There’s a popular Greek song composed by acclaimed composer Mikis Theodorakis and based on a poem by Costas Varnalis, that refers to the summers the poet used to spent on Aegina island in the ‘70s and the carefree, good times he enjoyed there in the company of his friends, which are all mentioned by their names. One of them, an outstanding, local personality of those times, was Zinovia, a very modern and free-spirited lady, offspring of a wealthy family, the first one to have driven a car on the island and the one who established common swimming for both genders. She lived in a beautiful townhouse in Aegina town, in which she accommodated her close friend Costas Varnalis for two years. This residence, in the typical neoclassical architecture of Aegina, still remains and has been turned into a boutique hotel that respects the building’s past.
A past that goes way before the time of Zinovia and holds many significant milestones. Like the period, the Minister of Shipping, Admiral Kountouriotis used to stay there, or when Saint Nektarios, while he was still an unknown monk in a monastery on the outskirts of Aegina, was also accommodated in Aeginitikon Arhontikon. In the early 1900s the building was renovated, expanded and acquired a neoclassical style, while in 1987 it was completely refurbished and changed its use, as it was turned into a traditional hotel.
And these days, under a new management the hotel moves on to a new era, respecting the background and the unique architecture of the 1780 building and integrating it in the beautiful atmosphere of the picturesque town of Aegina.
Standing next to the island’s Cathedral and just opposite Bazeos Tower, one of Aegina’s historic buildings, it’s the ideal accommodation settlement to explore the island’s capital and soak up the atmosphere of past times.
Its bright red exterior, the wooden frame balcony with iron railings, the wooden shutters and the beautiful sun porch of the first floor, immediately catch the attention. As you pass the heavy door with the stone architrave, you find yourself standing in one of the two consecutive, shady courtyards, surrounded by plants that create a sense of exclusivity and serenity. It’s a wonderful sense, extended as you follow the staircase to the small terrace, where you can sit and enjoy the view across the brick rooftops, stretching all the way to the endless blue of Saronikos Gulf.
The rooms are spread across two levels, with the ones on the ground floor having windows looking towards the yards, while some have wooden floors, painted ceilings, stone walls and traditional details.
But the real pièce de résistance of the hotel is the wonderful living room, next to the sun porch – where breakfast is served – on the first floor. It’s the part of the building where you really lose track of time and you feel welcomed in the lush environs of an elegant early 20th century townhouse. The artistically painted ceiling with the frescoes depicting a chariot with sea nymphs immediately catches the eyesight, while the soft-green and light-blue walls painted with floral decorative borders create a romantic feeling. Antique furniture, a few old photos, velvet fabrics, handmade embroidery curtains and the old, wooden floor create a warm atmosphere, where attention to detail and respect for history are evident.
Whether you’re enjoying a short weekend getaway from Athens, or a longer stay exploring the beauties of Aegina, Aeginitikon Arhontikon will prove to be the ideal lodgement for your vacation on this lovely Saronikos island.