“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 Apartments, 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 Apartments 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 a la carte breakfast, drinks and light snacks - including sandwiches and Greek salads using Nikos and Lydia’s home-produced olive oil. Their specialities are Dako (Cretan bread with tomatoes and feta), and Italian coffee, tea, fresh juices, bruschetta, croissants for breakfast and Greek yogurt with honey.
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 better for 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.
For eating out you could try David in Piskopiano, a family-run kafeneio serving mezedes (savoury appetisers), or Mpaoula in Koutouloufari which serves Mediterranean fare.
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 Apartments 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 Apartments have 1 or 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 a fridge, kettle and hob so you can whip up snacks and baby food if needed (you can ask for a blender if required). 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