What do you look for in a family hotel? Maybe a heated pool or access to a sandy beach? Are separate sleeping areas for adults and kids an essential requirement? Perhaps you like to self cater or maybe you prefer to have a restaurant on site. Is childcare an essential requirement? Or perhaps you think back wistfully to those pre-kid days when you stayed in boutique hotels where contemporary art and stylish furnishings came as standard. Well, I do believe the Ammos Hotel in Crete hits the nail on the head for all of this and more.
On our family trip to Crete, I picked what turned out to be a brilliant trio of family-friendly hotels, all very different but great in their own way. The final stop on our visit to the island was Chania. I picked the Ammos Hotel in Chania as I’d heard consistently great reviews about it over the years whilst working as a travel agent. If you’re after a family friendly base from which to explore Chania, the Ammos is perfect.
Fans of minimalism, sleek design, contemporary art and other things which don’t necessarily go hand in hand with mucky toddlers, will love the Ammos. The hotel has white washed walls (they must get through a lot of white paint before the season kicks in), original (and often rather quirky) art and expensive looking bathrooms. There is an air of peace and tranquillity about the place despite many of the guests being very small and noisy.
We hadn’t stayed at a hotel with childcare before so this was rather a luxury particularly as it was a complimentary feature at the Ammos. There’s a small play room with a variety of toys (our boys, aged 6 and 4 at the time, loved the range of Playmobil), craft activities, table football and more.
For a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon, a friendly lady looks after the children while parents can nip off for a walk along the beach, wander to the shops or simply read a book uninterrupted by the pool. Outside of these hours, you’re welcome to use the play room with your children. The room is in the basement but given the amount of hot sunshine outside, this didn’t bother us or the children.
I’ve discovered that having access to a pool is completely irrelevant with small children unless said pool is heated. At the Ammos Hotel in Crete the pool is sufficiently warm for children and parents to splash around in it all day long. If you’ve tried coaxing a reluctant or nervous toddler into a chilly swimming pool you’ll know how essential this is!
Family friendly rooms
If, in desperation, you’ve ever used a hotel bathroom as a bedroom for a slumbering infant, you’ll know how important a proper second sleeping area is for your baby or small child. You won’t come home particularly rested from your holiday if you’ve had to creep around a hotel room while your baby snoozes a few inches from your wine glass.
At the Ammos Hotel, we stayed in a garden view suite which had a bedroom with a double bed plus a separate living room with two single sofa beds. There’s also a simple kitchenette with a fridge and small stove which is handy if like us you’ve overspent in the first part of your holiday and you need to economise with a bit of home cooking.
Nothing makes a family holiday more relaxing than children busying themselves with a bucket and spade on a sandy beach. It never fails to amaze me that children can literally never tire from this activity. We had to drag our children from the beach at sunset each evening. Beach towels are included at the Ammos.
The food was delicious at the Ammos. An ever-changing menu meant we didn’t have a chance to try everything (although the restaurants in Chania also played a part in this). We didn’t eat breakfast at the Ammos Hotel (there’s a supermarket down the road where we stocked up) but it looked incredibly tempting: a great range of traditional Cretan delicacies including savoury pies, sweet cakes, biscuits and granola.
We absolutely loved Chania. The Ammos Hotel is located in a suburb of Chania and the surrounding area isn’t as impressive as the centre of the town but it only takes about 10 minutes to drive into Chania and there were always plenty of central parking spaces when we were there in April. In high season it might be easier to take a taxi (around 10 Euros), otherwise there’s a regular bus service.
I must add, we visited at Easter which is a brilliant time to be in Crete. There are still plenty of tourists as Chania is such a lovely city but I’d imagine that come summertime the area would be completely swamped with visitors. It very much felt like the calm before the storm on our trip there. We often had the hotel pool to ourselves and the beach in front of the Ammos was usually deserted.
The Ammos Hotel in Crete only has 3 suites (and only 33 rooms in total) so you need to book early to get one of these (and you have to book directly, the hotel is not on booking engines). We had to re-arrange some of our other plans to accommodate our stay there. The hotel is around 30 minutes from Chania airport.
This isn’t a paid review but I did request most of the images from the Ammos Hotel as I was rather lazy about taking them myself. Rest assured, the walls really are that white. And I love the hotel’s website, check it out!
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This review is linking up with the June edition of Family Friendly Stays: it goes live every first Wednesday of the month. Head over there to read other travel blogger reviews of great places to stay with your family.
If you enjoy staying in independent, characterful properties, keep an eye on Smudged Postcard: changes are afoot to include a directory of holiday accommodation recommended by like-minded families.