Kapsaliana Village Hotel

Kapsaliana, Crete, Greece
Book from Book from £82 per night

A gorgeous rural hideaway created out of a 17th-century Cretan hamlet, with stunning sea views

Once, Kapsaliana’s sole purpose was to produce olive oil for a peaceful Cretan monastery - now it provides a haven for those who seek peace and an escape from the crowds. The village’s idyllic hilltop setting hasn’t changed, nor its cobblestone streets and terracotta roofs, but the Greek architect-owner has painstakingly transformed the crumbling buildings into 22 boutique rooms and suites. Rundown millers' cottages are now rustic-chic bedrooms with creamy stone walls, hefty wood furniture and turquoise tiled showers. The olive mill itself has been lovingly preserved with the original stone wheels and huge earthen pots. Steeped in history, Kapsaliana is a beautiful blend of past and present.

Sun-drenched terraces look across myrtle trees to the ocean; the air is fragrant with lemon and lavender. Curious children can look for lizards in the village’s nooks and crannies, while couples like to laze by the pool and drink in the intoxicating view. No one has to go far for food - the organic restaurant serves up delicious Cretan dishes using vegetables from the garden. The rugged landscape and surrounding mountain trails invite invigorating walks, and sandy beaches are a short drive away. This is an authentic taste of rural life.

Highs

  • The peaceful hillside location in Crete's rural north: tucked amongst olive groves with far-reaching views yet within easy reach of beaches
  • Well priced for somewhere utterly unique - the Greek government cites Kapsaliana as a hotel of ‘significant cultural importance’
  • Delicious Cretan food with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients
  • Helpful staff will drive guests to the historic Arkadi Monastery and provide packed breakfasts for early flyers
  • Simply relaxing by the beautiful pool - lunch, light snacks and drinks are available at the pool bar during the day, so there is no need to move!

Lows

  • The ground-level rooms without terraces are a bit dark with not-so-private outdoor spaces
  • The rooms behind the restaurant are located in the 3 new buildings, and as result lack the character of the original houses
  • There are a couple of nearby tavernas but most restaurants are a drive away
  • After a leisurely dinner, guests tend to go straight to bed; the atmosphere may be a bit too tranquil for some - but perfect for others
  • You'll need to hire a car to go off exploring, but it's only a 10-minute drive to the nearest sandy beach

Best time to go

Spring is a particularly lovely time to visit: wildflowers bring the landscape to life and Easter celebrations give an insight into local traditions. Warm, uncrowded autumn days are the time for local harvests of grapes, raki and olive oil. Summer offers plenty of hot sunshine, ideal for lounging by the pool. Winter - aside from the lively Carnival - is a tranquil time for cosy nights by the lounge fireplace. Kapsaliana usually closes for a month in November-December.

Our top tips

The nearby Arkadi Monastery is fascinating and beautiful. It's a 14th-century symbol of Crete's independence from the Ottoman Empire, and an absolute must see. Ask staff to drop you off, then walk the 4km back to the hotel.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22 bedrooms
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • 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
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
  • Daily housekeeping
Room: Pegasus

Rooms

Named after constellations, rooms at Kapsaliana are a starry lot. They are simple in design, painted in muted colours in order to stay sympathetic to the history of the village.

We recommend those in the old building as they're full of original character - stone arches, thick wooden beams, open fireplaces. Izar and Altair have terraces and can be booked together as a family unit. There’s also a single room, Cygnus, which would suit a teenager. For those with small children, the Pleiades family suite has an enclosed ground-floor patio providing extra space. In the same garden enclave, three Superior Doubles Libra, Hydra and Berenices look out across the verdant valley.

If it's views you're after, Orion, Pegasus and the Exclusive Suite with Terrace and Sea View, Aquarius, all have panoramic terraces overlooking the olive grove and the sea beyond. Andromeda has a charming mezzanine bedroom, while Perseus and Corona Borealis come complete with their very own Cretan ovens (and the latter a private pool). We particularly liked the look of the hotel's grandest suite, the Historic Olive Mill Suite, with a unique lead-glass floor built over the original brickwork of the olive oil factory. Bathrooms throughout are smart affairs, with rain showers, robes and Apivita toiletries.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The buffet breakfast is a treat at Kapsaliana: an abundant spread of fresh fruit, home-baked bread, silky-smooth Greek yoghurt, deli meats and Cretan ricotta cheese. You can pay extra for cooked options. It’s served in the restaurant – a pretty room hung with tapestries - until a very civilised 11am.

Light lunches incorporating fresh, local ingredients can be eaten by the pool or at the restaurant. Order snacks from the bar phone and they’ll be brought to your lounger. There's a well-stocked honesty bar for drinks and ice creams to keep you cool throughout the day; in summer the pool bar is staffed for most of the day (until 7pm) for essential sundowner cocktails.

