Take it easy at Meraviglia Slow Living in Preveza, a classical corner on the edge of the Ionian in north-western Greece with a serenely sleepy pace of life. The seven suites, each with its own pool, garden and stellar sea views, are as architecturally arresting as you’d imagine for the vision of a local builder who’d been dreaming up this hotel for two whole decades. The name is borrowed from its neighbours across the water – ‘meraviglia’ means wonder in Italian – and it’s not just the grand designs here that will have jaws on the floor in amazement.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible.
Double rooms from £190.84 (€223), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €1.50 per room per night on check-in. Meraviglia Slow Living is unable to accept payment by credit card.
Rates don’t include breakfast (€22 a person).
In case you’re wondering why the architecture is so striking: the hotel is the vision of Aris Tzimas, a local construction giant turned hotelier hellbent on originality.
The hotel closes at the end of October until the middle of April.
At the hotel
Nearby public beach; free wifi throughout, gym, garden. In rooms: Nespresso coffee machine, air-conditioning, TV and Bottega Veneta bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the seven suites has its own pool, Ionian Sea views and garden with a hanging-pod chair you’ll struggle to get out of. If there’s a few of you, go for room 1 or 7, both of which have a king-size bed to shotgun, along with two sofa beds and a bunk bed.
The spa has a sauna and a sea-facing terrace for treatments – though massages can also be booked in-room or indoors in a room at the gym if you’re feeling shy.
All the things you’ve been putting off doing while waiting for a slower pace of life: knitting, audio language courses, 1,000-page books, etc.
Some of the Relax Pool Suites and Signature Pool Suites have wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.
Over-12s are welcome. There are family-friendly rooms that have sofa beds or bunk beds.
The building is bioclimatic, which means it’s designed to make the most of its natural heating, cooling and daylight propensities. There’s a solar-powered water heater, a plant-covered roof and an organic orchard, too.
With an above-average view for a picnic table (and added cabana-style curtains for cooling), the sea-facing bench in the garden is the ultimate snacking spot (with a hammock conveniently located for a siesta afterwards).
There’s no restaurant, but meals can be delivered to your room all day, starting with continental breakfasts of bread, jam, juice, cereal and coffee. The brunch menu features smoked-salmon bagels, local cheese and charcuterie plates, and everyone’s favourite use of feta (a Greek salad). At dinner, expect dishes such as Ambracian Gulf prawns with avocado, fava-bean purée and smoked eel, and chicken with mashed potatoes and gruyère cream.
Breakfast is served daily from 8am until noon; lunch is available between 2pm and 4pm, and dinner is from 7.30pm until 10pm.
Dishes can be delivered to your room during restaurant opening hours.
The hotel is on a quieter coastline of north-west Greece, close to the city of Preveza in the region of Epirus and overlooking the islands of Lefkada and Paxos on a peninsula of the Ambracian Gulf.
The nearest airport is Preveza (also known as Aktion Airport), a 15-minute drive away. Direct flights from the UK take a little over three hours. Hotel transfers can be arranged on request.
It’s a 10-minute drive to the centre of Preveza (or an hour and 10 minutes on foot if you want to take the slow living seriously) – there’s a carpark at the hotel. A car will come in handy for exploring Epirus (and driving through Greece’s only underwater tunnel, which spans the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf).
Ferries from Italy and Ionian Islands including Corfu, Kefalonia and Zakynthos call in at the port of Igoumenitsa, an hour’s drive north of the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Despite the name, Meraviglia Slow Living is actually somewhere guests can keep really quite busy: activities on offer nearby include surfing, scuba-diving and sailing; rowing, stand-up paddle-boarding and kayaking on Ziros Lake; and birdwatching for the 75 species flitting over the Ambracian Gulf and its protected wetlands. Monolithi Beach is Europe’s longest stretch of sand – but staff can guide you to the crowd-free coves, too. Road-trip highlights include the coast route from Preveza to Parga, where the views are surpassed only by the antiquities and pretty, pitstop-ready towns. See where Augustus Caesar celebrated his victory over Antony and Cleopatra with a visit to Aktion, get yacht-envy (as well as superb seafood, fortresses and old-town perfection) in Preveza or ignore the morbidity and head to Hades – the Necromanteion of Acheron is the gateway to the underworld, according to Homer.
Prawns are kind of a big deal around here, with several Preveza restaurants so crustacean-focused that they’re called things like The Crazy Shrimp (+30 26820 27145). For a seaside setting and (not just) fresh fish, try Alati Seafood & More (+30 26820 27145), or stick to seafood at Filippas Tavern (+30 26820 61015) in Preveza’s historic centre. Restaurants within a kilometre’s walk of the hotel include the 4 Seasons (+30 26820 46172) tavern and Agnadi – Gianni’s Restaurant (+30 26820 41391), a sunny spot perfect for long, lazy afternoons near Monolithi Beach.
In Preveza, Ambassador (+30 26820 89088) is a popular wine bar, with huge steaks for when you inevitably get peckish.
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 boutique hotel in Greece and unpacked their board shorts and boat shoes, a full account of their beachside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Meraviglia Slow Living in Preveza…
If you like your classics, you’ll love Epirus (though you may have never heard of it) in north-western Greece, home to the shores where sirens tempted sailors in Homer’s Odyssey (Kerentza Beach), the town founded to celebrate victory over Antony and Cleopatra (Aktion) and the door to Hades (the Necromanteion of Acheron). Or take it down a notch and live a leisurely life within your pool-enhanced pad at Meraviglia Slow Living, on the edge of Preveza, one of the Epirus region’s main towns. The unhurried pace starts at breakfast, brought to you so you don’t have to expend any effort (like getting out of your dressing gown) first. The rest of the day’s meals can be delivered too, since there’s nothing so formal as a restaurant here; or set off for Preveza for super-fresh seafood, yacht-watching and old-town appreciation. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that a construction mogul is the man behind the hotel’s amazing architecture (even the gym is made from a particularly sleek pale grey concrete). Slow and steady won this race.