“Style with a big smile at this chic and superbly serviced, family-minded hotel on the beach, 15 minutes from Chania”
But the real secret of this hotel lies in the details: bouquets of wild flowers in every room, fragrant Apivita toiletries, multilingual and attentive jean-clad 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; plus self-catering kitchenettes (a great addition for budget-conscious families)
- 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
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- 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, turn down service 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
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
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’ buffet breakfast - a (highly recommended) optional extra - translates as a groaning table stacked with standards like cereal and toast and a bottomless pit of filter coffee, next to plateloads of Cretan specialities like melomakarona (spiced honey biscuits) and small pies called kalitsounia, made with soft mithizra goats cheese and crispy filo pastry. It's typical of Nikos' generosity that a few platters of surplus pies and biscuits are left out all day for grazing.
Dinner is 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 food cooked to perfection with local ingredients and fresh herbs (and with foreign guests in mind, so never too oily). Roast lamb with fennel, artichoke hearts with broad beans, grilled snapper with soft-as-butter potatoes - we loved it all, and ended up staying in almost every night (handy for all the kids, too, who played amongst themselves while we looked on from the terrace). The menu is reassuringly small, but there was always at least one vegetarian option. if you get the chance, try the marathopites - crispy pancake brittles made with fennel, ideally smothered in tzatziki - and papoutsakia, a rich dish of aubergines stuffed with caramelised onions and mince in a moist béchamel sauce. Open from early morning till very late, it's just what hotel restaurant should be (though understandably a little pricier than local tavernas); and handy for night-time arrivals, or guests adjusting to the time zone.
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, but the road is busy so it’s best to walk along the beach and then pop up onto the main road when you reach the harbour.
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 you could 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
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- 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. 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
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Occasional play- or dancing sessions for kids, supervised by a qualified, locally resident French lady, in the downstairs playroom
Self catering and children's meals are available. There is also a bottle steriliser, blender and microwave for guest's use.
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
- Playroom with toys
Kids Activities nearby:
- Children will love the boat cruises, beaches and natural diversions nearby
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