Where to stay in Crete

A classy boutique and a harbour-front designer hotel on the historic Greek island.

La Maison Ottomane

What's so special?

With direct flights now available from Stansted to Chania, Crete's second-largest city, this relatively unknown tourist spot has become a lot more accessible and classy boutique hotels such as La Maison Ottomane are ample reason to visit.

There are just three bedrooms in this restored 17th-century Venetian building, meaning you'll have plenty of peace and quiet on your holiday.

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How they rate it

"With its wealth of period furnishings, oil paintings of stately pashas and sultry women, and lovely touches such as the antique Persian brass beaker for a toothbrush mug, you feel as if you're staying in a luxurious home," says Katie Law in The Independent.

"In a sense you are everything you see is either a family heirloom or comes as a result of the owner's passion for buying antiques and art." But there are plenty of mod-cons too such as Nespresso machines and flat-screen TVs giving you the best of both worlds.

The menu

Breakfast is served in the "tranquil courtyard" and includes fresh pomegranate, eggs, cheese and cured meats.

The cost

From £113, with breakfast (www.lamaisonottomane.com; 00 30 28210 08796).


Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa

What's so special?

Located just behind Chania's old Venetian harbour front, this small designer hotel also built in the 17th century offers luxurious bedrooms, friendly service and one of the only roof terraces in the city.

How they rate it

The hotel has been renovated by a sixth-generation descendent of the Genoese Delfino family who bought this Venetian mansion in the 1840s. It has been updated to offer a "contemporary take on heritage designer fittings and chrome bannisters [are] juxtaposed with recycled timbers", says Marc Dubin in The Daily Telegraph.

Although it's a small hotel, "plenty of facilities are packed into a Tardis-like space", including a spa. There are 24 rooms mostly suites each featuring handmade Italian furniture. The Master Suite has a vaulted ceiling, while the Ottoman Suite has its very own private marble hammam.

But "top choice... is the Presidential Suite with its private, panoramic roof terrace". With several of the suites able to accommodate up to five people, this is a good family choice.

The menu

Breakfast features home baking, eggs cooked whichever way you like them, and as you'd expect in this part of the world great coffee.

The cost

Prices from £153, with breakfast. The Presidential Suite costs from £284 (www.casadelfino.com; 00 30 28210 87400).


City hotels in Europe for less than £200

Looking for an affordable city break in Europe? For some culture and sunshine, you could head to The Grand Hotel Central (pictured, Grandhotelcentral.com) in Barcelona, says The Sunday Times Travel Magazine.

It costs from £197 for a room only, but it sits in the Old Town with all the main attractions Las Ramblas, Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia within walking distance. You will love the "ageing flourishes (a lobby in the former horse-carriage hall and marble columns) [which] sit easily beside metal sliding doors and modern art." The hotel's "greatest asset" is its rooftop pool, which is reserved for guest use only.

If you're in Dublin, The Clarence (Theclarence.ie), designed by Irish rockers Bono and The Edge, is the place to go. "This chicboutique abode is all pale oak furniture and crisp white linens. Nothing here is overdone from the Shaker-style beds to the utilitarian interiors of the Cleaver East restaurant." Rooms from £113, room-only.

Hotel Crayon (Hotelcrayon.com) in Paris is situated "on the cusp of the Les Halles district, a hop from the Louvre". Inside "no surface has been left untouched in this guesthouse-style Pop Art residence, from the yellow shelving behind the informal reception to the Parisian nudes on bedroom doors".

As for the bedrooms, "it's pot luck what your room will look like some have metallic walls hung with mirrors, others stand out for their bright sloping ceilings and free-standing bathtubs". Doubles start from £157, room-only.

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings accounts and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance.

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping, among many other titles both online and offline.