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Hotel Highlights

  • Private, personal service with staff who are experts of the area
  • Spacious villa suites enhanced with pools and gardens
  • A taste of real, rustic Crete, close to villages, mountains and the sea

Overview

The family-friendly Paradise Island Villas are scattered between the mountains and Mediterranean, just outside Anissaras. Terracotta tiles and bougainvillea-clad walls lead the way to the earthy interiors of ivory-hued, minimalist design. Outside, private gardens have their own pools, dining areas and Jacuzzi jets.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Paradise Island Villas with us:

Bottle of Cretan wine and a hamper of local produce

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Paradise Island Villas

Exclusive Summer Offer 2014: 15% off

Facilities

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Paradise Island Villas – Crete – Greece

Need To Know

Rooms

12 villas.

Check–out

11am, but flexible at no cost if there’s availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $479.03 (€356), excluding tax at 11 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (€8.50 each for Continental).

Also

Spa treatments have been developed using traditional home-made recipes; select one and have it in the privacy of your villa’s garden.

At the hotel

Gym, tennis court, playground, book/DVD library and free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, free bottled water, microwave, PC, fridge and coffee maker.

Our favourite rooms

The villas with views are the ones to go for (Executive, Paradise and Superior). They’re all named in mythological terms so pick your hero (Zeus, Aphrodite, Poseidon…).

Poolside

There are two outdoor pools, surrounded by palm trees and linen deck chairs.

Packing tips

More than a modesty-preserving leaf is required. Try your slinkiest swimwear, sarongs and soft linens instead.

Also

Lightweight pets (under 5kg only) are allowed. Guests can smoke in any of the outdoor areas.

Children

Cots and extra beds are free. Babysitting costs €15 an hour. There are tennis courts and a children’s playground in the grounds.

Read more

Pet‐friendly

Lightweight pets (under 5kg only) are allowed free of charge.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Ambrosia dishes up Mediterranean cuisine with a few Greek enhancements here and there. You can’t beat the catch of the day, grilled and served with roasted vegetables. There’s also locally reared lamb to look out for, and make sure you leave room for the loukoumades (a doughnut-like dessert with honey and ice-cream). The room is bright, with decorative ladders hanging on the walls. The poolside restaurant is mostly outside, so expect a light and airy setting, with views of the mountains in the distance. Poolside barbecues happen every week.

Hotel Bar

The ultra-modern poolside bar is decked out with hanging stainless steel lights and azure-coloured sidelighting to match the turquoise water. Try the local wines and champagne punch. It’s chilled out to the max (in fact, watch the soothing Greek sounds don’t send you to sleep).

Last orders

Leisurely breakfasts take place between 9am and 12pm; lunch is served between 12pm and 5pm; dinner is 7pm until 11pm. The bar shuts at midnight.

Room service

Breakfast, lunch and drinks can be ordered from 9am up until 7pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

The temperature rises around here: floaty and feminine for Mrs Smith, crisp cotton for Mr Smith.

Top table

Base your preference on proximity to the pool – close up to see the swimmers, or splash-proof at the back.

Local Guide

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

Worth getting out of bed for

Head into the traditional villages nearby for some Cretan culture; we’re fans of Koutouloufari, Old Hersonissos and Piskopiano, all between 3km and 5km of the hotel. Set off on horseback to canter through the olive groves (www.hersonissos-horse-riding.com), or tee off over at the local 18-hole golf course (www.crete-golf.com). The nearest beach is a 10-minute walk away.

Local restaurants

Visit Koutouloufari for evening entertainment fixes – it’s packed out with restaurants, taverns and bars, plus shops to pick up puddings. Veggera (+30 28970 21491) is particularly good for Greek tapas, and there are lots of other traditional taverns around the village square.

+ Enlarge
Cretan paradise found

Paradise Island Villas

Anissaras, Hersonissos, Crete, 70014

The hotel is in a residential area, just outside Anissaras, and close to Heraklion, the island capital and main air hub.

Planes

Nikos Kazantzakis International, just outside the island capital of Heraklion, is 23km from Paradise Island Villas. It’s served by direct international flights as well as connecting domestic routes from Athens International, Elefthérios Venizélos airport.

Trains

Cretan locomotives exist only on the internet, as spoofs for naïve tourists; buses and ferries are the get-around transport of choice here.

