Petropoulakis Tower, a little hotel in the hills near Gythio, is not a place you would easily stumble upon by chance. It is in a tiny hamlet, not even all that far from the sea, but well off the beaten track. It used to be home to olive farmers, politicians, revolutionaries and resistance fighters, but the entire hamlet was abandoned after it was almost entirely destroyed during the Second World War. Dimitris Petropoulakis, grandson of one of the last residents, returned half a century later and started restoring the tower and several smaller once next to it. He made them into a gorgeous small hotel, which he runs with his wife Giota and her mother. They created cosy and stylish interiors and comfortable rooms and suites, ten in all – some quite spacious, others more cocoon-like. Outside you have terraces with quite a view, and a pool to dive into after walks through the hills. Yes, come with sturdy shoes; this is walking country! There are plenty more activities if you stay for a few days: you can learn how to make olive oil-based soap, prepare traditional spoon-sweets, and bake bread in an original wood-fired oven. I stayed on a late-summer weekend with husband and children, and we simply loved the relaxed and easy-going atmosphere. We sat out on the terrace and had a wonderful dinner (prepared with home-grown, organic ingredients) served by daughter Evgenia; friendly family cats and dogs kept us company throughout the meal.
The quiet location in the hills and the traditional Mani architecture are wonderful; the welcome by owners Giota and Dimitris, the tasteful decoration and organically grown food make it even more special.
There's no sitting room as such, and I could have done without the large television in the dining room. Several of the double bedrooms are on the small (and somewhat dark) side.
5 double rooms
1 double room with a private terrace
2 rooms/suites for up to 3 persons (one with a fireplace)
2 suites for up to 4 persons (one with a fireplace)
Prices for two persons from 70 Euro per night, breakfast and taxes included. For a full overview of room rates, please contact Giota and Dimitris.
En suite bathroom with massage shower
Television (and radio)
Dining room with a fireplace, television and WiFi
Outdoor swimming pool (used in the summer only)
Activities (soap making, traditional bread baking, preparation of spoon sweets)
The family is into organic farming. They have animals and also produce their own olive oil, fruits and vegetables. So the meals you will get at the Petropoulakis Tower are prepared mostly with homegrown organic ingredients, and they taste fresh and healthy. For dinner you’ll normally have a choice between a few starters and two or three main dishes. For lunch you can order some simple dishes like salads or omelets. Breakfast (served from 9h00) is a help-yourself spread of fresh bread, traditional pies, cheeses and cold meats, eggs, homemade jams, fruits, and fresh juice. When the weather is nice, meals are served outside on the terrace; otherwise guests share the large dining room inside.
It is also easy to drive to Gythio for a meal by the sea. There is a large choice of fish tavernas. Ask Giota and Dimitris for recommendations.
Petropoulakis Tower is a great hotel for families. While I don’t hesitate to recommend the hotel for romantic escapes for couples, the easy-going atmosphere make it a really nice place to take your kids to as well. The only inconvenience is that the rooms all have double beds, but the suites have extra single and/or sofa beds for children. A great pool (parents of toddlers should keep in mind it is not protected), a bunch of friendly cats and dogs, tasty, healthy unfussy food, beaches not to far away, a winning combination for relaxed family holidays!
Staying in the quiet hills doesn’t mean that these cannot be beach holidays. There are several long (coarse) sandy beaches only 15-20 minutes by car. The beach of Mavrovounis, the nearest, is several km long and has facilities for wind and kite surfing.
Learn how to bake bread in a traditional wood-fired oven, make typical Greek “spoon-sweets” and jams, produce soap from olive oil and cure olives for consumption.
Walking and hiking
Hilly and green, the area is beautiful for walking and hiking. I am not sure there are marked walking trails in the vicinity of the hotel, but there certainly are plenty of paths, quiet country and dirt roads to enjoy on foot. For the not-so-hard-core walkers I suggest a walk down to Gythio, lunch by the sea, and a taxi back!
Make daytrips. Visit the caves of Pirgos Dirou and drive down to Porto Kagio for a walk to the southernmost tip of the Greek mainland. Drive up to Mystras and explore the ruins of the Byzantine city of Mystras. Drive east and spend a day in the rock castle of Monemvasia.
Petropoulakis Tower is in Rachi, a tiny abandoned village that sits at the top of a hill in northern Mani. It is very quiet spot with great views over olive groves, forests, hills, mountains and sea. The location is perfect for nature lovers and anyone who likes to go for walks, but there’s more: the centre of Gythio is only 4,5 km away and just a little further you get to a 3 km long sandy beach. There are also lots of possibilities for excursions: the caves of Diros (a must!) are just over 30 minutes by car; the remains of the Byzantine city of Mystras are about three quarters of an hour, and the castle city of Monemvasia is less than an hour’s drive away.
From Sparta, follow signs for Gythio. Just a few kilometres before Gythio, 700 metres after you pass the turn-off for Aeropoli (which you do not take!), you will see a sign to the ‘village’ of Rachi (it is in Greek and reads PAXI) and the hotel. Turn left here; after 1,5 km turn right and you will see the tower after 300 metres.
We would like to thank Giota and Dimitris for the warmth of their welcome to their beautiful tower house in Gthyio. The setting was magnificent, the architecture was superb and the dining room was spectacular – breakfast dinner in this romantic, aesthetic space was wonderful! A truly unique experience which will stay with us always.
Joan H. and Peter T.
Eaglemont, Victoria, Australia
We spent two nights in Pyrgos Petropoulakis. What a charming couple and what a feast to stay there. The pool was empty because they’d just cleaned it and it took a couple of days to fill it, so that was bad luck. But they spoiled us tremendously with delicious meals, so we stuck around and simply enjoyed! Last night I called them to book for friends coming weekend. Certainly an address to go back to.
Marie-Jeanne van R.
We have just returned from a 5 night stay at the Petropoulakis Tower. It was frankly an amazing place! Slightly chaotic – a little bit quirky, but wow! The rooms are beautifully presented and the location is stunning. The home grown, home prepared food deserves a review of its own! Those breakfasts with home made jam,eggs from the farm and the fresh orange juice. The most crucial thing though is the warm reception you get from the family. They are lovely people and we will remember them and their beautiful home for a long time to come. This is a very special place, try it and see what you think. (well done Jacoline for finding it!)
Charles and Julie E.
We stayed at the Petropoulakis Tower for four nights. As you pointed out, we found the rooms were a bit small and dark, but that is the feature of being a tower, I would think. The friendliness of Giota and Dimitris was almost overwhelming. They defy the traditional view about Mani people. The owners’ Hellenic sincerity is genuine and contagious.
New Brunswick, Canada
After a typical Greek wedding a few days at Petropoulakis Tower maybe is the only choice you have to get rid of the “noise” from your ears. An amazing tower up in a hill, a breathtaking view and the UNIQUE Giota & Dimitris was the combination for our two-days relaxing staying. Apart from the great room we had (ask for room no. 1), we passed all of our time near the fireplace, with homemade food and local red wine like as members of Petropoulakis family. This is not a hotel, this is not a motel, this is a traditional Peloponnese home that opens its doors to the people who respect every moment of their life.