The Island Hotel

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Jun, 2013

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We've visited Greece well over twenty times, of which four have been in Crete. When we were much fitter, we would stay in the west near Chania, so that we could hike down the famous Samaria Gorge from the Omalos Plateau. This time however, after an interval of several years, we decided to revisit Crete, but chose a more luxurious place to stay and chill out. The Island Hotel in Gouves is an adult-only hotel, offering respite from the noise and activity of large family groups. We are not grandparents and as we still travel as a couple, this suited us perfectly. Rooms are cleverly arranged up a gently slope in a landscaped garden, all with balconies or sitting-out areas. We were never disturbed by noise from nearby rooms or from late-night entertainment, so this was a big plus. There was plenty of space, an extra large bed with a spare bed settee if required and an ultra-modern bathroom. We didn't spend a lot of time by the pools, though there are three, or on the beach just across the road (not private, but all the more interesting for that), but some people were happy never to leave the complex at all. With a bus stop just a short walk away and a car hire company at the back of the hotel, we chose to go somewhere almost every day, either by car or local bus, avoiding the high price of the tour operator's trips and the time restrictions of these. The charming working town of Rethymnon, the Lassithi Plateau with its windmills and the ancient palace of Knossos and Aghia Triada Monastery were all worth a return visit , but we would warn against stopping in nearby Malia – an overcrowded, noisy, un-Greek resort and although Heraklion, the capital, is easy to reach from Gouves, it offers little of interest for the tourist. The Sunday market here can be viewed in half an hour or so and the best buys – fresh produce – are of little use to hotel guests. Breakfast and buffet evening meals at The Island Hotel are all enjoyable with plenty of choice, but a few more authentic Greek dishes would have been welcome. There was always plenty of seating, either outside on the terrace or inside, as service lasted for two and a half hours. The only complaint we heard from other guests related to the shortage of sun loungers by the pools, but this is apparently being remedied. At least there was no bagging of beds before breakfast, since towels and other items would be removed if that were the case. Delighted with our adults-only holiday, we're looking into other similar hotels either in the Peloponnese or back in Crete again.


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