In my search for the perfect Local Hideaway, it’s always such a thrill as I arrive at the destination and it’s just like I expected it to be, or, even better. That’s also the case with Kamares Houses: a beautiful old Venetian house tucked away in the sleepy village of Maheri. Situated in the hills, 23 Kilometres from Chania. There is a river running through this area and, in contrast to a lot of other places on the island, it’s much greener there. They call this area the Tuscany or Languedoc of Crete.
Upon arrival I was welcomed by Kostas, the owner, and his daughter, Anna. She is studying in Paris and, therefore, not always around. But they are assisted by Jenny, the housekeeper, so there is always someone around who speaks English or French whilst Kostas only speaks Greek.
Kostas spent a lot of his childhood time in the village of Maheri, where his grandfather used to live. That house is now rented out as one of the villa’s. After a life as a blacksmith, he decided to restore some of the old buildings in the village to keep the cultural heritage of his family alive. The result is more than beautiful and done with so much care and eye for detail – pure workmanship. Centrally located is the large Venetian house, wherein the reception and 5 apartments are situated. Besides this building, there are another two villa’s and one pool villa situated nearby.
You reach the apartments through a porch and entering is like stepping into another world. It looks like the Garden of Eden (fortunately without the snake): a stretched out courtyard with stone arches is filled with the most beautiful plants, flowers and fruit trees. The smell of blooming jasmine, which fills the grounds at dusk, will be in my memory forever – delicious! And the lemons and figs, you can pick them easily out of the trees… what an abundance! Kostas is always busy gardening his plants, trees, vegetables and herbs. He also owns a large estate with fruit trees on the other side of town.
What a treat it was to go to the reception area with my basket to collect some of the ‘harvest of the day’… an extra benefit for the guests. If you are lucky, you will also get one of the delicious homemade jams, or, the delicate olive oil. Instantly, you want to bring litres home with you! All these delights are also served up during an extensive breakfast (optional), or, during a dinner (optional) which is served once or twice a week, depending on the number of in-house guests.
I stayed in apartment 4, situated on the first floor, with, as its best asset, a balcony with phenomenal views. A spacious and cosy living room with kitchenette, 2 spacious bedrooms (a firm mattresses, but luckily they provided me with a topping mattress) and a (small) bathroom. The apartments and villa’s, one with it’s own pool, are all different in size and layout, are all very stylish and well appointed. There is no air conditioning (they provide fans) and that’s a bit of a miss especially on hot summer days, as it was only to keep the mosquitoes away.
For a refreshing dip, there is a spacious shared pool on the property and, after that, you can relax under a huge mulberry tree which provides shade on a hot summers day. In the mood for some action? Kamares Houses is very centrally located. Within 10 minutes you are on the beach and within half an hour’s drive you are in downtown Chania, which is a beautiful city.
Kamares Houses is a small paradise where you, even in high season, can enjoy the peaceful surroundings and the real Cretan life… as if time stands still for a while.
Do you want more inside information about Crete? Read my blog ‘Crete Pure Nature!’.