Kinsterna Hotel: gravity of history & hospitality noblesse in Mediterranean countryside

P1_greyAnd suddenly you feel the magic of beginnings; it is this sunrise which makes the natural promise of today fill every luggage in your heart and take your memories back home.

When you are greeted with open arms, departure can only foster bonds of attachment to the same destination and its special people, who are now constituting part of a long history in this place.

Travellers come and go with a sense of regeneration, since they become part of the same tale somehow. When they leave, the main door behind nurtures connections to significant values of history and pastes up layers of feelings of affection in the upper echelons of hospitality.

Kinsterna Hotel is all of these.

To expand the view towards the high rocky peninsula island of the Medieval Castle in Monemvasia, we follow the directions to Kinsterna Hotel, discretely placed on the upper hills of extensive vineyards, amid the silver-shining hectares of olive groves.

Under giant trees, the cutest lavender swing gives way to our simplest childhood dreams. It is not by chance that these imposing branches of the biggest eucalyptuses in Greece, in terms of size and age, have been distinctly portrayed by the prominent post-impressionist painter Konstantinos Maleas (a copy of this picture can be found in the library of Kinsterna Hotel).

Thanks to the stunning results of an extensive restoration of the old manor house and the grand estate, we cannot but admire the remnants of the past in today’s revival, sharing the joy of not being an arbitrary or random entity within the Kinsterna context.

Check-in confirms the upgrade to a symbolic status; we still feel the vibes of yesteryear, as the new inheritors. Indeed, landlords used to live in the castle-town and also maintain a mansion outside and beyond the walls.

Infused by history , the manor house was owned by the local Ottoman landlord, Ibrahim Bey, who signed the delivery of Monemvasia in 1821. Lina Kapitsini, the “Lady of Movemvasia” was the last owner until its full maintenance and meticulous restoration, dedicated to all the chic seekers of upscale living in the Mediterranean countryside.

The first meet and greet accompanies us to the cistern of the estate for the first sweet “submarine” made from Chios organic farming mastic served at “Sterna” restaurant. Sterna… cistern… finally, Kinsterna; the verbal evolution of a historic legacy. As the life-giving attribute to the surrounding fertile lands, Byzantine cistern graciously gave its name to Kinsterna Hotel.

Sentiments of our new conquest are developed around manorial yards and through reflections of the sun against eternally running waters. The water is ideally collected to give birth over dancing water lilies and instigate travel déjà vu all over again.

Walking in an estate of 18 acres, we rediscover environmental and social sustainability. The rural mansion leads the way of viable solutions based on the smart use of all available resources, with respect to its combined Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman identity.

Families and couples are embedded in this setting; they easily become part of a travel community, emerging from a highly acclaimed novel of the old times. It seems to be the critical reasoning of their personal existence, reassured in the lodging complex of the historic mansion, residences and villas; sotto voce dreams and illuminated wooden roofs atop.

One of the first issues mentioned at the reception is the presentation of an array of year-round activities, which take place in collaboration with specialists from different fields. They create a hospitable environment for all visitors and, now, we are welcomed to master our skills in harvest, arts, crafts and local output of authentic products.

Following the turn of the seasons, rural traditions revive through the hand-made production and development of private labels for wine, extra virgin olive oil, high-quality honey, marmelades, natural soaps and the Greek spirit of “tsipouro”. Our taste buds do not resist the tsipouro-tasting, starting from 60+% alcohol gradually falling to 35-40% with local dishes, served as tasty “meze”.

After our breakfast, we are also informed that country bread is baked in the old stone oven. We do not miss the chance to experience the preparation of fresh loaves of bread on the cozy terrace and enjoy the feeling of culinary co-creation next to the old stone mill, where cold pressed olive oil is annually produced.

Almost noon and the not-to-miss tour is about to start. The skilled archeologist lets our hearts talk to the brain. The promenade brings real stories back to life, leafs through old books in the library,  transmits cellar feelings bottled back in 2010’s,  enters the soundproof ballroom (owing the low level of noise to the properties of traditional betel bags hanging on the walls) and describes, in detail, the original land contract tied with regional and national chronicles. The exceptional Malvasia wine is just ready!

All these days, we do enjoy our breakfast and dinner in “Mouries” restaurant, well-placed above the orchard, suggesting an interesting menu enriched by special selections, such as salmon, caviar, sturgeons, dairy products and cheese, free-range eggs and wild mushrooms, from small partners in the broader region.

