Robinson Crusoe has gone upmarket. Andros may not exactly be a deserted island, but Mateo Pantzopoulos found a totally virgin corner of the island (only approachable by sea when he bought it – now you can get there via a 9 km dirt road) where he built this eco-friendly hide-away hotel, Onar. It is in the midst of nature: the quiet is complete, the walking trails endless, the beach stunning, the seawater impossibly clear and turquoise, and the rest of the world far away. Mateo is an engaging, vivacious person who used to sleep on the beach during his summer holidays in Greece, but now, as he puts it, his hippie days are over and he appreciates a little more luxury for his vacations. His stone houses indeed offer great comfort, excellent aesthetics with a Zen touch, lots of space and plenty of privacy. At the same time there is a pleasantly laid-back, slightly bohemian feel all around. Shaded by tall plane trees, daybeds on a wooden platform are perfect for morning yoga session or afternoon siestas. A pleasant 5-10 minute stroll along the river through protected wetland (part of Natura 2000) takes you to the coarse-sand beach, or walk upstream to discover small waterfalls and rock pools where frogs and turtles swim. This is the perfect place to unwind.
The location so close to one of the best beaches of Andros is stunning and unique, and the houses are wonderful, both in terms of style and comfort. The sense of calm and the easy-going atmosphere at Onar are memorable.
You are in a spot that is far from everything, so forget it if you want to pop out to go to shops, restaurants or bars on a daily basis. If you want to bring a car, make sure it is one that can take a bumpy dirt road.
7 houses for up to 3 persons or 2 adults and 2 small kids (1 bedroom and 1 bathroom)
2 family villas for up to 5 persons (2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms)
1 superior villa for up to 7 persons (3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms)
3 “Dream Hillside Houses” for 3 persons with a sea view and sharing pool (open space with one bathroom)
2 “Sunrise Hillside Villas” for up to 4 persons (1 bedroom and two bathrooms) with a sea view and with private pool
En-suite bathroom(s) with shower
Internet (on request)
Kitchen or kitchenette (without stove of oven)
Fireplace (not all houses)
Meals are served in the open-air restaurant of Onar. Breakfast is simple Greek style. You can help yourself to bread, cheese, jams, honey, fruits and yoghurt; eggs and fresh juice are extra. At lunch and dinnertime, guests meet at large communal tables where unfussy home-cooked meals rich freshly prepared with local produce (from Onar’s own certified organic farm and sourced from local farmers and fisherman) are served. Meals are accompanied by local wine or beer, on the house. The menu features typical Greek starters and salads, and the main course is a plat du jour. The oven-cooked chicken with potatoes that I had was juicy and delicious.
Onar provides a wonderful environment for family holidays. The largest houses have two or three bedrooms and they are perfectly laid out for families. The smaller (but still spacious!) houses have an extra sofa bed for a child in the living room. Cots/cribs and high chairs can be provided on request. There are also some games and toys available. The houses all have a TV and DVD player, so you may want take some of your kids’ favourite DVDs for ‘quiet time’.
Don’t expect the typical children’s entertainment facilities at Onar (though there is a playground!), nature will do the job. Take your kids for walks in the mini-wetland of Ahla, let them play and discover turtles in the ‘river’ (a little stream really), splash in natural pools in the forest, and explore the farm, and of course enjoy the beach with them. The staff at Onar’s sometimes organises treasure hunts for their youngest guests.
If you travel with very young children, make sure you have all the supplies you need with you, as shops are far and stocking up again is time consuming. Also, especially if you travel with a baby, keep in mind that the nearest medical post takes about an hour to get to.
Onar is on the northeast facing coast of Andros, about 6 km north (as the crow flies – the drive is 23 km and takes almost an hour) of the capital of the island. It is in a totally undeveloped part of Andros. The area surrounding Onar is protected and construction is not allowed. The setting is idyllic with lots of greenery, right by a small river. Ahla, an amazing beach with coarse sand, is about 400 metres away. It is a pleasant walk to get there as most of it is on a path by the river, shaded by trees.Read more about Andros
The island of Andros has no airport, but is reached by several ferries per day. The crossing from the port of Rafina (which is not far from Athens International Airport) takes about two hours. An arrival transfer from the port of Gavrio can be arranged (but is not included in the room rate). George, the taxi driver will be waiting for you in the port with his Jeep and his Panama hat. If you come with your own car (4×4 only!), drive via Batsi, Katakilos, Remata and Arni towards Vourkoti. About 500 m before the village, turn left towards Ahla Beach and follow the 9 km dirt track to Onar – there are signs painted on the rocks. I strongly suggest you do the drive by daylight. Bear in mind that if you bring a car from the mainland, it is better to book ferry tickets in advance (especially if you travel in holiday periods or on weekends).FIND IT ON THE MAP