Tag Archives: Relais and Chateaux

Zannos Melathron, Pyrgos

The best part of our hotel was its fantastic location in Pyrgos – a quaint, sleepy Santorinian village that has managed to lay low despite the overwhelming crush of tourism besieging most of the island. When we arrived in the town square, this dashing young lad was waiting to carry our luggage up the steep ascent our room.

donkey

Zannos Melathron is a Relais & Chateaux property at the tippy top of the village. Settled into the slope of the hillside next to the brilliant blue-domed Agia Theodosia, the hotel has a bird’s-eye view of the island’s northern tip. From the restaurant terrace, you can see the cliffs of Fira, and then Oia further in the distance.

The mansion is the former mid-19th century home of a powerful Greek shipping family. The main public rooms of the interior still evoke a nostalgia for the charmed life this glamorous home once contained.

front

Agia Theodosia

Agia Theodosia

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bar

bed

The suites are cavernous – in the truest sense of the word! While some might find this cosy, I actually felt a little bit claustrophobic. Everything was clean and thoughtfully arranged – and I loved this little nook.

nook room

Outside on the terrace was shaded seating for two, a couple of stripey sun loungers, and a jacuzzi.

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jacuzzi jacuuzzi

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And how about these views from the pool?

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After settling in and unpacking at the hotel, we made our way down into the village to the best lunch joint on the map – Selene. It serves mouth-watering local dishes with the warm welcoming service characteristic of the region. I have to admit, it was so good we went back again (though I won’t say how many times).

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House baked bread with tomato tapioca

House baked bread with tomato tapioca

Squids with tomato crust

Squids with tomato crust

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Octopus carpaccio with white eggplant salad

Octopus carpaccio with white eggplant salad

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Chicken leg (gyros style) in pitta bread with grilled Santorini zucchini and yogurt-spearmint sauce

Chicken leg (gyros style) in pitta bread with grilled Santorini zucchini and yogurt-spearmint sauce

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And of course, what Greek meal would be complete without an oozy warm slice of baklava? baklava

On that sweet note, I’ll save the rest for tomorrow – when the real adventures begin!

Château de Berne Wine Tasting

Temperatures in Provence have been sweltering this summer, and a day at a private estate sampling the region’s famed rosé sounded like just the ticket.

You can find Château de Berne down a long shady lane amongst 1,500 acres of olive trees and vineyards in the heart of the Var region. The winery produces a full range of award-winning wines, but is particularly known for its rosé.

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Chateau de Berne

boar

hotel

casks

vines

I had a quick tour of the grounds. The rose bushes at the end of the vineyards indicated that the vines were in good nick. The grapes were plump and waxy. And the tractor was running just fine.

grapes

tractor

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And now into the winery to sample the harvest!

cask

Tastings and shop

Tastings and shop

bottles

The cellars

The cellars

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Grande Cuvée Rosé 2011

Grande Cuvée Rosé 2011

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My favorite - Cuvée Sauvage (Rosé) Brut

My favorite – Cuvée Sauvage (Rosé) Brut

We followed our wine tasting with a light lunch at Le Bistrot.

bistot

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Tapas

Tapas

Lemon meringue tart

Lemon meringue tart

And a final romp around the beautifully landscaped grounds!

waterfall

press

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The rosé and heat had me feeling flushed. As we were leaving I accidentally walked into an electric fence and got zapped! I was literally shocked by what a great time I had at Chateau le Berne. Santé!