White Mountains Hideaway
Villa | 3 bedrooms | sleeps 8
For the ultimate relaxing break, to relax, unwind and chill out from busy lives, hectic work schedules, or tough times, this is the place! Meet up with friends, have that family get together, or get to know colleagues better – Panokosmos gives you the ideal environment.
The most difficult decision may be to decide who has which bedroom! There are three, each with different character and facilities.
Main Floor Luxury Bedroom
For the ultimate luxury for one couple, luxury bedroom on the main floor has it all. Sleep as if you were outside with windows on each side. Stretch out on the super king size bed, gaze thru wide open concertina doors at a Cretan landscape with villages, gorge, mountains down to the sea. Be woken by the sound of sheep bells, the cock crow, or the first rays of the sun, coming up over the Mediterranean sea. The mountain air will refresh and envigorate you, and you will wake up renewed and revitalised.
Parade in front of the full length mirror in the walk in wardrobe, with full dressing room lighting, or lie in bed watching satellite TV or movies on DVD, or using the smart TV on the internet. You have your own personal luxury spa bathroom – magnificent his and hers bath, with a view of the countryside!, and mood lighting; twin sinks, and a huge shower room where you can wash away your stress and worries under the rain shower – big enough for two! There's Body Shop shampoos and shower gels to make you feel and smell good, and body jets to tone you up. Spotlessly clean, elegantly laid out, and magnificently extravagant!
West Studio Bedroom
Or up on the top floor, really “On top of the world”, you have breathtaking views in all directions. In the West studio, gaze out from your bed onto views of towering mountains, deep gorges slicing thru Mediterranean landscapes, rural villages nestling under the mountains. Open up the huge concertina doors to let in the clear fresh mountain air. Listen to the flocks of sheep, bells tinkling, meandering up the hillside opposite. Scent the jasmine floating up from our Mediterranean garden below. Watch your companions, the eagles, float lazily on the rising air from the gorge. You have your own private shaded terrace to look down on the gorge below, see the impossibly perfect Byzantine church in the valley – one of the best examples in Greece.
Everywhere is spotlessly clean, there's an ensuite shower where you can relax away your cares under a rainhead shower, and Body Shop shampoo and gels to pamper yourself with, and soft and fluffy towels to dry.
And the east studio offers a little more space and facilities:
From this bed you can see as far away as the blue Mediterranean Sea, and the coastal villages nestling between the headlands. Look out onto views of towering mountains, deep gorges slicing thru Mediterranean landscapes, rural villages nestling under the mountains. Open up the huge concertina doors onto the roof terrace to let in the clear fresh mountain air. You may be woken on a Sunday by the evocative peel of the local church bell, and the distant chanting of the priest floating up in crisp morning sunshine. Scent the jasmine floating up from our Mediterranean garden below. Watch the villagers in Xiliomoudou below you preparing to look after their olives or tend their sheep. Everywhere is spotlessly clean, there's an ensuite shower where you can relax away your cares under a rainhead shower, and Body Shop shampoo and gels to pamper yourself with, and soft and fluffy towels to dry.
When the fancy takes you, there's a cute but well equipped second kitchenette, stocked up with staples, for you to make coffee, knock up a snack, or just take out some chilled water melon from the fridge.
You have your own private covered terrace with panoramic views from Samonas hill village, across the orange groves in the plain, to the sea. And, through the kitchen a charming little west facing terrace where you can escape the sun in the morning, or watch it set over the mountains at the other end of the day!
Both these studios open out onto the huge roof terrace, where you can gather as a party to enjoy the views, with lots of seating options to choose from - the sea, nearby Samonas village, the wild and barren White Mountains. Surrounded by pots of bourgainvillea, geraniums and olives, and the sounds of nature, you can relax, enjoy and reconnect, forgetting the worries and cares of busy lives.
Downstairs on the main floor, stretch out in the huge sitting room on a Chaise Longue, and look out straight at stunning views of mountains, gorges & unspoilt scenery. Or, in the winter, cuddle up all snug and warm on the sofa in front of a roaring log fire, and watch the storms and lightning outside.
