Kinsterna Hotel: A Masterfully Restored Byzantine Mansion Complex in the Heart of the Peloponnese

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Chloe Kletsa

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  • Greece

  • Wellness Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Romantic

  • Relaxation

  • Girls Getaway

Kinsterna Hotel: A Masterfully Restored Byzantine Mansion Complex in the Heart of the Peloponnese
Curator’s statement

As you reach the beautifully restored, hilltop, entrance of the estate, a carefully curated landscape full of cypress trees and the calming neutral colors of the byzantine buildings that make up some of the rooms, the spa and dining areas greet you.

The main mansion houses the reception area and several of the bedrooms. Theres two pools. The infinity pool is reserved for adults only. The second, larger one has a linear design which alludes to that of a naturally flowing river.

The friendly staff provided us with a free upgrade. Our room was in the main house and had a separate sitting room area, a modern bathroom with a rain shower and one of the most comfy beds I’ever slept on!

Its peaceful surroundings, beautiful views and proximity to one of Greece’s most picturesque towns and several, breathtakingly beautiful, beaches gave us reason to want to return time and time again and experience the changing seasons!

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Where to stay

Kinsterna Hotel

Nestled in the picturesque hills of Monemvasia, Greece, is a luxurious retreat offering a blend of historical elegance and modern amenities, where tradition meets comfort in a serene setting.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage or spa credit.

  • Welcome treat in room on arrival.

  • Upgrade whenever possible.

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Architecture and Design

The property consists of several small, carefully restored buildings which showcase their Byzantine & Venetian history. The houses are beautifully arranged around the main water feature, a large, cleverly repurposed cistern (Kinsterna in Greek, which lent its name to the hotel) which now forms the hotel’s inner courtyard. The architectural studio in charge of the restoration did a wonderful job, allowing the complex to blend seamlessly into its surrounding area and cliffs giving the feel of an isolated village rather than a big resort.

Spa & Wellness

There is two outdoor pools! One for families and one for adults only. The infinity pool sits secluded on a cliffs edge, offering comfy loungers and orbital sitting to allow for moments of peace overlooking the impressive rock of Monemvasia. You can sip cocktails and enjoy a snack while watching the sky turn pink as the sun goes down. The family pool is designed in a linear way to allow for shallow ends where small kids can play while parents can feel safe. The set-up feels less private, which allows for observing your children at all times. There is a spa center offering treatments using locally sourced herbs and lotions as well as the option to book a jacuzzi session for your party.

Food & Beverages

The abundant breakfast buffet set across two large rooms which open up to a beautiful terrace overlooking the mountains and sea, is typical of what we’ve come to expect of Greek hospitality. The menu shifts daily and there is something for everyone from freshly baked pittas, locally sourced yogurts and honey, perfectly crisped bacon, colorful, seasonal fruit platters and homemade preserves down traditional desserts such as “rizogalo”, to cinnamon buns and mini croissants that still feel warm in your hands. There’s a couple of different dining options for dinner (depending on the season) including a fine dining one! We chose to go out in the evenings but we did enjoy a couple of lunches by the pool and both the salads and pizzas we tried were excellent!

Experiences & Activities

It would be hard to get bored at the Mansion. Theres a huge array of activities on offer both for adults and kids alike that could easily entertain your from a day to a week’s stay. There is the grounds tour and wine tasting for couples and wine lovers, there is bread making, olive oil tasting, honey harvesting and private cooking classes for the culinary enthusiasts, horse back riding, cycling, hiking, fishing and a beekeeping workshop for the nature lovers and adventurous types as well as candle and soap making experiences for the gentle creatives.

Children can enjoy some of the above activities such as biking and horse riding, but also have access to their own curated adventures. They can experience olive picking and harvesting grapes, interact with the farm animals as well as study the stars and make use of the multiple board games and books stocked at the library where they can also make new friends.

Theres also an antiques shop on site stocking beautiful furniture and artifacts.

Location, Location

The hotel is about a 4-hour drive from Athens International Airport and just over 2:30hrs from Kalamata Airport. The fort is built on top of a hill overlooking the beautiful coastal land surrounding it. The world famous, historic and UNESCO protected site, Rock of Monemvasia is in full view from several areas including some of the rooms. The hotel is about a 20-30 minute drive from the old town! There are several car parks at the entrance to the Rock as the town itself is pedestrianized. Its lovely to walk in the early mornings, before it gets too hot or swarmed by tourists later in the day.

Its also a great option for heading out to dinner in the evening. You can walk around the old, elevated Venetian walls and take in the views of the rocky seabed beneath, the gorgeously preserved rooftops of the houses, bars and restaurants below or a hidden alleyway here and there. If you are relatively fit, you can climb to the top of the old monastery and watch the neutral shades of the rock and buildings turn a glowing orangey pink set against the blue-hued backdrop of the sea. Off season, you can enjoy it anytime of the day.

Day trips & excursions

You can’t miss a drive (&short ferry ride) across to Elafonisi Island. One of Greece’s best beaches is about a 1-1:30hrs (50’mins drive to the port of Pounta) away from Kinsterna. Theres several frequent ferry departures daily in the summer. Check the schedule for other seasons as options will be more limited.

The sand is soft and white and the shallow water has a beautiful turquoise shade is is crystal clear.

In the summer it gets really busy and the islands, two interconnecting beaches, will be relatively crowded but theres one section that will provide loungers and shade for young families, and a section occupied by mostly free campers and nudists at the opposite far end. If you are willing to walk a bit further than the crowds, you will be able to find a more isolated spot for your party.

Kardamili village and Parrick & Joan Leigh Fermor’s house and writers retreat are about 2:30-3hrs away which make them less accessible options for day tours but we went for it and did not mind the drive as they both make excellent options for days out as there’s the nearby beaches of Oitilo and Limeni (where theres sea turtles swimming across the bay among the swimmers) and are definitely worth the ride!

View of the valley

Need to Know

It’s year-round, perfect weekend getaway for couples, or friends if you are visiting Athens, especially off season where islands are not always easily accessible or have limited dining options open. Families can enjoy longer stays in the summer. It is also perfect to spend Christmas or New Years at with special activities such as a treasure hunt, and seasonal celebratory set menus on offer (especially if you get to experience and rare snowfall). It can also easily be combined with longer stays in the Peloponese where one can discover Ancient Sites, hidden waterfalls, picturesque towns and villages, pristine coastlines and beaches, and theres even a standing shipwreck! Let me plan your next road trip adventure and turn it into an unforgettable experience that will show you a side of Greece which still has a lot to be discovered.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Greece. In need of further inspiration? Check out Kathleen O'Neill’s guide, Magical Greece.

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Chloe Kletsa

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