Updated: November 23, 2017
Crete Hotels – Tips and Recommendations
- Where To Stay in Crete: My favorite towns in Crete are Chania (beautiful, romantic, charming) and Agios Nikolaos (beautiful, relaxing, less expensive). Rethymnon is a less-polished, less touristy version of Chania. Elounda is a high-end version of Agios Nikolaos. Heraklion is a little gritty, less idyllic, but definitely worth a visit. Knossos (just outside Heraklion) is the top historical site on the island.
- Elafonisi (a 90 minute drive from Chania) is the best beach on Crete and one of my favorite beaches anywhere.
- Best Hotel in Chania: Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa
- Best Hotel in Heraklion: GDM Megaron Hotel
- Best Hotel in Rethymnon: Caramel Grecotel Boutique Resort
- Best Hotel in Elounda: Elounda Beach Hotel
- Best Hotel in Agios Nikolaos: Mantraki Hotel Apartments (great budget hotel with large family rooms)
- The best restaurants in Crete are Chrisostomos (Chania), Tamam (Chania), Avli (Rethymnon), Kastella (Heraklion), and To Karnagio (Agios Nikolaos).
- Recommended Tours: Hiking Tour of Samaria Gorge (great for transportation and pickup from Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda) • Street Stories of Chania (walking tour of the charming Old Town) • Heraklion Bites and Sights Walking Tour (Heraklion is a great town if you know where to go) • Full Day Tour to Santorini (hotel pickup from Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, or Elounda; you’ll get about 6 hours on Santorini to explore)
Chania – Best Hotels
Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa – Chania (Old Town)
Beautifully restored, individually decorated 24 room/suite, boutique hotel housed in a 17th century Venetian mansion with handmade Italian furniture, white marble bathrooms, ipod docking stations and mini-bars. Suites add lounge areas, sofas that convert to single beds, jacuzzis (some) and balconies overlooking the courtyard/old town. Upgraded suites can be split-level, have bigger/deluxe jacuzzis, sofa beds, dressing rooms etc. The Ottoman Suite has an authentic marble hamam while the top-end Presidential Suite has a private panoramic roof terrace with harbour & sea views. Within easy walking distance of the beach & the main harbour. Hotel Phone: +30 28210 87400.
Domus Renier Boutique Hotel – Chania (Old Town)
Stunning, individually decorated 9 room/suite, townhouse boutique hotel with designer furniture, hydro-massage showers, Espresso coffee machines, mini-bars, libraries (some) and sweeping sea/harbour/alley & lighthouse views. Junior suites have furnished balconies and outdoor jacuzzis, while high-end suites have lofts, painted ceilings, bathtubs with hydro-masssage, rain showers with chromotherapy etc. Close to many restaurants and bars. Hotel Phone: +30 2821088806.
Serenissima Boutique Hotel – Chania (Old Town)
Miminalistic, lovely 7 room/suite boutique hotel housed in a a 16th century Venetian manor featuring parquet floors, open stonework/exposed brick walls, high ceilings with wooden beams, cement sealed bathtubs, eco mattresses, complimentary room services, mini-bars & refrigerators. Upgraded rooms add coffee & tea making facilities while upgraded suites add lounge areas with sofa beds, private furnished terraces and the top-end split-level suite has a large outdoor terrace with mountain views. Has a restaurant and a wine bar. Hotel Phone: +30 2821086386.
Rethymnon – Best Hotels
Avli Lounge Apartments – Rethymnon (Old Town)
Romantic all-suite property set in Venetian-era buildings (Venetian arches, antiques) featuring a total of 12 individually decorated, delightful, character-filled lounge apartments & suites with antique fireplaces and fittings, carved sofas, jacuzzi bathtubs, iron artwork/hand-painted beds, refrigerators, glass wardrobes. Top-end apartments add balconies, while the colorful/spirited candy suites (with names like cookie, brownie, jelly) have elements like antique chairs, handmade pillows, canopy beds. Hotel phone: +30 2831058250/26213.
