Sunday, May 14, 2017

Nidri, Lefkada (Greece): We Stayed at Armonia Boutique Hotel

In Lefkada, we originally booked a different accommodation, a stand-alone mini-bungalow in a lush estate surrounded by trees and gardens of flowers located on the Geni peninsula, just 10 minutes from Nidri. However, a few days before our scheduled flight to the Greek Islands, we received bad news that the property could not house us. There seems to be a mistake in the booking, so to correct the mistake we were given other accommodation choices, and this is how we ended up staying at Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nydri.

Our Balcony at Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece
Our view from our balcony at Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece

Summer holidays are about lunching outdoors =)

When we are in the Greek Islands, Dutchman and I prefer to stay in a self-catered accommodation, such as an apartment (or bungalow). In the islands, there are many of these apartment complexes that has a swimming pool and sometimes a café or restaurant. I like the idea that I am not rushing to dress up in the morning and that I can make our breakfasts on my own. In addition to this, hanging out in a less busy pool gives us more privacy. You don’t get this kind of luxury when you stay at a big (and chain) hotel or resort.

Luckily, Armonia Boutique Hotel is small and is in fact, an aparthotel. We booked their family apartment accommodation since we needed 2 rooms. The one thing we really loved about this apartment was the big balcony. Ah, we spent a lot of time on this balcony having lunch, that is if we are not out and about, and which by the way I made myself. In the early mornings I usually sit here reading a book and in the afternoons, we just hang out here talking and enjoying the view to the pool and the bay. This balcony is the epitome of relaxation =)

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

The aparthotel is located on a street facing the water and a small marina. It is just a few minutes’ walk to the main boulevard of Nidri.

For some reason, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the bedrooms, the bathroom, the kitchen and dining room. I only managed to take pictures of the living room and balcony. This is usually what happens when I do not take pictures right away on the day we arrive. It is sparsely decorated but it meets what we needed. Here is a virtual tour of the apartment’s living/kitchen/dining from the hotel website: Armonia Boutique Hotel - Apartment

Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece

Our apartment was quite spacious and the balcony is big. We liked that the door to the balcony from the living area is a sliding glass door. which is equipped with a fly screen. We only turn on the AC in the evening and during the day we open the windows and the door to the balcony. Nothing beats fresh air.

Marina Nidri
Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece
Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece

Our balcony partly overlooks the pool, bar and the marina.

Location and walking distance to Nydri main boulevard:

The hotel is approximately 5-10 minutes walk to the main boulevard where you can find many cafes, restaurants, boat excursions and the public ferry. Along the way, you can find many accommodations, cafes and restaurants as well. The hotel is not marked on Google Maps but it is right across a small marina.

Because this is an aparthotel and breakfast is part of the rate, I didn’t really get the opportunity to prepare for our own breakfasts. We are not quite used to this as I normally make brunches but it's fine, at least I have my mornings to do something else. The Dutchman, however, will have to shorten his sleep for an hour. He is not happy with this, haha. This is one of the reasons why we stay away from hotels, aparthotels and resorts. We do not like getting dressed early to have breakfast with other people because unfortunately, breakfast services are usually open only until 10:00. Can you relate to this predicament?

We can, of course, opt to miss breakfast but it does not serve the purpose when you have already paid for this service. This can really be annoying for us. We want to have the freedom when to take our breakfast or brunch. We would not have this dilemma had we stayed at the mini-bungalow which we originally booked. Nevertheless, we have to live with this for 2 weeks. It’s really a luxurious problem, so perhaps I should shut up, haha.

Breakfast at Armonia is quite simple, buffet style. It is the usual fare (scroll for a picture below) and they offer the same food, every single day. We are not huge breakfast people, so this is fine for us but I can understand others who are picky and may find it tiresome and very run-of-the-mill on the third breakfast day.

Here at the breakfast area, we were able to mingle with other guests. Dutchman and I are usually very much on our own, just minding our own business, but with the very friendly Dutch mother with us, we managed to make friends. The guests here are very varied, albeit mostly coming from northern and western European countries. There was quite a number even hailing from the Netherlands.

