Cabanon Concrete Retreat

Crete, Greece Book from Book from £98 per night

A pair of striking concrete cabins set on a hillside with unbeatable views of Crete's northern coast – ideal for couples seeking elegant simplicity
They say Crete is a work of art come to life. The impressionistic landscapes, classical treasures and surrealistic coastlines all combine to paint a picture of spellbinding beauty. It might just be the reason why creative couple Antonis (a Greek artist) and Sofia (a Swedish art curator) built a pair of striking concrete cabins on a hillside surrounded by olive groves.

“The villagers were baffled at first,” says Antonis, whose family have owned the land where Cabanon sits for centuries, “but this is Crete from a new angle.” And what an angle. With a nod to Le Corbusier’s famous home, Cabanon consists of two concrete 1-bedroom cabins with brutalist exteriors that open to soothing, minimalist, open-plan interiors. Each has a compact kitchen, living area, fire stove, bathroom and private terrace. Centre stage is the showstopping floor-to-ceiling window (also your front door) which provides astonishing views of Crete’s northwest coastline.

Surrounded by countryside yet close to the beaches, Cabanon is still a work in progress. More cabins are planned, and possibly a pool. Still, you’ll want for nothing. A fully-stocked fridge of local produce awaits on arrival. There’s a ‘help yourself’ organic vegetable garden, plus picnic tables and private hammocks. The WiFi is patchy, but who cares? You’re connected to nature, and the stargazing is out this world. If you’re looking for something a little less ordinary, Cabanon is unlike anything else you’ll find on Crete.

Highs

  • Originality. This is one-of-a-kind accommodation for Crete (and Greece)
  • Bewitching views. Your eye never leaves that huge floor-to-ceiling window
  • Super-helpful owners Sofia and Antonis will show you all the secret beaches, authentic tavernas and best craft shops
  • A fully-stocked fridge of local produce on arrival, plus a ‘help yourself’ organic vegetable garden
  • Elegant simplicity. Cabanon is all about unplugging devices and reconnecting with nature and the universe (the stargazing is mesmeric)

Lows

  • The two cabins are quite close together, slightly compromising your privacy. (This is being rectified with the planting of divider trees)
  • Patchy WiFi at best. Sofia and Antonis are toying with making Cabanon 100% offline, which we applaud
  • Taller guests will find the compact bathroom a challenge
  • No swimming pool, though a pool is being conceptualised for the near future
  • No kids under 12. To be honest, this is a couples’ retreat

Best time to go

Crete is stunning no matter the time of year, but to experience the island in all its glory visit in the shoulder seasons of April-May, when the land is in full bloom, or late September-October, when the summer hordes have vanished and the sea is still gloriously warm.

Our top tips

Order a cocktail and watch the best sunset in Crete at the cliffside Orange Blue Bar on Falasarna beach. The sun sinks directly into the Mediterranean Sea, causing you and everyone else to gasp in awe.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Boutique Cabins
  • 2
  • Self-catering
  • Only children aged 12 and over are accepted
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • English-speaking caretaker
Room:

Rooms

The two concrete cabins are inspired by Le Corbusier’s famous French Riviera house, Le Cabanon – the only home the architect actually lived in – which explains the striking brutalist concrete exterior greeting you on approach.

Inside, however, is a meticulously compact all-in-one living space featuring achingly minimal clean lines and sharp edges. The compact kitchen and spartan living area lead up a few steps to a low-lying white queensize bed perfectly positioned to maximise the views from the epic floor-to-ceiling window entrance.

At the rear, two small compartment rooms house a bijou bathroom with shower, and a small storage area to hang your clothes.

It’s all about simplicity, which means the barest furniture – minuscule bedside tables, a single armchair, a sliver of a sofa – interacting with the tactile concrete walls and the Nordic-inspired wooden features.

The purpose, of course, is to offer a sense of pared-down living while enthralling you with the views – especially the tableau of stars you'll see from your pillow at night.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Oven
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Your fridge will be stocked with fresh seasonal produce before you arrive, which means you have everything for a hearty breakfast or brunch. Produce includes a loaf from the village bakery, plenty of eggs and butter, a large wedge of Cretan cheese, seasonal fruits and vegetables, plus olives and oil harvested from the very olive groves surrounding your cabin.

The compact but equipped kitchen has everything you need to whip up meals, and you can dine on the terrace or a private picnic table just behind the cabin.

Upon request, Sofia and Antonis offer a selection of extended food packages that include Greek yoghurt, muesli, traditional marmalade, homemade Cretan cheese pies, local honey, smoked pork, fresh pizza dough, delicious mizithra or other seasonal cheeses, plus additional eggs.

Near the cabin you’ll find a small but hearty organic vegetable garden where you can help yourself to tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce or zucchinis (be sure to close the gate to prevent opportunistic sheep getting in!)

You will also find a selection of Cretan wines in your cabin, from two local wineries with international recognition, Dourakis and Manousakis. These are handpicked by a certified sommelier.

If dining out, the interior road connecting the northwest coast has a string of affordable tavernas. Nearby Akrogiali is a popular seafood restaurant right on the beach. It has outside dining, attractive prices, and is close to Cabanon. Manousakis winery also has a good restaurant, as well as wine tastings and tours.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Fully-stocked fridge on arrival
Eating:
Activity: Elafonisi beach

Activities

  • Turn off your phone and drink in the views from your private terrace. At night, switch off the cabin lights and watch the Milky Way rise up over the Cretan mountains.
  • Visit nearby Nopigia beach (sandy) or the hidden Choni beach (rocky) where the waters are diamond-clear – you’ll likely have Choni all to yourself save for the odd goat.
  • Take a day trip to gorgeous Balos lagoon on the Gramvousa peninsula (30 minutes’ drive plus a short hike, or by day cruise from Kissamos), which is famed for its Caribbean-blue waters.
  • Explore two more of Crete’s best beaches: Elafonisi (40 minutes’ drive) where the sands are coloured pink by millions of crushed shells; and Falassarna (also 40 minutes) which is actually several beaches interconnected by strips of sand.
  • Take a hike through Samaria Gorge, the longest in Europe.
  • Visit the picturesque Venetian harbour of Chania, popping into the archaeological museum and exploring the labyrinth of bars, craft stores and cafes.
  • Visit the ancient city of Rokka, in a lovely small village. If you visit during August's full moon, experience Giortes Rokka, a cultural festival that takes place during the moonrise.

Kids

While Cabanon Concrete Retreat welcomes teenagers, this is essentially a couples' private retreat.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Each cabin has a sofabed suitable for a young teen. Cabins can be booked together for families.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Cabanon Concrete Retreat is located near Kissamos town in northwest Crete, about 50kms west of Chania Town and 5kms inland from Nopigia beach.

By Air
From April to October, there are charter flights from various airports to Heraklion (175km) and Chania (55km). There are also year-round scheduled flights via Athens.

From the Airport
Hiring a car is essential for getting to Cabanon Concrete Retreat (see below), and the best way to explore the beaches and towns of northern Crete.

By Boat
You can fly into Athens (as above) and take an overnight ferry from Piraeus into Heraklion or Chania (daily or near-daily departures).

By Car
You will want to hire a car on Crete, as it is a large island and Cabanon is quite isolated (but has free private parking). See our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you once you book through i-escape.

More on getting to Greece and getting around

Airports:

  • Chania International Airport 55.0 km CHQ
  • Heraklion International Airport 175.0 km HER

Other:

  • Beach 5.0 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 2.0 km

Rates for Cabanon Concrete Retreat

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