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We stayed at Messana Hotel (circled at left), which is a short stroll from Ithomi Restaurant (right), where we ate dinner
I can’t take any of the credit for finding this place — our travelling companions had chosen and booked our one night’s accommodations here. It was an excellent choice.
Messana Hotel is a boutique-style property with just 7 rooms in an impeccably restored old stone building on Mavromati’s main street. Each room boasts a unique design and decor, with stone and wood interior finishes, and furnishings that suit the attractive settings.
Our room was on the second floor, and had a balcony facing the mountainside houses and buildings of Mavromati. Looking from the right side of the balcony, we had a very good view of the Ancient Messini ruins and surrounding area. The archaeological site and countryside could also be seen from the window in our bathroom. Although our room was small-ish, it was quite comfortable for our one-night stay. Had we been spending several nights in the area, we would have preferred a larger room like the one our friends stayed in, but room size wasn’t an issue for us here. The room was quiet and comfortable, and we slept very well.
In the morning, after a refreshing night of sleep, we entered the breakfast room to discover a buffet spread offering a variety of appetizing dishes, some of which we had never seen before. That was because they were local specialties we would never have encountered on our previous holidays on Greek islands and in the eastern Peloponnese. The choices included lalaggia and other bread, local cheese, barley rusks topped with grated tomatoes and oregano, kagianas (eggs mixed with a fresh tomato sauce and slices of local pork called pasto), local honey and preserves (the white mulberry jam was outstanding), a selection of juicy figs (including local white figs), fresh juices, olives and more. There is an indoor breakfast area, but we and the hotel’s other guests chose to eat outdoors in the pleasant courtyard adjacent to the breakfast room and reception lounge.
While the superb breakfast was a highlight of our stay, I must give a special shout-out to the very pleasant and helpful hotel proprietor, Maria, for her five-star hospitality. She greeted us warmly on our arrival, provided information about and directions to the area’s historic sites, described features and highlight attractions in Mavromati and Ancient Messini, and overall made us feel comfortable and welcome during our short stay at Messana. And, of course, she prepared the wonderful breakfast.
We would stay there again (we’d love to have another Messana breakfast!) and we would unhesitatingly recommend the hotel to others.
If you’re planning to visit Ancient Messini but can’t get a room at Messana Hotel, there are two places nearby in the village that have rooms to let. One is Lykourgos Rooms, just steps away from Messsana, while the other is Zeus Rooms. Accommodations also are available at nearby villages in the Ancient Messini area.
This sign pointed the way to our accommodations
Street view of the Messana Hotel. The 7-room boutique inn opened in 2015 after five years of restoration and renovation work on the property. Entry to the hotel is from the sloped lane on the right side of the building ….
… where guests pass through this courtyard to reach the reception area
Reception area and lounge (photo from the Messana Hotel website)
Inside our cozy room on the hotel’s second floor
The comfortable double bed in our room
Each of the seven rooms is individually furnished and decorated, with natural materials including stone and wood used as prominent design features
Stone and wood design elements in our bathroom
The interior of our bathroom …
… which had a nicely tiled shower but, as is typical in many Greek hotel bathrooms, no curtain to keep water from spraying all over the floor.
The bathroom window overlooked the Ancient Messini archaeological site and had a view of countryside extending all the way to Kalamata in the distance
Our room had a small balcony with this front view of buildings in Mavromati …
… and this side view of the Ancient Messini archaeological site and the valley beyond
This is a short video I shot showing the view from our balcony.
The Messana’s breakfast room, seen in a photo from the hotel’s Facebook page
We ate our breakfast outdoors, in the quiet courtyard directly accessed from the breakfast room
Consult the Messana Hotel website for contact numbers and detailed information about the property. The website also contains information about the area’s history and its top attractions, and has photo galleries.
You’ll find many more photos and information about Messenia on the Messana Hotel Facebook page.
Unlike many villages and towns located close to major archaeological sites in Greece, Mavromati doesn’t have a main strip lined with restaurants and souvenir shops geared for tourists. There’s just one full-service restaurant in the village — Ithomi — and the good news is that its Greek cuisine is excellent. In fact, it’s the place that tour groups from the ritzy Westin Costa Navarino Resort make a point of visiting for a meal during daytrips to Ancient Messini and other sites. (One such group was having lunch at Ithomi when we arrived in the village — you can see the top of their bus in the first photo I posted below.)
Ithomi was a mere 1-minute walk down the street from Messana Hotel, a relief for three of us who were totally walked-out from our afternoon sightseeing and just wanted to sit, relax and drink wine while waiting for our fourth member to join us following his sunset hike up the mountain.
We thoroughly enjoyed the wine and all the delicious dishes we ordered, including the grilled local talagani cheese, horiatiki (Greek salad), roasted eggplant, local loukaniko (sausages) infused with a delightful hint of orange, and grilled lamp chops. We had asked our server (whom I believe was the restaurant owner) to recommend some regional specialties, and were glad he had suggested we try the talagani and loukaniko — they were amazing. We had hoped to try the moussaka; however, there was none left for dinnertime — the tourists from Costa Navarino had eaten every serving.
It may be the only place you can have a meal in Mavromati, but this is a restaurant we would highly recommend regardless.
Ithomi Restaurant, viewed from one of the hillside roads in the village. We had dinner on the open-air terrace (center), which overlooks the Ancient Messini archaeological site.
Part of the restaurant’s spacious outdoor terrace
From the Ithomi Restaurant Facebook page, a photo showing a street view of the outdoor terrace. The family-owned restaurant has been operating since 1987.
The restaurant’s terrace and interior dining room both offer great views of the Ancient Messini area, as this photo from the restaurant website shows
The grilled talagani cheese and the Greek salad we ordered for our dinner. The cheese is a must-try local specialty.
The local sausages were superb and, to my delight, came with a hearty serving of fried potatoes. If you have eaten home-cut fried potatoes in Greece, you will understand why I absolutely love them.
Our yummy roasted eggplant dish. We also had lamb chops that were grilled to perfection.
The Ithomi Restaurant website describes the history of the establishment, and contains a gallery with photos of the restaurant and some of the area’s top attractions.
To read what other travellers think about the restaurant and its food, and see their photos of some of its popular dishes (including the scrumptious-looking big servings of moussaka), check out the Ithomi Taverna reviews on TripAdvisor.