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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


Between the mountains and the Mediterranean, hotel Paradise Island Villas is a family-friendly stay in Crete, right outside Anissaras. Terracotta-tiled floors and bougainvillea-lined walls belie the minimalist aesthetic inside, where earth tones, neutral hues and classical furniture predominate. The private gardens, though, are all decadence.

Smith Extra

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

Bottle of Cretan wine and a hamper of local produce


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Paradise Island Villas – Crete – Greece

Need To Know


12 villas.


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


Double rooms from $394.26 (€359), excluding tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 0.5% per room per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (€9.50 each for Continental).


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

Hotel closed

November to April.

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…).


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.


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


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


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

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Food and 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 4:30pm; dinner is 7pm until 10:30pm. The bar shuts at midnight.

Room service

Order food from the à la carte menu from 9am to 4:30pm and from 7pm to 10:30pm. Drinks can be ordered anytime from 9am to 10:30pm.

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 (, or tee off over at the local 18-hole golf course ( 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.

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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.


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.


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


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 (


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


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Paradise Island Villas – Crete – Greece
Paradise Island Villas
Paradise Island Villas Anissaras, Hersonissos Crete 70014 Crete Greece

Anonymous review

by , Epicurean word-slinger

Rating: 10/10 stars
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…
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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 have to say about Paradise Island Villas in the Guestbook below…


Stayed on

We loved

We loved everything. Paradise Island, words cannot describe how beautiful, peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable it was, the list goes on and on. My wife and I were mind blown, the place is exactly as what you see on the website it was too good to be true, we were so pleased that we are now planning a bigger family trip next year 2017 (finger cross). We've been to so many places in Europe and nothing comes close to Paradise Island so far. One of the key factors that make this place amazing is the staff, from the day we arrived, we were treated like celebrities, they were so welcoming and friendly, and it truly felt like paradise. We recommend the tour train, it take you around the local area/villages/tourist attraction.

Don’t expect

Loved Everything.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The service and the staff. Ten out of 10.

Don’t expect

Always perfect breakfasts.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

Gorgeous villa, our own plunge pool and garden, comfy sun loungers by the pool, great service and attentive staff.

Don’t expect

Kids' club, quiet beach nearby.

Rating: 8/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

All the staff give 100 per cent service 100 per cent of the time.

Don’t expect

Some of the villas are on three different levels with a drop next to the steps. If you've got an unsteady toddler this can be difficult. The two Paradise Villas have less levels so are more suited to babies on the move.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

It's not often you go to a place and find nothing to complain or whinge about! Paradise island Villas was one of those places. It does what it says on the tin - it is 'Paradise Island'. The concept of having your own private villa with all the amenities of a hotel - large swimming pools, bar and restaurant and amazing staff to look after you - have us hooked. The villa itself was spacious and well appointed (thanks to Mr Mrs Smith and we were upgraded) and the outdoor areas by the pool had plenty of seating and loungers to satisfy sun worshippers and those who wanted to find shade. Eleni and Paul who ran the front of house, were always available to make recommendations on places to see, short drives to take and just as important, places one might want to avoid. Eleni even organised a tennis coach to come and give lessons as no one else was mad enough to play in the blazing heat!

Rating: 10/10 stars