We are a family of three (a couple and a five-year old boy) who truly enjoyed our one week's stay in Villa Givera late April/early May. Marina, her family and her house-keeping team made us feel pampered, and in every thinkable way taken good care of. We've traveled a lot of places, but this is the first time I did yoga on a peaceful lawn, surrounded by a lush garden and the tranquil water sound from the pool. That felt like paradise. What follows are the highlights of our experiences, and what in our view makes this holiday home stand out from many others.
1) We arrived in Villa Givera in April, the night before the Orthodox Easter. We were reminded by Marina prior to arrival of closed supermarkets and restaurants. Marina purchased really fresh grocery for us (organic vegetables, fruits and top-quality chicken). There was a welcome basket with the red Easter eggs as well as chocolate eggs, and local wine. There were also folded paper boats in the bedroom of our boy, which is a really personal gesture of welcome. With the fireworks on our arrival evening, we felt drawn into a festive celebration sentiment from the onset of our holiday.
2) During our stay, we had a small challenge with starting the gas stove. Marina's father and husband came to us within 20 minutes and fixed the stove on the spot. We cooked a wonderful home-made meal (with rosemary, basil and thyme from the garden!) and enjoyed it in stunning sunset on the veranda.
3) The villa is impeccably clean, inside and out. The cleaning lady Anna was so sweet and nice and so is the house-keeper Andreas, who cleaned the pool every day. At the same time, they were very considerate to leave us space and privacy. Anna made sure that all the shelves in every wardrobe and cupboard was dust-free and she made a towel elephant which made Oliver so happy.
4) There were drawing paper, coloring pads, and pencils and story books for children. There were drawings in the pads from earlier visitors. This became a part of the villa's story, which we enjoyed reading and extending :-).
5) The kitchen is really well-equipped with everything one needs. There are many cups, glasses, plates and bowls to choose from.
6) There is a lot of space in the dining and living room area. One big dining table and one large "hobby table". A big couch and two stylish futon like chairs. The furniture is comfortable and stylish (the corner lamp beside the futon chair was my favorite reading lamp in the evening). All furniture is really chosen with great attention to detail and good taste.
7) All three bedrooms, the dining room, and living room have direct access to the beautiful veranda. The french doors, and insect nets work really well. Contrary to a lot of other holiday homes which feel dark and shady behind heavy curtains, this villa can be made light and sunny. Great connectivity between indoor and outdoor areas.
8) The garden has many beautiful roses, lemon trees, herbs, cacti, and evergreens. It is taken great care of every day. The lawn is green and lush, and is a paradise for outdoor yoga.
9) The driveway up to the villa and the cozy entrance area adds to the stylishness of the house. Parking is easy and private.
10) The pool is clean and large. We swam every day even though it is April. The sun beds, outdoor dining table, chairs are all very clean and comfortable.
Rethymno is a short 15 minutes' drive away with many great tavernas. Our favorite is Castelvecchio, a classy place with atmosphere and impeccable service. The Agio Antonio gorge nearby was our favorite nearby excursion, taunting beautiful waterfalls, and different view points.
All in all a most wonderful relaxed and rejuvenating stay in Villa Givera. We already want to be back :-).