Automobiles

As with most Greek islands, the roads of Crete are not for the faint-hearted, characterized by hairpin bends, cliff drops and narrow carriageways. That said, the main routes run west-east, rather than north-south, so if you want to explore the north coast from your base at Anissaras, hiring wheels will increase your options. KTEL Buses run between Heraklion and Sitia in the north-east, via Hersonissos (www.bus-service-crete-ktel.com).

Other

Blue Star Ferries (www.bluestarferries.gr) and Minoan Lines (www.minoan.gr) both run overnight car and passenger services to Heraklion, leaving the main Athens port of Piraeus nightly during summer months; also try Superfast.com. Anendyk Maritime runs hop-on, hop-off ferries between ports along the south coast from Paleochora to Sfakia (www.anendyk.gr).

Reviews

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Paradise Island Villas – Crete – Greece

Anonymous review

by Daven Wu , Epicurean word-slinger

Is it a cliché that, on my first trip to Greece, I am dancing Zorba the Greek in a dining room of our hotel with a group of complete strangers? Probably, but I’m having so much fun it’s hard to care. Eleni – general manager, party hostess and all round cheerleader at the Paradise Island Villas – is busy working the playlist on the iPod while, Paul, her deputy put…
Read more

Paradise Island Villas

Anonymous review by Daven Wu, Epicurean word-slinger

Is it a cliché that, on my first trip to Greece, I am dancing Zorba the Greek in a dining room of our hotel with a group of complete strangers? Probably, but I’m having so much fun it’s hard to care.

Eleni – general manager, party hostess and all round cheerleader at the Paradise Island Villas – is busy working the playlist on the iPod while, Paul, her deputy puts us through the paces. ‘Left, right, left, right!’ The woman to my left, M from New York, whispers, ‘Oh my God, he’s gorgeous!’ I hope her husband on her left can’t hear over the quickening beat of the blaring music. I turn to Mr Smith and yell, ‘I can’t believe we’re in Crete!’

Rewind. When I was eight, I was given one of those dinky Ladybird children’s books for Christmas. It was about an island called Crete and it had amazing pictures of an austere throne-room in a palace called Knossos that was filled with paintings of gorgeous Minoan ladies with huge curly hair, and lithe youth somersaulting over bulls. The book said Knossos was 4,000 years old. I was endlessly impressed. When you’re eight, any number over ten is old. We moved houses, and the book got lost, but I never forgot those images and the thrilling sense of this other, ancient world. Even the name 'Crete' held a magical quality. Which explains why when Mr Smith idly suggested we spend Easter in Greece this year, my immediate response was that I wanted to go to Crete.

The omniscient reach of the Mr & Mrs Smith website threw up Paradise Island Villas. With just 12 double-storey, self-contained villas, each with a private plunge pool, it sounded like the perfect getaway. For the next couple of months, I peppered the lovely Eleni with emails. How should I get to Crete from Athens? Could she organise a rental car? Should I fly to our next stop Santorini? How much would it cost for a car pick up from the airport? What was the weather like?

The woman was unflappably relaxed and cheerful. And she seemed to know everything there is to know about Crete. When we finally met, I blinked, because she was a dead ringer for one of those Minoan ladies, right down to the abundance of curly tresses. ‘I’ve upgraded you,’ she announced in flawless English. ‘Your villa has two bedrooms upstairs, two bathrooms, a dining room, living room, kitchen, and a big backyard with the pool, so it’s a big space. It’s perfect for a family, but you’ll love it.’

As it turned out, the villa was a little too big for the two of us. We spent a lot of time clattering around the different levels, calling out, ‘Where are you? Can you bring down the camera? I can’t be bothered going back upstairs.’ It quickly became clear why Paradise Island is so popular with families. Styled a little half-heartedly like a show-flat, the villas are low-key and laid-back in a way that is almost rough and ready. Even the resort’s location – in the midst of a suburban row of residential houses – is no-frills. Which explains why the view from our bedroom was a mix of distant mountains, vast swathes of natural scrubland, and the backyards and garages of neighbouring residents.

One afternoon, while playing tennis, we saw a family pull into the parking lot and unload bags of groceries. ‘They’re English and they booked their holiday with Mr & Mrs Smith,’ Eleni said, completely unaware of our secret identities. ‘This is their second visit and they say they are coming back in August. They just love the freedom to do what they want. They can cook in their villa, they can order room service, their kids can run around. It’s a real holiday for them!’