Featuring the principles of Mediterranean diet, the Chef de Cuisine creatively prepares our dishes for tonight, served with premium Kinsterna wine.

Cheers to every mild lingering flavour!

Kickstarter on table is  a mesclun salad with Greek prosciutto, figs, hazelnuts and vinegrette, that perfectly matches the octopus revealed through fava bio in cuttlefish ink and pickled onions.

Our main courses highlight local fishery at its best; shrimp orzo cooked with Kinsterna tsipouro and sea bass, topped with walnut, adding a special crusty flavour, and fennel purée well-assorted.

We are now invited to take part in the grand finale of desserts. This closing culinary session proves that  chocolate with basil and Kalamata olives confites, sable Breton and stracciatella ice-cream are a match made in sweets heaven, along with luscious lime cheese pudding, crumble and vanilla ice-cream; sweet reminders of the morning’s delicious “loukoumades” (donuts with honey, cinammon and walnut).

Night walks on pebble alleys trigger our dreams of chevaliers, who constantly safeguard the atmosphere of high-end countryliving. Pause for a few thoughts of midnight; the delectable mix of atmospheric relaxation really stems from the slow stir of all local ingredients, including pure nature, joyful creation and gravity of history.

The guide in the estate enlightens us about the symbolic celebrations of nature, passing by the flat gardens surrounded by stonework.  Olive trees are planted by guests. Even if  they may come from far away, they have decided to mindfully reinforce their ties with this land; they actively participate, adopt a tree, closely monitor its development through the years and taste its first seeds.

Water flow dominates the estate and follows the direction from the natural spring to the caves with stalactites further down to the gardens. We follow the opposite direction only to find out the water spring. This is it; it surprisingly reveals the main supplier for fresh wet stories, delineated by polygonal poolside aspects in cistern harmony.

Onset! Where it all begins…

Cool fresh water goes downhill to fill the pool with awesome swimming moments between fruit trees. Infinity pool appreciates the water stream and lets it go to the orange groves.

The state of the following good morning rests in the self-sufficient estate of bio-growing.  Above and beyond regular reviews, our timeless tastes are kept as priceless memories under intricately patterned doily ceilings. Look them up, simply wow!

Signature treatments are left for the next day to demystify the status of well-being in an ethereal setting. Our Jacuzzi & Rhassoul session makes the perfect introduction to the Invigorative Orange Scrub and Scalp Massage. Warm oils and citrus extracts moisturise the evening fragrant sense.

Time to trot and gallop! Liberating horse back riding offers authentic moments of freedom passing by animals’ fenced farms; energy-driven talks bring us on the plateau of equestrian practice and acquaint us with slow living in the grand domaine.

At the same time, the alternative escorted ride with the antique horse-drawn carriage leads the rest of the guests in the path of aristocracy. Glorious hideaways are here to greet the sun.

Only a few kilometers away, the vivid castle-town of Monemvasia boasts about its impressive fortification with sublime Aegean views. The main entrance is a byword for Medieval exploration. Sunset rituals of this passegiata release any fortified dreams.

Scenic routes and wonderful afternoons along the coast. The “stone ship” of the twice nominated poet for the Nobel Prize, Yiannis Ritsos, leads you onboard.

Apart from Monemvasia, the region of Laconia hosts the internationally acknowledged city-fortress of Mystras (near the ancient city-state of Sparta) and the old fortified town of Geraki.  This emerald extension of Peloponnese (Laconia) also shelters sailing and maritime stories in  the fjord-like port of Gerakas, invites adventure-seekers to the petrified forest close to Neapolis and calls for relaxation on the notable Simos beach of Elafonissos. Subterranean formations offer various stimuli for geological rediscovery in the Kastania Caves and climbing routes embrace the secluded charm of Kyparissi village.

The team of Kinsterna Hotel shows full respect to the long history, the privately owned gardens and the enduring desire for lifelong intimacy with each and every guest.

Genuine philoxenia and responsible voyagers in search of the authentic self;
noblesse oblige!

Kinsterna Hotel
[www.kinsternahotel.gr]

Agios Stefanos
23070 Monemvasia
Greece

Reservations
T:(+30) 27320.66.300
F: (+30) 27320.66.116
E: info@kinsternahotel.gr

 

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