But the real secret of this hotel lies in the details: kitchenettes in every room (great for budget-conscious families), fragrant Apivita toiletries, multilingual and attentive staff, and the thoughtfulness of Nikos, who is everywhere at once. More than ‘just another beach hotel’, Ammos is one of those rare places where the personal touch has been wrought to a fine art.
- Superb yet unobtrusive service: with his quick thinking and impressive array of contacts, Nikos can arrange anything in 5 minutes flat
- Large and luxurious bathrooms - obviously designed by someone who has spent time in hotels, and particularly rare in Greece
- Truly delicious food served throughout the day
- The beach is sandy, shallow (i.e. relatively warm in the early season) and sheltered (great for kids)
- With Chania on your doorstep, it's ideal for those who want to combine a peaceful beach retreat with sallies into town for nightlife, shopping and museums
- Often full in July and August - book early!
- The area around the hotel is suburban and rather charmless - not the sort of place for strolling around (though you can walk along the sandy beachfront)
- The beach can get crowded in summer, but Ammos has plenty of loungers and parasols, so you don't need to stress
- Not the easiest to find - make sure you do like we didn’t, and print out detailed directions (attached to every i-escape booking confirmation)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 33 rooms
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
Spread across a cluster of low-lying, Cycladic-style cubic buildings are 33 surprisingly roomy and well-conceived studios and suites. Equipped with cushy sofas, chilled lighting and ample cupboard space, and dolled up with quirky ceramic artwork, curly-whirly Marimekko fabrics and other beautiful designer bling, they are a positive delight to be in, especially compared to Crete's many identikit concrete boxes.
All have a kitchenette fitted with sleek corian worktops - ideal for rustling up simple snacks - and a furnished balcony or terrace with a choice of views.
In the ensuite bathrooms, Bisazza mosaic tiles add a sumptuous touch of colour, while walk-in showers, sunflower-sized heads, chunky squeak-free toilet seats, daily-laundered fluffy towels and a sweet-smelling selection of trendy Apivita toiletries add plenty of pamper factor.
Sea-View Studios are best for stunning sunsets from the balcony, looking over the pristine pool and sea to the rocky island opposite. These come with 2 adjacent single beds (or 1 queensize), plus an additional built-in sofa bed, suitable for a couple with child or 2 friends travelling together. Loved-up couples will prefer the Deluxe Sea-View Studios, with their queensize beds, sea view balconies and cuddly peignoirs.
Garden-View Studios have the same layout and bed types as the Sea-View studios, but give onto a tree-shaded garden full of twittering birds. On our most recent stay, we (plus in-laws) were very happy in our 3 adjacent GVS, numbers 35-37, tucked to one side with sea-facing balconies (an unexpected bonus), though one night there was a bit of late-evening noise from the hotel's restaurant.
The larger Garden-View Suites can accommodate a family of 4, with a queensized bedroom and a living-dining room whose 2 sofas can be used as children's beds.
- Air conditioning
- Extra beds
- Family friendly
- Internet access
- Safe box
At the heart of the hotel is a gorgeous dining terrace with panoramic sea views, glassed-in against the summer winds. This is the perfect spot to start your day. Ammos’ a la carte breakfast - a (highly recommended) optional extra - menu includes standards like cereal and toast and a bottomless pit of filter coffee to Cretan specialities such as rizogalo (creamy rice pudding with cinnamon) and small pies called kalitsounia, made with soft mithizra goats cheese and crispy filo pastry. The pastry chef arrives at 5am daily to create sweet and savoury sourdough breads, Greek koulouri, pain aux raisin, the best croissants and more.
Other meals are served in the airy breakfast lounge or out on the vine shaded terrace - a privileged beachfront position and much calmer than Chania harbour. The restaurant serves delicious homemade Greek fare all day cooked to perfection with local ingredients and fresh herbs. Kouneli stifado (rabbit and onion stew), keftedakia (moreish Greek meatballs), pita gyros seasoned with tzatziki served with hand-cut fried potatoes, chicken souvlaki with grilled veggies - we loved it all, and ended up staying in almost every night (handy for the kids too, who played amongst themselves while we looked on from the terrace). The all-day menu has at least one vegetarian option. Try the char-grilled smokey eggplant dip - and black-eyed bean salad with beetroot and pistachios. Open from early morning till very late, it's just what a hotel restaurant should be.
Alternative dining choices - including Nesaki, a cheap and cheerful pizza parlour, and Eden, a jazz bar serving veggie and organic snacks - can be found just down the road in Kalamaki. If you’re seeking more variety, ask Nikos to book you a taxi into Chania’s old town. Here you’ll find atmospheric tavernas like Tamam, housed in an old Ottoman bathhouse and along the narrow Zambeliou alley outside; Semiramis, serving a sumptuous range of Cretan specialities; or Monastiri, which is probably the best of the many waterfront eateries.