All the food is organic and vegetables are grown in the garden. Dinner is a fine-dining affair based on Mediterranean and Cretan flavours. We hear the chickpeas with marrow and crayfish is delicious. There are daily changing specials, a degustation menu and a range of crisp Greek wines to pair with each dish.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating: Restaurant
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore the village - stroll to the charming local church or the artefact-filled museum in the 250-year-old olive mill
  • Rent a mountain bike from the hotel and cycle through Crete's quiet (if hilly) countryside
  • Rent a hotel mountain bike and cycle down to the sea
  • A 30-minute drive away, the village of Margarites has a long tradition of ceramic arts. Visit late in the afternoon when the tour buses have left
  • Trek along the wooded Platania Gorge to the cave church of St Anthony or through the rocky maze of waterfalls in the magnificent Patsos Gorge
  • Walk the flower-filled Amari Valley or perhaps join a guided botanical or bird-spotting tour
  • Kayak the coast – paddle by the coves of the south coast (single or tandem kayaks) and finish with lunch in a taverna by the sea
  • Head to Rethymnon (25-minute drive), a well-preserved Venetian town with a colourful harbour, broad sandy beaches and a hilltop fortress
  • Visit the Museum of Ancient Eleutherna (10km) for an insight into Greek society from 3000 BC
  • Back at the hotel, enjoy olive oil tasting or try a cold process soap-making course with olive oil

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome and the rooms are well set up to accommodate families. However, the overall ambiance of the property is tranquil and relaxing, so you may feel uncomfortable with noisy children, particularly by the pool and at dinner. There's plenty of outdoor space, though nothing specific in the way of children's facilities, and teenagers might find it a little quiet.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Izar and Altair (Classic Doubles with Terraces) can be booked together to form a family suite (both can be twinned). Classic Single room, Cygnus, would suit a teenager or grandparent. The Family Suite with Terrace (Pleiades) is ideal for families with young children because of the outdoor enclosed space. All rooms can fit a baby cot.

Families Should Know:

The restaurant is open daily for breakfast and dinner, and snack lunches are available to order by the pool.

Distances:

  • Airport: 79km (Heraklion)
  • Beach: 5km (Stavromenos and Geropotamos)
  • Hospital: 18km (Rethymnon)
Kid Friendly:

Location

The hotel is in the hamlet of Kapsaliana in northern Crete, 8km from the coast and 18km from Rethymnon (Rethimno) town.

By Air:
Fly into Heraklion (79km / 1 hour) or Chania (86km / 1 hour).

By Sea:
Daily overnight ferries from Athens (Piraeus) to Chania (Souda) and Heraklion.

From the Airport or Port
Kapsaliana can organise a transfer from either city, but we'd recommend hiring a car. You can park for free at the hotel.

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

Airports:

  • Heraklion 79.0 km HER
  • Chania 86.0 km CHQ

Other:

  • Beach 5.0 km
  • Shops 18.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
8/10
Food
9/10
Service
8/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Beautiful location. Lovely room and pool area. The chef has changed since last visit 2019 and we felt that the restaurant feels more pretentious. The menu lacks a local feel albeit the ingredients are good quality. The breakfast is lovely apart from the coffees (apart from filter coffee) and some dishes costing extra. The pool bar food is very expensive. Some staff go out of their way for you and some not so much.

7/10,

An exceptional stay. If you are looking for relaxation, great service and outstanding food then Kapsaliana will tick the box. The rooms have been beautifully redeveloped from a village of what were derelict olive oil workers cottages. The actually siting of the hotel on a the hill gives you 360 views of the Mountains and ocean. A couple of tips. I would strongly recommend getting a hire car otherwise you may feel a bit isolated as you are 20 mins drive away from Rethynmo and lots of the beautiful hikes on the south coast of Crete can be reached in 45 mins by car. Secondly, I think the set up is brilliant for couples, singles and families with babies. Older kids may find it too quiet.
Last but not least a huge thank you to Irini and Stelios who brought fun and energy to the great dining experience

9/10,

Everything was great except the bed. It was hard and cold (end of October). They had no duvet. We did not sleep that well as a result.
Otherwise we loved the hotel and food and staff.

9/10,

Lovely boutique hotel with a nice layout and charming atmosphere. The architecture and landscaping are very special. We loved our room (Aquarius) which had a large terrace with a beautiful view and a hot tub. The location is great for exploring the area. The nearby monastery (Moni Arcady) and archeological sites were worth visiting as well as Rethymno with its Venetian harbour.

10/10,

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