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Volakas Beachfront Suites, Rethymno, Crete – Reviewed

A review of our accommodation in Rethymno, Crete. Volakas Beachfront suites ooze authentic charm, the patio overlooks the beach and they’re just a short walk into Rethymno old town. Perfect for a self-catering stay in Rethymno.

Volakas Beachfront Suites, Rethymno, Crete

Holidays in Greece, especially the Greek Islands, have always been high on my happy list. It had been a good few years since I’d given Greece the love it deserves but I put that right with a week in Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands.

Rethymno on Crete’s north coast was the location for a blissful week of June sunshine, relaxation and Greek food indulgence.

Our home for the week was Volakas Beachfront Suites (previously known as Villa Rethymno Beach with James Villas but now bookable via Booking.com). These gorgeous suites are just a short walk from Rethymno town and the perfect beachside spot for soaking up the sun, sea and Rethymno’s history and Grecian charm.

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Where are Volakas Beachfront Suites?

Rethymno Fortress, Crete
Koumbes Public Beach, Rethymno

Rethymno, on Crete’s northern coast, is an ancient, medieval town which was once ruled by the Venetians and then by the Turks. There’s a lot to see including the Fortezza, an ancient fort, the old Venetian harbour, lighthouse and a very pretty old town. Plus there’s a long sandy beach.

The old town is a honeycomb of alleyways lined with restaurants, shops, bars and overhung with fresh green vines and vibrant bougainvillea. 

Volakas Beachfront suites, are right on the beach 1.5 km to the west of the town, around a 15-minute walk, which we did most days. The fort was a little further at around 20-minutes.

Rethymno Old Town

Read More: Why you should visit Rethymno

Volakas Beachfront Suites Review

Volakas Beachfront Suites are four suites integrated into a renovated building on the beach front near Koumbes Public Beach. And I mean right on the beach, just a flip and a flop from the door to the sea. Fifteen flips and fifteen flops until I was actually paddling in the water!

It was so lovely to drift off to sleep each night with the sound of the waves lapping on the shore and to wake each morning and see the turquoise waters from my pillow. Yes, that close. I insisted on leaving the shutters open each night for that very reason!

Volakas Suites have an artisan feel and have been beautifully renovated from an old stone building, keeping many of the original features. There are exposed stone walls, wooden beams, marble and wooden floors and the original well (glass-covered) in the living area of our suite. I’d love to find out about the history of the building.

The bedrooms

The bedrooms and main bathroom are upstairs on the first floor.  Both bedrooms have patio doors and a mezzanine level, although the steps to this are quite steep and cordoned off. The main bedroom, with double bed, looks out over the beach and the second bedroom with twin beds looks over the pool.

The main bedroom
Second bedroom

There’s air conditioning in both bedrooms, and again, exposed stone walls and brickwork. In the hallway, there are two very spacious wardrobes with drawers – plenty of room for a family of four’s kit for a week or two. There’s a sturdy metal safe, iron and ironing board in the wardrobes and a washing machine in the bathroom.

The bathroom has a stone sink, WC and large shower cubicle with hydro massage shower. There’s no bathtub. Toiletries were supplied and soft white towels, bathrobes and slippers. The towels and bed linen was changed halfway through the week and the villa cleaned.

The entrance door opens onto the kitchen dining area which has a chunky wooden table and chairs.  The kitchen is fully equipped with everything needed for self-catering including cookware, crockery, dishwasher, microwave, oven, hob, Fridge/freezer and coffee machine. There’s also a BBQ outside.

The kitchen
Living Room – with ancient well

The living area has a large, comfy leather sofa, digital flat-screen TV, DVD and docking station, a selection of paperbacks and air conditioning. The patio doors look straight out onto the beach and outdoor area. There’s also a handy downstairs cloakroom.

Although the suites are conjoined, each has its own outside area with sun beds, parasol, table and dining area with rustic table and chairs. There are dividers for privacy. By the pool, which is shared between the villas, is a pool table and a communal hammam which we didn’t use.

Patio area outside our suite – you can see how close it is to the sea

The Pool

Volakas Beachfront Suites – accommodation in Rethymno, Crete

The entrance to the villa is via a narrow alley from the road and through a rustic wooden gate which opens onto the pool area. Our entrance door was by the pool and there’s also a passageway through the villas straight to the beach.

