“Eco-friendly spa hideaway, plus adjacent villa for 4-8, nestling in olive groves near to Chania and west Crete’s best beaches”
Coiled like a snail around a central terrace, which is blessed with plenty of vine- and bougainvillea-shaded seating spaces, are the 3 standard rooms, 3 superior, 1 deluxe room and 2 deluxe maisonettes which make up this bite-sized country hotel. Some of them (2 superiors and 2 deluxe) have a private veranda or balcony offering views past blood-red geraniums to Crete's hazy-blue north coast; and there are plenty of sitting areas in the gardens for other guests.
Interiors cannily marry olde worlde aesthetics with a decent level of comfort. Expect wooden floorboards or rustic quarry tiles, patches of exposed stone, painted brass bedsteads (some on the narrow side) or larger wooden frames, and thick walls with small windows protected by shutters and iron grilles. Pretty details include porcelain door handles and fresh roses from the garden, and there's a liberal scattering of practical touches: a kettle to make hot drinks, plenty of surfaces and niches to set up a laptop or set down a tray of olives and ouzo, loads of bathrooms smellies to lather with, and lots of fluffy towels.
Standard accommodation is pretty roomy, but if you like more space it’s worth paying a bit extra for the superior and deluxe accommodation, where additional perks include chunky four poster beds, comfy Cretan daybeds, and baths instead of walk in showers. Some rooms are split-level maisonettes, with a double bed up on a steep-laddered gallery and a daybed or two below; and most have space for a dining table with those classically Greek wood-and-wicker chairs (varnished in brown rather than blue, in keeping with the earthy theme).
Guests who value privacy should request a room furthest from the main terrace, or splash out and book Villa Elanthi, a 3-bedroom detached house with private garden and sea view terrace a short stroll from the main building.
The breakfast table is stacked with a yummy and ample selection of local pies and pastries, nuts and Greek yoghurt, buns and cereals. This is one of Elia’s big pleasures - although the filter coffee tends to be a bit weak, so if you like yours strong and plentiful, cadge some sachets and make your own.
The restaurant is open at lunch for light meals, salads and snacks. The local cook conjures up a mean horiatiki (Greek salad) and a peerless spanakopita (spinach pie), as well as classic yemista (peppers, tomatoes and aubergines stuffed with rice) and Cretan dakos (rusks soaked with olive oil, tomatoes and crumbled cheese). It's almost enough to make you vegetarian, if you aren't one already.
There’s only one choice of evening meal – you’ll see this dish of the day chalked up on a board at the entrance. Made with locally sourced ingredients, the food is simple but copious - think beef or rabbit stifado, chicken in orange, boureki (Cretan ratatouille) - and is served in a cosy, wood-beamed, stoned-walled dining room at a long wooden table where you’re guaranteed to make new friends. If you prefer to dine tête à tête, you can sit out at one of the smaller tables on the terrace and be serenaded by the romantic throb of frogs croaking in nearby ponds.
Children of all ages are welcome at Elia and the larger maisonettes make excellent family rooms. The pool is popular with kids of all ages and parents with younger monkeys who need to let off steam will love Elia's extensive grounds. Lack of food choice could be a problem for parents with kids who are picky eaters.
Under 2s are free in parents' room; for older children, extra beds cost extra.
Children (4-12 years)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking