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Restored mansions, village houses, sophisticated hotels, and budget accommodations are all options. Reserve early in high season for better-category hotels, especially in Pythagorio on Samos and Molyvos on Lesbos. Off-season you can usually bargain down the official prices and you may be able to avoid paying for a compulsory breakfast. Lodging in general remains less costly here than elsewhere in
Greece. Many hotel rooms are basic, with simple pine furniture and sparse furnishings often created by local craftspeople. Happily, islanders are extremely friendly hosts, and although they may become more standoffish when the multitudes descend in August, they treat you as a guest rather than a billfold. On Lesbos, stay in Mytilini if you like a busy, citylike ambience, on Molyvos for its dramatic medieval beauty, or on Skala Eressou for its laid-back beach style. On Chios avoid staying in the main town unless you're just stopping over briefly, as it lacks in beauty and style, and opt to stay in the picturesque mastic village of Mesta instead. Vathi (Samos town), the main town, is a good central option in Samos, but even more ideal is the atmospheric Pythagorio.