“Three beautiful self-catering villas sleeping 4-6, with stunning sea views, private pools, and a peaceful location near Almirida”
Set on a clifftop, just outside the peaceful seaside village of Almirida, these gorgeous modern villas lie midway between Chania and Rethymno on Crete’s north coast. New in 2009, and still immaculate when we visited a year later, they were designed by Pavlos, an architect, and stylishly furnished by his wife, Katerina. Each has the same ground plan but a different decorative theme, plus lots of thoughtful touches such as film libraries, mini gyms and saunas or a Turkish bath. And each has a lovely private garden with a turquoise-blue pool, fronted by that glorious sea view.
Ideal for groups of friends or a discerning family (each villa has 3 kingsize double bedrooms, 2 of which can be converted into twin rooms), SK Place is a chic and peaceful place to unwind. But should you feel restless, western Crete's sandy beaches, unspoiled villages and Venetian towns are all close by.
- Pavlos' careful architectural design has maximised space and privacy for each villa
- Top quality fittings and hi-tech touches: remote control entrance gates, flat-screen satellite TVs, music systems with individual room controls
- Katerina acts as an on-call concierge and can book restaurants, organise a private chef or restaurant delivery service, and arrange in-house massages
- Just a short walk to a sandy beach and a low-key village with several good tavernas
- Each villa has a lovely gardens, planted with bougainvillea, citrus trees, laurels, jasmine and fragrant herbs, plus secluded outdoor dining and seating areas
- So peaceful and self-sufficient that you might forget to explore the rest of Crete, which would be a shame
- Almirida has no nightlife to speak of
- An expensive treat and a 7-night minimum stay for most of the year (though there is no set check-in day)
- Only 3 villas and many return visitors, so they’re often fully booked in high season
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Villas
- 3 per villa
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Heated Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Laundry Service
- Daily maid service (except on Sundays)
Each villa is based on the same ground plan, and consists of 3 levels. Up top there are 2 bedrooms - the kingsize master bedroom with its enormous balcony and jacuzzi tub in the ensuite bathroom, plus a double/twin room with an ensuite shower. The ground floor is an open-plan lounge and kitchen, and its floor-to-ceiling windows give stunning sea views. At basement level, there's another double/twin bedroom plus a steam shower, sauna (or Turkish bath in Almyra) and mini-gym. The upper-floor bedrooms have fantastic views; the lower level bedroom has no view but is very private, with a small patio leading from its French doors. All beds are top-of-the-range Swedish ‘Dux’ make, and bathrooms are filled with tealight candles, piles of towels and Korres toiletries.
What makes each villa different is its theme, which is carried right through from the building materials to the interior design. Almyra is Modernist, with stone walls, chic Italian furniture and a minimalist feel. We loved the light-and-airy atmosphere created by its pale wooden floors, and the crisp whites and smooth greys with stainless steel detail in the kitchen. Outside, the large pool is backed by a wooden sun deck with loungers and parasols and there's a wooden lounge deck with a pergola, comfy seating area and sea views; perfect for alfresco dinners. This would be our top choice for younger couples and friends.
Ammos is ‘Nisiotiko’ (inspired by the Greek islands), and this villa would be well suited to family rentals. The interior is a calming blend of white, cream and blues, with a stone tile floor, unvarnished wooden tables and chairs, big beige sofas with a funky trestle table, an open fireplace, and whitewashed wooden stairs. There’s a pool and lounge deck in its mature, fragrant garden, plus 2 outdoor eating areas.
Anemos is Cretan, with a rustic flavour inspired by traditional interiors: polished dark-wood floors (a little heavy for our taste), wooden doors and window frames, rich warm fabrics, several pieces of antique furniture and marble bathrooms. Although it doesn’t have a fireplace, there’s a built-in barbecue in the lemon-tree filled garden, and a wooden deck giving onto a stunning infinity pool.
