There’s something about the South, in general, that makes you feel like an old friend- enthusiastically welcomed and embraced in a warm hug of hospitality. The Greeks, are known for their ‘filoxenia’, which literally translates to ‘the love of strangers’. It’s much more than hospitality, a trait we highly pride ourselves on; it’s a generosity and spirit we embody with our whole beings. So when I checked into the Nafplia Palace Hotel, I expected hospitality and was greeted with so much more.
Let’s take a step back….Nafplio. My favorite city in Greece. And that’s quite a title to hold. While I love the bustling city-center of Athens, and the quaint, coastal cities of the Cycladic islands that you all know so well, Nafplio is a city that simply captured me years ago. It’s been an ongoing love affair. For those of you debating a day trip – this maritime city and former capital of Greece, is a must visit. Only a two hour drive from Athens, this quaint city is filled with shops, restaurants, piazzas and narrow roads lined with bougainvillea, I often times forget whether I’m in Greece or Italy. The beaches are just as delightful, with actual sand, a rarity in Greece, and the city is full of history with a fortress that sits atop the mountain. Locals say it has 999 steps and takes you directly into the city. Perhaps, skip the gym and work off that lunch?
I make sure to pay a visit every time I go back to Greece and when Nafplia Palace invited me for a stay in their 5 star hotel, it was impossible to say no. I mean, look at that view! Tucked away at the very top of the mountain, the view is unparalleled by anywhere else in the city. I spent most of my time in the private infinity pool, where water meets sky and the lines seem to completely blur. I woke up to a buffet breakfast each morning, tucked away in the olive groves and pine trees, overlooking the harbor and the pool grounds. Fresh-squeezed juices and a delicious breakfast was the perfect way to start my morning for a day filled with lounging pool side. This was a vacation, after all!
I would watch the sunset over the Bourtzi from my balcony and change into evening attire for a dinner at Amimoni, the hotel restaurant, with cascading views of the sea. If you think the city is magical during the day, you can’t even imagine what it looks like at night. Black masses of mountain, blend into the night sky; twinkling lights Illuminating the cities in the horizon. It’s other worldly. I enjoyed fresh-caught grilled sea bass with roasted veggies, an arugula salad with cherry tomatoes and a bottle of Greek Agiorgitiko Rose. I left no room for dessert and retreated to my room for a night-time bath in my soaking tub followed by a steam in my own personal hamam. Who knew I needed a hamam in my life? I read my “summer-reading” books, took numerous dips in the pool through out the day, ate the daily catch and unapologetic amounts of gelato. It was bliss and exactly what I hoped this vacation would turn out to be. Surrounded by beauty, quiet and solitude, history and a splash of luxury for extra indulgence.
Thank you to Nafplia Palace Hotel for their ‘filoxenia’ and overly-indulgent stay. I’ll be back…I always do.