Thank you so much Silver Travel Advisor for picking me as the winner of the week in Crete, staying at the GK Beach Hotel, Kalyves, travelling with Simpson Travel.
Pre-departure: The booking service was excellent and we were given the option of free car hire, or private taxi transfer. Flights were booked for us via TUI – we were given a choice of airlines and flight times. Luggage allowance was a generous 20kg each. About ten days before departure we had luggage labels through the post – you don’t see that very much these days! The whole idea is that the Simpson Travel reps can spot you at the airport – very efficient. A week before departure we had an email from our Simpson rep in resort asking if we wanted to book the moussaka special for the first night – a lovely personal touch.
Arrival at Chania: Upon arrival we were met by Simpson Travel who offered us a bottle of water and guided us to our waiting taxi. When we got to GK Beach, our reps Chris and Severine were there to show us to our room and give us the low down on where everything was. I have to say, we’ve not experienced this level of service outside of a five star hotel and it was very welcome.
Our room: We had a junior suite overlooking the garden which had a fabulous sea view. I actually think all the rooms have a sea view. The bathroom was spacious, with Korres beauty products (my favourite Greek brand) and very modern. If I was going to be picky I’d suggest the shower needed a glass panel or door as the water soaked the whole room. The bed was comfy, with good quality bed linen and pillows. There was an iron, cooking facilities, crockery and a kettle, but no TV or wifi. Towel change was infrequent and I don’t believe our bed linen was changed at all – I’m assuming this is an environmental decision made by the hotel.
Main reception areas: there is no actual indoor communal area other than the outdoor bar and restaurant. There are sunbeds and a seating area which are for Simpson Travel guests only. The best place to get wifi was at the breakfast table. They have a great little book swap which was invaluable.
Food: Breakfast was an absolute delight, with honey from the owner’s hives; freshly baked sourdough bread; a cooked selection of eggs, sausages and bacon; cold meats and feta cheese; fruit and veg; Greek yoghurt; excellent coffee, fresh orange juice and PG Tips! Dinner is extra and we opted for two nights in the hotel. On our first night, we had the moussaka and on the next, a beautifully cooked sea bream. There is an extensive wine list, but we found the wine to be a bit on the pricy side, as were the drinks in the bar.
Onto Kalyves itself: the hotel is right on the beach and about 5 minutes walk to the supermarket and twenty minutes into town along a busy road with no pavement. We took a torch so we had no problem walking into town for food at night. There is a fabulous choice of places to eat in Kalyves and we had some great food – including the best lamb chops I have ever eaten at Provlita on the water front. We frequented the local village square every day and drank coffee under a tree (alongside all the locals who seemed to be doing the same – chatting away and swinging their worry beads – it was charming). The village bakery was a great find and we sampled some interesting pies!
I would recommend this hotel for a relaxing away from it all break – especially if you want to get away from social media for a while!