AMANITA: The Name
Mt. Pelion has been famed since antiquity for its wealth of herbs and mushrooms. Generation after generation of locals have learned to identify the edible ones and to avoid the poisonous species. The mushroom genus "Amanita" (a name derived from the Ancient Greek) is well known, and includes some of the world's tastiest mushrooms but also some of the most poisonous that are to be found in forests. We named our guesthouse 'Amanita' in honour of that amazing instinct that man has to seek out food in the forest; an instinct dating back to prehistory, but also in honour of the great sense of companionship that is kindled between folk as they gather around the table to eat mushrooms and drink local wine from Mt. Pelion.
We first encountered Mt. Pelion, and its beauty, at the age of 25. It wasn't long before we became passionate about the mountain and began visiting regularly for vacation all year round. On one of our visits we stumbled a ruined 19th mansion (consisting of the main house and an outhouse) in verdant Tsagarada in a location with a truly stunning view. As we peeled back the ivy and the brambles that had taken over the building, what we found were amazing stone walls, marble cornerstones and marble doorways. We decided we had to buy it and restore it.
The three-storey mansion with its two-storey outhouse was clearly visible in an old photograph of the Agios Georgios neighbourhood of Tsagarada taken from the hill opposite. That small neighbourhood in the heart of Tsagarada was built by locals who had become rich in Egypt, which explains why most of the mansions are in the neoclassical style.
Talking with one of the old local property owners we found a document dated 1899 drawn up in Alexandria, Egypt, stating that the Greek-Egyptian Georgios Padarikis gave the house as a wedding present to his niece, Victoria Kapetanopoulou and it was from her grand-daughter that we bought the property.
In 2002 we began restoring the old buildings to their original form. Guided by tradition and firmly dedicated to what we were doing, we felt a deep need to use local materials such as chestnut, old stone, and slate roofing tiles, as well as building materials sympathetic to the original structure (cotto tiles, ecological paints). Using the skill of Epirot stonemasons, we rebuilt the house in the traditional style.
We take the view that things are worthless if you can't share them with friends, so from the very outset we designed the property as a small hotel.
We choose a combination of authentic old Greek furniture and modern, minimalist pieces to furnish the place, imbuing it with a sense of comfort and relaxation. The very best products were chosen to fit out the hotel including natural latex mattresses, Guy Laroche bedding, eiderdown quilts, and Baucher crockery.