Kapsaliana Village Hotel

Kapsaliana, Crete, Greece Book from Book from £86 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 19 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’
  • The food is simple but delicious, 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
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 19
  • 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
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • 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 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, Aquarius, all have panoramic terraces overlooking the olive grove and the sea beyond. Andromeda has a charming mezzanine bedroom, while Perseus comes complete with its very own Cretan oven. We particularly liked the look of the hotel's grandest suite, the Olive Mill, with a unique lead-glass floor built over the original brickwork of the olive oil factory. Bathrooms throughout are smart affairs, with showers, robes and Apivita toiletries.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • 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 even boil your own eggs! It’s served in the restaurant – a pretty room hung with tapestries - until a very civilised 11am.

A light lunch can be eaten by the pool or at the restaurant - order salads and gourmet 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. There’s a good choice of options for dinner, with daily changing specials and a range of crisp Greek wines. We enjoyed huge grilled prawns to start, melt-in-the-mouth beef fillet for main, and a zesty lemon tart with sweet carob honey to finish. A tasting menu of Cretan dishes is offered on Thursday nights, while Mondays in summer are Fish Night, accompanied by live music.

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:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Olive oil tasting
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Trekking
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

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 Double 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 Pleiades Suite 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 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

The food was truly excellent and the chef is undoubtedly talented. All of the staff were very friendly as well as being professional and knowledgable. All in all it was a lovely week in a beautiful location and just what we wanted. We loved it!

10/10,

A relaxing, peaceful hilltop paradise perfect for exploring and relaxing. The staff were professional yet friendly and very welcoming, the rooms were exactly as described, tastefully restored and very comfortable. Lying in bed and only hearing the early morning birdsong on the breeze carrying scents of spring flowers and mountain herbs was blissful. Relaxing by the pool was a pleasure too. The piece de la resistance was the lovingly prepared, fresh and local delicious breakfast buffet. We could have quite happily extended our stay if time had allowed.

10/10,

We loved it! One of the best holidays ever! We would score 5 for everything. The stuff is super attentive and friendly. The hotel is an actual dream in a rural location so different than busy life in London. Food is incredible, service maybe a bit slow but who cares when the sun is shining and everything is so terribly pretty?

10/10,

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