I am busy organizing our holidays for this year. But it’s always difficult to find a holiday destination that we all like. My 5-year old son wants a pool, a beach and kids to play with. My husband needs some luxury and I want accommodation that has the right feel, good food and warm weather. It ain’t easy to find the perfect family holiday.. (what are your favorite places by the way??). We have found some lovely places over the years but we try to find a new one every year. Two years ago we spent a wonderful vacation on Crete in Greece, which is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, and it is the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. We stayed at Villa Ippocampi which is a small, family-friendly hotel near Crete’s north coast. The hotel, situated in the hillside village of Koutouloufari, is family owned and operated. The hospitality and familial atmosphere created by Greek/Dutch couple Nikos & Lydia and their wonderful staff, plus the lovely pool and garden make it the perfect place for a laid back family holiday. The white Cycladic-style building offers 13 simple but stylish suites of various sizes, each with a small kitchen. We stayed in a three room apartment (there are only two of these available) and we were very happy with our choice. We especially enjoyed the ground floor patio with sea view where we had breakfast every morning.















Our apartment (first image) with a lovely blue-white décor was cozy but basic. The kitchenette is very small and their are just a few kitchen utensils which makes it difficult to cook a proper meal. But we did not mind as after all we were on holiday and there were plenty of good eateries to be found in the nearby villages. The on site restaurant serves small snacks and drinks. They have excellent coffee which was for us coffee lovers a great bonus. Our three (almost four!) year old son Kick enjoyed walking up to the restaurant each morning ordering two cappuccinos for us while greeting everyone he met on his way with ‘kalimera’ (Greek for good morning). Crete is a large island and there are plenty of things to do: sandy beaches are nearby and you can make trips to Plaka, the mountain village of the Lasithi Plateau, archaeological sites or the wineries in the area for example. I do recommend to rent a car so you can make trips on your own. The hotel is quite close to the tacky beach resort of Hersonissos but this can easily be avoided if you want to. To sum it up, Villa Ippocampi was for us an ideal place to unwind. We flew to Heraklion (there are budget flights from/to various European airports) and from there we made our way to the hotel by rental car.

I loved the atmosphere of this small hotel but it is pretty basic. If you want to go to Crete but prefer more luxury you can try Domes of Elouda. I also love the vibe of Kapsaliana Village Hotel.

All images by Danielle de Lange | the style files.

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