Alternatively, rustle up something basic like a feta cheese omelette or a mushroom risotto on the kitchenette's 2-ring stove and just chill out with a glass of local Minos wine on the balcony or terrace of your room. There's also a fridge and kettle, and staff will even wash up your dishes next day if you smile nicely.
- Children's meals
- Family friendly
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian options
- Splash about in the pool or the sandy shallows of the bay right in front of the hotel; there are sunbeds, parasols and tamarind trees for shade
- Pop into the bustling harbour town of Chania, about 15 minutes away by car, taxi or local bus: its lovely little archaeological museum has finds from Minoan, Roman and Hellenistic times, while the maritime museum offers naval history exhibits and model ships side by side with a medley of objects dredged up from the sea
- Enjoy live Cretan folk music over dinner at many of the tavernas; or browse through the souvenir shops - leather goods, jewellery, penknives
- Visit the Byzantine monasteries of Giagarolou (also called Ayia Triada; beautiful Italianate architecture) and Gouvernetou, both of them about 30 minutes' drive away near the airport; from Gouvernetou, a path leads down past the Katholikon cliff church to the rocky shore - a perfect spot for secluded bathing
- Take a day trip to Knossos (about 2 hours' drive each way), seat of the Minoan palace culture and legendary home of the labyrinth and Minotaur; stop off for a bite in one of Heraklion's excellent restaurants, and a tour of its imposing Venetian sea walls
- Explore the foothills of the White Mountains by car or mountain bike (available for hire April - Oct): Theriso gorge, Meskla valley and Lakki village are highlights
- Trek through the world-famous Samaria gorge (along with the crowds; open May-Oct) or the Ayia Irini gorge (fewer crowds; open all year); both are a full day’s hike, catching a boat and/or a bus back
- Climb a 2000m peak like Gingilos, reached in a day circuit from Omalos
- Go scuba-diving near Chania, or take a ride in a glass-bottomed boat
- Book a day cruise to the islands of Ayi Theodorii, one of which is a refuge for kri-kri
- For truly idyllic beaches, drive 2 hours southwest to Elafonisi (try and get there before the afternoon crowds), or 1 hour west to Falassarna and Balos (the latter requires a short hike, or a boat from Kastelli); or ask Nikos about his secret beach!
- Go for a horse ride at Zefiros riding club, 20 mins from Chania at Akrotiri
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Horse riding
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Scuba diving
- Shopping / markets
Ammos is great for children and is particularly suitable for babies and toddlers, with a sandy beach, shallow waters and a kids' pool (heated in the cooler months). There's a supervised playroom too for pre-schoolers. The staff are extremely kid-friendly (many have young 'uns themselves) and Nikos keeps an eye out for teenagers to make sure they don't disturb other clients. It's a pushchair-friendly property.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
Garden-View Suites sleep a family of 4; Sea-View and Garden-View Studios have twin/queen beds and a small sofa bed, so suit couples with 1 child.
English-speaking babysitting available at an extra cost. (see Rates)
- High chair
- Baby bedding
- Pram/pushchair to borrow
- Baby bath
- Baby monitor
- Bottle steriliser
- Moulinex-type blender
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Complimentary child-minding four hours a day Monday-Friday (two in the morning and two in the afternoon) in the downstairs playroom - aimed at pre-schoolers. There is only one nanny present so note that parents are often requested to stay to assist
Self catering and children's meals are available. The kids menu includes lunch boxes, mac n' cheese, chicken schnitzel, mini margarita pizzas, meatballs, chicken souvlaki, fish sticks and spaghetti bolognese.
Kids Activities on site:
- Downstairs kids' room with plastic climbing frame, slide and Wendy House, plus tables for drawing
- DVD library, free of charge
- Separate children's pool (heated in shoulder seasons)
- Playroom with toys
Kids Activities nearby:
- Boat cruises
Families Should Know:
The biggest onsite hazard is the pool, though the kids' section is walled off from the main pool. The closest shop for nappies etc is 250m away. There is a mobile phone signal everywhere
- Airport: 30 minutes
- Hospital: 20 minutes
- Nearest shop: 10 minutes
For more family-friendly places, see our Kids Collection
Ammos Hotel is 5km west of the harbour town of Chania (also spelled Hania) on the north coast of Crete.
From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Chania and Heraklion from London and many European cities.
For a really romantic approach - fly into Athens and then take the overnight ferry from Piraeus into Rethymnon or Chania-Souda. There are also occasional sailings from Gythion (Peloponnese) to Kastelli, also called Kissamos.
From the Airport/Port
The hotel can organise a taxi transfer from Chania airport See Rates, 15km away. There is also a regular bus service between Panormos, Chania and Heraklion.
Crete is a big island so if you want to explore then see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Greece and getting around
- Chania 15.0 km CHQ
- Heraklion 110.0 km HER
- Beach 0.0 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km