“A cool white sanctuary in the green hills of northern Crete, with blue pool, open-plan living and 3 cosseting bedrooms (sleeps 4-6)”
The house is built against the hillside, on 3 levels. You enter at the top, from the gravelled carpark or terraced pool, and find yourself in a huge open-plan living-dining area, with pristine white walls and amazing open eaves, painted warm grey. It all feels rather Scandinavian-zen. An L-shaped sofa faces a low TV unit and a pastel of Penelope and Danny leaping into the unknown; picture windows slide open to a further outdoor living space, with wicker chaises longues under a khaki wooden pergola. Views flow out past lush orchards and a scattering of red-white houses, over the blue strip of Souda bay, to the rocky hills of Akrotiri (near Chania's airport).
Back inside, there's a superbly equipped kitchen and indoor dining table (see Eating), and a laundry room which will come in handy if you're here with kids. Steps - lit by recessed ankle-level lights - lead down to the kingsize master bedroom on the middle storey. More clean white lines and dove-grey ceiling beams, offset by a vibrant triptych of rainbow mountainscapes, an oversized candle from the owners' wedding, and a single patch of exposed stone wall. There are blackout blinds and 2 balconies: one Juliet, the other with loungers. Past the vast walk-in dressing room (more space than you'd need for a month) is the ensuite bathroom, with tub and separate rain shower, positively gleaming twin basins, and a corner of sun-bleached, sea-smoothed pebbles.
Down on the bottom level are the second and third bedrooms. The larger has double/twin beds, cool chrome bedside lamps by Terry Tynan, and a private sitting room with arched windows onto its own sunrise terrace. (As you're beginning to realise, each guest can sunbathe in total privacy if needs be!). The smaller bedroom is tucked away at the back, with twin beds, a shower room and just one window. We think it would be fine for 2 kids (or child + nanny), but not so great for a couple - definitely the shortest of the 3 straws.
The open-plan, wraparound kitchen is a delight to use: plenty of surface area, brushed steel appliances galore, extra-wide drawers with shiny white crockery in every shape and size. Toaster, kettle, chest-level oven, separate microwave-grill, Bosch dishwasher, espresso machine, electric juicer for those fresh oranges - it's all there (except a food blender, we noticed). Book through i-escape and you'll find a hamper of breakfast ingredients when you arrive - bread & jams, tea & coffee, eggs & bacon. For further supplies, Gavalohori (1km) and Almirida (5km) will oblige. When you're done, 3 cleverly integrated recycling bins take the rubbish.
You'll eat outside most of the time, on a lovely decked dining terrace facing the pool and sunset. But if it does turn chilly, there's another table for 6 inside, with clinical white-leather directors chairs and a huge bottle-shaped standing lantern. Non-morning-people can grab breakfast and slope back to their private terrace; 2 of the 3 bedrooms have one.
The caretakers can arrange a private chef to whip up healthy Cretan dishes; or can prepare excellent international cuisine themselves (they used to run a pub business in the UK). Alternatively, stroll into Gavalohori (10 minutes there, a little more on the way back!) for fresh home cooking at Gavalianos, next to the war memorial. Down at Almirida, Aeraki serves the best fish, while both tavernas in Vamos (5km) will deliver a good no-frills Greek meal. For something snazzier, head to Chania (27km).
All ages are welcome, but in truth it's best for older children (6 and over) due to the many steps and the gleaming white surfaces. If you come with younger ones, the owners ask that you supervise them carefully - though of course the pool terrace and various balconies are balustraded.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
English-speaking baby-sitters can be arranged
There's a highchair and one baby cot. Anything else - pool toys, games, plastic crockery - you'll have to bring.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There are several sandy beaches nearby (Almirida, Kalyves) and boat trips from Chania (27km). The nearest water park is at Limnoupolis near Chania (32km). The owners or caretakers can put you in touch with companies which arrange mountain biking, trekking and other activities for families - but don't underestimate the severity of Crete's White Mountains.