Sami Beach Hotel, Sami, Cephalonia $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Family-run is often a virtually meaningless epithet roughly translatable as "not Marriott," but at this adorable 49-room place on the less touristy part of Kefalonia, near the Drogarati and Melissani Caves (and the ghost village of Dichalia where much of Captain Corelli's Mandolin was shot in 1999), it is apt. You can become acquainted with the brothers Dorizas on their Web site; then, if you stay here, they'll leave a handwritten welcome letter with a bottle of wine in your room. By the time you leave, they'll have become your friends. Simple whitewashed rooms have A/C, satellite TVs mounted on the wall, Greek-key-design bedcovers, and either balconies (get a seaview one if you can) or direct garden access. The grounds are lovingly tended, including the pool, children's area and tennis court; there's also a sand-and-pebble beach. A breakfast buffet is included in the rate, and a pool bar open till midnight serves light meals. But it's not about the facilities so much as the ambiencemasses of repeat guests bear out that the Dorizas family is getting things just right.
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