Some 200 years ago the respected Petropoulakis clan of Mani numbered around 230 people living in 32 homes on an amazing hill in Rahi, just outside the very picturesque town of Gytheio. Over the years, many of the clan represented Mani as deputies in the government until the Second World War ravaged the land. The houses were destroyed in the war and all the clan left to the cities or immigrated abroad.
Yet out of the walls that were left standing, the very first family house on top of the hill built by Panagiotis Petropoulakis has been carefully renovated recently by his descendent Dimitris Petropoulakis. It is now an outstanding structure rebuilt almost exactly as it had stood back then.
This gorgeous Maniot tower and its swimming pool, surrounded by rolling green valleys and the bluest of seas, is set in a stunning location. It offers ten first-class guestrooms with a traditional character, featuring AC, minibar, hairdryer and television.
The charm of the property lies also in the outside restaurant ‘taverna’ that serves delicious local food, prepared with organic ingredients from the adjacent garden or the nearby olive grove and farm of the proprietor. Sun-grown squash, aubergines, potatoes, olives, nectarines, quince, pear, apples, walnut, almond, figs and numerous citrus fruits are grown on these private lands, providing an unparalleled bounty of tasty Mediterranean produce.
Homemade pork sausage with orange extract and delicious pork dishes (Siglino) are often on the menu so is home-baked bread and tomato omelet (kayana). If you like seafood, Petropoulaki often serves excellent local fish, including a hearty fish soup (psarosoupa), cod, swordfish, red mullet, grilled octopus, squid, mussels and much more.
Beyond the hotel’s gates is the family church and graveyard that add a hauntingly beautiful character to the story of the Petropoulakis Clan. The charming little church has often been used for baptisms and weddings by adventurous Greek and foreign hotel guests.
There are many other attractions in the area worth visiting, such as the ancient theatre in Gytheio, the monastery of Agii Pantes, and Kastro Passava as well as stunning beaches in Lakonia such as Mavrovouni, Vathi, Kamares and Skoutari. Not far off is the Taygetos mountain range and its hiking paths, while 45 minutes away by car is the famous deserted Byzantine settlement of Mystras. Pyrgos Petropoulaki is seriously one of the best little hotels in Gythio for discovering the best of Lakonia and Mani in the Peloponnese.