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“A little bit of Cretan paradise...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Vritomartis Naturist Resort

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Vritomartis Naturist Resort
Sfakia, Crete 730 11, Greece   |  
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Ranked #1 of 22 Specialty lodging in Sfakia
Cumbria, England
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“A little bit of Cretan paradise...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2011

Our third trip to Vritomartis in 4 years and it won't be our last. We rarely visit the same place more than once, unless it's exceptional - and Vritomartis is most certainly that. It's a little bit of paradise when the Cretan sun shines, which it did for practically the whole of our week's visit. We've had variable weather earlier in the summer on our two previous visits but in early September 2011 the weather was perfect. The thermometer on the poolside bar topped 30C almost every day and the clean and beautiful pool was exactly the right temperature to cool off in when needed. Not having a clammy swimsuit to dry off after each swim enhances the experience!

Each time we've stayed, we've had one of the "bungalow rooms", rather than a room in the hotel itself, both for the peace & quiet and the freedom, as mentioned by other reviewers. Although you may hear next door's shower and the people above you (if staying in one of the ground floor rooms with a room above), we've never had noisy neighbours so that hasn't been a problem for us. Our room was kept spotlessly clean by the maid service every day. The single beds (check if you want a double when booking as several of the bungalow rooms have singles and they can't be pushed together) were firm but comfortable. The aircon is very efficient although not very quiet, but we switched it off at night and left the patio door open and slept well.

We've never had any insect bites at Vritomartis (and my wife is a magnet for mosquitoes). There are wasps around but they weren't a problem and we didn't see anyone stung. The standing water at the poolside showers seems to attract them but as long as you're careful and watch where you step when having a shower, they won't bother you. Water from the overnight sprinklers also attracted honey bees early to the lawns early in the morning but again they weren't a problem. The insects around the pool often attract swallows and swifts and it's an amazing experience watching their aerobatics whilst swimming.

We spent most of our time, from immediately after breakfast to early evening, on sunbeds on the lawns under the palm trees by the pool. Just writing that sentence makes me want to book another visit. One afternoon, we took the frequent shuttle bus down to the "old beach", which is pebbles rather than sandy. You can walk, it's less than a kilometre, but it's a hot walk uphill back. It's clear that there is a charge for the beach sunbeds and umbrellas so I can't see why anyone would have a problem with that. They are free by the pool but at busy times can all be taken by mid-morning. The hotel requests that people do not reserve the pool sunbeds by the old trick of leaving towels on them but some people ignored this rule. Even if there are no sunbeds left, the springy grass of the lawns is very comfortable to lie on. The hotel is considering replacing the sunbeds by the pool next year so hopefully availability will improve.

The "new" beach, which is closer to the hotel and easier to walk to, is not ready and it's not clear when it will be. The bar building has now been constructed so it might be open "next year". In some ways, it's a nicer beach, being more sheltered, with smaller stones and easier to get into the sea as it shelves less steeply, not that any of those things causes a problem at the current beach. It's not as wide but is deeper so should still hold a similar number of people. It's not an official naturist beach yet but some people use it (and walk there and back) as nature intended. Apparently the hotel will stop using the old beach when the new ones is opened.

On all three of our visits we've enjoyed the food at Vritomartis. The buffet breakfast is plentiful with a good variety to choose from. The Greek yoghurt is, as you might expect, beautiful and usually has walnuts, raisins, or other fruit in it. There are always fried eggs, the omelette is nice and the cooked tomatoes very tasty, but do not expect to find British style bacon and sausages. Yes, there's a queue for dinner when the restaurant opens at 7:30 but it's pretty civilised and when all the tables are full, the bar is on hand and you won't have a long wait. We've always found the buffet dinners of excellent quality. It's not haute cuisine but the ingredients are fresh and of very good quality (some grown in the hotel's own gardens), the variety on offer is excellent, and the food is freshly cooked. There is a nice mix of Greek food and international style dishes and enough choice to satisfy (almost) everyone. Many desserts include nuts and honey but that's fine by me! This year's wines seemed better than some we've had in the past, which was a bonus. My nearest and dearest also enjoyed sampling the extensive cocktail list before dinner!