Veneto Boutique Hotel – Rethymnon (Old Town)
Exqusitie boutique hotel set in a restored 14th century Benedictine monastery amid the narrow alleys of the historical centre, with 12 medieval-like, luxury suites with beds tucked under stone arches, wood/teracotta flooring, beamed ceilings, sofa beds, private balconies. Upgraded suites add private verandahs and handmade orthopedic mattresses. Has a great on-site restaurant and wine cellar. Hotel Phone: +30 28310 56634.
Casa Vitae – Rethymnon (Old Town)
Picture-perfect, renovated old Venetian castle house with 8 historical, Venetian-style luxury rooms & suites featuring exposed stone work, four poster beds, refrigerators, mini-bars, balconies/juliet balconies, jacuzzi bathtubs, and courtyard views. Suites add sitting areas. The old town centre is a few minutes walk away. Hotel Phone: + 30 2831035058.
Grecotel Creta Palace – Rethymnon
Massive family-friendly beachfront resort with a great range of elegant, bright guestrooms, suites, bungalows, 2-storey maisonettes & traditional villas, with stone/wooden floors, handcrafted furnitured balconies/terraces, mini-bars (on request), refrigerators and garden/sea views. Maisonettes and family bungalows have colorful kid’s bedrooms and suites feature hand carved furniture, sofa beds, gardens with private pools. The top-end beachfront villas have private plunge pools, jacuzzi bathtubs, large terraces with pergolas. Resort boasts a fantastic sky bar restaurant. Hotel Phone: +30 2831055181.
Heraklion – Best Hotels
Aquila Atlantis Hotel – Heraklion
Large, cosmpolitan hotel with spacious, modern rooms and suites with mini-bars & coffee/tea facilities with city or unobstructed harbour views. Upgraded rooms add balconies while suites add deep spa tubs and living spaces. Has 2 pools, spa, restaurant and lounge bar. The city center, bus station, and the ferry port are within walking distance. Hotel Phone: +30 2810229103.
GDM Megaron Hotel – Heraklion
Overlooking the harbour, this sophisticated hotel offers stylish rooms and suites with wooden floors, high ceilings, contemporary furniture, bathtubs (some), mini-bars, tea/coffee facilities, complimentary buffet breakfast and balconies with city/sea views. Top-end suites have jacuzzis. The city center, bus station, ferry port, and the Archaeological and Historical Museum are within walking distance. Hotel Phone: +30 2810305300.
Lato Boutique Hotel – Heraklion
Set right above the old harbour overlooking the Koules fortress, this boutique hotel has modern rooms and suites with mini-bars and bathtubs (some). Upgraded rooms have sea views and balconies/verandahs with panoramic sea & fortress views, while suites add sitting areas. Upgraded suites have jacuzzi bathtubs. Good location a short walk away from the ferry port, bus station, city center, and museums. Hotel Phone: +30 2810228103.
Olive Green Hotel – Heraklion
Modern, eco-friendly hotel with minimalistic rooms featuring vivid digital art, mini-bars, laptop-sized safes, in-room tablets (with apps) and city/park views. Upgraded rooms have balconies and club rooms sport large furnished terraces. Short walk away from ferry port, museums, central market, and city center. Hotel Phone: +30 2810302900.
Elounda – Best Hotels
Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort – Elounda
Family-friendly, sprawling resort with 8 restaurants, gardens, private beach, 9-hole golf course. Offering yachts to charter, scuba diving, soccer camp, water sports, tennis, shopping and even church, this is the ultimate one stop resort in Crete. Resort features sea view rooms, suites, and villas with mini-bars & marble bathrooms. Sea view rooms have furnished private balconies while the next category adds sitting areas and furnished terraces with direct access to shared pools. Top-end rooms have sea & golf course views and terraces with private seawater pools. Suites add living spaces & follow the same classification. Villas have living rooms with bars & dining areas and private gardens with seawater pools. Hotel Phone: +30 2841068000.
