Stay the night: Nafplia Palace Hotel, Greece
Sunday 10 May 2009
At the touch of a button by the bed, vast cream curtains whirr back to reveal a panoramic view across the bay of Nafplion. I may be staying at the heart of the Peloponnese, with all its ancient history, yet my room in this newly refurbished hotel is like something out of James Bond. Huge, open-plan, and with abundant flat-screen TVs, it even has its own infinity plunge pool on a private terrace.
But to discover what makes this hotel really extraordinary, look over the (fairly precipitous) edge of the terrace to the ancient walls beneath. These are the ramparts of Acronafplion, the hilltop fortress built between the 11th and 16th centuries. The Nafplia Palace may have one of the most technologically advanced interiors of any hotel in Greece, but it is also the only one to stand within an archaeological site.
Even standard rooms are extremely spacious with a sitting area, marble-lined bathroom and private balcony offering those panoramic views. There are 48 rooms in the main hotel and three suites. Thirty-three "villas" make up a neighbouring block, with their own infinity swimming pool. Sixteen of these have private pools or outdoor whirlpool baths. The interior design is contemporary, using glass and dark wood, in a scheme of whites and creams, with interesting ceramics providing decorative accents.
The food and drink
The restaurant has walls of glass on three sides: the views are tremendous, especially at night. Food is modern European, beautifully presented. There is an extensive Greek wine list. Three courses, with drinks, costs about €55 (£48.50) per head.
When you've exhausted the swimming pools, spa and gym, take the lift down through solid rock into town and explore the charming streets and seafront. Climb 999 steps (or take a taxi) up to Palamidi, a large, well-preserved, 15th-century Venetian fortress, or take a boat out to Bourtzi fortress in the bay. Half-day or day trips can be made to the ancient wonders of Mycenae, Epidaurus, Corinth and even Olympia.
Not ideal for the less mobile or toddlers, but children are welcome. No pets.
Rooms currently available cost from €450 (£397) per night. Cadogan Holidays (0845 615 4390; cadoganholidays.com) offers seven nights' B&B for two adults staying in a luxury villa with sea views in summer, including return flights, from a total of £3,540.
Nafplia Palace Hotel and Villas, Akronafplia, 21100 Nafplion, Greece (00 30 27520 70800; nafpliapalace.gr).
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