Food at the poolside bar is also very good and is now served by a smiling young man - previous visitors may remember the now retired "character" who used to run the bar. A word for all the staff who, almost without exception, are pleasant, friendly and helpful, not only the serving staff but also the ladies who clean and always have a cheerful "Kalimera!" for guests every morning, although they must sometimes wonder where to look. The young Spanish lady, Irini, who ran the excursions and activities this year, is a delight and very well organised. She gently and miraculously chided 8-10 lazy people around the pool each afternoon into playing water polo, even though she couldn't move some of the lazier guests like me. There is entertainment most evenings but it's all very laid back and you can take it or leave it as you please.

One of the great things about Vritomartis is that you don't need a car to get out and about to see the beautiful south west of Crete. There are a variety of walking tours to the nearby gorges, a wine tour (new this year) and other sightseeing trips. Prices vary depending on the trip and, in my view, not expensive for what you get. There are usually two boat trips on offer, one along the coast, the other across to the island of Gavdos (this was the most expensive trip, this year at 89 Euro per person), which is reputed to be the most southerly point in Europe. The Gavdos trip is very dependent on the weather and won't set out if it's windy offshore or there's much of a swell. It sailed the day we arrived and again the day before we left. The day we booked for, it was cancelled because of the after effects of storms the night before so we decided to go on the other trip instead. On our first visit, the trip went east as far as the beautiful (but not naturist) Preveli Beach but that trip was apparently not so popular as some of the places it visited can be reached easily by car. The coastal trips are less likely to be cancelled because of sea conditions.

We left the hotel at 9:30, boarded our boat at Chora Sfakion, a few minutes away by shuttle bus and well worth a separate visit, west along the coast to just past the end of the Samaria Gorge. Apart from lunchtime in Loutro, where we had an excellent lunch, the whole trip of our trip was naturist. We swam off the boat and on to three beautiful beaches, the first of which had no-one else on it, the second had a taverna and an interesting old church (both non-naturist, obviously), and the last was the well known Sweetwater beach. It was a perfect day out with a nice bunch of people from a variety of nations. There was a good mix of guests at the hotel this year, with perhaps more people from the Netherlands and the UK than other countries, surprisingly few Germans (perhaps they feel they have already contributed enough to the Greek economy!), a few Scandinavians, French, Russians and other Europeans, and a handful of Americans. One couple on our boat were from Saudi, which must have been interesting for them culturally.

Take enough cash to pay for drinks, the beach bar, ice creams, drinks and souvenirs, etc bought from the shop and for the excursions - all other costs for drinks etc can be paid by card or cash at the end of your stay.

If you've already discovered the joys of swimming and sunbathing as nature intended, or have ever wondered why some strange person invented clothes to swim in, try Vritomartis. Most people who do, seem to try it more than once...

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Tel Aviv, Israel
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2011

We were stay at the hotel six days, the staff, the food, the cleanliness were the highest level.. Staff remembered us from last time and even gave my wife a birthday cake, no doubt, there are the champions!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burnley, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2011

this was our first time at Vritomartis. We had a grand bungalow and was very pleased with the choice as it gave us plenty of balcony space. I am not sure that you could get 2 adults and 2 children in the room as the storage/wardrobe space was really small even for my husband and I. We went to the beach most days except on the weekend when the beach was far too crowded. the food was adequate - the salad was very fresh but the main meals were a bit disappointing. Even so, you would not be hungry. We do hope to return next year.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Selsey, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2011

We stayed 21/6/11 to 5/7/11, this was our first time on a naturist holiday and we have been bitten by the bug, we stayed in one of the bungalows which was lovely and kept very clean by the array of cleaners, the restaurant meals in the evening were very good, except we found that the meat dishes were too salty for our tastes, the salads were all very good.
Irini the rep was fab, she really looks after you well either when out on trips or in the hotel.
The little shop sells ice cream, but is shut in the afternoon which is when most people fancy one. All in all we would go back again.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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kent
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2011

