the two has to reverse for at least 50 metres, which can be a real driving skills challenge. The entrance to the parking is also steep and low or long cars (mine, a Passat CC is both) can easily damage the lower part of their chassis on their way in or out. When the parking is full with cars, as it happened in my case, you need to make a lot of maneuvering. I was unlucky enough while I was reversing not to see a staircase and I heavily damaged the front right door.
We payed 135 Euro per night for a superior room (we wanted it big enough to take a baby cot) and our friends 110 Euro per night for a standard room. I consider the price relatively high, even taking into account the peak Christmas period.
All in all a great hotel but next time I would try a different one, only because of the car access.
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- Also Known As:
- Arhontiko Despotiko Hotel Portaria