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Hotel Highlights

  • The hotel’s historic village and natural beauty
  • Total privacy – each bedroom in its own building
  • Sandy beaches just a 10-minute drive away

Overview

Kapsaliana Village Hotel’s history-steeped settlement, set in the island’s largest olive grove, has an 18th-century olive press and its own museum. The original press and pitharia (clay storage vessels) can still be admired and there’s a homely restaurant and a flower-flanked outdoor pool. Rooms are soothingly simple: stone interiors and arches.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Kapsaliana Village Hotel with us:

A bottle of champagne, and a free dinner for members staying three nights or more

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

17, including seven suites.

Check–out

12pm (flexible subject to availability). Earliest check-in, 12pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $153.10 (€123), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates include traditional breakfast.

Also

The rather important-sounding Ministry of Planning and Public Works has pronounced the hotel a site of ‘significant cultural importance’, and no wonder: the lounge is built around the original olive press and there’s even a little museum, stocked with artifacts.

At the hotel

Gardens, mountain bikes, CD/DVD library and free WiFi in reception, the restaurant, the lounge area and by the pool. In-rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, minibar and free bottled water.

Our favourite rooms

All rooms share the same distinctive decor: stone walls, floors and arches, wooden beamed ceilings, chunky wooden furniture including carved benches beside the beds; with private terraces and bathrooms boasting turquoise and jade tiled showers. What distinguishes the living quarters are the views; Orion has seductive seascapes, as does Pegasus. If you’re a fan of the characteristic stone arches that separate the bedrooms and living areas, book Perseus or Lyra.

Poolside

The rectangular pool is set amid the olive groves, on a pretty white stone patio. Vivid flowering shrubs, sunloungers and parasols are dotted around the turquoise water.

Packing tips

Cool cotton, bikinis and beach shorts, a paperback copy of Homer’s Odyssey.

Also

Give the owners advance warning, and pets can come too for free. Smoking is allowed in all communal areas apart from the restaurant.

Children

Little Smiths are welcome, with free cots and beds for 14 year olds and under (€20 a day, high season; €15, low season).

Eco‐friendly

Food is locally sourced and organic; everything that can be is recycled and the village’s restoration relied on natural, local materials.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

The restaurant is styled around a typical Cretan kitchen, with wooden tables and chairs, white arched walls and bright tapestries. Chef Maria finds out guests’ culinary leanings, and cooks a simple set menu based on their preferences. Food is organic, locally sourced and simply delicious (literally), with dishes such as lamb with artichokes, chicken with lemon and olives, meat pie with wild herbs and delicate sugared pastries. A relaxed breakfast is served here daily.

Hotel Bar

During the restaurant’s opening hours, drinks are served in the lounge area. The zingy home-made lemonade is worth being teetotal for. There's an honesty bar of sorts by the pool, stocked with drinks and ice-creams. You can also use the pool bar's telephone to have food brought to you.

Last orders

Breakfast from 8.30am–11am; lunch between 1pm–3.30pm; dine between 7pm and 10pm.

Room service

Drinks can be ordered from 9am and 7pm. There are no in-room snacks but you can stock up on nibbles from the pool bar.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Relaxed rustic: loose linen, soft shirts and heel-free shoes for the uneven floors.

Top table

Sit out on the terrace and feel the sun on your skin.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Begin by making the most of the hotel; have a dip in the secluded pool, dry off on one of the loungers and ramble through the olive groves. Visit the hotel’s museum and eye up the artifacts. Make an appearance at one of the regular wood-turning and pottery demonstrations, and ask the concierge to book you on some guided excursions. The 14th-century Eastern Orthodox monastery of Arkadi is 4km from the hotel and is rich in history – used as a headquarters in the 19th century by Cretan rebels evading the Turks. The surrounding villages have a stash of Byzantine relics. Sandy beaches are just 10 minutes away by car – choose from Stavromenos and Geropotamos. Both come with sun beds, parasols and a taverna or two. Visit Rethymnon and its Venetian fortress, 18km away. The gardens, mosques, castle and loggia are all impressive. Chania, on Crete’s north shore (an hour’s drive from Rethymnon) is worth a visit for its glorious Venetian architecture, backdrop of the White Mountains and seductive sandy beaches. At least one Bounty advert was filmed at Via beach, in Agios Nikolaos – stake out a spot on the stretch of sand and make your own movie.

