For those looking for a Hydra holiday house reminiscent of one of Gerald Durrell's villas and lifestyle described in his much-loved book 'My Family And Other Animals', Aloe House is for you. The house is nearly 150 years old and has been maintained by five generations in more or less its original form (apart from the addition of electricity & plumbing!). Set in a huge rambling garden, with magnificent sea views and the beautiful Avlaki Bay for swimming just below it, Aloe House is a gem of a holiday rental on Hydra Island that will captivate you.
The main entrance from the east side street opens on a small courtyard featuring a traditional stone sink and a gorgeous arched central hall that has doors to all parts of the house. In the central hall, you'll find a comfortable day bed, perfect for a cool afternoon siesta. The bedrooms are all on one side (right as you look at the photo above) the kitchen is to the other side and doors at the end of the hall lead to the sitting room and then through to the main area of the garden. The family (and therefore guests) prefer to use the street entrance on the west side of the property which opens into the garden and so enter the house via the sitting room. This is because the route from Hydra harbour is shorter, involves fewer steps and most of the route is shady, so it's much more comfortable and less tiring.
The bedrooms are all on the north (sea facing) side of the building. Double doors lead from the entrance hall into a central large room which has a double bed. This is an in-between room (that would originally have been used as a winter sitting room), with a double bedroom either side of it. You have to enter the in-between room to gain access to the other rooms. The window overlooks the lower garden and across the sea to the Peloponnese mainland, north of Hydra. The double bed can be used if there are more than 2 couples, or simply as a chilling out space as the room, painted in a deep classic red is wonderfully soothing during the glaring sun of the high afternoon.
The east bedroom has a queen-size double bed, large wardrobe, dressing table and a sea-facing window. This room has the novelty of containing the wellhead for the enormous freshwater cisterna below. The combination of the thick walls, stone tiled floor and a large quantity of water under the floor, makes this the coolest room in the house!
The west bedroom overlooks the garden and the path leading to the house from the west street entrance. It is a bright sunny room that catches the evening sunset. As with all the house windows, there are shutters that can be used to block out the sun as necessary to regulate the room temperature. This bedroom also has a double bed with a traditional wrought-iron frame. There is a wardrobe so you can unpack comfortably and this is where the Ironing board and iron are kept.
Aloe House is a quintessential Greek Islands summer house and is perfect for long hot sunny days spent mainly outside wandering around in swimwear with perhaps a pareo! The shower room is conveniently located just outside the bedrooms in the small entrance courtyard where it can also be access from all parts of the garden when you need a quick cooling shower. It is clean and simply fitted with a toilet, shower and handbasin with mirror. This is also where the washing machine is found.
The kitchen, on the south side of the house with a window overlooking the entrance courtyard, is simply furnished with locally-made wall cabinets & dresser filled with tableware and cooking equipment. The large fridge/freezer has a chilled water dispenser and there is a water purification machine attached to the water tap so the towns desalination supply is 100% pure as drinking water. You will find everything you need to prepare wonderful, al-fresco meals with only a few short steps through the sitting room to the delightful terrace in the garden. For those who prefer to cook out of doors, there is a BBQ in the garden.
During the summer, the small sitting room is not used a lot other than to provide access to the kitchen and bedrooms as the garden is such a tempting alternative place to sit! However, the sitting room is deliciously cool and has a day bed for snoozing during the mid-day heat and there is a wall mounted TV above the original baking oven. The chimney was recently repointed and so the oven can be used as a novel fireplace during the winter months.
The walled garden of Aloe House epitomizes the idyllic image that visitors have of what a Greek island garden should be like. There are huge shady pine trees, bright vibrant oleander bushes and outcrops of rock decorated with iris and narcissi (especially in the Spring). In high summer the sound of cicadas singing their buzzing song fill the trees until you come too close (they're elusive little creatures that most people never see) and you'll enjoy picking fresh lemons from the trees for your sundowners. During November, the olives are harvested from the trees and everywhere you go in the garden you are followed by the pungent scent of the sage, thyme and oregano herbs, that again you are welcome to use to flavour your meals.
Throughout the day you will hear the gentle murmur of life going on beyond the garden wall. The occasional braying of a mule, the gentle clonking of goat bells or the ruffled clucking of a disturb hen and if the gentle breeze is in the right direction, you might discern the laughter of children playing in the sea below. All these sounds softly mingle as background music to lazy carefree days in the sun. And when the day hushes, the night sky is decorated with more stars than you've ever seen.
Avlaki is a small residential area between Hydra Harbour and Kamini Harbour. The house is approximately 400m and 250 steps from Hydra Harbour. To reach the house you walk along the UPPER coast path passing between the Sophia Loren Windmill and the statue of the Boy on a Dolphin. See the photo above. Just as you reach the right house, you turn left and continue up the shady route to the top of Avlaki where you will find Aloe House. Don't be put off by the number of steps because they are spread out along the way in small groups with plenty of long stretches of path in between, so it's classed as an easy climb. Reaching the sea in Avlaki Bay from the house takes an averagely fit person 5 minutes to go down and 10 minutes to go back up to the house. And between the house and sea you will find the excellent Techne Restaurant which is the closest place to eat out. The closest shop is on the Kamini side of the ridge at Four Corners. Maria & Dimitris are happy to deliver provisions to Aloe House for you using their mule.
€170 per night (€1190 per week)
Aloe House is rented on a whole house, self-catering basis.
Available from April - October
Maximum 6 guests
Minimum 7 nights
Not suitable for very young children or those with walking disabilities.
Contact: Dimitris Svobos (& Lola)
In the first instance, please use the secure contact form below to email Dimitris. He or Lolo will reply promptly to confirm availability and price.
Arrangements will be made to meet guests on arrival and mules booked to carry luggage. The price of mules is not included in the rental price and will need to be paid directly to the muleteer on delivery. Mules cost €20 each and carry 2 suitcases and 2 pieces of hand-luggage each.