Three things put speck of a Greek isle Kastellorizo prominently on the map: Pink Floyd homage Castellorizon, Oscar-winning film Mediterraneo, and owner of Casa Mediterraneo Marie Rivalant-Lazarakis. The architect and hotelier has revamped many historic buildings here, including the trio of mansions that make up this homey bed and breakfast, which rejects the typical Grecian palette in favour of Asia Minor-inspired spice hues and rainbow-coloured glass. She may be a powerful friend to have here, but the hotel’s personal touches and warm service will make her feel like an old one you’re crashing with.
Five suites, each taking up a whole floor of the Casa’s three restored mansions, and one room.
11am. The earliest check-in is at 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability and on request.
Double rooms from £120.62 (€139), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €1.50 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a typically hearty breakfast of homemade and local treats. A two-night minimum stay is required.
The hotel has a rocky hillside setting and steep stone steps leading up to the entrance, so it’s not ideal for guests with reduced mobility; however, there is a drive-up entrance to one of the levels further back.
The casa is open for the summer season, from the beginning of May to the end of October.
At the hotel
Terraces for dining and drinks; lounge; charged laundry service; and free WiFi. In rooms: Nespresso coffee machine (tea-making kit available on request), minibar (with the first round of drinks free), beach hats and bags, flip-flops, free bottled water, and Olive Era bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We chose the most colourful characters for our favourite rooms: Suite Bleue for its private terrace and elegant shuttered windows all around, and Suite Hamra (‘red’ in Arabic) for its especially warm ambience, sitting area with a slouchy cushioned couch and on-high views.
Bring shoes fit for clambering about rocky terrain and a few gentle pastimes: doorstop novels, travel Scrabble…
If you’re taken with the hotel’s hemp linens, you can get your own at the Papilio shop in Kaş over in mainland Turkey, if you’re coming or going that way.
The Family Suite sleeps up to four and staff can help secure a babysitter, but there’s little for kids to do here and the steep rocky steps may add some stress to your stay.
Considering the hotel is set on one of Greece’s most remote isles, efforts to operate sustainably are impressive. Construction used largely natural materials (walls built using local limestone, sand and water; organically pigmented paint from nearest island Rhodes; reclaimed wood for doors and furnishings); traditional building techniques were adhered to; solar panels are used for heating; and food is either sourced on-island or from Rhodes or Kaş, the nearest mainland town in Turkey. And leftovers are salvaged where they can be, say, using fruit to make jams.
Start and end your day on the main terrace, which is a peaceful, scenic spot for breakfasting and a prime sundowner perch at ‘magic hour’.
Breezy and bohemian with a hint of spice.
Breakfast is very much the most important meal of the day in the Greek isles, and often a measure of your host’s hospitality. And there’s no slipping here, with Eastern-Mediterranean feasts of freshly baked breads, olive oil, feta cheese, salads, a still life’s worth of fresh seasonal fruit, yoghurt, honey, nuts, fresh juices, flavoured waters and more.
There’s no set bar (after all, how much breakfast drinking will you be doing?), but the leafy, pergola-shaded terrace makes a magical watch-the-world-sail-by spot for sipping ouzo.
Breakfast is from 9am till 11am (earlier on request). Drinks flow from 6pm to 11pm.
Casa Mediterraneo sits on a hillside on the sunset side of Dodecanese island Kastellorizo. A terracotta beacon among myriad colourful houses, it’s in a prime position for gazing lovingly at the Aegean.
Teeny Kastellorizo Airport (really more of a landing strip…) is just a 10-minute drive from the casa, and the shared shuttle, which will drop you at the hotel on request, is just €7 a person (for up to seven guests). Staff will meet you on arrival at the hotel to help you with your luggage up the 20 steps to the reception. Flights only arrive here from Rhodes, which has connections across Europe. Or it’s possible to touch down in Dalaman or Antalya in Turkey and ride the ferry over (a 30-minute crossing), but both airports are a two- to three-hour drive from the port in Kaş.
Kastellorizo might have been known as ‘the great one’ in a past life, but perhaps trading standards got a whiff of that, because it’s only around 12 square kilometres in size. So, while local parking is available, it’ll be more hassle than it’s worth to have a car on the island.
There are several ferry routes to Kastellorizo’s port, which is handily less than a five-minute walk from the hotel. Staff will stroll over to provide suitcase assistance, so let them know your ETA. From Kaş, it’s a 30-minute sail, from Rhodes it’s three hours, and from Piraeus – if you have the stamina – it’s around 20 hours.
Worth getting out of bed for
Dodecanese isle Kastellorizo is a bit of a sleeper hit, garnering renown as David Gilmour’s inspiration for Pink Floyd instrumental Castellorizon, and starring as the backdrop to Oscar-winning film Mediterraneo (in which a group of soldiers sent on duty end up discovering the simpler joys of love, friendship and folk-dancing – the second part of which may mirror your experience here…), while being quite a sleepy place. At the hotel, staff can help to arrange yoga sessions, but there are few other distractions. To keep things snoozy, hire a day-bed at Faros beach club or sail out to peaceful, sand-dusted Saint George Island. Keep your Instagram followers happy, snapping the brightly coloured mansions from the harbour; delve into the island’s history (a pass the parcel between the Greeks, Ottomans, French, Italians, and then Greeks again) at the museum in the 18th-century mosque; and see Castello Rosso, a castle built by the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John atop a red-rock hill, which gave the island its modern name. Below it there’s a Lycian tomb dating back to the 4th century. Keep your eyes peeled for the curious sculptures by resident artist Alekos Zygouris in the hills and remnants of rugged Cyclopean masonry; and hop in a boat to visit the mystical Blue Cave – you may need to lie flat to squeeze through its tiny opening, but within it’s a cavernous spectacle of sapphire light.
Lazarakis Restaurant’s terrace juts out into the water, making seafood dinners here more of a sensory experience. The lobster linguine is certainly its most striking dish, piled high with crustacea. At Ta Platania in the main square, you dine under lights strung between olive trees – all very romantic – and it has some vegetarian options, such as stuffed onions, a local speciality. For yet more sea fare – with Grecian favourites like feta-drizzled honey and pastitsio – get a harbour-view table at Alexandra’s; and Old Story…Old Time is an unassuming family-run taverna with memorable home-cooked meals.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this charmingly humble casa on undersung isle Kastellorizo and unpacked their handpainted ceramics and religious icons, a full account of their off-radar break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Casa Mediterraneo in the Dodecanese…
Three is an auspicious number for Casa Mediterraneo, a bed and breakfast with a warm and fuzzy feel on the bijou Dodecanese island of Kastellorizo. It’s made from three mansions on a hillside with a scenic aspect of the harbour and Aegean beyond, and there’s a talented triumvirate of owners behind it. Architect Marie Rivalant-Lazarakis has helped to restore several of the colourful historic residences on the island and started her hotel stint running the successful Mediterraneo Hotel closer to town; Luc Lejeune is an island resident and renowned interior designer; and Grégoire Du Pasquier is an architect and designer. They painted the casa to reflect the sunset’s hues, plotted out terraces for alfresco yoga and lazy drinks, and filled the place with joy-sparking finds from their travels (watercolours, vases, ceramics, hemp linens, rugs). However, when it comes to staying, two is the magic number; aside from one family suite, the hotel is all set for olive-tree-shaded, glass-clinking, gaze-catching breaks, where explorations are gentle and the views timeless. Twice, third, whatever – any number of times you stay here are the charm.