IIt would appear that we must have stayed here at the same time as the last reviewer ,but can honestly say how much we enjoyed it here.I can agree with them on a couple of points,the first being noisy children.There were very few children there,and in general were hardly noticable.A couple arrived later in the week along with 2 children who were unable to do anything without screaming and shouting.I do not feel that this is the fault of the hotel,and would suggest that June is a better time to come here if you want some peace and quiet.Personally i think there should be periods where it is an adults only policy as the people we spoke to wanted pretty much the same thing-peace and quiet.The hotel is secluded and there isnt that much for children to do.
The second point i agreed with was the cost of some of the trips,some did seem a little expensive.Other than that we have no issues,only praise.The food was plentiful,varied and of a good standard.The staff were excellent,the shuttle bus service good and simple and we encountered no trouble on the hotel beach-we were clearly aware of the sunbed payment policy before hand which was clear and simple.
The bungalows are clean,simple and more than adequate.We were in a ground floor one,maybe an upstairs one would have been nicer for the sea view but maybe next time we will ask for one.The beds ,although seperate were comfortable,theair con worked fine and we had a bath aswell as a shower.The rooms were cleaned daily and very well.
I liked the idea of a bungalow rather than an appartment in the hotel as the dress policy applies only in the main building.Nearby Chora Sfakion is lovely,and as we wandered past the little Tavernas and restaurants i sometimes wished i hadn't eaten so much for breakfast in the morning,knowing that we would be eating well again in the evening.
Should you want to walk off your meal dare i suggest a walk to or from Loutro ,the next village along.We did the complete trek ,and will warn you that the coast path between Sweetwater Bay and Sfakion is not for the faint hearted.It is rocky,narrow steep and could cause you a lot of trouble if you dont concentrate.
The scenery is beautiful, the area is very quiet and its just ideal for relaxation.Night life is again quiet which tended to suit most people fine.There is a young Spanish lady who organises entertainment,trips etc and tries very hard to please everyone.We found her very helpful and always cheerful.
We stayed a week and did not want to come home .

Room Tip: Ask for an upstairs bungalow.Ask for a bungalow if you dont want to keep getting dressed,and the nig...
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2011

We were looking forward to staying at Vritomartis, and had made an internet booking for a Grand Bungalow, because these rooms have private terraces on 3 sides. When we arrived, the room we were allocated only had 1 terrace, but the receptionist insisted it was a Grand Bungalow, and even suggested that the small area at the top of the communal staircase was a terrace! On escalating the complaint to the manager, and referring him to the floor plan of the 3-terrace Grand Bungalow on the hotel's website, he finally admitted that our room wasn't a Grand Bungalow, and that it should not have been allocated to someone booking one on the internet (which raises a question about people who book one through other means!). As there wasn't a Grand Bungalow available, he offered to credit our account with the additional cost of the Grand Bungalow, and we accepted this. Just unfortunate that the receptionist tried to fob us off with lies.

On our third day, we took the shuttle bus to the beach. We were followed on to the beach by the waiter from the hotel's beach bar, who demanded our room number, wrote out a charge slip for the €7.50 charge for sunbeds, and asked me to sign it, which I did. Later, after lunch, he again came to the beach and demanded payment in cash, which I naturally refused as I'd already signed a hotel charge slip. He stormed off, saying that he'd bring the manager within 5 minutes. This was extremely embarrassing for us. The manager didn't appear, of course, but when we went to board the shuttle bus back to the hotel, I was refused boarding and told I had to speak with some girl who said she was the manager's sister. I repeated that, having signed a charge slip as requested, I would definitely not pay cash. She insisted that all sunbeds should be paid in cash, but I said we'd take our complaint to the manager. Subsequently, my wife complained to the manager, who apologised for our embarrassment and didn't know why we'd been asked to sign a charge slip. We never got a proper explanation.

