Where to stay in Crete
What's so special
Widely considered one of the finest hotels in Greece, the Elounda Mare resort was the first Greek property to become a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux chain. Forget about the state of the Greek economy and instead enjoy the fine things it used to be known for – great food and first-rate hospitality.
How they rate it
This resort is more “rustic chic... than cutting edge”, says Marc Dubin in The Daily Telegraph. There are three types of accommodation: “homely bungalows with fireplaces, wood floors, and private pools”; larger versions of the bungalows, called ‘Minoan Suites’; and standard rooms and suites in the main building. The layout guarantees privacy for most units, “even when the place is full”, while its relatively small size means the service is “personable and willing”.
The three restaurants on site offer formal and beachside dining, but are pricey. Luckily, staff are “admirably forthcoming about recommendations to eat in Elounda village or nearby Agios Nikolaos”.
Prices start from €248 for a standard double room. For more information, visit www.eloundamare.com, or call 00 30 28410 68012.
What's so special
This lovely resort is in fact a Cretan village that has been taken over and turned into a highly unusual hotel. Kapsaliana has just been highlighted as one of The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s top 50 hotels for under £100: despite the luxury of its rooms and the historic location, this hotel is surprisingly cheap.
How they rate it
“Why settle for a hotel when you can have a whole village?” asks Sunday Times Travel. “At Kapsaliana, you get the best of both: instead of rooms, little nougat-coloured houses; in place of hotel pomp, a laissez-faire feel.” The accommodation consists mostly of restored historic houses with original features, such as wood beams and stone walls, all with a sense of luxury injected to finish it off.
But the real joy? “You don’t have to trawl far to tick the culture box.” Among other artefacts on display within the hotel, there’s an 18th-century olive press (the resort is surrounded by the largest olive grove in Crete) and a “mini-museum showcasing pitharia” (clay storage vessels).
The hotel restaurant serves “seductively simple dishes”, such as chicken souvlaki with pitta, yoghurt sauce and vegetables.
A double room starts from £99, bed and breakfast. Find out more at www.kapsalianavillage.gr, or call 00 30 28310 83400.
What the travel writers are saying
Combine your summer holiday with the chance to sample some fine local tipples at these ‘wine hotels’, rounded up by Laura Holt in The Independent.
L’And in Evora, Portugal, opened last year. While enjoying chic accommodation with “rolling views of the Alentejo hills”, guests can “create their own blend at the winery – complete with personalised labels – or indulge in tutored tasting sessions of L’And’s 2009 Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Alicante Bouschet”. There are also ‘vinotherapy’ treatments in the spa. Suites from €170 with breakfast (L-andvineyards.com).
Conti di San Bonifacio’s vineyard in Grosseto, Italy, has been producing five varieties of wine since 2004. “At its heart is a farmhouse that has five refined guestrooms with creamy hues, distressed furniture and terracottafloors.” You can relax by the pool with an aperitivo, take a cookery course or explore Grosseto. Doubles from €250, including breakfast (Disanbonifacio.com).
Les Sources de Caudalie (pictured) in Bordeaux, France, “boasts a series of traditional rooms on the Château Smith Haut Lafitte wine estate”. For a special trip book into the “l’Ile aux Oiseaux suite – designed by Belgian fashion house Maison Martin Margiela – which stands above a lake with an all-white interior and vineyard views”. There are two restaurants onsite and a cellar “stocked with 16,000 bottles”. Doubles start from €200, room only (Sources-caudalie.com).