NEW YORK – British author Patrick Leigh Fermor was once described him as “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond, and Graham Greene” by a BBC journalist for his lifetime of adventures and travel writing. His great love of Greece began early in life and continued until his death in 2011.
Leigh Fermor is perhaps best known for his World War II exploits in Crete, including participating in the kidnapping of a German general. He wrote about the capture in Ill Met by Moonlight: The Abduction of General Kreipe which was also adapted into a 1957 film with the same title, starring Dirk Bogarde.
Leigh Fermor and his wife Joan, a well-known photographer in her own right, so loved Greece, they moved to a beautiful estate, designed and built by Patrick, in Kardamyli in the Mani region and lived there part of every year. The estate became a gathering place for their friends, celebrated artists and writers, including Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon, Lawrence Durrell, Stephen Spender, Giorgos Seferis, and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas among them, for decades, and eventually the couple bequeathed the house to the Benaki Museum which maintains and operates the home today.
Though closed since Patrick’s death (Joan passed away in 2003), their home opened this month as a creative writer’s retreat and in the summer months, June through August, the whole property can be booked through Aria Hotels, Town & Country magazine reported.
According to the Aria Hotels website, “In 1996, Sir Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor bequeathed their home to the Benaki Museum with the express wish that the house would host intellectuals and scholars who wanted to work or study in an inspiring setting.
“The Leigh Fermors also granted the museum the right to rent the property for a period of three months per year. Under the alliance the museum will ensure the preservation of the house and its contents, and enable members of the public to have access to the property, while hospitality services will be provided by Aria Hotels, that specializes in the provision of authentic retreats in restored, historic Greek properties.
“The Patrick & Joan Leigh Fermor House is considered one of the most beautiful properties in Greece. Within a Mediterranean garden of cypress trees, olive trees, fragrant shrubs, white oleanders, and wild flowers rolling down to the sea, stand three stone buildings: the Main House with three suites, the writer’s studio right next to it, which is formed into the Traditional House, as well as the Guest House, adjacent to the Main House.
“This historical house can be rented as a whole villa, the Main House, Traditional House and Guest House, to accommodate parties of up to ten people, or as individual self-contained suites, the Traditional House & Guest House, each sleeping up to two people. The property also features a Sharing Pool, Private Beach & Parking Area, that all Guests have access to.”
More information is available online: https://www.ariahotels.gr/en/patrick-leigh-fermor.