I thoroughly enjoyed my six-day stay here. I did the Sunny Rides, with half-board, so I went riding with the guide and other guests (once it was just one other guest and the last time it was just me) either two hours in the morning or two hours in the evening. Milou, the guide, is charming and very capable. The different rides through the mountains and down to the village were all lovely. The least attractive but the most fun was the ride down to the reservoir, where we were able to do quite a bit of cantering. The horses and pony are beautiful, friendly and very well trained. Manoli and Sabine and Milou take good care of their horses. It's just a shame that the ground is steep and rocky, which means that they can't graze in a pasture, but their stables are nice and each horse has two doors to wander in and out of.
Sabine and Manoli and their cook prepare excellent meals -- lots of the Greek staples, traditional Cretan specialties like Dakos (a bit like bruschetta), and each evening a rotating menu of special dishes -- moussaka, brami (a kind of ratatouille), stuffed peppers, stuffed zucchini flowers, grilled meats etc. Here I had the best hummus I've ever had (served warm and drizzled with olive oil), as well as the moistest chocolate cake. Delicious!
I loved the pool and the patio area around it. It's wonderful to lounge there in the afternoon or go for a swim after a hot ride. The shady area around the restaurant and next to the pool is the perfect place to enjoy lunch. The prices at Velani are reasonable.
I didn't have a car but by the fourth day I was able to rent one in Hersonissos for 135 Euro for three days, and I left it at the airport. Sabine and Manoli can help with car or moped rental. Velani is an excellent base from which to go exploring the archaeological sites, the Lasithi Plateau, and the north and south coasts.
Wonderful! I would definitely do it again!