Xinara House, a quirky, colourful and stylish luxury villa to rent on the lesser-known Greek island of Tinos, opens next month for the 2023 season with a new swimming pool set into the rocks overlooking the Tinos countryside. The owners have also introduced a number of luxury refinements for their guests.
The 5.5 x 8.5m pool is filled from the house’s freshwater mountain spring and opens onto a tree-shaded terrace with loungers, table and chairs, a fridge and music system. The pool is lined with smooth ground-marble cement and there is a shallow area with internal steps for children.
A former Bishop’s house which sleeps up to 13, Xinara House was restored by English designers Peter and Susan Marston with quirky decorative pieces, colourful flashes and contemporary art six years ago. Since then, the gardens have matured and there’s now a cutting garden filled with Greek flowers, used to decorate the rooms and a larger vegetable garden for guests to help themselves to produce. Chickens have been introduced to provide fresh eggs for breakfast.
Peter and Susan have developed their own toiletries, made with the natural local ingredients – honey, rosemary and sage and they have introduced new super-luxurious mattresses and pillows made from natural materials by the innovative Greek company Coco-Mat.
The house has five double rooms all individually decorated with a mix of contemporary furniture and characterful flea market finds. A large studio is located in the next-door ex-blacksmiths with its own small kitchen with lime green painted woodwork and bedroom. Outside there is a large terrace surrounded by walnut, almond and lemon trees with seating, shaded dining table for ten, a hammock and a wood-fired oven.
As collectors of arts and crafts, Peter and Susan are constantly adding contemporary pieces and Greek traditional artefacts creating a quirky and stylish interior, whilst keeping a sense of history. Their most recent find is a painted Greek folk art chest from northern Greece.
Tinos is famous for its marble and the town of Pyrgos in the north of the island has a long legacy in marble craftsmanship. Local craftsman Markos Trigwnis has created a coiled rope sculpture for the garden of Xinara House from two marble boulders from the island. There is also a balancing stone sculpture using naturally worn Tinos stones made by Peter, who trained at St Martin’s Sculpture School.
Spring is one of the best times to visit island as the restaurants re-open, the sea warms up and the weather is perfect for hiking through the meadows of wildflowers.
Only a 30-minute ferry ride from Mykonos, Tinos has mostly escaped mass tourism and couldn’t be more different from its neighbour. There are 12 well preserved hiking routes that connect more than 50 villages. The ancient walking paths take hikers through meadows blanketed in an eclectic variety of wildflowers including wild orchids and past Medieval dovecotes, where local people bred pigeons for meat and fertiliser and blue and white villages considered to be the model of Cycladic architecture.
Tinos has good wine with a couple of rare ancient varieties of grape that survived the arrival of phylloxera. Guests can enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine from Tinos’s award-winning vineyard Volacus Wines.
Xinara House is in the centre of a traditional island village beneath the rocky Exomvourga Mountain, a ten-minute drive from both the beach and Tinos Port with its market, shops and restaurants.
Prices start from £780 per week in The Blacksmiths sleeping 2 to 3 or £3,450 per week for the main house sleeping 8 to 10. Breakfast is included and local cooks can provide evening meals.