Cretan Contemporary Villas

near Kissamos, Crete, Greece Book from Book from £219 per night

8 spectacular villas set on a panoramic hilltop above beautiful beaches, plus 3 seafront villas near Kissamos (each sleeps 2-7)
The view here is breathtaking: birds of prey wheel above olive groves and the azure waters of Kissamos Bay, on Crete’s northwest coast. To the left, the rugged Gramvousa peninsula and a track that leads to exotic Balos beach. Otherwise, silence.

High on a hill - and far from the crowds - these 8 self-contained, contemporary villas have 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms apiece and are hewn from the very rock on which they stand. Sleek, open-plan living areas lead out to large terraces that soak up the ocean sunrise, all with infinity pools and alfresco dining areas. There’s a wonderful sense of privacy, though the resourceful and friendly concierge is on hand to dispense local tips, arrange diving and sailing trips, or organise relaxing massages in an on-site treatment room. With full kitchens and plenty of space, there's little reason to ever leave - but when you finally manage to wrest yourself from your lounger, you’ll discover stunning beaches, mountain villages and ancient Venetian towns just a short drive away.

Since our visit, the collection has grown to include a trio of modernist 2- to 3-bedroom villas right on pebbly Kissamos beach, 2km east of the town, near the E65 highway. Here, expect wide sea vistas framed by rugged lilac mountains, with the same gorgeous contemporary style inside: a joy to come home to.

Highs

  • We loved the hilltop villas' peaceful and private setting, with sweeping views from inside and out
  • Every villa has a private pool, except Meltemi (which is correspondingly priced)
  • Flexible accommodation that works for couples, families and groups alike
  • Excellent kitchens for self-catering; if you're feeling lazy, groceries and a visiting chef can be arranged
  • Western Crete has some of the island's best beaches - we love Falasarna and wildly beautiful Balos

Lows

  • 7-night minimum stay in July and August (3 nights at all other times), though no set changeover day
  • The beach by the seafront villas is pebbly, and the sea can be somewhat wavy during northerly winds
  • A car is essential for exploring the region, and there are no restaurants within walking distance if you fancy eating out
  • Only the pools for Villas Plethora and Charisma can be heated, and this involves an additional charge in the case of Charisma
  • We're yet to personally visit the beachfront villas, but their style and setting look no less impressive - we can't wait to drop by

Best time to go

To avoid the crowds, visit in shoulder season (May-June or September-October), when the days are sunny but not too hot (ideal for hiking) and the sea is warm enough for swimming. During high season (July-August), Crete’s beaches and hotspots are teeming, while in low season (November-April) most tourist facilities shut down. The villas are closed from December to March.

Our top tips

Ask the concierge to book you a boat trip departing from nearby Kissamos - or even better, a private yacht! You'll sail to secluded coves with excellent swimming and snorkelling. It's also a great way to reach beautiful Balos beach without having to negotiate a rather bumpy track and lots of steps.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • Boutique Villas
  • 11 villas (sleeping 2-7 each)
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor 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
Room: Villa Symphony

Rooms

The 8 original villas (1-3 bedrooms) can be found nestled in the hillside, with sweeping views across the landscape. Approximately 9km away, the 3 beachfront villas (2-3 bedrooms) occupy a quiet coastal setting, just behind a pebbly beach.

At the centre of the hillside complex lies the largest villa, 3-Bedroom Thalassa (2 doubles and a double/twin, each in a separate annexe). It has a large outdoor space and a generous living area. Most of the hillside 2-bedroom villas share a similar 2-tier layout, with a first-floor master bedroom (some with an ensuite Jacuzzi tub) and a second bedroom (ensuite shower) below, or vice versa. One of Villa Charisma’s bedrooms is in a small annexe; the compact design of Villa Anassa and Villa Oneiro means the smaller of their 2 bedrooms sit behind the kitchens, with no sea view. One-bedroom Villa Abyss is a cute hideaway for couples, its living and sleeping areas in different buildings connected by a stone walkway.

Down on the coast, the 3 villas are house within one building, with internal doors that can interconnect for larger groups. Beachfront Villa Votsalo is the largest space, with 3 ensuite bedrooms, an infinity pool and a stunning outdoor terrace. Two-bedroom Beachfront Villa Ammos is similar. Two-bedroom Beachfront Villa Meltemi is much simpler and built on a semi-basement level. There are no sea views, the living space lacks natural light and there’s no pool. Instead, it works best when booked as an annexe to one of its neighbours.

