A fully renovated, stonebuilt compound built on top of three ancient greek grottos. It used to be a Venetian olive press factory. Now it's a contemporary holiday home with two pools (indoor and outdoor) and an organic vegetable and local fruit garden
UNIQUE LISTING AWARD WINNER
FIRST AIRBNB OPEN 2014
GrottoHomes is a traditional stonebuilt compound constructed in several phases, starting around 1500, on top of three ancient greek hellenistic grottos. It used to be an olive press factory, originally built by the Venetians, who occupied Crete at that time, with later additions for housing both the miller and his elder son. It has been restored with patience, respect and knowledge by its current owner who, being an architect, turned it to a contemporary holiday home, maintaining reverently every architectural detail of the past. It is furnished with many unique, antique pieces and it's decorated with a lot of traditional, rural cretan household equipment. This villa is ideal for writers, artists or nature lovers who like walking, hiking or swimming in a pool carved in an ancient grotto or just relaxing in an unbelivably quiet place. The organic vegetable, local fruit tree and aromatic plants gardens can provide them with the freshest ingredients for cooking their meals. By March 2014 will be ready the new openair pool of the compound, built by the citrus trees garden, and it'll be opperating in addition to the indoor one, giving the guests one more area of relaxation.
The villa is situated 800m away of the ruins of a Hellenistic city, in a small and peaceful village called Goulediana, famouse for its restaurand specialized in Cretan cousine. It's a 45min drive away from both international airports of Crete, Chania and Heraklion, a 5 min drive from Armeni, the main village of the area, where one can find supermarkets a pharmacy shop and an ATM and 15 min drive from the town of Rethymno famous for its lively night life, full of restaurants, bars, clubs etc Both crowded north coast and quiet south coast beaches are just a 15min drive away.
When staying in GrottoHomes you can relax completely, surrounded by the unique cretan nature and feel part of its centuries long history using, at the same time, any modern facility and equipment one might need. At least that's what I do when the villa has no guests...
The visitors have access either to the entire compound or only to the main house (the rest will be empty) depending on the size of their party and in any case to the whole garden, and both the indoor and the outdoor pools. Access to the office of the owner will be given only uppon request.
Interaction with Guests
The owner of the house will meet the visitors uppon arival, to welcome them, show them around the house and hand them the keys. He also has to visit the house every two days, at a time convenient to both parties, to water the plants and clean the pools. The owner will be reachable at any time on his cell phone or his profile on the famouse Zuckerberg's site for any questions / tips / advice / help the visitors might need.
The area where GrottoHomes is situated is very close to Rethymnon, half way between both north and south beaches of the island. Inspite being so close to all the main turistic spots it is 5km off the main road leading from Rethymnon to the south beaches, so it is unspoiled by the "development" the turist mass brings along. The area is very green full of olive, cypress and oak trees and it has breathtaking mountain views. There are also some very good taverns in a few meters to a few km dictance from the house. The village where the house is situated is very small, therefor very piecfull and quiet. The only "noice" you might listen to is some distant sheep bah and bells, rooster cock-a-doodle-doos, the church bell and the priest singing on Sundays, or some traveling sellers that pass by the village every now and then to sell bread, grocery or even clothing. But if you prefer to buy your supplies from a supermarket there is one 5km away in the main village of the area, on your way to Rethymno. There you can also find an ATM and a pharmacy shop.
There is no convenient public transportation in the area (there is a bus line that goes to Rethymnon once daily). You have to rent a car to move around or if you prefere to use taxis.
GrottoHomes is a fully renovated 500 year old compound, furnished with both modern and antique pieces, decorated with paintings of high sentimental value made by the owner and members of his family and many rural traditional household equipment that go along with all modern facilities and equipment one might need nowadays. So the first thing that someone expects from its guests is to appreciate and respect the history of the house and its equipment.
The gardens are full of organic local fruit trees, organic vegetables and aromatic plants. The visitors are free to collect as many of the vegetables which are ripe during the period of their stay, or pieces of any aromatic plant they need for preparing their meals. But at the same time they have to take care not to ruin the future production of the plants which is to be used by the owner or next coming visitors of the house. The fruits are collected by the owner of the house who makes marmelades and sweets out of them (you'll be able to taste some). The plants have to be watered and the pool filters cleaned, every second day. So the owner has to visit the house every second day after agreeing with the guests the time that is more convenient for both of them.