Breakfast Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece

This is how our daily breakfast looks like, including the view.

Poolside Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece
Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece

We liked that the aparthotel is small, cosy and relaxing. The pool area is not huge but it is nice and elegant. It rarely gets busy here (end June).

Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece
Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece

The Dutch were quite popular guests at the hotel =)

Because our apartment is located in the main aparthotel complex, where the restaurant, the bar and the swimming pool are located, it was all very convenient for us. We loved the idea that from our balcony we could see the pool and the bar, and that we just have to go down a short flight of steps and voila, we are on the restaurant terrace. The rest of the accommodations were housed in townhouse-like buildings at the back of the property.

We haven’t really eaten at their restaurant, except for the breakfast served of course, but I have heard, and seen as well the dishes, that the fares were good.

Another thing I love about this place is the cosy swimming pool. It is not huge at all, but not small as well, and it is located beside the restaurant terrace which is really nice. On top of that, their sunbeds have cushions which are very comfortable to lay down. We really, really loved this. We usually spend time lounging at the pool area after breakfast and in our experience, there was never a day that it was swarming with guests. This is, I guess, the advantage of staying at smaller properties, and the logic behind why we shun large hotels and their ilk.

We have been burned in the past. In Malaga, Spain we stayed at this large aparthotel where people were reserving sunbeds and their spot at the pool as early as 07:00. Ridiculous! In Zakynthos Island, we stayed at a popular hotel chain with an all-inclusive arrangement. We realised we did not like the same hackneyed standard hotel accommodation, and we found the eating the whole time at the hotel, rather tedious and too pedestrian for our taste.

Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece
View to the Nidri-Geni Bay

This is the view from our apartment's balcony. Lots of sailboats passing by and are moored across the hotel. Some of the boat people have breakfast arrangement at Armonia as well.

Lunch on the balcony
Lunches and snacks on the balcony

We spend a lot of time hanging out here on the balcony.... and for lunches and snacks as well.

Lunch of halloumi, olives and tomatoes

These are some of the lunches and snacks I have prepared when we were not out and about. I always look forward shopping at the local supermarket and making these =)

Lunch of halloumi, pickled vegetables, anchovies, tomatoes, cucumber and local sausage
Our balcony at Armonia Boutique Hotel in Nidri, Lefkada, Greece
Getting ready for lunch!

We usually go to the local supermarket and buy a few items. My favourites to buy each time are halloumi cheese (I even bring home a few packs), anchovies in vinegar, olives, grilled pickled vegetables in oil, pickles and the local salami.

Fruit snack

Naturally, we stock up on fruits as well. Lots of them =)

View at the back (mountainside) of the hotel

The owners of Armonia are Greek-Australian brothers and they were very friendly and accommodating, taking the time to talk personally and even spend time with their guests. They also gave us tips on where to eat, such as the Dimitris Taverna in the nearby Paleokatouna with stunning views that we enjoyed very much. The brothers grew up in Australia but like many sons and daughters of Greek immigrants, they retraced their roots and moved back to Greece.

Interestingly, many locals in Lefkada and nearby islands in the Ionian group of islands, have migrated to faraway places such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. I learned about this when we did the cruise to the smaller islands where we were given information about its history and movement of the locals. I will blog about the cruise soon.

The only thing that I didn’t like much about the apartment is the bed itself, although the Dutchman found it okay. Because I am used to a high bed, I found it to be too low, and the mattress was not even and hard enough. I felt like sleeping in a bed with afterthoughts that it could have been a hammock. I am not sure if that makes sense?

Oh, the kitchen lacked some plates, glasses and utensils as well. I guess this has something to do that this property is primarily a hotel, all other accommodations here do not have a kitchen, except for this apartment.

Travel Period: June-July 2016
Destination: Nidri, Ellomenos (Lefkada - Ionian Islands), Greece

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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