Get the real viewing experience with the home cinema, immersed in the sights and sounds of your favourite films, or your most recent pictures and home movies. The massive 3*2m screen is as big as some cinemas, and every note is captured with hifi sound! . Maybe you fancy a tinkle on the piano – all there for you to enjoy.
And if you fancy cooking with the fantastically fresh Mediterranean vegetables and fruit, a vast fully equipped kitchen is waiting for you. Everything from cool drinks from the ice machine and chilled water, to full meals using hob, oven & microwave, you can get your tastebuds going. We provide a welcome pack with high quality Cretan olive oil, a fine Cretan wine from one of the best vineries on the island, Twinings tea and Carte Noire coffee, and a range of local items, including the fabled sweet Cretan oranges.
But the real joys are outside, where the unique location of Panokosmos becomes apparent. Take in the calm and tranquillity of this hill top environment, breathe in the fresh envigorating mountain air, and get some real relaxation. Feel the power of the mountains, benefit from distancing yourself from the world, and take a new perspective on your life. Or just refresh yourself with a swim in the huge pool, then laze out on loungers amongst the mountains. Wander in the lush Mediterranean gardens, and discover hidden romantic spots where you can sit and chat, think or just chill out. Look out over the gorges which surround us on two sides, see the impossibly perfect Byzantine church in the valley – one of the best examples in Greece - or follow the eagles with our binoculars.
And if you can tear yourself away from Panokosmos, you are only 25 minutes from the coast and the beaches. Kalyves is a pleasant little local seaside town, and there are nearby beaches where you can lie down, close your eyes, feel the warmth of the sun and be lulled to sleep with the rhythm of the waves.
If you don't want to venture out even that far, there is in Xiliomoudou, the taverna “Lemonia”, only 5 minutes walk away. Outward appearances can be deceptive, but inside a warm welcome and some of the best local cuisine await you, an experience renowned by both locals and the city dwellers of Chania. Leonidas, the owner, sees it as his mission to preserve and encourage local tradition. He still operates a stone mill for olive pressing and a donkey to power the millstones, not to mention his wine and Raki, the local fiery spirit. Making the lyra, the traditional instrument of Cretan music, is another of his traditional skills.
Five minutes drive to the next village of Samonas, will bring you to the wonderfully simple taverna “Aetifolia” (The Eagle's Nest), run by the indomitable Katherina, with its spectacular views from a cool shady terrace over the Apokoronas landscape. Here you can sample her home made rustic sour dough bread and choose from a simple menu of really genuine Cretan cooking with local ingredients supplied by the villagers themselves.
There are wonderful walks up in the mountains to give you some exercise, bracing mountain air, and the most spectacular views. You will experience a peace and tranquillity rare on this busy planet, and, deep in the embrace of the mountains, feel the power of nature. You'll be lucky if you see a shepherd, but you'll see the shelters they make themselves, and hear their sheep and goats. The rocks are sculpted to make a natural modern art exhibition, there are jagged dry bed watercourses, and the pine trees are twisted into incredible shapes – you could feel surrounded by the Hobbit's Ents, and might even hear them talking to you!
And, more prosaically, this is what you'll get at the villa:
The entire upper floor of Panokosmos, has two bedrooms with a large roof terrace with views in all directions, parasol for shade and comfortable garden furniture.
The West studio bedroom has a double bed, wardrobe and TV with satellite channels and DVD player. Ensuite barrier free shower room with rainhead shower and hand shower. Shaded private terrace to the south with table and chairs.
The East studio bedroom has a large comfortable 160cm wide sofa bed with sprung frame and latex mattress. Wardrobe and large flat screen SMART 3D TV with satellite channels, DVD player and internet access. Ensuite barrier free shower room with rainhead shower and hand shower. Shaded private terrace to the east, in addition to the large roof terrace. And, through the kitchen a charming little west facing terrace where you can escape the sun in the morning, or watch it set over the mountains at the other end of the day!
On the main floor of the house is a luxurious bedroom with a kingsize double bed, dressing table and storage. There are concertina doors which open fully to a large private terrace with table and chairs. There are tremendous views to Souda Bay and the Drapanos headland. A walk in wardrobe, with fully mirrored doors and stage lighting provides the ideal dressing space. Through this to a huge bathroom with a “his and hers” double bath, twin sinks, bidet, and a large shower area with huge rainhead shower and body jets. This suite has mood lighting, remotely controlled from the bedside.
