Hotel Villa Kerasi

near Gavalohori, Crete, Greece Book from Book from £95 per night

Tranquil 5-room hideaway above the Chania coast, with gorgeous views (B&B in spring or autumn, villa rental in July-Aug)
It’s no surprise that guests keep returning to Mark and Sharon’s idyllic 5-bedroom hideaway on Crete’s northwest coast. Perched on a rural hillside above the glittering expanse of Souda Bay, with the White Mountains rising to the west, it's the perfect place to unwind while being pampered by knowledgeable and caring hosts. Stroll through the fragrant gardens, snooze by the infinity pool, or dine under the stars on pizza from the wood-fired oven.

This is a relaxing haven for couples, and also ideal for celebrations (you can book the whole place as a self-catering villa). There’s a living and dining room on the ground floor, plus a generous patio with sweeping views. The bedrooms are crisp and contemporary, with colourful splashes, private balconies and sumptuous beds. Tavernas and mountain villages are just a walk or cycle away; beaches and the scenic Venetian port town of Chania are within an easy drive.

Highs

  • A great location for exploring the island. Beaches are just a short drive away, and you can walk to tavernas and picturesque villages
  • Fantastic value for money, and the welcome you receive is worth its weight in gold
  • A vast patio with an infinity pool, shaded sofas and stunning sea views
  • Delicious breakfasts created from local produce
  • Very peaceful, particularly as children under 16 are generally only accepted when hiring the entire villa

Lows

  • Lunches and dinners aren't available every day, but there are plenty of restaurants nearby
  • Meals are normally communal affairs, but you can ask for a private table if you prefer
  • Rooms are very comfortable but they're on the small side
  • In July and August, you have to rent the whole villa - which, for a group of 6-12, is actually a great option (couples can browse other options here)

Best time to go

To avoid the crowds, visit in the wildflower-strewn spring months (May-June). Or come in autumn (September-October), when the days are sunny but not too hot and the sea is still warm enough to swim in. These are ideal months for hiking, too. During summer (July-August), Crete’s beaches are teeming, while the hotel is closed from November to April.

Our top tips

Mark and Sharon are very well connected and know all sorts of interesting local guides, as well as chefs, foragers and photographers. Take advantage and seek out a special experience that's guaranteed to be extraordinary.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
  • B&B (April-June & Sep-Oct) / Villa for 4-12 (July-Aug)
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ lunch most days and dinner occasionally)
  • Under 16s allowed only when booking whole villa
  • 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: Aubergine Room

Rooms

There are 5 double or twin bedrooms, 4 upstairs and one on the ground floor. All have contemporary furniture, splashes of colour from cushions and lamps, private balconies, and ensuite bathrooms with rain showers.

All the upstairs rooms are topped with beautiful vaulted ceilings. The Orange and Mustard Rooms have spectacular sea views and either French or retro touches; the Teal Room gazes onto the glorious White Mountains, and the Aubergine Room has a Moroccan feel with views across local villages and olive groves. On the ground floor, the Green Room is cool and crisp, and overlooks the pool and the stunning vista beyond.

The communal living area has an open fireplace, a TV, sofas and a dining table for 10, and opens onto a wrap-around balcony. At the back of the villa, a large patio catches the morning sun. And you’ll definitely want to recline on one of the luxurious poolside loungers.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Mosquito net
  • Pool towels
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The fully equipped, open-plan kitchen leads to a sunlit patio and is all yours if hiring the whole villa; you'll also get a welcome pack with basic ingredients. If you're taking a B&B room, Sharon effortlessly serves a delicious breakfast made from local produce. Start the day with yoghurt, honey, fresh fruit, preserves and an array of cheeses and charcuterie.

At other times, there’s an honesty bar with drinks and light snacks, and you can help yourself to free tea, coffee, biscuits and homemade cakes. Lunches and home-cooked dinners are offered on select days, and might include a mezze spread, chicken in a white-wine sauce, a pizza from the alfresco wood-fired oven, or a grill cooked on the barbecue.