Elounda Peninsula All Suites Hotel – Elounda
All-suite hotel overlooking the bay featuring suites and residences with a yacht-like ambience with mini-bars, marble bathrooms with tubs, private balconies and spectacular sea views. Upgraded suites add furnished terraces with private heated seawater plunge pools. Also has beachfront suites, villas with lovely furnished gardens and presidential waterfront villas with kitchenettes. Basic seaside residences have unobstructed sea views, surround sound, whirlpool tubs, sauna, massage rooms and private indoor pools while upgraded residences add kitchens & more. Suites with sea & pool views are recommended. Hotel Phone: +30 2841068250.
Elounda Mare Hotel – Elounda
Chic resort with 3 types of properties ranging from sea view rooms & suites to bungalows with private pools and royalty suites with private pools. Rooms & suites have vibrant decor, marble bathrooms with tubs, mini-bars and private balconies/terraces while the home-style bungalows add antiques and small private gardens. Top-end suites feature exposed stone and woodwork and panoramic sea views. Hotel Phone: +30 2841068200.
Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas – Elounda
Spectacular waterfront hotel with a lavish, contemporary, staggering accommodation range – sea view rooms with shared pools, sea view/waterfront/island suites, and luxury bungalows with private temperature controlled swimming/whirlpool pools, to name a few. Basic rooms have balconies with bay views and in-bathroom tv & music, and bungalows have jacuzzi bathtubs & private terraces/gardens, heated floors & remote controlled mattresses (some). Top-end, super-luxurious yatching villas have outstanding features such as 3 decks, leather-coated ceilings, yatching designer furniture, touchscreen room controls, sunken bathtubs, private pools, hydro-massage etc. Royal villas have indoor & outdoor pools, pianos. Hote Phone: +30 2841063000.
Elounda Bay Palace – Elounda
Set on the bay edge in 20 acres of verdant gardens with private beaches, this hotel offers a huge range of impeccable rooms, bungalows, villas and suites, many having private/shared heated pools, mini-bars and private balconies with bay/mountain/garden views. More expensive suites get you bathtubs, hi-fi, in-bathroom tvs, private patios, and kitchenettes. Top-end silver club properties have bathrooms with skylights, jacuzzi bathtubs, private heated whirlpools and exclusive club properties have fully equipped kitchens, dressing rooms and private gardens. Hotel Phone: +30 2841067000.
Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites – Elounda
Set on a hillside, this boutique-style complex has lovely, fresh suites, pool villas, spa pool villas & beachfront villas with tea/coffee facilities, mini-fridges, ipod docking stations and panoramic bay views. Suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and bathrooms with hand-painted ceilings and upgrades get you private seawater infinity pools & private massage rooms. Pool villas have fully-equipped kitchens (cooking hob, washing machine) while the top-end pool villas add infinity heated pools with jacuzzi tubs, private saunas, pool terraces. Hotel Phone: +30 2810227721.
Blue Palace Resort & Spa – Elounda
Luxe resort with rooms, suites and villas with private heated pools (some) and private infinity pools (some), complimentary breakfast and excellent sea views. Upgrades get you Nespresso Coffee machines, spacious patios/verandahs, deep-soaking jacuzzi bathtubs etc. Villas have terraces with sunbeds, butler services (upon request), saunas, and hydrojet outdoor pools and indoor pools. The top-end villa has a wood burning oven (chef services) and barbecue facilities around the pool. Hotel Phone: +30 2841065500.
Agios Nikolaos – Best Hotels
Minos Beach Hotel – Agios Nikolaos
Tranquil beachfront hotel featuring villas with private pools, whirlpools & home cinemas, rooms, suites and waterfront/seafront bungalows with furnished balconies, mini-bars and beautiful sea views. Top-end bungalows have private pools and jacuzzis, and top-end villas have dressing rooms, jacuzzi bathtubs, and fully equipped kitchenettes. The wonderful town of Agios Nikolaos is within walking distance. Hotel Phone: +30 2841022345.
St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas – Agios Nikolaos
Mediterranean-style, contemporary, bay resort with a huge variety of rooms, suites and villas with pools, mini-bars, lounge corners, and balconies with stunning bay views. Upgraded suites feature private terraces with heated pools and jacuzzi style bathtubs and villas add kitchenettes. Hotel Phone: +30 2841090200.
