In need of blissful indulgence? This foodie hotel in Venetian Rethymno on Crete’s north coast has all the ingredients you’ll need: sumptuous suites, creative Cretan cuisine and a romantic rooftop Jacuzzi.
Our favourite time for a romantic escape is the shoulder season (May-June or September-October) when you can escape the crazy crowds but still enjoy sunshine and warm seas.
Rooms: The suites are housed in a trio of 16th-century buildings, in which traditional beamed ceilings and stone walls sit alongside flamboyant chandeliers and high-back suede chairs. Junior Suites have open-plan layouts and in-room Jacuzzis with indulgent oils and creams, while the less ornate (but no less lovely) Executive Suites are furnished with leather sofas and calming whitewashed walls. The candy-themed Standard and Superior Doubles are much simpler (and brighter!) and therefore more affordable.
Food: This is what it’s all about! The beautiful garden restaurant is a wonderfully romantic setting for your meals. We love the local proverb, ‘Shame on he who gets up and does not immediately fill his belly’, and who wouldn’t want to fill up on the homemade bread, jams and cakes, freshly made rice pudding and traditional Cretan omelettes filled with smoked pork and baby zucchini? Come dinner time, the innovative Cretan menu delighted us: skewered shrimps with avocado, lime and parsley then rabbit and spring onion pie.
Top tip: Don’t expect too much from Rethymno’s beach; Crete’s north-coast beaches are generally commercial and overcrowded. Instead, hire a car and head for the blissful, wild, naturist-friendly south coast.
Customer review:“We were upgraded the second night, so we saw the standard room and the suites. It is well worth while to book a suite if you can. The jacuzzi on the roof is heavenly. The manager was charming and the breakfast incredible. The restaurant is lovely – we also liked the bar/cafe round the corner, also owned by Avli. Rethymno is fun and very pretty. Prima Plora was a good fish restaurant at the end of the marina (follow the shore west from the fortress and old city).” Natalie, United Kingdom (18.08.14)