San Stefano Estate

Benitses, Corfu

location

Our nearest village is Benitses, a fishing village which has also acquired a reputation for the quality of its restaurants. A marina has been built alongside the old harbour, and a walk there from the house (about 20 minutes) brings you down through a maze of narrow streets, all whitewashed, their gardens bright with geraniums.

A beautiful house with stunning views of the Adriatic, if you want a taste of Greek history stay here!

3 kms along the hillside from our house is the Achilleon Palace, built by Elizabeth of Austria in the 19th century. It is set in the picturesque village of Gastouri which is well worth exploring.

At the bottom of our drive is a tunnel under the coast road leading to a very well kept and welcoming beach, with a small snack bar serving excellent food, whose owners really welcome our guests and make them feel at home.

Corfu Town (12 kms away) is full of interest, it looks like Venice without the canals, and is especially enchanting in the evening, when it can be enjoyed without the crowds around. Sip a ginger beer on the Liston, the row of pavement cafes fronting the main square, enjoy an excellent meal in one of the many restaurants or tavernas, or listen to an open air concert in the bandstand, there is always something to do. The twin fortresses can be visited (superb views from the top), and there are several museums and art galleries.

Along the nearby coast there are many small shingle coves which you can have almost to yourselves, even in August. We will also be happy to direct you to sandy beaches and places of beauty and interest all over the island.

We are 25 minutes drive from Corfu Town, 5 minutes drive to Gastouri (or 45 minute walk), 20 minutes drive from the airport, and 30 minutes drive from the ferry port.

From the moment we entered the drive we knew we would be arriving somewhere fabulous. The tranquil atmosphere and splendid views are sublime. The lemon and orange groves are magical.

The front door opens into the grand 'saloni', a wonderful space for parties. It goes the entire width of the house, with doors leading off to the library, dining room, sitting room, shower room, and to the balcony overlooking the sea, with the private chapel in the foreground.

The sitting room has a television, with satellite news and sport channels, and a DVD player with a selection of DVDs. There is also a day bed in this room which can be used for a guest who does not wish to climb stairs.

The formal dining room has antique maps and prints on the walls, and the table comfortably seats 10 people.

The library has a large selection of books (mainly English), including many about Corfu and other parts of Greece. From here a door leads to the downstairs toilet.

The shower room has a built in double shower, great for cooling off after a visit to the beach. This is a very large room and also contains linen cupboards and a washing machine for guests' use.

Leading off both the shower room and the dining room is the kitchen - the centre of the house - containing an informal dining table that seats 8 people. Stable doors lead to the balcony and to the side of the house. A small sofa and comfortable chairs are beside an antique sideboard. The kitchen area contains a wood stove, a gas hob, double electric oven, and an island with an under-counter fridge and freezer. An old cupboard conceals the microwave. There are plenty of gadgets such as a smoker, food mixer, blender, toaster and electric kettle.

The first floor can be reached by either of two flights of staircases. Leading off the landing are three sea view rooms, two mountain view rooms, and two bathrooms.

A corridor lined with family photographs divides sea-view rooms from the bathrooms and mountain-view rooms.

Sea-view: The Venetian Room has windows on two sides, and is furnished with antiques, and decorated in terracotta. It contains a small double bed.

Next to it the Village Room has typical Greek village furniture, and a double bed and a single bed.

The final sea-view room, the Green Room, has two single beds, and again views from two sides.

Mountain-view: The main bathroom contains a roll-top bath, toilet and a modern shower. The copper boiler is purely ornamental these days, and we have utilized washstands to support the basins.

The second bathroom has a shower, basin (again in a washstand), and a toilet. This room has two doors and can be made ?en suite? with the adjacent bedroom that we have named the Thirties Room, as its furniture dates from this period. It has a walnut double bed, and wardrobes to match. This room also has windows on two walls.

The last bedroom is the Victorian Room, containing a single brass bedstead, with dual aspect windows overlooking the garden and drive.

The house has wi-fi access throughout. The bedrooms all have fans with remote controls so you can operate them from your bed.

The swimming pool is set in the orchard, beside it is a barbecue, and there are also secluded areas under the trees where you can relax.

Most rewarding after a day out is sitting quietly with a drink reading on the spectacular balcony, enjoying the view of the church tower with the sea and mainland Greece as a background. So beautiful, we are soon coming back.

As you can see from the photos the house is built on a rock and there are therefore inevitably some long drops. We are also in the country, and as such sometimes find snakes, scorpions and other wildlife in the grounds. Parents of young children must take full responsibility for them when visiting San Stefano.