There’s an impressive range of eateries a walk away in Vamos, or slightly further afield in the mountains and by the coast. We spent a dreamy evening in the beautifully lit garden of Monica’s Taverna in nearby Gavalahori, run by a family of Australian Greeks.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Communal dining
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity: Marathi beach

Activities

  • Explore traditional villages such as nearby Vamos and Gavalahori. You can walk, or there are bikes to hire locally
  • Lounge on the golden sands of Almyrida beach (15 minutes' drive) or Marathi (1 hour), then dine in one of the beachside fishing tavernas
  • Spend the day wandering the ancient cobbled streets of Chania, or cruise the harbour on a sailboat
  • Go foraging with a local guide and cook up some horta - one of the delicious wild herbs growing across the island
  • Mark and Sharon can also arrange photography courses, as well as cooking classes with their Greek housekeeper
  • Hike the legendary Samaria Gorge (May-October) in the breathtaking White Mountains
  • Explore the ancient Minoan ruins of the Palace of Knossos (45 minutes away), and imagine life in Europe’s oldest city
  • Experience the magical pink sand and turquoise water of famed Elafonissi beach (2 hours away). Be warned: it gets very busy in high summer

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Foraging
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Photography courses
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Hotel Villa Kerasi is a peaceful place aimed at adults, and children under 16 are only accepted on request unless you're booking the whole place (if so, be aware that the pool is unfenced).

Family friendly accommodation:

Two rooms, Teal and Aubergine, can be set up as twins on request; if taking the whole villa, 2 oak full size single beds with luxury mattresses can be provided. Note that bathrooms have showers only, though a baby bath is available if booking the whole place.

Baby equipment:

High chairs, baby cots and baby bath available for whole-villa rentals.

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

Kid Friendly:

Location

Hotel Villa Kerasi is located in the Apokoronas area on Crete's northwest coast. It's between the villages of Vamos and Gavalohori, and around an hour from Chania.

By Air:
Chania (38km away) is the closest airport. It's served by daily flights from Athens year-round, and by charter flights from across Europe in summer. There's also an airport at Heraklion, 116km to the east.

From the Airport
Transfers from Chania airport can be arranged, but we recommend hiring a car to make the most of the area (Mark and Sharon can arrange this for you if booking the whole villa).

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

More on getting to Greece and getting around

Airports:

  • Chania 38.0 km CHQ
  • Heraklion 116.0 km HER

Other:

  • Beach 10.0 km
  • Shops 1.5 km
  • Restaurant 1.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We absolutely loved our stay at Villa Kerasi. Mark and Sharon were always on hand to give great recommendations on surrounding areas to visit or restaurants to eat if you can drag yourself away from the pool! The villa is very comfortable and you feel like you're relaxing in your own private space. The views to the mountains and down to the sea are spectacular. Can't recommend highly enough!

10/10,

Beautiful villa with incredible views. Our room was spacious , very clean and well presented. The host was lovely and friendly , recommending some great places to eat in the local villages.

10/10,

I'm an airline pilot, and the son of one as well. I've been all over the world and stayed in a lot of hotels. This was quite simply one of the best. My wife and I went there for our 25th wedding anniversary and we couldn't have asked for more. The island of Crete is beautiful and the western part where Hotel Villa Kerasi is located is less crowded and more laid back than many other Greek island destinations. The hotel is located in a quiet hillside area overlooking Souda Bay. The proprietors, Mark and Sharon, couldn't have been nicer and the food and beverages were wonderful. The hotel is intimate, only 4 suites, with an infinity edge pool and several outdoor seating/lounge areas. Our room was well appointed with spectacular views. You'll probably want a car because there is lots to do and see and good places to eat nearby. This was exactly what we were looking for!

10/10,

An amazing stay. So much more than you could possibly ask for. I can think of nothing Mark or Sharon could have done, or provided, that could have made my stay any better. Wonderful, wonderful people and holiday.

10/10,

Off the beaten track (exactly how we like our holidays), Hotel Villa Kerasi had it all - lovely accommodation and hosts, and amazing views. I would definitely book again.

10/10,

We had a fantastic week at Villa Kerasi! Mark and Sharon are superb hosts who go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Nothing is too much trouble and they are very knowledgable on what to do, where to visit, how to get there, where to eat, etc etc. The villa itself is so comfortable modern and spotlessly clean with tremendous panoramic views over the bay and the White Mountains. Being able to walk down into local villages at night to eat was a bonus. We shall recommend Villa Kerasi to all our friends and family.

10/10,

We stayed at Hotel Villa Kerasi at the end of April 2017 and had the most fabulous time. Mark and Sharon are the most amazing hosts. We will be sure to go back to what is just an idyllic and perfect get away destination. We would advise anyone staying at the Villa to ensure they hire a vehicle as it is set into the hills. Completely and totally in love with the whole experience.

10/10,

Overall an excellent experience. The guidance they provided was spot on.

9/10,

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