“Small, family-friendly hotel near Crete's north coast, set in a walled garden with a sparkling pool”
We stayed in the Honeymoon Suite on the top floor - definitely our favourite and recommended for couples. Light, airy and open-plan, it has a whitewashed wood-beamed ceiling, a sitting area with fireplace, and an elegant four-poster bed hung with white drapes. Bougainvillea flower heads had been arranged to form a heart on the bed, and there was a vase of fresh flowers on the table and bottle of white wine in the fridge, so it all felt very welcoming. It opened onto a terrace with a table, sunbeds, and views of the sea. The bathroom was simple but functional, with a spacious walk-in shower and a horde of delicious smelling Mastic Spa toiletries.
Also on the top floor is the Penthouse Suite. Equally light, airy and spacious, also with a four-poster bed, it's another gorgeous option for a couple.
The remaining 11 suites are more rustic, done in classic blue-white Cycladic style. Most are 2-Room Suites, which have a double bedroom and a living room with built-in sofas that can be made into beds to sleep 1 or 2 children. The 3-Room Suites have a second twin bedroom which, being separate, is more suited to a family with older kids. All have tiled floors (the nicest ones are terracotta), whitewashed walls, and simple wooden furniture, some of which is whitewashed. Doors and shutters are Grecian blue, as are the sofa covers.
Ippocampi has a Cycladic-style poolside café open 9am-9pm for breakfast, drinks and light snacks - including sandwiches and salads using Nikos and Lydia’s home-produced olive oil. Their specialities are Greek salads, Dako (Cretan bread with tomatoes and feta), various mezedes, and Greek yoghurt with honey.
Breakfast is colourful and generous - freshly squeezed orange juice, local yoghurt with honey, fresh fruit, platters of cheese and cold meats, and eggs cooked to order. It's not included in the room rate, but we'd recommend it.
For other meals, good places in Koutouloufari include Asotos, a friendly family-run kafeneio, serving platters of mezedes (savoury appetisers) - which can make a satisfying meal, if you order enough! We also liked Petros: creative Mediterranean cuisine at reasonable prices.
Back at Villa Ippocampi, each suite has basic self-catering facilities - a small kitchenette with hot plates (but no oven), a kettle, filter coffee machine and fridge. Parents will find them useful but they're more suited to preparing snacks than meals. There is a small shop and bakery within easy strolling distance, and upon arrival you’ll find a bottle of mineral water and wine in your fridge.
Villa Ippocampi is a lovely hotel for families, particularly as the suites have kitchenettes and there are sofabeds in the living rooms for extra sleeping space. Although the hotel does not have special facilities for kids, they will love the pool and there are plenty of family-friendly activities nearby.
A cosy small hotel popular with families, it's easy to make new friends here, whether parent or child.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The 3-Room Suites are best (especially for older kids) as they have a double and a twin bedroom plus a single sofabed in the sitting room and space for a baby cot. The 2-Room Suites have 2 single sofabeds in their living rooms and can fit a baby cot, too
No baby monitors provided, but if you BYO the signal works everywhere, so you can eat in the restaurant while little ones sleep in their rooms
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The suites' basic kitchenettes have blenders, a fridge, kettle and hob so you can whip up snacks and baby food if needed. The restaurant serves food all day until 9pm; there are also takeaways and child-friendly cafés and restaurants nearby. The nearest supermarket and a bakery are 20 metres from the hotel
The pool isn't fenced and doesn't have a shallow end