In the early 1900's, a band of brothers named the Cotommatae, ship-owners and merchants, criss-crossed the Mediterranean, trading for fine porcelain, European clothing, art objects, luxury furniture and other expensive goods. One of them was named Dimosthenes Kotommatis, and he re-built this house, using elements of the styles he'd seen during his wanderings to Turkey, the Middle East, Venice and other Mediterranean ports. Kotommatis' descendents own the guesthouse today, and they've done their best to restore it to its former glory, keeping the burnished chestnut floors and exposed beams, adding new mattresses to the exquisite antique bedframes (one of which is 200 years old) and restoring the painted ceilings in the dining rooom and living areas. To these, and other antique elements, they've added such mod cons as heated towel racks, rainfall showers, Jacuzzis, air-conditioning and fridges in each room. But despite these contemporary niceties, the history of the house shines through, and its ambiance is old-fashioned, particularly in terms of the gracious hospitality guests receive here. When they arrive, often with their luggage strung across the backs of donkeys (no cars are allowed in Hydra Town), they're offerred cool water and a traditional Hydrian dessert of cherry's in syrup. Breakfast, too, has an air of formality to it, as guests chow down on a wide variety of local treats. A truly special place to stay.

Tip: If you're visiting off-season, or can book many months in advance, don't be shy about asking for a discount. The owners will often rent out rooms at 50% off the rates above when business is slow, and give 15% percent discounts to those who secure their rooms early.