And Paradise Island certainly lacks little in the way of facilities to keep its guests entertained. Besides the hardcourt tennis area that adjoins the garden of a kindly old gent who turned out to be the owner of the resort, there’s also a small gym, a large pool that fronts the deep comfy sofas of the lanai, and a smaller more private pool nestled among the villas.

But it’s the staff that gives the resort its welcoming warmth. M’s husband celebrated his birthday with a surprise chocolate birthday cake. And it was Eleni who staged the impromptu after-dinner dance of Ibiza hits and Zorba the Greek to mark the occasion. In the end, her unflagging energy was a boon. Unerringly, she advised us on everything from which table to book at the restaurant on the harbour and which little village to visit, to where we should park in the port and the quickest route to Knossos.

‘It’s a pity it’s still too cold for the beach, but the next time you come, I can recommend a different beach to go to each day!’ she said proudly on our last day as we were checking out. ‘Different type of sand, different colour of the sea, different crowd,’ she added, giving Mr Smith and me a penetrating knowing look.

Mr Smith and I laughed about this in the taxi all the way to the port for the ferry that would take us to our next stop, Santorini. ‘I really can’t believe we’re in Crete,’ I repeated.

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 Paradise Island Villas's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We have a young son and everything we needed for him (stair gates, monitor, cutlery, ball and even a bucket and spade) was provided: we couldn't have felt more welcome. Eleni and Paul were really helpful in arranging everything, advising on the local area and were fantastic with our son as well so he was totally spoilt! It is a really child-friendly place but still retains a boutique, grown-up feel. The villas are lovely, the communal pools are gorgeous and the room service option is great. The area itself isn't particularly special but there are plenty of lovely beaches and towns or villages within a short drive. Eleni and Paul provide brilliant recommendations. I would definitely recommend it whether you have children or not, but particularly if you have young kids yet still want a grown-up, luxury holiday!

Don’t expect

The only improvement would be to have a heated pool.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the excellent quality service. Villas are fantastic and the grounds immaculate. The maids do a brilliant job of cleaning the entire villa every day at time to suit you. The food was really good, and the wines nice. Every member of staff couldn't do enough for you. It was a really superb holiday where both the adults and child were made to feel very special.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

A fabulous hotel with a real emphasis on outstanding customer service. Gorgeous villas with everything you could possibly need, delicious food from the restaurant and fantastic staff that always want to go the extra mile to accommodate. Eleni and Pol are on hand at all times to offer advice on trips, restaurants, beaches etc. and the rest of the staff are equally as friendly and helpful. A restful stay in a stunning location. Perfect!

Don’t expect

A slightly more powerful hairdryer would be good but I really am being picky, everything was so great!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I really liked the villa with our own pool, the tennis court and the fact we could eat in the restaurant without getting in the car.

Don’t expect

I would have liked another walk-in shower as only one bathroom had one.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

What an amazing place for holidays. We spent a week there with our four- and five-year-old boys and it is a perfect place for a family holiday. The first great surprise when we arrived was a villa upgrade (from Executive to Paradise). The villa and garden are extremely spacious, gorgeous and well equipped. There were beach toys and inflatables for the boys as well as a baby gate fitted at the top of the stairs. The staff is very professional and welcoming, always making sure that you are having a relaxing time (and they are all amazing with the kids as well). As for the restaurant, the food is very nice with a good selection for both adults and little ones. The highlight definitely was the Greek barbecue: we all loved it and clearly ate far too much! We booked a babysitter for one evening and we were very happy with the service. Finally, as our flights were late at night we were allowed late check out (very late actually, 6 pm) without any extra charges. All in all, one of the best family holiday we ever had. Because there are only 12 villas, there is this very special atmosphere: most of the time you just feel as if you had the whole place for yourself! The only advice I could give is that you will need to rent a car, especially if you are travelling with little ones. The main beach is a short drive away but I wouldn't do the walk on a very hot day; plus, we actually preferred going to the small beaches (which are only a five-minute drive from the hotel) rather than the big one as we thought they were much prettier (the main big beach would be lovely if it weren't for the huge number of massive hotels facing it).

Rating: 10/10 stars