Every now and then TLE finds a hotel that is so special that it changes the perception of a destination. That was certainly the case when I discovered the Hotel Kókkini Porta Rossa, secluded in a narrow lane in the UNESCO recognised old town of Rhodes, Greece.
This historic house has been converted into a sublime small boutique hotel by owners Nikos and Angela. The property may only have 5 suites, but they are stand-out gorgeous!
Staying here totally changed my pre-conceived ideas of Rhodes Old Town.
Whether you arrive by plane or boat to Rhodes Town, you can expect an easy transfer to the hotel. I arrived by boat from Turkey, (there is a direct fast ferry catamaran from Marmaris). A waiting Mercedes whisked me through the spell-binding streets of Rhodes old town to Hotel Kókkini Porta Rossa within minutes.
The hotel is within the historic walled city, taking its name from St John’s Gate, one of the old city entrances that stands close by, known by locals as the red gate, due to his bloody history during the times of the Knights of St. John and the crusades. The area is residential, with no bars or restaurants, but I found that a distinct advantage as the neighbourhood felt authentic, unspoilt my tourist paraphernalia – and it was peaceful.
Within 10 – 15 minutes’ walk from the hotel I found myself amongst the bustle of the streets filled with restaurants and bars. For culture vultures, the Hotel Kókkini Porta Rossa is also within walking distance to the un-missable Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, the slightly geeky Archaeological Museum of Rhodes and the arty Museum of Modern Greek Art, amongst many other cultural attractions.
Nikos and Angela have clearly put their heart and soul into this hotel. There is genuine attention to detail throughout the rooms and public spaces. There are even items from their private collection of Rhodian antiques and other Greek artefacts.
As you enter the red doors of the entrance and step into the lobby lounge you know you are in a fabulous place, as there before you is a baby grand piano (Angela plays and accomplished guests are welcome to have a tinkle the ivories too).
Welcome and Check-in
Nikos had arranged for a car to collect me from the port. I arrived early in the day, before the room was ready, but my welcome was so warm and natural. I was immediately invited to enjoy breakfast in the sunny outdoor courtyard. In the shade of a Mulberry tree I tucked into a magnificent spread that was presented with exquisite refinement and taste. The scrambled eggs were delicious, made with marjoram and lemon rind; there was a beautiful cheese plate with quince; fruit and yoghurt; homemade jams and marmalade with ginger and homemade cakes.
After breakfast my ground floor suite was ready. It was called ‘Orhan’ (each suite is named after a significant person in the house’s history, such as previous owners, reflecting the property’s and the town’s multicultural, multi-faith past).
Like each of the suites, the room had its own sleeping area with double or twin beds – in this case a large double with vintage doors, reimagined as creative headboards. There was a writing desk/dressing table and double wardrobe with safe, amenities, bathrobes and slippers, wrapped with ribbons. There was also a sitting room with a daybed that can be converted into an extra bed. So each suite can accommodate a third person; some can accommodate 4 people.
My room had French windows that opened out onto a private portion of the courtyard, with seating and a small table.
The large bathroom had a vintage-style tub (others have whirlpool baths too) as well as a walk in hydro-massage shower. Mediterranean luxury amenities, including handmade soaps were generous.
The welcome amenity included a welcome drink, homemade cookies in the room, a fruit bowl and complimentary water. There is also tea and coffee making facilities in the suite. There was an LCD TV, Bluetooth speaker, and a tablet PC preloaded with local information.
Rest of the Hotel
Although Hotel Kókkini Porta Rossa does not promote itself as having a restaurant, it does offer guests the opportunity to pre-book dinner. Onella is the hotel’s resident cook who will prepare homemade dinner which Angela and Nikos serve. I enjoyed a starter of tomato stuffed with black ‘beluga’ lentils, salad, then homemade pasta with cheese and sweet treats. Nikos knows his wines and for my evening he paired the dishes with local Rhodian wines. Guests can choose from 30 or more other, mostly Greek wines. Prices for dinner start at around 35 pounds per head before drinks.
Interestingly Onella can also take you with her to the morning market if you feel like being immersed in the local colour of the old town.
The lobby lounge is made up of a number of different spaces; the lobby with the piano, the open-plan kitchen with breakfast bar and dining table; and the elegantly furnished salon. The other public space is the open courtyard patio where you can take a few rays between meals. The suites are so large that one doesn’t need much public space. The only thing I missed was a plunge pool.
Guest suites start from £125.00 in low season; rising to £275 in high, including breakfast.
Would I recommend this hotel?
This property for me was just full of understated elegance, style and refinement. It is a truly luxurious small hotel. It may not have lots of facilities but the hosts are wonderful and the suites are fabulous.
Address: Old Town, 85100 Rhodes, Greece
Tel: +30 22410 75114
Review carried out by Andrew Forbes