The living area, also with mood lighting, offers a giant 56 m2 space with panoramic views over the Apokoronas valley and the White Mountains. The concertina doors open out to a large balcony with large parasol which overlooks the pool and from which you can see Mount Psiloritis. There is an overhead electric heater for cool evenings. Inside, a beamer provides a huge 3m*2m picture of DVDs, your pictures, or satellite TV programmes together with hi fi sound. These come from two dishes providing both UK and German TV, but not SKY, and are projected on a specially treated living room wall. High speed broadband wireless internet via ADSL landline connection is provided throughout. For the musical an upright piano is positioned against one wall. There is also a sofa bed for an extra two guests and a separate toilet and urinal for this main living area. In the winter you have the comfort of central heating and a wood burning enclosed fireplace.
The kitchen has all mod cons – side by side fridge freezer with chilled water and icemaker; gas hob, electric oven with separate plate warmer and microwave, dishwasher – and a central isle for ease of food preparation. A wide selection of herbs, spices and staples is provided for all sorts of cooking. There is a large double aspect dining area with adjustable lighting, centred within four stone arches with the same magnificent views.
You have access to the washing machine and tumble dryer in the utility room, adjacent to the kitchen ,or we can do your washing for you. There is broadband wifi internet throughout the property.
We, the owners, live in a small self-contained apartment in the basement of the villa, where we can maintain everything in tip top condition, keep the pool sparkling, and be on hand to answer any questions or to give you advice and suggestions of things to do, places to visit, places to eat.
Licensed with the Greek National Tourist Organisation no: 1042K123K2963901
|Size||Sleeps up to 8, 3 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Kalives 13 km|
|Nearest Amenities||7 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Chania Intl Airport 40 km|
|Family friendly||Suitable for children over 5|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, Internet access, DVD player, Sea view|
|General||Central heating, Air conditioning, CD player, Telephone, Safe, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms of which 3 En suites, Solarium or roof terrace|
|Furniture||2 Sofa beds, Double beds (2), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 8|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Private garden|
The Crete region
The fertile and green region of the Apokoronas, east of the city of Chania, stretches from the foothills of the White Mountains to the Mediterranean sea. This landscape, of exceptional natural beauty, is dominated by the White Mountains or Lefka Ori, the largest mountain range in Crete with over 30 summits above 2000 m and about 50 gorges.
Crete offers a startling juxtaposition of high mountains and vivid blue seas. Landscapes stretch between deep rocky gorges and weather scarred hilltops with the silky greys of olive groves in regimented march up otherwise barren hillsides. On the lower slopes orchards of orange trees with the vivid oranges and yellows contrast with the deep green foliage. Rocky stone filled riverbeds chase their way through this scenery hint at the bolder moving deluges during the winter months, a far cry from the blissfully warm summer sunshine.
There are a variety of walks for walkers of all ages and experience ranging from a couple of hours stroll on the flat to full day out climbing tracks into the foothills of the White Mountains. You may come across the stone shelters used by shepherds (mitatas) or simple pretty white washed chapels nestling amongst rocks or commanding views across the whole region. Even in summer there will be shady trails and you will experience cooling breezes as you climb higher into the foothills. Nature is abundant with a huge range of flowers in spring and autumn and it is a paradise for bird watchers particularly to see eagles, buzzards and hawks lazily patrolling overhead.
In the villages, particularly away from the coast, you will find places where time seems to have stood still ,where there are remnants of a lifestyle long discarded by busy northern Europeans. Sitting in the shade of mulberry trees in dusty village squares in hot summer sun, sitting for hours with a coffee or glass of wine, a simple meal at a taverna cheap, friendly and unpressured; this can give you the serenity, calm and relaxation so often lacking in stressful work and busy lives.
Many holiday makers come to Crete for the wonderful exquisitely blue Mediterranean sea and the beautiful sandy beaches. But there is a huge chunk of experience, which some would say is the more rewarding and important, that is away from all that.
