Relive Crete’s love-in with the Venetians at Serenissima Boutique Hotel, which is set in a 16th-century Venetian townhouse – all arches, exposed brick and wooden beams. An 18th-century Ottoman hammam is currently being readied for modern guests; additional creature comforts come courtesy of the excellent restaurant and romantic rooms, painted in blush-pink and peach hues, with Chania Old Town views. This hotel is as deeply rooted in its location as the olive and lemon trees planted outside its bedrooms.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of sparkling wine, home-made chocolates, and a 10 per cent in the restaurant
Noon; earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £138.96 (€162), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €4.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast.
At the hotel
Courtyard; concierge; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen smart TV and radio, Coco-Mat bed, coffee- and tea-making facilities, minibar, pillow menu, desk, TV, minibar.
Our favourite rooms
Survey Chania’s maze of narrow streets – and the rugged mountains beyond – from the pretty, spacious terrace area that makes the Superior Suite with Terrace top-dog. That being said, each of the romantic rooms has a king-size Coco-Mat bed, exposed brick walls, wooden beams and desks painted in dove grey and pastel pink, so you’ll be happy wherever you wake up.
Mrs Smiths and/or cowboys, take note: Chania’s cobbled streets make heels a no-no. Go easy on the white tops and linen trousers, unless you’re keen to be mistaken for a member of staff.
Make bedtime bespoke by picking from the pillow menu in each room. In-room massages and beauty treatments can be arranged, on request.
Little Smiths are welcome. Babysitting is available (€25 an hour) with three days’ notice. The hotel has on-loan cots, baby bedlinen, highchairs and books. Let staff know if you need an extra bed (€40 a night for under-12s).
Sit out in the courtyard, or nab a table in the alleyway of the old harbour for maximum people-watching.
Acknowledge the waters nearby with deck shoes, pearls and other nautical flourishes.
Open June–October, Serenissima’s restaurant is housed in a vast space styled with polished wooden floors, high ceilings and white-leather chairs clustered around long oak tables. Lunch isn’t served, but dinner comes courtesy of chef Iosif Petroff: expect ambitious, abstract creations and Mediterranean flavours. Pick from three set menus – Earth, Sea or Vegetarian – or play it safe with à la carte. Produce is sourced daily by the chef, who plunders local markets while you’re still snoozing. We’re still dreaming about the roast lamb with seasonal vegetables and just-picked tomatoes…
There’s no bar as such, but guests can enjoy cocktails, drinks and wine tastings (on request) in the restaurant.
Breakfast is on offer until 10.30am; dine between 7.30pm and 11.30pm.
Serenissima offers breakfast in bed and dinner in your room from June until October (7.30am–10.30am; 7.30pm–11pm), with drinks on offer 11am–11pm. When the restaurant is closed, have breakfast in bed or order from the drinks-only menu.
Serenissima enjoys an enviable location in the heart of Chania’s Old Town: 100 metres from the beach; 30 metres from local restaurants and shops.
Chania International Airport is just a half-hour drive away (www.chania-airport.com); the hotel can arrange taxi transfers (€25) or private transfers (€40). Brits can take advantage of British Airway’s direct service to Chania from the UK.
Beachy islands and trains don’t tend to go together.
If you’re driving, just head to Chania. The hotel’s car park is a five-minute walk; give staff a call when you get there and they’ll come to meet you and pick up your luggage.
Should you sensibly decide to gad around the Greek islands by boat, Chania’s old port is just a short stroll from Serenissima.
Worth getting out of bed for
Work on your tan at nearby Elafonissi Beach, known for its turquoise waters and pinkish sand. Obliging staff will happily arrange boat trips,snorkelling, scuba diving and other aquatic adventures nearby. The Yacht Club is a two-minute stroll away, at the old harbour, where you can embark on private expeditions. Discover Chania Old Town, whose lures include a Venetian harbour and historic lighthouse. Shop for gold jewellery, leather goods and other gifts for the folk back home – or each other – in Chania’s artisan boutiques. Learn about the island’s past at Chania Archaeological Museum or the Knossos Minoan Palace. Visit Samariá Gorge, Chania’s beautiful national park, where rare flowers bloom, or go for a stroll in the Botanic Park & Gardens of Crete (take a picnic and a chilled bottle of local white wine with you).
Serenissima’s near neighbour Tamam at Zampeliou 49 is a taverna set on the site of the old Turkish baths (swimwear at dinner: not advised); it’s busy, loud and provides a robust introduction to Chania’s dining scene. Try wild-fennel pie and other Cretan classics at Portes, whose name means ‘door’ (you’ll understand why, when you get there). The restaurant is usually packed with sociable locals; you’ll feel like you’re dining at a dear friend’s house. For succulent seafood and the daily catch, have a meal at To Maridaki on Daskalogianni Street. Try the octopus salad with ginger, crunchy fried calamari and grilled fresh fish (grouper is a favourite).
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this romantic hotel in Crete and unpacked their olive oil and honey-dipped pastries, a full account of their Greek break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Serenissima Boutique Hotel in Chania…
Have a Venetian romance at Serenissima Boutique Hotel in Chania, which throws the Cretan-resort rulebook out the window. It’s not right by the beach (though it’s a close stroll away); instead it’s set in Chania Old Town’s tangle of cobbled streets. Like its location, the hotel is rich in history. Its 16th-century townhouse still bears the stamp of its Venetian occupants: arched windows, exposed brick, wooden beams, cobbles a-go-go. In keeping with the historic romance, rooms are painted in delicate, lovers’ hues: blush pink; pale peach; wistful greys. Not all of the hotel’s charms are ye olde, though. The restaurant is ambitious and modern, with abstract tasting menus called Sea and Earth (NB: the food is outstanding). Massages and beauty treatments can be arranged in rooms; there’s an 18th-century hammam that will soon reopen for 21st-century guests; the hotel is even adding a rooftop pool. At its heart, though, Serenissima Boutique Hotel’s lures are timeless – a generous dose of romance; a generous dose of serenity – and that’s exactly why we love it.