Local restaurants

Because of the hotel’s secluded setting, local hotspots are a drive away (but not a long one). It’s worth visiting the taverns at Amnatos, Kyrianna, Loutro or Stavromenos, all 8km from the hotel. Try the creative cuisine at Avli (+30 28310 26213) at 22 Xanthoudidou and Radamanthios in Rethymnon’s old town. The gourmet restaurant and wine bar serves up enticing nibbles and mains, including fresh mushrooms with smoked pork and creamy butter, lamb with traditional rice and fig pie with vanilla ice cream. Castelvecchio (+30 28310 55163) is a popular family run taverna next to a Venetian fortress at 29 Himaras. Try the kleftico cooked with love by the owner’s father. Chania is an hour and a half away, but it has some great options, including Tamam (+30 28210 96080) is housed in an old Turkish bath house at 49 Zambeliou, by the old harbour. Culinary offerings are a fusion of Middle Eastern and Greek food. Close by at 8 Platia Katehaki is Karnagio (+30 28210 53366), a traditional restaurant with a scenic harbour-side location. Work up an appetite for the grilled meat platters, boureki (zucchini and sheep’s cheese pie) and generous peasant-style salads, heaped with feta.

+ Enlarge
Amid the olive groves

Kapsaliana Village Hotel

Kapsaliana - Municipality of Arkadi, Rethymnon, 74100

Planes

Heraklion airport is 65km from the hotel.

Automobiles

Rethymnon is a half-hour drive away.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Sarah Jappy , Wordsmith wondergirl at Mr & Mrs Smith

It’s a sizzling day in Crete. We’re hot, we’re sweating and Mr Smith is muttering obscenities in my ear. If I’m conjuring scenes from a Greek-themed skin flick, the reality is far from Debbie Does Delphi – we’re not even at Kapsaliana Village Hotel yet, let alone in a romantic clinch. We’re down a dead end, stuck in our hire car. On a bend, facing a w…
Read more

Kapsaliana Village Hotel

Anonymous review by Sarah Jappy, Wordsmith wondergirl

It’s a sizzling day in Crete. We’re hot, we’re sweating and Mr Smith is muttering obscenities in my ear. If I’m conjuring scenes from a Greek-themed skin flick, the reality is far from Debbie Does Delphi – we’re not even at Kapsaliana Village Hotel yet, let alone in a romantic clinch. We’re down a dead end, stuck in our hire car. On a bend, facing a wall, next to an old lady’s house. Said old lady is toothlessly shouting and clapping sarcastically. Through the window I can make out her moustache but not her words. She looks older than time, but from her incredulous rage, it’s clear that in her 1,000-odd years she’s never encountered anything as ridiculous as us.

I confess this is not the first time my navigating has got us in trouble on foreign turf. As Mr Smith winds down the window and begs for mercy, I wince at recollections of that veering lorry on a motorway near Cannes; a miserable midnight rain-lashed drive through Copenhagen; that looping, lawless search for a châteaux in the Dordogne. We’re no stranger to the scenic route when seeking out a boutique hotel, and it was inevitable that in rural Arkadi, on our way to Kapsaliana Village Hotel, we’d have an ‘adventure’. Some couples have a third party endanger their relationships. We just need a road.

I’m stirred from my reverie by an unexpected sight: the crone smiling. She mimes knocking back a drink, and stabs a finger to the right. Mr Smith translates: we must summon help from over there, where the men-folk are drinking. We arrive at the taverna, gate-crashing the village lunch date. Throwing dignity to the wind, we stand before the locals, grinning idiotically, reeking of tourism and re-enacting our predicament.

In the interests of us getting to Kapsaliana, I’ll speed things up. Two hours pass thus: Costas, the taverna owner, calls the man with the tractor (he’s out on his tractor); Mr Smith talks to Avis on his phone; Mr Smith shouts at Avis on Costas’ phone; the villagers (children included) volunteer to lift the car; Mr Smith, mindful of insurance, nervously declines; a local Adonis is dispatched by Avis; Adonis rides the car like a bucking bronco, and reverses it – with a few terrifying false starts – to safety. I drink raki with Costas and toast the Adonis. Mr Smith ages rapidly. We bid the locals goodbye and drive off with a grinding of gears.

‘I thought the hotel was up this road,’ I tell Mr Smith cheerily as we pull up outside Kapsaliana Village Hotel. (It was the raki talking.) If it wasn’t for the trailing flowers, sea views and sense of calm working its magic on a gibbering Mr Smith, I might be writing this from the grave. Luckily, I see him visibly soften as he takes in our hillside surroundings: lemon and lime trees, fragrant herb bushes and verdant olive groves. The smell of grilled meat wafts across the courtyard, and we hear the clink of cutlery and the gentle murmur of guests lingering over their food. Our Crete hideaway all feels very un-hotel like, until a young girl walks towards us, smiles, and utters the magic words: ‘Welcome to Kapsaliana.’

