Originally owned by Sotirios Anargyros, a local success story revered as a sort of godfather of Spetses (he saved the island’s large pine forest from deforestation), the 100-year-old Poseidonion Grand Hotel is to Spetses what the Plaza Hotel is to New York: a much beloved landmark. Left to decay, it would eventually be saved by the Vordonis family, who made their fortune in Greek shipping. A passion project for the father, Manolis, and his children Antonis and Katerina, the revitalization took five years. But they brought the waterfront Belle Epoque building back to life. Not long after the property reopened in 2009, it hosted a wedding party for Prince Nikolaos of Greece. The revival of the Poseidonion is sometimes given credit for the general renaissance of Spetses, a car-free island popular with elite visitors.
The restoration modernized the hotel while simultaneously restoring and maintaining the building’s distinctive architectural elements. Restaurants have also been a big focus. The property owns its own organic farm, which supplies much of the produce and eggs. What it doesn't grow, it carefully sources from other local farmers. You can often find the Vordonis on-site welcoming guests as if they were coming to the family home. It's a relaxed place where you might meet an artist at the bar who ends up being the daughter of an important Greek shipping magnate, or a local who is about to meet a member of the Dutch royal family for a swim.
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Although just a five-minute boat ride from the Greek mainland, and about two hours by boat from Athens, the island of Spetses is a world away. Car-free and with much of its historic architecture maintained, this is an authentic and laid-back island that attracts elite families from Athens and royals from around Europe. The hotel is located in Dapia, the island's only inhabited village, which is lively during high season, full of sophisticated cafés and clubs.
Need to Know
Rooms: 52 rooms and suites. From $214, off-season; $350, high season. The price includes breakfast. Check-in: noon; check-out: 2 p.m. Dining options: The hotel’s several culinary choices include the Asian-themed Freud Oriental; On the Veranda, a café focused on traditional Greek dishes; and the simple but excellent Library Brasserie, which serves coffee, fresh juices, and light meals. Spa and gym details: With a focus on Asian treatments, the hotel's spa is set around a tranquil and beautiful Mediterranean garden and pool.
Who's it for: A bit like the Hamptons in Greece, the Poseidonion is ideal for families and couples interested in history and food, who are looking for an exclusive but laid-back vacation. Our favorite rooms: The two-story Cupola suite in the historic part of the hotel is a stunning example of how the latest owners have combined old with new. The bottom floor is clean and modern with white walls and beige furniture, while the second floor, with its ceiling made of repurposed wood, looks like an upside-down boat. It also boasts a private balcony. Tasty highlights: The hotel organizes excellent food-related activities, such as visiting a local beekeeper or learning how to grind wheat and make traditional bread.