This morning I was reading a report on Ekathimerini about relative hotel stay value in Greece, when I recalled a personal “economic parallax” we ran into last year. While generalizations and statistics can help travelers to narrow their holiday choices, it pays to dig deeper than the media “suggestion box” if you want real deals. Here’s a look at the Ekathimerini comparative, in contrast with what a simple Airbnb hunt can provide.
Earlier this year we were on the hunt for accommodations on Crete. With a need for a long term stay across several island destinations being the goal, we were also focused on being as frugal as possible. So, when I scanned Stathis Kousounis’ report showing the increased market demand for Greece accommodations I immediately thought on our own search. Kousounis correctly reviews the situation this year:
“The significant increase in the flow of foreign tourists this summer has reduced the number of available rooms for Greeks and driven hotel rates an average 13.7 percent higher this July than last year.”
The Ekathimerini piece goes on to frame how traveler value can be gleaned from discerning in between 3, 4, and 5-star hotel accommodations by gauging the “relative” value of offerings and amenities, which is good advice no matter the destination or season. What the report does not take into account is the desirability and term planning that goes into selecting destinations. Let’s say, for instance, I’ve dreamed of staying in Chania or Sitia for years or months. Or, what if a hotel price is not the deciding factor at all? Let’s face it, the cost of the accommodations on any vacation is not always our biggest budgetary consideration. Airfare being the expense of most concern (and flexibility), still leaves accommodations second, and food third where costs are concerned. Obviously, rummaging for cheap airfare deals will also drastically limit late-date destination choices, so diverting to Spain from Greece… Well, you get the point.
Turning to my own “hunt” for family accommodations back in the Spring, most of the hotels and villas we found through Trivago and via Google ads simply did not fit our budget. Airbnb, on the other hand, did provide us with the perfect solutions across the island of Crete. Let’s take a look at a different kind of economy in the best areas of Chania.
One accommodation we found for €30 euro per night, Ibiscus Seaview Apartment is a walk to several pristine beaches in the highly desirable Tersanas Beach area not far from Zorba’s Beach. This no frills apartment has great views of the sea and the surrounding landscape, plus it’s within walking distance of the great tavern at Tersanas. With your own kitchen, fresh produce, meats, and fish from local markets add an additional economy. If you want to eat out, you’ll also find local taverns and cafes as cheap or cheaper than most three and four-star hotels in this region. We have specific knowledge of this area, as we toured the area looking for houses to buy in 2014. The Ekathimerini talks about Greeks not being able to afford a mean price of €70 euros per day, so €70 euros a day for digs and food seems a bargain to me.
Over on the other side of Chania, a stone’s throw from touristy Platanias, we found an apartment suitable for those Greeks (or Brits) who want to splurge away €75 euro a day for luxurious accommodations. Just a couple of minutes from Stalos Beach, this place is chic without being ostentatious (or €150 euros a night). The reviews on this place are reassuring, and we’re also familiar with the area of Chania, as we stayed a month near here a couple of years back. A short walk to the main drag near here there’s access to the beach, local shops, restaurants, a cool supermarket, car rentals, the works. While you’re in the area, be sure and dine at Piramis Tavern down by the beach, the owner there is a genius with food and drink, trust me.
Pergamos House is another budget stay for those who dream of the solitude and experience of living like the locals. The whole house goes for €50 euro per night. The picturesque little cottage is located in the village of Vrisses, which was once the ancient city of Pergamos. A few steps from all that is touristy in Platanias, the house is only 16 km from the center of Chania, and close to places like Balos Lagoon, and famous Falasarna Beach (my favorite place on Crete so far). €50 euros a day, you get a cool little house and a taste of real “Filoxenia”.
Oh! You said you wanted to be right in Old Town Chania, I’m sorry. Well, rather than head to Spain or the Republic of Georgia, let me recommend a quaint stay in a traditional room in the heart of Crete’s most picturesque city. Nikos is the host of this recently renovated private room with bath, air conditioning, TV and Wifi, and its own small kitchen so you can cook up Chania market goodies. €50 per night gets you a stunning view in Old Town right across the way from shops, taverns, and far more expensive four and five-star hotels. Yep, you can have everything unlimited travelers do, for a hundredth the price. This is a great area of the city that is quiet because it sits on the pedestrian of Theotokopoulou Street. Best of all, the nearest beach, “Nea Hora”, is only a short distance too.
Like I suggested in the title, there’s many more ways to skin the travel cat than using Trivago stats.