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Microwave in Ammos
- Mobile card phone
- Pool towels
- Safe box
- Washing machine
Upon arrival, you will find a slick, modern kitchen stocked - if you book through i-escape - with fresh fruit, wine, tea, coffee, honey and biscuits, plus basics such as washing up liquid, bin bags, mineral water and milk.
Each kitchen has a cooker (oven and 4 hotplates), fridge and small freezer, kettle, filter coffee maker, toaster and dishwasher. Ammos also has a microwave. You can dine at a long table seating 6 indoors, or at a big wooden table outdoors, by the pool. There are also pleasant seating areas in shaded corners of the garden with lounge sofas and a low-level coffee table for drinks.
There are small general stores in Almirida plus a bakery (spoilingly, the baker calls by the villas each morning at 10am with fresh bread). In Kalives (3km) you’ll find a large INKA supermarket, a butcher and a greengrocer.
If you want a break from cooking, Katerina can arrange for a chef to come and cook for you - perhaps prawn and lobster salad with citrus sauce, veal medallions, then ice cream profiteroles. Or, you're within walking distance of some nice restaurants. Giving onto the beach in Almirida, Thalami is a sound choice for traditional Greek taverna fare, while Psaros is the best place for fresh seafood. Both will also deliver meals to the villas on request. For dining out further afield, each villa has an ‘SK Place’ guide, listing recommended eateries across the island.
- Chef on request
- Coffee / tea making
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Meal delivery service
- Bliss out and bathe at local beaches, which include a private small bay that's perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and the Blue Flag sand beach in Almirida (a 5-minute walk from the villas), which has warm shallows so is ideal for families
- Try windsurfing or kayaking with UCPA watersports, based on the beach in Almirida, with equipment for hire and tuition available
- Take a 2-hour boat excursion with Dream Adventures (based in Almirida) to visit the sea caves at Drapanos, which you can explore by snorkel
- Visit Chania (30 mins' drive), with its lovely Venetian fishing harbour ringed with cafes and tavernas. Check out the Archaeological Museum, housed in a former church, plus the romantic cobbled alleys lined with arty boutiques and a market selling local handicrafts and handmade jewellery
- Explore the surrounding Apokoronas region, one of the greenest districts of Crete, with lush olive, fig, citrus and avocado orchards. Swim in its freshwater lake, visit the Roman and Greek ruins of ancient Aptera, or head to the sandy beach at Kalives
- Join the 'Tastes of Crete' cooking class, staged at a farmhouse near Chania on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, and followed by a full lunch with wine; ask Katerina a few days ahead
- Scuba dive with Blue Adventures based in Chania. Besides organised trips, they also offer a one-day Discover Diving course for beginners
- Charter a private sailing boat and skipper and sail from Chania to Balos's lovely sand beach and the tiny island of Gramvoussa
- Explore Rethymno old town (45 mins), with its cobbled streets lined by pastel-coloured buildings, Ottoman-era minarets and Italianate churches and fountains, plus the harbour guarded by an imposing 16th-century Venetian fortress
Further afield, but also feasible as day trips, you can:
- Drive across the island to Chora Sfakion (60km) on the south coast and visit the 14th-century Frangokastello Venetian fortress. From Sfakia you can also take a taxi boat to the lovely beach of Glyka Nera (naturist-friendly)
- Hike in the White Mountains, or descend the dramatic 18km limestone Samaria Gorge (open May-Oct) down to the village of Agia Roumeli on the south coast. Wear good hiking boots and take plenty of water
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Scuba diving
- Shopping / markets
Families are welcome - Almyra is suitable for children aged 10+ but the other villas will suit kids of any age, and they will love the pools and nearby beaches (they will need supervision in the pools). In each villa there are 2 bedrooms, which can be set up as twins, and there's space for 2 baby cots, too. Babysitting can be arranged upon request, and highchairs can be provided. But this is not an out-and-out family place (it appeals equally to discerning groups of friends and couples travelling together) so you might want to ask, at the time of enquiring, if the other villas are let to families or not.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
All villas have the same layout but Villa Ammos is probably the most child-friendly in terms of its furniture and fittings.
Babysitting is available