Sleepover: S Nikolis Hotel

A night in Rhodes

Where is it?

Where is it?

Near the Palace of the Knights, within the ancient walls of Rhodes old town, capital of Greece's Dodecanese islands.

What's it like?

A rare example of a Greek hotel that embraces the past rather than shuns it. Eschewing flashiness, this 800-year-old structure is a history lesson in stone. It is built on the 2,500-year-old site of Rhodes's ancient market. Its ancient charm and courtyard garden make it a wonderfully relaxing hideaway from the bustle of one of Europe's finest medieval fortress towns. The atmosphere is quiet, informal, intimate and romantic. Even with old Rhodes beckoning we were content to stay put and read on the balcony where red geraniums flared in the sun. Modern touches are not missing though – there's an exercise room and internet facilities. Otherwise taste and simplicity are the watchwords.

What's its USP?

It is the best of all antidotes to those ghastly monolithic carpark-block hotels that the Greek generals built to lure north Europeans in the 1970s. Sotiris Nikolis and his Danish partner, Mariana, provide comfort and style in rooms faithfully restored to their original design – both that of the 14th-century Knights of St John and the later Muslim vernacular. Covered in creepers, S Nikolis stands in a narrow cobbled street, crouching beneath the city's towering walls. Open all year round.

Service?

Laid-back, friendly and efficient. Sotiris will be delighted to share his unbounded passion for architecture with you. Mariana, meanwhile, looks after and jokes with guests in dry Victor Borge style. They even let you choose your room: honeymoon suite, cool shaded room with medieval archway or a light, sunny one with verandah.

Rooms?

There are 25, all different: 13 in the main building plus eight self-catering apartments with kitchens. There are four honeymoon suites from £85 per person per night. The plumbing is state-of-the-art and – still a rarity in Greece – it works. Handmade local furniture throughout; colour TV, fridge and telephones. Our room had remote-control air-conditioning, Jacuzzi, upstairs gallery with miniature windows in Turkish style, balcony and first-floor well!

Food and drink?

Business has been hurt by 11 September and the dining room and bar were closed, so we had no chance to test the hotel's excellent reputation for food. We ate at the nearby Diafani garden restaurant and gorged ourselves on souvlaki, stuffed vine leaves and Greek salads – standard fare but excellent. But a delicious breakfast was served on the hotel's terrace with views over the harbour.

Clientele?

Couples mostly, a third of whom are American, otherwise British, Germans and Scandinavians. With all the romance on offer, it's not the place for children.

Things to do?

Visit the Palace of the Knights, Turkish Quarters, the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, the acropolis area known as Monte Smith (apparently named after an English admiral who used the site as a lookout post for keeping watch on Napoleon's fleet during the French war with the Turks) and Mandraki harbour. Twice a week walks on top of the city walls, son et lumiere, musical performances in the amphitheatre, and an abundance of good shops and bars.

Address?

S Nikolis Hotel, 61 Hippodamou Street, 85100 Rhodes, Greece (00 30 241 34561; www.s-nikolis.gr).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
News
Neglect, prejudice and invisibility in the classrooms and playground is a way of life for LGBT children
education
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks
tv

Regular cast member Ste Hay, played by Kieron Richardson, is about to test TV boundaries

Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
techPerils of 'text neck' revealed
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer - £30,000 OTE Uncapped

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor / Administrator

    £13000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
    Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

    What are Jaden and Willow on about?

    Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
    Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

    Cold war

    How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
    Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

    Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

    From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
    Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

    Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

    New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
    Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

    Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

    ‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
    Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

    Isis takes a big step back

    Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
    Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

    Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?