You would be treating yourself if you stayed at the Camelot Classic Hotel as we did for four nights in the middle of July: you will never forget it and more particularly you will never forget Nina for her ever charismatic tenderness and joy regarding your travels and your day. She has lived in Rhodes all her life and the stories she shares about the generations of her fellow Rhodians is a history lesson itself as she shares fascinating and rare insights into the sights of the city. If it weren't for her advice, we would probably not have rented the car to see the acropolis at Lindos or taken that trip to see the Valley of the Butterflies (Tens of thousands of moths actually).
She is a tireless, enthusiastic worker who attends to every detail of her ancient ruins where lived one of the lesser knights of St John and his family, which she has miraculously converted into a five room hotel which is more like a bed and breakfast because of her love of sharing beautiful food at breakfast and tea time. The walls and arches of her compound are made out of beautiful shell powdered bricks, each one unique in shape, size, and colour, some yellow, some tan, some pink, and others terra-cotta. The porous texture and the random patterns of these bricks which were arranged by some master in the 14th Century are mesmerizing in beauty and in form. Nina's decor caresses these World Heritage Designation walls with a grace and simplicity that amplify what was once, for example, the stable for the Knight's three horses where we had our morning breakfast every day. In the interior, sun-filled courtyard, where circular iron-wrought tables provide niches scattered here and there to give shade during different parts of the day, there is a beach-stone floor mosaic which Nina commissioned herself for the archeological society insisted that her renovations include something that complimented whatever original flooring would have been there. Nina has managed to balance a rustic look -there are the archeologically certified cannon balls in the courtyard too- with spotlessly clean rooms that show lovely black-iron sconces scattered throughout, decor that imitates the giant iron sconces throughout the walled-city. The air conditioning worked flawlessly. We particularly enjoyed our time in the late afternoon on different parts of the rooftop, especially the top roof which overlooks the harbour where giant cruise ships, one of them ten stories high the day we were there, deposit the island's tourists for the day. Part of the access to the the rooftop is unfinished as she is awaiting more of those shell-powdered bricks so she can add a couple more rooms to her hotel, perhaps, as she says, in five years' time.
Sure, the rooms and the bathroom can be small but attention to detail and the constant reminder of living in a building that was built 700 years ago when threat of invasion was a constant possibility are humbling. Life was harder back then, but Nina's big heart makes the small spaces all the larger. I would go back to her hotel in a heartbeat and weep as I left, as I did yesterday, because of the life she gave it. Sure there were faceless, spiritless, modern hotels everywhere on the beach but really, isn't that just like home where ugly is excused for convenience? No, we weren't on the beach, but we were in the midst of a heart that had been beating for over 18 hundred years if you go back to the evidence in her hotel left from the great earthquake of 237AD. With historic resonance like that, who would want to live next to a beach? Like everything truly beautiful, there have to be paradoxes and the Camelot Classic Hotel is just that, proving that size is the least important when it comes to space. No we were in the heart of the best preserved walled cities in the world.
Go say "Hi" to Nina for me: you won't regret staying at her hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ideally situated, right inside the Medieval Town in Rhodes, very close to the commercial Harbour, Camelot Hotel is a traditional and classic hotel which besides its unique architectural design and location, is offering a variety of services making your accomodation unforgetable. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Camelot Hotel Hotel Rhodes Town
- Camelot Hotel Rhodes Town
- Camelot Hotel Rhodes/Rhodes Town