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.
- 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!
- 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
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 25 bedrooms + 1 villa for 4-8
- Restaurant and bar open daily
- All ages welcome
- Closed: 1st November - 23rd March
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car recommended
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
- Laundry Service
- Daily housekeeping
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.
Since our last visit, three suites sleeping 2-4 and a villa sleeping 4-8 have been added. The suites, Elia, Selini and Lupus wrap around a shared pool and each have their own outdoor seating area. Their communal space and close proximity to each other make them a great choice for friends or a few couples travelling together. For ultimate privacy, Asterope Villa looks idyllic. A 10-minute walk from the main hotel, this self-contained house has four double ensuite bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, indoor and outdoor lounge/dining spots, plus a huge 55 sq.m private pool. They are all newer buildings so perhaps lack the charm of the original stone hamlet, but we think they look cool and comfy, and their contemporary style may be a preference for some.
- In room treatments available
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
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.
- Coffee / tea making
- Room service
- 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:
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.
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. Asterope Villa is a short walk from the hotel and comes with a private pool, which allows kids to be a bit noisier. 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.
- Airport: 79km (Heraklion)
- Beach: 5km (Stavromenos and Geropotamos)
- Hospital: 18km (Rethymnon)
The hotel is in the hamlet of Kapsaliana in northern Crete, 8km from the coast and 18km from Rethymnon (Rethimno) town.
Fly into Heraklion (79km / 1 hour) or Chania (86km / 1 hour).
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.
- Heraklion 79.0 km HER
- Chania 86.0 km CHQ
- Beach 5.0 km
- Shops 18.0 km
- Restaurant 1.0 km