A Byzantine-era mansion turned hotel a few kilometers away from the magnificent castle of Monemvasia has opened its doors for the Summer of 2020, as Greece is gradually relaxing its Covid-19 restrictions.
Kinsterna Hotel is a model of autonomy and sustainability, functioning harmoniously within a rich and lively natural environment. But more importantly, it adheres to all health and safety regulations and it’s size enables social distancing, which is of paramount importance in the coronavirus times.
Tables in the spacious gardens have been placed at a distance from each other as well as the deck chairs next to the pool. Privacy, cleanness, and social distancing are the major preoccupation of the owners of this gem of a hotel.
It is the ideal launching pad for discovering the amazing rock of Monemvasia. A small island connected to the mainland town by a 400-meter causeway. The surviving buildings and defensive structures of the fortress include impressive ramparts, gates, and numerous small Byzantine churches.
According to a study carried out by Democritus Institute, the imposing manor house now the Kinsterna Hotel was gradually built between 1667-1784.
It is situated in an ideal position for monitoring the area and forms a classic “Π” shape common to medieval defensive structures. The interior courtyard is dominated by a great cistern encircled by 20 embedded columns.
Ottoman characteristics of the building, such as its embrasures and gun holes and the large fireplaces and chimneys are still evident today, combined with Byzantine and Venetian elements most clearly visible in the exterior faces of the walls and the ceramic designs and brickwork.
The rich and complex past of this fortress-manor can also be traced in the base of a defensive cannon, in the estate’s olive-press, in a detention cell that today comprises the mansion’s most unique and sought-after suite (Byzantine Suite 25) or in hidden storage rooms (Kinsterna Suite 39).
After the Revolution of 1821, the manor and its estate, whose previously recorded owner was Ibrahim Bey, passed to the ownership of the new Greek State. In 1870, the estate was purchased by the Kapitsini family. A portion of the manor complex was inhabited until the 1970s by Lina Kapitsini, the last “Lady” of Monemvasia.
After 1980, the property was gradually abandoned. By 2002 when it was purchased by its current owners, nature had taken over and was slowly destroying the manor house and outlying buildings.
The rebirth of a jewel
In 2006, a talented and experienced team of architects, engineers and designers began to restore the mansion, in close cooperation with the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities.
The Kinsterna was reborn as a boutique hotel in 2010, despite the enormous size and complexity of the project and its many challenges.
During your tour, you will discover many elements and characteristics from the original construction and design of the mansion. From the Byzantine domes and internal water pipes and conduits to the handmade embroideries and original fireplaces in the rooms, every part of this splendid building has its own unique story to tell.
Fed by abundant flowing water from natural springs, the estate nourished the people living on it and undoubtedly contributed to the local economy, as shown by historical archives from the Byzantine and Ottoman years.
These traditional practices and occupations – from a time when communities were economically independent – lie at the heart of Kinsterna’s model of sustainability and of its owners’ philosophy and vision.
With special emphasis on reviving and strengthening these ancient practices (harvesting grapes and making wine and tsipouro, gathering olives and producing olive oil, baking bread, making soap, weaving fabric on the traditional loom, etc.), the owners have consciously made great efforts to ensure that the local community and wider region will benefit from this impressive model of sustainability.
More information on the hotel and the surrounding area here.