Our suite is on the far right behind the olive tree in the above picture. It has a narrow passageway between it and the other three suites.

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I haven’t been on a self-catering break for years but one of the things I loved best about our villa was that I could make breakfast, usually Greek yoghurt and fruit, and sit and eat it with the sun on my face and the sea at my feet – fabulous!

The beach outside the villas is quite narrow but widens out further along. This is actually a good thing because it means that people using the beach tend to use the wider part leaving the area by the villas virtually unused.

There are two supermarkets within walking distance and a mini-market by the entrance to the villa selling just about everything you’d need for a self-catering break – except fresh bread. But that’s because there’s a bakery next door, run by the friendly Zac, who bakes all his bread and pastries on the premises.

You won’t get bread any fresher. I recommend you try his apple turnovers made with home-grown apples and dusted with sugar and cinnamon. Delicious.

Read More: Why you should visit Rethymno

Where to eat in Rethymno

Old Town Rethymno, Crete
Rethymno Old Town, Crete

Check rates and avilability for Volakas Beachfront Suites, Rethymno, Crete

There are dozens of restaurants and tavernas in the old town serving traditional Cretan food and more international dishes. We had an excellent meal and wine at Castello. There are different areas to eat; at a table in the narrow alleyway or you can eat in their patio courtyard on one of two levels.

We booked and ate on the second level up which was surrounded by vines and greenery and was very pretty. The food is very good; I had lamb with a thyme honey sauce which was very tender and tasty. We also ate in the more casual Loggia Taverna in the town who served great mezes in a pretty alleyway.

All the restaurants we ate at served up a free dessert at the end of the meal and they were all really good so remember to save some room!

If you’re staying in the villa you don’t need to go into Rethymno town itself to eat. There are some excellent restaurants and hotel bars less than a ten-minute walk if you turn right when leaving the villa. Many of them have tables overlooking the ocean and have menus with both traditional Greek fare and more international dishes.

Prima Plora was excellent and we had a selection of mezes on a table right by the sea. We also had an excellent Cretan meal in the restaurant at Delfini Beach hotel who also have a more casual outside tavern area by the water serving international cuisine.

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Need to know

There are four rustic suites which are perfect for couples or families with two children sharing the second bedroom. Cots and highchairs are available on request.

If you don’t want to eat out everything needed to self-cater is provided except the food.

Wi-fi was included which was fast and reliable, as was the mobile phone signal.

Keys are left in a safe place so you can let yourself in on arrival. Check-in from 15:00 hrs and depart by 11:00 hrs.

Getting to and from the airport

Car hire is worth getting if you want to explore Crete but we didn’t want to venture too far so we just booked airport transfers. 

Looking for somewhere to stay in Rethymno? Check rates and availability

Emma Hart

Wednesday 12th of August 2015

Oh how I love Crete! I've never been Rethymno but I've researched it a lot and it looks beautiful! I stayed in Bali when I went a few years ago but would love to check this place out and if I get to stay in a place like this, then even better :)

Suzanne Jones

Friday 14th of August 2015

I loved it too - it was the first time I'd been there and it's just as gorgeous as the other Greek islands. The villa was lovely :)

What to Eat in Crete | The Travelbunny

Sunday 9th of August 2015

[…] baker next door to our villa in Rethymno had some little pies on his counter which I couldn’t resist. Small and shaped like pasties […]

Packing my Suitcase

Thursday 6th of August 2015

Greece has also been high on my happy list, hopefully next year it will work out :D What a wonderful place, with that amazing view from the bed is simply paradise! Thank you for the tips!

Suzanne Jones

Saturday 8th of August 2015

I'm guessing the diving in the Greek Islands must be good too - so there's another reason to go :)

Suze The Luxury Columnist

Friday 31st of July 2015

I haven't been to Crete but I've heard that it's beautiful. The villa seems to have everything that you need and self catering is a great way not to put weight on during a holiday as you can eat light in the evenings!

Suzanne Jones

Friday 31st of July 2015

It was very chilled but I have to confess we did eat out every night!

Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

Thursday 30th of July 2015

I haven't been to Crete since I was 14! But funnily enough, I think it was Rethymno we stayed in and I loved it! I love the idea of a beachside villa with a fresh bakery right next door though I must admit you'd never catch me using that ironing board on holiday! ?

Suzanne Jones

Thursday 30th of July 2015

You'll be pleased to hear the ironing board and iron remained untouched!