The Faris Hotel is situated on the top of a mountain opposite the majestic Tayegetus mountain range. It is incredible to find such a peaceful oasis. However, if you don't like to be away from the hustle and bustle of city life, it's not for you.
There is a choice of rooms, double, twin, single, triple rooms and suites. Breakfast is available and included in the price, but you pay extra for other meals.
The hotel is built of stone in the manner of traditional houses in the area, and it has views over the Spartan plain, and you can also see the sea from Gorani, the nearest village. From the terrace you can also see eagles wheeling overhead at certain times of day. If you have never seen wild eagles, you will marvel at their agility, sweet calls and their majesty.
There is a fireplace for winter use in the dining room, and you can sip the local hooch, a kind of clear brandy, while sitting in front of it. The nibbles that accompany the hooch are a delight, figs stuffed with walnuts, for example.
The owner of the hotel, George, can tell you all about the local area and will transport guests up to the shelter if they want to do the Prophet Elias walk to the mountain peak. This is shaped like a pyramid and is a local landmark.
On the slopes leading up to the hotel you will see George's walnut and chestnut trees and you can usually purchase preserves made with them. There's the local honey too, which is great with locally-made yoghurt.
The water piped into the hotel is spring water, quite different to the usual tap water. it really quenches one's thirst.
The hotel has two huge Greek mountain dogs in residence outside. They act as guard dogs and are so big that wild boar don't get the better of them for long, although one of the dogs was blinded by one. Thankfully, she's recovered, although her sight is still not fully restored. There are cats too, so it's quite a menagerie.The hotel is dog-friendly, so your pooch can accompany you, and make new friends with the resident animals.
The Byzantine monastery at nearby Gola is worth a visit, but check the opening times with George.
The road up to the hotel is steep, with hairpin bends, so be warned and take it slowly.
The hotel is well signposted from Xirokampi, so it's easy to find.
It's a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. Book early though to avoid disappointment.