The Cretan Hilltop Hideaway

near Gavalohori, Crete, Greece Book from Book from £445 per night

A tranquil and top-end hilltop villa (sleeps 6-10) above the Chania coast, with gorgeous views of mountains and sea
It’s no surprise that guests keep returning to this idyllic 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 in this most magical of Greek islands. 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 lovely escape for a family (or two) who want to get away from the crowds, or for celebrating with a group of 6-10 friends (plus 2 small children). 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. If you ever have a question, the super-friendly British owners are quick to help; having run the place as a B&B for years, they know everyone round here. 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.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • A lovely tranquil location for exploring the island: beaches are a short drive away, and you can walk to tavernas and picturesque villages
  • A warm welcome from the owners, who are passionate about the house and the island
  • A vast patio with infinity pool and stunning sea views, plus additional shady sitting areas
  • All bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms
  • Great value for money, especially when you consider all the little extras (breakfast ingredients, homemade cakes, baby equipment...)

Lows

  • Like most villa rentals, it's only available by the week
  • You'll have to drive to the beach
  • At 5 bedrooms, it's quite large for a family - but there are reduced rates if using 3 or 4 bedrooms
  • We think it's better suited to older children, given the sharp edges and prickly plants (but if you come with babies or toddlers, there's plenty of equipment)

Best time to go

To avoid the crowds, visit in June or September, when the days are sunny but not too hot and the sea is still warm enough to swim in. In high summer (July-August), Crete’s beaches can get busy, but you can always retreat to this sanctuary and splash in the pool. And there are several local festivals, including Jazz July in Vamos.

Our top tips

The owners are very well connected, and can arrange everything from cookery classes in nearby Vamos to cheese-making, guided hikes, olive oil tours and a chance to meet the local bee keeper. Guests tell us these are really special experiences that stay with you long after the holiday has ended.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Villa for 6-10
  • 5
  • Self-catering; restaurants nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2020 - 11 Jun 2021...
  • 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
  • Barbecue
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Mosquito net
  • Oven
  • Pool towels
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

The fully equipped, open-plan kitchen leads to a sunlit patio and is all yours; It's a great place to start the day with yoghurt and honey, or fresh figs and Cretan cheeses.

You'll find a very generous welcome pack, including things like oranges for juicing, salad and cheeses for Greek salad, fresh bread, homemade cakes, fruit, wine and beer, soft drinks and some nibbles. There's even flour and yeast for making your own pizzas in the outdoor pizza oven. You can request a pre-arrival shop if you're arriving late in the evening and don't want to head out to the shops on your first morning. It's 1.5-2km into the villages of Vamos or Gavalohori for great local supplies; 5km to the larger supermarkets of Almirida.

There’s an impressive range of eateries 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 Gavalohori, run by a family of Australian Greeks.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Coffee maker
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Welcome hamper
  • Pizza oven
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
  • Hike the legendary Samaria Gorge (May-October) in the breathtaking White Mountains
  • Explore the ancient Minoan ruins of the Palace of Knossos (1 hour 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

We think that The Cretan Hilltop Hideaway is best for older children who will enjoy the pool, gardens and oodles of private space, without constantly wishing they had a beach right on their doorstep. Babies are also welcome, and the house is well equipped; but be aware of the sharp edges, prickly plants and unfenced pool.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Two rooms, Teal and Aubergine, can be set up as twins on request; also, 2 oak full size single beds with luxury mattresses can be provided. Note that bathrooms have showers only, though a baby bath is available by prior request.

Baby equipment:

  • High chairs
  • Baby cot (and bedding)
  • Changing mats
  • Baby/toddler cups and dishes
  • Baby bath

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

Kids Activities on site:

  • Good sized pool
  • Boules court
  • Lawn for croquet

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Cookery lessons
  • Cheese making
  • Meet the local bee keeper
  • Guided walks

Distances:

  • Airport: 40 minutes (Chania)
  • Health centre: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes (Vamos)
Kid Friendly:

Location

The Cretan Hilltop Hideaway is located in the Apokoronas area on Crete's northwest coast. It's between the villages of Vamos and Gavalohori, and around 40 mins from Chania.

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

From the Airport
We recommend hiring a car to make the most of the area (Mark and Sharon can arrange this for you if you prefer).

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

Airports:

  • Chania 38.0 km CHQ
  • Heraklion 116.0 km HER

Other:

  • Beach 5.0 km
  • Shops 1.5 km
  • Restaurant 1.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 7 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

We had a wonderful stay. We couldn't have asked for a better place to stay for ultimate relaxation. The Villa is perfectly situated near to a couple of villages with excellent restaurants and beaches and a vineyard too for a fun afternoon of wine tasting.
We really enjoyed days spent at the villa which has a lovely infinity pool with stunning views down to the coast. Mark and Sharon are fantastic hosts, and I cannot stress this enough, who make you feel at home instantly and who provide a great breakfast too. They are a wealth of excellent recommendations and have thought of everything to make sure you have a relaxing holiday. We celebrated our wedding anniversary at the Villa and Mark and Sharon very kindly gave us a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate.


We would, without doubt, recommend the villa and shall definitely return!

10/10,

Stunning far reaching views from infinity pool. Our hosts Mark and Sharon perfectly suited to this business. 30 minutes walk to restaurants so car recommended.

10/10,

We've just spent the most heavenly 2 nights here. The villa is immaculate with every little detail thought of so it feels like a real home away from home. The outside space is beautifully laid out with lots of places to chill out, all with amazing views, and the garden is an oasis of flowers and wildlife. Our room was so comfortable and stylish with an enormous balcony looking out towards the sea, the bed was amazing and we both slept like babies as it's such a peaceful area (but still with lots of great beaches and tavernas just down the road). Then there's Mark and Sharon, two such lovely people who clearly love what they do and take real pleasure in making peoples holidays really special. Nothing is too much trouble and they create such a relaxed atmosphere around the villa we can see why guests return time after time, both the other couples staying when we were there had been before and were staying for 2 weeks. We wished we were too! Can't recommend this place enough, it's an amazing place and amazing value!

10/10,

We had an amazing stay. Mark and Sharon are two of the nicest people we have ever been fortunate enough to meet. They made us feel so welcome and took great care of us. The villa is in a beautiful location and the views are stunning. It's easy to get to and easy to visit some great places on the island - Mark and Sharon have lots of good suggestions. The villa itself is fantastic. It's very clean, nicely decorated and has everything you could want. The rooms are large and comfortable with a good en suite bathroom and balcony. It's such a relaxing place to unwind and we really recommend staying here. We didn't want to leave and can't wait to go back!

10/10,

We absolutely loved our stay. 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,

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