While we wish we could say "it's terrible" so we can keep it to ourselves, in truth the Arosmari Cottages in Vamos, Crete, are fantastic - truly a "retreat" and an oasis of peace away from hectic lives back at home !
We were fortunate to find this place almost randomly - we are normally more into road trips around Europe so to go to a resort and stay in the same place for two whole weeks is new for us. But the Arosmari Hotel - it recently changed from self catering, to a Adults Only venue - spells "relaxation" from the start. The booking process was personal and friendly, the office staff had all visited the hotel and spoke enthusiastically about it and the beautiful surrounding Cretan countryside. The arrangements at the airport were simple and the directions spot on.
When you get here to the village of Vamos, you find a number of detached and semi-detached cottages all lovingly restored by the owner, Nikos. The furthest is no more than a couple of minutes walk from the pool and the central breakfast area, where you can discuss plans for the day and experiences with your fellow guests and what they recommend. The utterly brilliant concierge, Trish (more of a friend than a concierge, actually) is on hand daily to help plan your tours and recommend the best places to eat. There are some organised events but we were under no pressure to get involved in them. Trish's husband, Mike, is a great guy who works around the place - he speaks Greek and has a good knowledge of the surrounding area too.
We stayed in Rosemari Cottage which is detached and private – simple but supremely comfortable with every facility you could need. Breakfast is prepared by Ruby, a lovely, exuberant and amusing lady together with her assistant Lena who is very sweet. There is a fine spread, as much as you can eat, and the eggs are local and SO rich, yellow and tasty. The marmalade is made from oranges in the garden and they even have their own walnuts !
Nothing is too much trouble when it come to nice touches.....from the candle lanterns lit each night, the imaginative exterior decor around the place - huge pots and other ornaments around the stunning garden which makes the whole thing so authentic. We were even presented with a fabulous cheesecake which appeared in the fridge when Trish found out it was our wedding anniversary. The grounds even has its own tiny consecrated Chapel which is beautiful. And when Crete had its most dramatic earth tremor in years, an alarmed looking Trish was rushing around checking we were all ok.....actually it was an amazing experience to have felt the earth move.....there was no apparent damage.
Crete is a very large island - much bigger than some might imagine, roughly 200 miles east to west and 45 miles north to south so there is masses to do although the practicalities of traversing the island all the way from east to west would be an issue as there are no motorways and the roads are often small and winding.
There is plenty to see for history buffs from Minoan ruins to locations of WW2 atrocities (Crete had a pretty gruesome war) and the corresponding British Commonwealth and German war cemeteries both of which are very moving. There are many beautiful mountain villages and a stunning coastline with quaint little fishing harbours. If you are looking for recommendations feel free to get in touch !
Finally, Simpson Travel do a wonderful job of making sure that all is running smoothly - I had a problem with my car and they just handled everything.
So If you're looking for peace and quiet, relaxation.......Arosmari Traditional Village Hotel in Vamos, Crete, is THE place !! I had added a few photos that are different from some of the others !
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arosmari Village Hotel is a haven; a cluster of stone and cypress wood cottages with a beautiful garden at its heart, set in the timeless village of Vamos. Here, among roses, jasmine and lavender are many secret corners to read, meditate or sleep the afternoon away. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Arosmari Village Retreat Hotel Vamos
- Arosmari Village Retreat Vamos, Crete, Greece