The Telegraph’s ten best boutique hotels in Crete

The Telegraph’s  choice of boutique hotels in Crete, including the top places to stay for 14th-century Cretan cloisters, private infinity pools, antique furnishings, panoramic views, eclectic art collections, excellent service and trendy bars in locations including Rethymnon, Chania and Sissi.

Lato Boutique Hotel

Heraklion – This stylish boutique hotel offers up lovely harbour views and creative gourmet restaurants. It’s an affordable option in one of Greece’s most exclusive cities. Service is personable and willing. Superior doubles have balconies and views, with African-safari hues and burgundy stripes. Throughout, beds are outstanding, with no synthetics in mattresses of ideal firmness, plus really comfy armchairs and sofas. Some suites have extra-large verandas overlooking the Venetian port, with pergolas and loungers. The Herb’s Garden roof restaurant also overlooks the port.

Veneto Hotel

Rethymnon – Quirky, characterful rooms, some of which are set in the cloisters of a restored 14th-century Dominican priory, distinguish this as one of Crete’s most stylish boutique hotels. The six studios and four suites differ widely, with antique-inspired furnishings and either wood or quality terracotta flooring. One is tucked under arches, another is galleried, while upper-floor rooms (three of them balconied) with beamed ceilings are surprisingly light and airy. The common areas – particularly a large arcaded courtyard sheltering a trickling fountain pool and two potable wells, where breakfast is served – are a highlight. The creative in-house dinner restaurant is popular and has the best wine cellar in town, encompassing Cretan, other Greek and foreign labels.

Monastery Estate

Chania – This comfortably furnished complex of five spacious self catering apartments is a blend of Spanish finca and traditional Cretan home. It is an old house, sympathetically renovated in rustic style with open stonework, huge eucalyptus beams, bare stone floors and antique Deco touches. Surrounded by olive groves and hiking paths in the tiny village of Moni, this laidback hotel attracts guests who come here for the hiking or to sample a slice of authentic Cretan lifestyle. Rooms have been renovated in a rustic style with open fireplaces, rough whitewashed walls and antique touches. All rooms have large courtyards with outside dining and relaxation areas, big whirlpool baths and stunning views of the surrounding Lefka Ori mountains.

Ambassadors Residence Boutique Hotel Chania

Chania – Once the private residence of 19th-century German Ambassador R. Krüger, this delightful little boutique hotel in a tastefully renovated Venetian abode fronts Chania’s lively café-lined harbour, set beneath the city’s old Venetian Arsenal. The interior is a sympathetic blend of old and modern, with bare stone walls and huge wooden beams in reception, walls decorated with the ambassador’s photos and a pretty roof garden for guests. Nine double rooms, junior and senior suites are all decorated in different materials. Rooms on lower floors have property and garden views. Spacious suites on upper floors have high ceilings, large windows, lounges and roof terraces/gardens with panoramic views over Chania’s pretty harbour.

La Maison Ottomane

Chania – Entering this charmingly renovated property along a narrow side street fringed with crumbling buildings is like stepping back in time. It’s owned by a well-travelled collector of antiques and heirloom items embellish every room. Three suites have period furnishings inspired by the Ottoman period, such as antique faded carpets on wooden tiled floors, ancient overstuffed sofas with plenty of cushions and large beds with ornate headboards. Smooth adobe-style walls in brown and beige are covered with the owners’ collection of antique paintings and prints of minarets. The effect is cosy and luxurious, without being precious. Up a narrow flight of steps from the main courtyard, the Aisha suite has its own small terrace with distant sea views, whilst Constantinople has a separate lounge area. 

Serenissima Boutique Hotel

Chania – The hotel is housed in a Venetian building built round a small interior courtyard. Its carefully renovated with lots of open stonework, wooden floors and high ceilings. There are seven rooms and suites decorated in light khaki, grey and cream colour schemes, with parquet floors, open stonework or exposed brick walls, high ceilings with dark wooden beams and minimal furniture. One spacious suite has its own terrace, with mountain views, and the hotel’s largest suite is on two levels with a downstairs lounge/living space, upstairs mezzanine-style bedroom and private terrace. A small restaurant, open in the summer, serves Cretan fusion cuisine and there is a small, but atmospheric wine bar serving a good selection of Greek vine juice

Castello Boutique Resort & Spa

Sissi – There’s a real sense of calm when you leave the bustling streets of Sissi and enter this small-scale property, surrounded by tall hedges and close to a church. A cool, dimly-lit reception area opens onto a long bar overlooking a good-sized pool and surrounded by carefully tended lawns. The focal point of the resort is the pool and there’s a spacious and well-watered lawn with plenty of sunbeds. The chic little Callista spa has a heated pool and a water-style bed. There are 48 rooms on three floors; some have a private pool and others have whirlpool baths. Décor is similar in each room: chunky wooden furnishings, tiled floors, full-sized mirrors and so on. Honeymooners should choose the penthouse suite with its outdoor hot tub.

Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa

Chania – This long-established, family-owned hotel offers 24 smartly presented rooms, plus a marble-clad spa and roof terrace bar. Interior style is a contemporary take on heritage, designer fittings and chrome banisters juxtaposed with recycled timbers. The premises have been renovated by a sixth-generation descendant of the 19th-century Genoese Delfino family who originally built the mansion. All rooms have handmade Italian furniture, premium Apivita toiletries for the bath and marble or wood flooring. Most upper-storey suites have balconies of varying sizes; the ground-floor Master Suite has a vaulted ceiling, while the Ottoman Suite has its own hammam. Top choice in all senses is the Presidential Suite, with its private, panoramic roof terrace.

Avli Lounge Apartments

Rethymnon – This Venetian-style property has been sensitively restored with kitsch influence. There are five confectionery-themed suites – think striped cabinet knobs and coloured fabric ‘bon-bons’ sewn onto curtains. The top-storey ‘Candy’ suite is palatial, the walls being pointed stone, plaster, and brick plus original beams around the windows. Three more colour-coded, wood-floored ‘lounge apartments’ await nearby on Minöós, above Avli’s vaulted function/banquet hall. Décor, including antiques, is earth-toned. The most luxurious lounge-apartment quartet is on Arabatzóglou, where the plank-floored ‘Champagne’ suite has ornamental fireplace, antique sofa, and marble-clad bathroom with tub. The pièce de resistance is a roof terrace with whirlpool, open to all guests, allowing big eyefuls of Fortezza castle and the town.

Cressa Ghitonia

Sfaka, Sitia  – This cluster of 15 stone houses has been carefully renovated to resemble an old Cretan village. Cressa Ghitonia is rustic and comfortable, with plenty of Grecian urns, stone walls, fancy ironwork and panoramic views, all centred around a plunge pool. Each of the 15 stone village houses have different layouts. A large daybed and half a dozen sun loungers surround the pool, so this area becomes rapidly crowded. There is a classy little spa in a renovated stone house, with low arches and other original features, which has whirlpool tub and sauna. Massages are available.

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