Xiliomoudou and Samonas
Xiliomoudou, the village of a “thousand Peaks”, lives up to its name perched on a commanding foothill overlooking the whole Apokoronas region. The sound of chanting from the little white church early on a Sunday morning under brilliant blue skies in bright summer sunshine sums up some of the lasting character of this rural environment. Just eleven households, mostly shepherds with sheep and goats, make up the village. In the gorge below between the village and Kiriakoselia lies the impossibly perfect Byzantine church of Agios Nikolaos, stunningly picturesque particularly in early morning sunshine. Renowned for its frescoes, recently restored, the church is well worth seeing. Above this, sheltering between vast overhanging rocks, is the tiny cave church of Ag Mama between the two of them, guarding the spiritual wellbeing of the local villagers.
In another direction in more ways than one, but still in Xiliomoudou, lies the taverna “Lemonia”. Outward appearances can be deceptive, but inside a warm welcome and some of the best local cuisine await you, an experience renowned by both locals and the city dwellers of Chania. Leonidas, the owner, sees it as his mission to preserve and encourage local tradition. He still operates a stone mill for olive pressing and a donkey to power the millstones, not to mention his wine and Raki, the local fiery spirit. Making the lyra, the traditional instrument of Cretan music, is another of his traditional skills.
Only fifteen minutes walk away in the next village of Samonas, there is the wonderfully simple taverna “Aetifolia” (The Eagle's Nest), run by the indomitable Katherina, with its spectacular views from a cool shady terrace over the Apokoronas landscape. Here you can sample her home made rustic sour dough bread and choose from a simple menu of really genuine Cretan cooking with local ingredients supplied by the villagers themselves.
On the neighbouring hill and forming part of the Malaxa Ridge, which overlooks Souda Bay and Chania, lies Aptera. Founded by the Myceneans it has been settled through classical and Roman periods right up to the Byzantine era. There is a unique atmosphere amongst the scattered ruins surrounded by vegetation of the monastery, Roman baths and aqueducts, ancient Greek roads, tombs and statue bases. On this hilltop overlooking Kalyves Bay and the Drapanos Headland is a recently renovated Turkish Fort. This jumbled assortment of different archeological periods, overgrown, partly explained but with enormous opportunity for the imagination, is typical of Crete.
At the meeting point in the village is Ta Aptera, a well known taverna with some inspired cooking. But opposite is the rather less wellknown but characterful Kafenion the “1912”, with two or three little Cretan tables perched by the side of the road. Order here only a beer or glass of wine will bring you deliciously simple but fresh complimentary mezes (chunks of feta, olives, fresh tomatoes, rusks).
Off the hill only 15 minutes away from Xiliomoudou lies the oasis of Stylos. Amidst the dry and arid landscape under the relentless summer sun it provides an oasis with flowing streams, pools, and cooling fountains. In the shade of the huge plane trees you can sit and sip this clear fresh spring water which has taken two years to come from the Lefka Ori towering 2000 m above.
You have the choice between several tavernas, Moustakies where the owner sports the eponymous large and luxuriant moustache. He provides enormous Choriatiki, (local salad) and brizoles, pork chops, famed for their size and the tastiness of grilling over charcoal. A few steps away is the little “O Pissas” run by the butcher across the street where there are four cosy tables inside or several more outside on the street and in the shade of the plane tree.
Wherever you are in Crete whenever you are offered the “Samaria” water you know that it comes from this little shady tranquil village. If you need proof you can see the gates of the bottling plant just along the road!
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31 Jul 2013
"Room with a view"
We stayed with John and Yasmin at their rooftop apartment, which was a great experience especially to wake up and see the sun rise above the Crete mountains. Their house is really something special, brand new and luxurious accommodation with stunning views. Really a must for those who want to go off the beaten track and unwind but still close enough to everything else for a change of scene. John and Yasmin take every effort to make you feel at home and provided us with a great dinner and breakfast with fresh local and homemade ingredients and good wines. Although not for everybody we can only recommend this unique place and excellent hosts. We will definitely go back again.
Lovely to have you Fred, and hope to see you again soon
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