“Wind Tales, Ano Syros and Ermoupoli - A truly amazing and awe-inspiring place”
We spent three (all too brief) nights here in September, mid-way through our month in the Cyclades, and we can honestly say that this is the most unique accommodation we have ever stayed in.
After exchanging emails, we were met at the port by Alexis and Dimitri, who made us feel very welcome immediately, before we were driven up (and up and up!) to Ano Syros. Alexis is a mine of information and didn’t stop talking and pointing things out on the way up; and on arrival in the parking area, our bags were transported speedily through the twisting, tiny streets to our room by Dimitri.
Ano Syros is a delightful maze of alleyways and steps, and (unless you have the recollective powers of a superhuman) you will lose your way at least a couple of times. It is a case of remembering the small landmarks: “Turn left at the statue, go down the steps, walk on until the door sign with the yacht…..go up the steps” etc. There are some tavernas and a few cafes, bars and shops, but it’s a very quiet and peaceful generally; and from up here you feel like you are in a different place altogether, on top of the world and cut off blissfully from reality.
After being shown our room, we were given a brief talk by Alexis and given a map. It was important to pay heed here, as his tips and recommendations were proved to be very accurate and true; however, it was very difficult to concentrate when confronted with the amazing view from the terrace.
Many reviewers have commented on the “Rock” room and we share their opinions - it is incredible. The room was decorated with perfect taste, and all of the fixtures and fittings complemented the room perfectly with just the correct degree of “quirkiness”. Much thought has obviously gone into the small details. We liked the travel trunk table in particular, and the enormous “helicopter blade” ceiling fan that looks like it will be noisy and cause a hurricane in the room, but in fact is totally silent and very effective. There are numerous options with the lighting, such as the small lamp in an alcove which adds yet more romance to this fabulous room. Small touches, such as bunches of lavender on the bed, and a beautiful rose left in a glass for our return one day added to this feeling.
The bed on the rock looked like it may be a bit uncomfortable from the pictures we had seen on the website, but I can say that this is not the case. There is a triple-layer of mattress and it is supremely comfortable, and there are plenty of pillows (some are coco-mat) and high-quality bed linen, so you can arrange it to your personal preference. All of this meant we slept, if you forgive the pun, like a rock. The rock continues on into the bathroom, and gives you the impression that you are having a shower in a cave – a luxury cave with good bath products and high-quality towels.
You are given a separate key which gives access to the beautiful lounge area, where there are many interesting books in different languages to choose from; and this room leads to the spectacular terrace, where breakfast is served - and what a breakfast: Coffee, delicious bread, yogurt with honey and muesli, boiled eggs, a very tasty home-cured ham, tomatoes with feta, grapes and home-made orange and fig marmalades and a home-made fruit juice of our choice And all served at what is a very civilised time for “night owls”, and this certainly set us up for the day.
Whilst there was no direct view from our room, it was so easy to just walk through the door to the front of the property, or through the lounge to the terrace and be presented with a fabulous view of Ermoupoli below, with the port and the very blue Aegean and the islands beyond seeming to float in the air. Yes, it is a communal terrace, but so what? It is huge, and there will only be a maximum of a few others others sharing it with you, although we only saw one other person on it during our stay. Not that it was a problem for us at all, as we are sociable animals. At night, it is incredibly romantic as the lights of the town come on down below, and the stars become visible overhead. You could easily sit here all day and night, watching the ferries come and go and contemplating the meaning of life; but then you would miss out on the delights of the town….
By day, you can wander around Ermoupoli (it’s a nice stroll down from Ano Syros) admiring the handsome neo-classical buildings – many of which have been restored and others which are distressed and crumbling somewhat, giving great character to the place (memories of past glories and all that); or maybe have a look inside the Apollon theatre which is modelled on La Scala opera house or the impressive town hall in the huge main square, visit the numerous churches with their priceless treasures and icons; or have lunch or a drink at a harbourside cafe after a swim off of one of the platforms (the view from here is gorgeous) in the beautiful area of Vaporia, which they call “Little Venice”. At night, like so many places in this wonderful country, the city “comes alive” and there more than enough shops, bars and restaurants to keep you occupied. We found the standard of these places to be high, and the prices to be more than reasonable. If you are lucky, you can witness a performance at the theatre, or a movie in the open-air cinema, however, we have saved some of these treats for return visits – we are sure there will be many! You could easily spend a week in Ermoupoli and not get bored - it is interesting and lively and it will surprise you.
Everyone we met was friendly and helpful, and all seemed to be proud of their island and its capital; and so they should be – it is a truly marvellous place and a perfect contrast to the other Cycladic isles. It is not at all “touristy” although we found the level of information provided to visitors to be excellent. We had heard that Ermoupoli suffers from a problem with graffiti defacing the public buildings – if this was the case before, then it certainly is not true now, as we saw very little of this during our exploration. We fell in love with this place as soon as we saw the fantastic vista from our ferry as it approached the island, and departed feeling the same way, but also very sad to leave.
We cannot recommend the accommodation and the surrounding areas highly enough. Wind Tales is a perfect place to stay in the tranquillity of Ano Syros with the hustle and bustle of Ermoupoli below, and it was worth every penny. Thank you Alexis and your staff.