Vritomartis only sells half-board accommodation. As others have said, the breakfast buffet is OK, but the dinner buffet is disappointing. The salad bar looks appealing, but flies can be a problem (as in any outside location). The hot food was generally unappealing. My wife is a vegetarian, and virtually lived on salads the whole time we were there. I'm not a big meat eater, and had no appetite for "Rabbit Stew", or even the intriguing "Cock in Wine Sauce". When fish was available, it was generally unappealing, although the "Sole Meuniere" was OK - except that it wasn't Sole Meuniere, it was deep-fried battered fish.

Others have noted that there's a bit of a rush to eat when the dinner buffet opens at 1930. That's an understatement! Sometimes, the queue was really impressive. This might be a result of the fact that most of the clients are elderly, or it might be a reflection on the availability of food later in the service.

The pool bar/taverna was a whole different experience though; good food, freshly prepared, nicely presented. But extra cost of course, and not inexpensive - prices were about the same as I'd expect in the UK. The service however was excellent.

The on-site minimarket was useful for bottles of water, fruit juice, etc. And it was the only source of ice creams too - but bizarrely it closed all afternoon, just when you might yearn for an ice cream!

Similarly, having stayed in many naturist resorts in Europe and the Caribbean, we found it odd that, at Vritomartis, guests have to dress in the hotel buildings at all times.

The rooms were clean and presentable, with aircon and a mini-fridge. Although the bed was comfortable, it's worth noting that all the beds are built on a concrete base next to a wall, so if you're sleeping on the wall side you need to be agile enough to climb in.

The swimming pool is quite large and very clean. The showers next to the pool are plagued by wasps, and we saw one elderly guy stung as he showered. There's a separate shallow children's pool, too, although this can get very noisy as kids jump in and out whilst shouting loudly. There are free sunbeds around the pool and surrounding grass, but they are mainly old and tired and rather uncomfortable. And there are too few of them - to the extent that the hotel even put up signs telling people not to leave their towels on them if they weren't using them! On several days, we saw people having to lie on the grass.

The grounds around the pool are well-maintained; nicely planted, colourful and attractive. There's a little army of housekeepers who sweep the paths early in the morning.

The "activities coordinator", Irini, is lovely and tries very hard to get the guests to join in with pool aerobics, etc, and with trips. We were hoping to go on a boat trip, but thought that €178 per couple for a short day trip was a bit expensive, so didn't book it. As it happens, I think the trip was cancelled anyway as the sea was too rough.

So, on balance, very disappointing. Was it good value? No. Would we go again? No.

Room Tip: Choose a bungalow room to avoid the noise in the .
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Venlo, The Netherlands
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2011

Never made a review before, but this resort earns one.

Outstanding service very very clean rooms, nice swimmingpool and beach. And lovely people. As a beginning naturist we didn't know what to expect. But within 5 minutes this is clear, you'll get an amazing holiday. The people who visit this resort are different, mostly highly educated and friendly. Nudity was never a problem, and tanning under the lovely palms was amazing. The only small complaint i have was the food in the evening, this could be better. Many thanks for threating us so well to the animation girl, and the staff in the bars, restaurants and reception. We will be back very soon. Life changes after visiting your first nudist resort!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Vritomartis Naturist Resort

Address: Sfakia, Crete 730 11, Greece
Phone Number:
Location: Greece > Crete > Chania Prefecture > Sfakia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 22 Specialty lodging in Sfakia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Vritomartis Hotel & Bungalows is a naturist hotel located in the region of Sfakia on the south coast of Crete, near the village of Hora Sfakion. The hotel features a private naturist beach in a spectacular domain overlooking the sea. Vritomartis hotel has 180 beds in 85 beautifully appointed rooms, of which 42 are located on two floors in the main building and 43 in 9 separate bungalows. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Vritomartis Hotel And Bungalows
Vritomartis Hotel Chania

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