Whenever I wake up on a dull, gloomy English winter morning, my thoughts always turn to the amazing dark blue light of the Greek Aegean and to Sifnos House in the little port of Kamares, Sifnos.
With the luxury of time, days start so differently here. Comfortably sat on my terrace, coffee in hand, and commanding views across the bay before me, I watch the sun come over the mountain highlighting the contrast between the grey limestone and the deep blue sea. The small port with its cycladean white houses and blue shutters becomes swathed in light, men head to the kafenio and women sweep their patios.
A view from the terrace. Image by Sifnos House.
It is only a five-minute stroll to take an early swim from the blue flag sandy beach or walk around the little port. However, it is hard to delay the temptations of breakfast for long. Outside in an attractive, shaded area or inside if preferred, a delicious breakfast buffet including fresh products and local specialities awaits. Pandelis keeps a watchful but unobtrusive eye ensuring you receive your carafe of freshly squeezed orange juice and that every dish is regularly refreshed.
Breakfast and lounge area. Image by Sifnos House.
As I return to my room, I ponder how comfortable this small hotel really is, from the quality of the beds and furnishings, the excellent storage space through to the linen and towels. Bathrooms are fully functional with quality fittings, a rarity in Greece. Rooms, suites, and apartments cater for the different needs of the varying but interesting clientele. There is an underground spa with hammam and hot tub and a fairly priced professional masseuse.
A bedroom interior & underground spa. Images by Sifnos House.
I return to my viewpoint to watch island life unfurl below me. Everything this island needs must come through this port and every person must arrive and leave from it. The small road to the port demands a degree of organization that is unusual in Greece. Outside high season tourist arrivals are more a trickle than a flood.
With so much to see, so many walks and villages to discover, so many traditions to understand, I tear myself away to explore by bicycle this exceptional island. Monasteries and churches top the mountains, ancient stone walkways connect the villages. Potters with skills passed down from generation to generation still produce their wares. The views in every direction are always sublime.
Chrysopigi Church. Image by www.vacation-in-greece.gr.
On route to Artemonos.
I return to my hotel in time for a sundowner and watch a ferry, cargo boat and a yacht disentangle. The light changes again as evening approaches and the sun goes behind the mountain. Hungry and tired from my bicycle excursion, it is a comfort to know that some of the best food in the Aegean is less than a 3 minute stroll away.
Sunset in Kamares.
For me, this hotel embraces tradition but with modern convenience and provides a perfect base to experience this wonderful unspoilt Greek Island.
Visit Sifnos House: www.sifnoshouse.com