There is a special place in the garden (under the lemon trees) where organic remainders are disposed for producing compost for the plants. The guests are asked to collect all recyclable packages and either carry them to the special bins in Armeni village or keep them at home to be carried by the owner after their departure.
The villa is in a quiet setting in a small village in the hills. The local taverna (5 mins walk) is very good, but other than that there is a 10 minute drive to a larger village for petrol, supermarket etc. The villa is very nicely restored with modern comforts while maintaining its own character. The host, VanGos, was very helpful with tips for places to visit. When we had a small issue (changing the heating timing) he came round immediately to help. He very generously supplied us with fresh aubergines and pomegranates from the garden, along with wine, raki, beer and bottled water.
Wir (2 Familien mit 4 Erwachsenen und 3 Kindern) waren im Oktober 2014 für 2 Wochen bei VanGos.
Sehr schönes, liebevoll renoviertes und eingerichtes Haus. Gut geeignet für 2 Familien. VanGos ist ein extrem freundlicher, hilfsbereiter und kundiger Gastgeber mit super Tips (Restaurants, Ausflüge, Strände, etc.). Das Haus liegt sehr günstig zur Nord- und zur Südküste. Ein Glücksfall ist die Taverne in dem kleinen Ort (Goules Tavern). Toller Typ mit super Essen. Wir waren 3 Mal dort und jedes Mal sehr zufrieden.
Einzig die hohe Lage in den Hügeln (im Sommer ein super Vorteil) birgt im Herbst ein leichtes Risiko, da die Temperatur und die Luftfeuchtigkeit dort im Vergleich zur Küste niederiger (Temperatur) bzw. höher (Luftfeuchtigkeit) ist.
Wir waren das erste Mal auf Kreta und es hat uns extrem gut gefallen. Insbesondere die Freundlichkeit der Menschen ist beeindruckend.
I really can't say enough good things about this villa. So much care and attention to detail went into renovating this old Venetian mill; the perfect mix of old and new. We loved staying here and discovering new aspects of the architecture each time we looked around. To begin with VanGos was an excellent host, inquiring about any needs before we had even arrived. Upon arrival, he sat us down to a glass of raki, some sweet tomatoes and sea salt, and went over the area with us and gave us many suggestions on what to see and do. There was a basket of fresh vegetables picked from the garden, a fully stocked kitchen, and a fridge full of fruit, yoghurt, juice, and milk. When the weather was nice, we sat outside by the garden and ate some lovely meals cooked with the things in the garden as well as some we bought from the farmer's market in Rethymno which was only a 25 mins drive away. The location was ideal as we enjoyed being far from city, listening to the goats and the chickens, but still have easy access if we wanted to. There was an amazing tavern nearby with an utterly charming owner who wowed us with a delicious meal and then took us on a tour of his raki distillery of which he later treated us with a bottle to take home. When the weather took a bad turn, we still loved being in the house, reading books in the bright sunroom, making hot tea, and feeling very cozy within the solid walls of the house. Everything we needed was provided and we felt very well taken care of. VanGos was patient and informative as he continued to communicate with me throughout our entire stay, answering all my questions. I hope to return again one day and would recommend this place to anyone in a heartbeat.
Door een annulering van onze vlucht door de luchtvaartmaatschappij kwamen wij een dag eerder aan dan verwacht. Onze gastheer heeft al het mogelijke gedaan om ons toch een hartelijk welkom te bereiden: het huis was brandschoon, een drankje/ hapje gingen gepaard met een aangename kennismaking en rondleiding zowel binnen als buiten het huis. Onze verwachtingen waren door de advertentiebeschrijving (die accuraat was) hooggespannen, maar de werkelijkheid overtrof deze nog. Ligging, uitzicht, privacy, ruimtes zowel buiten als binnen zijn met zorg en liefde aangelegd en ingericht. De eigenaar heeft een weldoordacht systeem voor de verlichting voor binnen en buiten; afvoer van het spoelwater van de toiletten (toiletpapier mag in toilet, wat niet gebruikelijk is op Kreta); goede douches. Het maakt het verblijf prettig als alles goed werkt. Het linnengoed, de bedden, meubilair, parasols, servies/bestek, keukenbenodigdheden het was er allemaal en in zeer goede staat. Het dorp is klein, de taveerne van Kosta is goed.