2 More Great Hotels in Crete
Grecotel Caramel – Adelianos Kampos
Gorgeous boutique hotel having a wide range of super bright, fresh-looking suites, bungalows/maisonettes, villas with antique & contemporary designer furniture, handmade tiled floors, large furnished balconies (some), Nespresso coffee machines, refrigerators, hifi and sea/garden views. Family suites have kid’s bedrooms and top-end bungalows feature spa bathrooms, fully-furnished verandahs and open air jacuzzis (some). ‘Unique’ category properties have features like private outdoor jacuzzis, private pools, outdoor fireplaces while ‘ultimate’ cateogory properties have top floor private jacuzzis (some), direct beach access, and wine coolers. Hotel has a beautiful confetti (colour-changing) pool. This could be the best hotel in Crete – very quiet and best suited for visitors seeking solitude. Hotel Phone: +30 2831071803.
Amirandes Grecotel Exclusive Resort – Gouves
Surrounding a big lagoon, this outstanding resort has a staggering array of rooms, suites/speciality suites, bungalows, villas and ‘ultimate accommodation’. Depending on the category rooms have enclosed glass balconies, terraces with dining areas, private pools, and mirrored walls. Family suites have children’s bedrooms and bungalows have bathtubs with sea views. Top-end speciality suites feature ‘star’ pools with star lights & smooth currents (for exercising), private beach gazebos, wine coolers, and gym areas. Top-end villas add jacuzzi bathtubs with aromatherapy & colour therapy and beds with direct pool access. The top-end ‘Ultimate’ property adds unique private pleasure/entertainment ‘caves’ with stone walls & floors, home cinemas, fully equipped kitchens, staff quarters, round jacuzzi bathtubs, private saunas, in-bathroom massage beds, billiards, elliptical trainers and more. Amirandes is close enough to Heraklion’s airport and of course to the Knossos Archaeological site to score mega points for convenience. Hotel Phone: +30 2897041103.
The Best Places in Crete – Where To Stay
If I had a week on Crete I would spend 3 days in Chania (with day trips to nearby beaches and attractions), 3 days in Agios Nikolaos or Elounda, and 1 day in Heraklion (with a visit to Knossos).
Chania is a great city with a wonderful Old Town. It has tavernas strung around the crescent shaped waterfront and hotels and shops on the streets and alleys back from the water’s edge. A good beach is walking distance from town and even better ones are a short bus ride away. Chania is a good base if you want to do the Samaria Gorge or make a day trip to the beaches of western Crete (like Balos or Elafonisi). That said, it’s easy to spend 2 or 3 days here and not get much farther than the great traditional restaurants found just outside the town center. Best Hotel in Chania: Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa
Rethymnon is similar in some ways to Chania but has a little less charm and is not nearly as developed. There’s a good beach a short walk from the center of town. In summer it has direct ferries to Santorini (twice a week) making it a convenient stop if you’re going to the Cyclades. Best Hotel in Rethymnon: Caramel Grecotel Boutique Resort
Heraklion is not picturesque like Chania or Rethymnon (some areas are a little rough and ugly) but it has a working class charm and Greek flavor that many of the tourist towns lack. The city is home to the best museum in Crete and the must-see historical sight of Knossos is just outside the city. If you’re catching an early morning ferry to Santorini you’ll probably spend a night here whether you want to or not. Best Hotel in Heraklion: GDM Megaron
Agios Nikolaos is my 2nd favorite town in Crete and a good base for exploring eastern Crete. It’s a beautiful town with a pedestrian friendly waterfront. Good beaches are nearby and the popular small town of Elounda is a short bus ride away. This is a great area to spend a few days relaxing and unwinding as it’s much less busy than Chania, Rethymnon, or Heraklion. Best Hotel in Agios Nikolaos: Minos Beach Art Hotel • Best Hotel in Elounda: Elounda Beach Hotel