Sometimes, the best places to stay in are not in the middle of a bustling city. In my travels, I have encountered a lot of places down by the countryside that provided a 5-star experience. Aside from the less hurried ambience, it is usually in these places where you find the best kind of service. That is exactly what I found when I visited Ananti City Resort in Trikala. It’s the perfect place to step away from the hustle and bustle of the city and revitalize your senses.
Ananti is a 5-star hotel perched on top of a hill which offers great views of the city’s heart. There you’re presented with an unobstructed view of the scenery from any angle. The hotel has 4 suite rooms and 15 basic rooms, all of which have balconies. One thing you will notice is the nice touch of premium bedding in every room, free WiFi throughout the hotel, and various amenities such as bathrobes and slippers. The place is beautiful in itself, and I heard one of the guests saying it looked like Las Vegas at night! I tried to capture it, but sadly, the camera didn’t do it justice.
Ananti runs a smooth ship, largely owing to the fact that it is a family-owned establishment. Upon checking in, I met Oriani, the hotel owner. She welcomed me warmly, heightening the sense of this hotel being a home away from home.
How to get there
This hotel is found just 15 kilometers away from the beautiful rock formations of Meteora. It’s a 30-minute ride by bus, but you can also take a private car. From Kalampaka, it’s 45 minutes off and costs 2.60 EUR if you choose to travel by bus like we did.
Facilities and amenities
Aside from their satisfying full-service spa, Ananti is known around for its amazing bar and restaurant. You can get a taste of their specialties, as there is also a free buffet breakfast!
Ananti has a couple of outdoor pools and an indoor pool if you wish to take a dip. For refreshments, there is a poolside bar so you can enjoy your lazy afternoons off.
There is also a fitness center for those who wish to slip some exercise in, and they have a very comfy lounging area for those who wish to sit around indoors.
Upon arrival to the hotel, we were greeted by Harris at the reception. He was very friendly and very accommodating! He helped us with everything we need with a smile on his face. It’s a pleasant encounter especially if you had a long trip and did activities prior to getting there.
The room itself was spacious and luxurious. My friend and I shared a suite room. The best thing about our room is the astonishing view, which gets even better at night. All the basic needs can be found in the room such as bathrobes, slippers, great Hammam toiletries, and some snacks courtesy of the minibar. This means no running to a nearby convenience store to get shampoo, and no packing of bulky toiletries! I’m sure all the stuff (i.e. toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner) could also be brought home. You can have breakfast in bed and enjoy their room service as well.
Splurging in OTRE
If there’s one thing we make sure never to forget to check out in hotels, it’s the food! I was ecstatic that the bar and restaurant OTRE is just next door. Very soon, it became my favorite part about our stay in Ananti. The menu offered a well-thought-out array of offerings, and the flavors were well-blended.
The first meal was cuttle fish risotto — this became my favorite! If you decide to stay here, don’t leave the place without indulging in this sumptuous meal. It just melts in your mouth, a definite must-try! We aso had Feta Saganaki, which is perfect for cheese-lovers (like me). It was super cheesy, and served with home-made marmalade! The pairing may sound awkward, but it just fits perfectly.
We also had salmon with beetroot, which I’m not really a fan of. It felt like raw salmon was slathered in beet dressing. A much better part of the meal was rib-eye with truffle, which is another must-try. This is second-best to the cuttle fish risotto!
Other stuff we ordered were green salad, banoffee pie, some appetizers, and a local red wine. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars for the food and overall experience. The amazing ambiance and view adds immensely to our dining pleasure.
Lounging out at the Spa
After 3 days of hiking, scrambling and walking around in Meteora, we needed a moment to just lay down, relax, and be pampered—a definite call to go for a spa! And Ananti was there to respond.
We had a massage from a lovely girl who had such light and gentle hands. She may have limited English, but she tried to explain everything and attended to my questions as best she could.
She did a reiki healing massage for me, which was an effective massage for relaxation. Reiki is an art that channels energy chakras into the patient. I loved it! I was thinking why there was not much pressure but everything felt just as good, if not better. After a long day, it was exactly what I needed.
We also had a Turkish bath/hammam, sauna, and a dip in the pool! I just kinda lingered there and chilled for who knows how long. Not only that, we also got our nails done! After 2 months of going around Europe and the Balkans, I thought I needed to feel like a girl again — to paint my nails with pretty shades and just feel pampered. I thought it was a good reward for myself.
For those wondering, Ananti also has facials, body scrubs, and other body treatments. It’s a one-stop place for all our rejuvenating needs.
Taking in the sights
If your trip to Greece brings you along Thessala, make sure to stop by its northwestern part and visit Trikala where Ananti is located. While there, you should pay a visit to the old town. It consists of two districts, Manavika and Varosi. The latter has been well-preserved, with quite a number of old buildings built from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Varosi also has a lot of old churches. It was once considered the noble district, and has been the center of Christianity for Trikala during the Turkish rule.
Manavika, on the other hand, has uniform architecture. It boasts of some of the best bars, coffee shops, and restaurants in town, so make sure to check it out!
The old city also houses a number of cute restaurants! We stopped by Love Shake and the drinks were nothing but lovely. The décor of the resto was rustic yet fancy. The atmosphere was very cool, with birdhouse lamps all over, I thought it was hipster-ish in a way but still serves a nice touch.
Do check out the museum with the old bath they dug up from the ancient times. The bath came from the Ottoman era of the 16th century, and this is the same spot where the old prison of Trikala was built! The building that houses the museum in fact came directly from this prison.
You can also visit the mosque which says a lot about the history and culture of Trikala. The building also came from the 16th century, and was founded by one of the Ottoman sultan’s daughters named Osman Shah. Hence, the mosque was named in her honor. The mosque was built by Mimar Sinan, a renowned architect of his time. Today, the mosque is his only surviving building.
Make sure to roam the streets of the city and observe your surroundings — the old town is really cool and speaks a lot about its past, from the architecture to the people.
The town felt like an old Greek area, and it’s a good stop for those who want to taste and experience a part of a history of Greece. Albeit 15km far from Meteora, it’s really worth the visit — especially to stay at Ananti during this leg of your trip.
If you’re looking for a more quiet and laid back kind of trip, you can stay here in Ananti and base here when you plan to visit Meteora. This is a much larger town than Meteora, with a much better light display at night, too!
And of course, there’s the food and spa, easily the best parts of our stay. Everything was worthwhile, from the smooth and accommodating staff to the excellent facilities and amenities offered. Plus, the owners were very lovely as they attended to all my concerns and needs. On the side, I learned a good deal from them about Greek tradition and culture.
I arrived in Ananti with a smile and left with an even brighter one. It was definitely a memorable stay that made my trip much more comfortable.