Mourtzanakis Residence is a place for anyone who is looking for holidays in a tranquil and secluded spot, without however being too far away from everything (especially the sea); who doesn’t want to blow the budget, but appreciates space and comfort; and who likes to get good service, but doesn’t need bellboys or 24-hour room service. It’s an eco-friendly little hotel consisting of four individual guesthouses. Everything at Mourtzanakis Residence is designed with a view to ‘easy living’. The houses have a modern design and are furnished and decorated in a fresh and unpretentious style, with some traditional touches. The layout is open-space with the master bedroom in a loft, while children can sleep on built-in convertible sofas in the living room. If you feel lazy, you can just stay put by the (smallish) pool. Otherwise, stroll to the 16th century village of Achlada, drive to the sea (there are four beaches at about ten minutes by car) or ask your hosts to help you organize excursions and activities including horse riding, scuba diving, mountain climbing and kayaking.
This is a place to feel relaxed, at ease and at home. I particularly enjoyed the tranquil, beautiful surroundings. The views from the property (and from all accommodation units!) over olive groves, the mountains and the sea are mesmerizing; the sunsets are to die for.
The setting is quiet and feels far away from everything. If you come for pure walking holidays, you can do without a car, but if you want to go for swims in the sea and do some sightseeing, you definitely need one. On a separate note, the hotel has recently come under new management, and I haven't visited since.
3 houses (70 m2) for up to 4 persons with a living room with open kitchen (2 extra beds possible)
1 house (70 m2) for up to 3 persons with a living room with open kitchen (1 extra bed possible)
3 studio apartments (50 m2) for up to 3 persons with a living room with an open kitchen
The four houses are on two levels, with an open-space layout. There’s a double bed on the upper level, and additional sofa beds in the living space. They are ideal for families, but not suitable for couples to share.
Prices for two persons from 50 Euro per night, taxes included. For a full overview of room rates, please check the website of Mourtzanakis Residence or contact the hotel. (Please mention in your email you are interested in the Mourtzanakis Residence as the email address is also used for some other properties.)
Bathroom (bath or shower)
Private balconies and terraces
Sitting/dining room with a fireplace
Computer & WiFi
Outdoor swimming pool
Small children’s pool
Massage (upon request)
Additional services such as arrival/departure transfers, car rental, doctor, babysitting can be arranged. Reception hours are from 8 am to 10 pm.
Each house has a properly equipped kitchen, so you can prepare your own meals. If you don’t feel like preparing your own, you can order two types of breakfast (continental or traditional), prepared with local ingredients. There is also a very simple taverna in Achlada and of course if you drive to the nearby coastal village of Agia Pelagia you will have a wider choice of restaurants.
Mourtzanakis Residence is definitely the kind of place that I recommend for family holidays. The atmosphere is relaxed and child-friendly, and the (open-plan) houses are well laid out for families with children. You can prepare your kids’ favourite food in the kitchen of your house, or order home-cooked meals so you don’t have to do anything. If you travel with toddlers, keep in mind that there are stairs in the houses and that the two swimming pools (one for adults and a smaller one for children) are not fenced off, so some supervision is needed. The surroundings of Achlada are beautiful for walks, and family-friendly beaches are a short drive away. Babysitting can be arranged on request.
There are several beaches at a short driving distance (Agia Pelagia, Ligaria and Fodele are the best known). Many are organised with sun beds and umbrellas. As they get crowded in the summer, early morning swims are best! There are some smaller beaches and coves too, with fewer people and without umbrellas. Marco can tell you which beaches are best. There’s a scuba diving centre at Agia Pelagia. You can also rent a little motorboat (no licence required) for the day – the best way to find a swimming spot to have to yourself. Alternatively, make it a daytrip to the southern coast (about 1.5 hour by car) to find some amazing beaches, such as the beach of Agiofarago, the Red Beach and Kommos Beach.
Walking and hiking
Walk straight out into the hilly olive groves and the mountains. Start maybe with a stroll to the village of Achlada, but go for something more challenging too. Ask Marco about trails leading to historical villages, chapels and monasteries.
Outdoor sports and action
Marco can help you get organised. There are possibilities for canyoning, mountain biking, sea kayaking, sailing, caving, horseback riding, rock climbing, rappel and river trekking.
Make it an archaeology day. Head to Knossos, a half hour drive that takes you to one of Europe’s most important archaeological sites, the Minoan Palace of Knossos. Start early so you are ahead of the crowds, and it’s not too hot yet. Then drive back to Heraklion for a visit to the archaeological museum.
Traditional Cretan cuisine
Get acquainted with some of the basics of traditional way of (healthy!) Cretan cooking and ask the hotel staff to arrange olive oil tasting at a local farmers’ union.
You’re just a few km from two small beach resorts (Agia Pelagia and Lygaria), which have their share of bigger hotels, restaurants and bars (nothing outrageous though), but you might as well be an hour’s drive away. The Mourzanakis Residence is in a green and utterly quiet spot in the hills, just outside the nearly-abandoned Venetian village of Achlada, and there is absolutely nothing that will disturb the peace here. The only thing that you may be taken aback by is the line-up of windmills on the mountain behind the village, but you can’t actually see them from the property itself.
Mourtzanakis Residence is easy to reach from the port (18 km) or airport (23 km) of the town of Heraklion. You take the main road (‘highway’) in the direction of Rethymno, and after about 12 km, near the coastal resort of Agia Pelagia, you will see a sign for Achlada. The village is less than three km from the main road. Follow the road when you reach the village and you will see Mourtzanakis Residence after a few hundred meters on your right.
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