Supermarkt en bakker zijn alleen met een auto te bereiken in Armeni ongeveer 5 kilometer verder op. Goulediana is een goede uitvalbasis voor autotochten en wandelaars kunnen hun hart ophalen. In huis ligt genoeg informatie over grotten, kloven, biologisch park etc. Er is zoveel te bekijken en VanGos heeft goede (website hidden) alle inspanningen is het heerlijk vertoeven in de beide pools en zonder natuurlijk ook. Het bijzondere is, dat je eigenlijk helemaal niet van het huis weg moet om tot jezelf te komen, omdat het zoveel biedt. De groente, het fruit en de kruiden, die je met zorg mag plukken geven een extra oppepper. Heerlijk voor bij de barbecue, maar wel even oppassen voor de katten, die overigens niet in huis kwamen.
We a group of 6 stayed at the Grotto home in the beginning of September. We absolutely loved our stay and give the highest recommendation possible to this house. I am an architect and a really picky one. This is a huge traditional house and it has been restored and reimagined into the perfect home, a real gem. Every corner and detail has been carefully considered. Also the garden is a slice of heaven. So many herbs, vegetables and fruits are yours for picking and enjoying. Along with the pool and terraces and trees in the property it makes for a beautiful setting in the landscape. We arrived late at night and Vangos our host made us really feel at home offering the best directions a full fridge of delicious surprices. Thank you Vangos. Also the communication was better than any other of my airbnb experiences. Vangos was always there on viber to give us tips on where to go and where to eat. We also recommend the local tavern in the village. Trust the waiter Kostas to do all the ordering. We went twice it was so good! Also the house is well located only a 25 min drive from Rethymnon and about a 35min drive to the beaches in the south. Thank you Vangos for our wonderful stay! We hope to come again soon!
VanGos’ villa is exquisite, nestled in the quiet hills of Goulediana.
Easy to reach from the airport with VanGos’ directions, we arrived at the house to be greeted by our host who is welcoming and friendly. VanGos gave us a tour, and afterwards shared raki with us while he answered all of our questions about the local area – giving us tips about the best beaches and nearby tavernas. He was full of ideas, and mid way through the week even helped us to get a dinner reservation in Rethymno when we were told the taverna was fully booked.
The house is impeccably clean and comes well stocked with basics (soaps, toilet roll, towels and some food / drink).
Both house and garden have been beautifully renovated and have a real ‘wow’ factor.
We loved having dinner and drinks around the large garden table at night and looking at the incredible starry skies while listening to the tinkle of local mountain goats!
The pool was also great for a quick dip when it got too hot and the breeze through the valley died down, and the multi levels of the outside areas are good for varied sunbathing spots, or if you want some space. VanGos’ garden vegetables (which he collected for us on his visits to the house to tend to the pool and garden) were delicious, and when we weren’t cooking it was only a two minute walk to village taverna, which we returned to on several occasions for their veal stew.
I could not fault VanGos’ hospitality or his villa. It was a wonderful holiday, and a beautiful house. Huge thumbs up, and thank you for a special week.
We stayed at VanGos's beautiful villa for a week and wished that it was longer. The building is a really stunning adaptation of a mill and caves, lovingly restored by the owner over 8 years - every detail was really well considered. VanGos's welcome was everything one could hope for - even to the great selection of food, some of it from the garden. The village has a very nice taverna, with a warm host, and the villa is well placed between Rethymno and the southern beaches. Very much recommend this, either for family groups or for a more grown up gathering.
I love nature and living close to it but at the same time I often travel to big cities to enjoy the cultural events and spaces one can find there. I love food of good quality and I enjoy cooking it.I love seeing but also creating art.