On Crete the idea of out-of-the-way places takes on new dimensions. The countryside is as pristine and wild as you can imagine. The effect of this wildness, meeting the cities by the sea, leaves visitors spellbound in a sort of landscape awe. At the civilized heart of rural Crete, a tapestry of villages dot the island like tiny gems. It is in just such a tiny town, literally hidden from view, where you will find the most romantic stay at Grotto Homes.
Owner and architect VanGos Tsourlakis’ labor of love in transforming an ancient olive mill into a distinctive villa took eight years. We found Grotto Homes via the Internet while searching accommodations for our travel group. Almost inadvertently, we stumbled upon a romantic and charming bit of class, not one person would expect in the secret garden that is Goulediana Village. The villa, situated in a series of terraced levels, affords many niche areas of comfort and seclusion, one beneath the other. As the image below of the top garden terrace suggests, Gotto Homes has created a world within the world of this wonderful little town.
No imagery can depict the sheer creativity and devotion Tsourlakis’s hands so crafted into this hillside. In full compliment to the restored village located just 16 km south of Rethymno, and to her 100 inhabitants, Grotto may as well be on the moon it’s so apart. Obscured on its perch, the villa is only distinct for its shining blue doors (shown). What’s inside, however, differentiates the place from all others we saw.
Built around an actual stone grotto, the luxurious villa house can host 11 guests in absolute finery and quiet splendor. Decorated with original Cretan furnishings and art by Tsourlakis’ family, no stone of the villa went unturned blending nature with decadent style. From the indoor grotto pool to its outdoor brother in the garden, this is a place for couples to dream.
Outside, multi-level living and seating areas are lined with indigenous plants, fruits, and foliage. Lemon trees look out from the patio over the village, a quiet bench beneath a tree on the rooftop beckons lovers to sit and talk romantically. Alleys connect seating areas secluded even from seclusion; the place is so well thought out and utilized. Grotto is so in tune with the surroundings, even the local tavern below in the village seems the perfect hospitality touch, almost like a hotel restaurant geared for Tsourlakis’s guests. If the real Crete is what you seek, this is one of the best accommodations anywhere on the island.
Takeaway: Grotto Homes is one of those places guests never forget, if only for the stunningly unique character of the place. Enjoying village life in pampered luxury and sheer coolness, there’s no disappointment awaiting here. The villa lets for around €160 euro per night in the high season, a price perfect for splitting between three couples intent on a memory.
Grotto Homes – Goulediana, Crete – Phone: +30 697 726 1000 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Facebook