Moments later, we’re walking with our guide, Agnes, to our room. We dip under a stone arch and into a lantern-lit village – for Kapsaliana Village Hotel is exactly that: a boutique hotel fleshed out around the bones of a village, with an 18th-century olive press at its heart. Traditional Cretan houses hewn from nougat-coloured stone are clustered around the former press, adorned with little courtyards, Venetian vaults and stone staircases. The layout is far from the hotel norm: more sprawling, more independent, more private, and infinitely more relaxing. We’re staying in the first house, Izar – each room is named after a star or planet. Soon we’re throwing open a heavy wooden door and admiring the seductive simplicity that greets us: whitewashed walls, farmhouse furniture, a bed graced with sprigs of lavender and rosemary, a wood-burning fire, and a cosy bathroom, stocked with olive-oil unguents.

The best bit of our Crete retreat is outside: a private terrace. There we scuttle with some in-room spoils: dates and loukoumi (a Greek take on Turkish delight), and a vial of raki. A few tots of liquor later (well, the entire bottle to be exact – Mr Smith has residual driving tension), and we’re convinced that a dip in the pool is a good idea. (Please don’t try this at home.) Clad in bikini and beach shorts respectively, we tipsily wend our way to the peaceful pool, set amid the verdant olive groves. Thankfully, we’re the only ones indulging in a nocturnal splash, so there’s nobody to witness our boozy bathing. The cold water soon sobers us up, as does the realisation that there’s food close by and we’re yet to taste it.

Back on dry land and dressed for dinner, we head to the restaurant which is celebrated for its simple, organic cuisine; set apart from the rooms, it's in a stone building that also houses the reception and lounge. We eye up the crackling fire in the latter, but opt for a table beneath the pergola on the restaurant’s flower-graced, lantern-lit terrace. Meals here are taverna-style, free from fuss and formality, and it’s clear that this luxe-for-less lodging’s relaxed magnificence continues in the kitchen; memorable dishes include meltingly soft courgette patties with minty yoghurt, olive cakes with a salty, treacly filling, a zingy salad with sour apple and crispy onions, kebabs with all the trimmings, and ice-cream splintered with shards of chocolate.

Meandering back to our room later, we encounter our hire car. Through the wine haze I stiffen, and dart my eyes nervously at Mr Smith. He reaches forward and pats the bonnet affectionately. He glows; he has forgotten. In that moment, the success of our Greek holiday is sealed.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Kapsaliana Village Hotel's Guestbook below.

 

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The ambiance created by knowing that you are in an old village including olive oil mill, that has been creatively extended and renovated, is absolutely amazing. The dcor is provincial, but quite simple and very comfortable. The honesty bar down by the pool is a nice touch, and the pool itself is set in a lovely rustic setting surrounded by fruit trees and herbs. Alfresco dining on the terrace was fabulous as was the food! The head chef is a proactive member of the slow food movement in Crete and subsequently all of our meals were prepared using the freshest of local ingredients.

Don’t expect

I would've liked better directions on how to locate the village, it wasn't easy the first time!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the uniqueness of this village hotel – inspired by the Cretan owner architect who has made this small hotel into a place of relaxation and quality.

Don’t expect

I think the signage to the hotel could be better.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We liked the peace and quiet, the beautiful setting and the staff were courteous but friendly. If you check out the photos on the hotel's web site - it really does look like that! I couldn't fault it - it's not the cheapest of hotels, but you do get what you pay for. 

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff was wonderful, the food was excellent, the rooms were cozy and the fireplace made it all come together nicely. The history of the property, an abandoned olive oil mill once owned by the nearby monastery and now totally restored and beautiful, was fascinating. The views of the surrounding countryside are stunning and in the distance is the ocean.

Don’t expect

A spa would've been better, although I understand a hammam is planned.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I stayed at Kapsalina for one week in July. I loved the hotel! The staff were very helpful and friendly, the food was excellent and the hotel was beautifully laid out. The rooms were spacious and clean and the pool area was very chilled and I loved the honesty bar. It is very quiet and secluded and a great place to chill. You definitely need a car and I would advise you to bring a GPS!

Don’t expect

Nothing could be better.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the super friendly staff, to whom nothing was too much trouble, as well as the peace and quiet when relaxing around the pool. The recommendations of what to do from the reception team were great, and Bali Beach is a winner if you've got young children.

Don’t expect

The lunch and dinner menu is a bit limited for younger family member.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Fantastic hotel, wonderfully quiet location, great staff and generously sized rooms. The gardens and pool area are excellent. Perfect for a relaxing few days in the sun. Exceptional value for money.

Don’t expect

Nothing.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Impeccable staff and service, individual rooms, peace and flowers.

Don’t expect

The sense of privacy in our room (Hydra) and terrace: there was an adjoining door through which we could hear people next door, and we were also sometimes aware of them upstairs. They also had a small window that overlooked our terrace. We also had two gates off our own terrace; one was used as our route to the public area via two other terraces. These were the new rooms, and for that reason I would suggest the older rooms might offer more privacy, although I don't know that for sure!

Rating: 9/10 stars