All villas mix sleek white walls with splashes of colour. The airy, open-plan living rooms have fireplaces, large-screen TVs and well-equipped kitchens fronted by breakfast bars; some are double-height with banks of windows. Bedrooms are kingsize or twin. Most have glass doors leading to sea-view terraces or balconies with infinity pools.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbecue
  • Bathrobes
  • CD player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • DVD player
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

Each villa has a swish modern kitchen with an oven, an electric hob, a fridge-freezer, a microwave, a kettle, a toaster and a dishwasher. Dine around the breakfast bar, or head to the shaded outdoor table, flanked by cushioned seats; there’s also a barbecue. You’ll find a bottle of local wine waiting for you on arrival, along with basics like olive oil, tea, biscuits, herbs and capsules for the Nespresso machine. For an additional cost, you can pre-order a hamper full of organic local produce.

Shops in nearby Kissamos include bakeries, a butcher, a fishmonger and a large supermarket. There’s a strip of bars and tavernas along the sleepy seafront, plus a few cafés in the centre. You’re less a short drive from some of the best restaurants on the island, too – Gramvousa (traditional Cretan) and Mama’s Dinner (modern Greek) are found in the small village of Kaliviani, along the road to Balos beach. Try both!

If you’re celebrating something special, you can ask the concierge to arrange a private chef to come to your villa, or hire out a sea-view event space at the heart of the complex.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
Eating: Villa Charisma
Activity:

Activities

  • Head to the rolling waves and broad, white expanse of Falasarna beach, just 15 minutes' drive away
  • Take a cruise from Kissamos to Gramvousa island and the wildly beautiful Balos Lagoon - or alternatively make the half-hour drive along a track and trek for 30 minutes down steep steps to reach Balos beach
  • Ask the concierge to arrange scuba-diving or snorkelling trips
  • Hike the legendary Samaria Gorge (May-October) in the White Mountains
  • Spend a day in the region’s Venetian capital, Chania (45 minutes away), meandering along cobbled streets lined with boutiques
  • Experience the magical pink sand and turquoise water of famed Elafonissi beach (1 hour and 15 minutes by car). Be warned: it gets very busy in high summer
  • Explore the crumbling Venetian fortifications, Roman aqueducts and Byzantine chapels of hilltop Polyrinia, just 15 mins' drive inland and completely crowd-free
  • If you're feeling energetic (and have a willing driver), hike from here up the Sirikari gorge to tiny Milia, lost in the folds of the White Mts

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Kids

Children are welcome here, and will enjoy having a pool and nearby beaches. The villas have plenty of space and privacy, along with shaded outdoor areas, though the remote location may not appeal to teenagers.

The kitchens are fully equipped for family meals, and you can order groceries in advance. There are family-friendly tavernas and a large supermarket in Kissamos, a short drive away.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Most villas have 2 bedrooms (one of which can be made up as a twin) and Thalassa has 3; there are also sofabeds, meaning they can sleep 5-7 in total. Villa Abyss could work for those with 1 child as it accommodates 3 people in 1 bedroom and a sofabed. Baby cots are also available to borrow.

Note that the bedroom and living area in Villa Abyss sit in different buildings connected by walkways, as do the smaller bedroom in Villa Charisma and all 3 bedrooms in Villa Thalassa. As a result, they may not be suitable for very young children.

Babysitting:

The concierge can arrange babysitters on request.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs
  • Pool toys

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Safe, sandy beaches
  • Boat trips
  • Snorkelling
  • Scuba diving

Families Should Know:

Parents of young children should be aware that the pools are unfenced, and that the indoor dining areas have breakfast bars only. Only the pools for Villa Plethora and Villa Charisma can be heated, and this involves a hefty additional charge in the case of Charisma.

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes (Chania) or 3 hours (Heraklion)
  • Shops: 5 minutes (larger shops in Kissamos, 15 minutes away)
  • Hospital: 30 minutes (Chania)
Kid Friendly: Villa Oneiro

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
6/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Eleni is the kindest and most welcoming person who will will make you feel at home immediately and tell you all about the area Kissamos.
The villas are wonderful with an awesome view and a nice pool. We would definitely stay there again if we go to Crete.

9/10,

We enjoyed a week long break in Villa Abyss with our 11 month old son and it was simply perfect! From the moment we arrived we were made to feel so welcome by Vassilis and the wonderful Eleni who could not do more to look after us. Eleni was a superb host providing us with lots of great info on what to do and where to go, she checked in with us daily, bringing toys for our son and even brought us some of her yummy home cooked dishes to sample - they were delicious! The villa itself is beautiful, tastefully and stylishly furnished and very comfortable and cool in the heat. But without doubt, the best part is the amazing private infinity pool, spacious terrace and outdoor seating areas with stunning views over the coastline and hills. We spent most days in the pool and most evenings relaxing outside and BBQ'ing fresh seafood and meat with some of Vasillis rather tasty white wine! There are a couple of stunning beaches to visit all within a 20min drive and a fab seafood taverna on the beach which is a must visit to watch the sunset. Thank you Vassilis, and especially Eleni for a truly wonderful holiday, and for the happy memories which we will cherish forever. We will most definitely be back!

10/10,

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Rates for Cretan Contemporary Villas