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Hideaways in Crete

The Big Six: From beautiful stone farmhouses to pastel-coloured cottages

Paradise Island Villas, Anissaras

This family-run cluster of villas is on the north coast near Anissaras. It offers 12 spacious villas with chic rattan sofas, muslin-draped beds, private gardens and plunge pools. Hotel-style facilities include a communal pool, surrounded by olive groves, hammocks, sunbeds and a cocktail bar. Guests can enjoy traditionally prepared Greek meats at the weekly barbecue evening or sample refined Cretan fare at the à la carte Ambrosia Restaurant.

Paradise Island Villas, Anissaras (00 30 28 9702 2893; luxuryvillascrete.com). Nightly from €248, self catering. Villas sleep two to six.

Kapsaliana Village, Arkadi

This boutique hotel is built around the bones of an 18th-century Cretan settlement. Seventeen of the original houses have now been restored, with four newer additions that echo the traditional feel. Each suite has bare stone interiors, wooden beams, a wood-burning fire and rustic farmhouse furniture. Outside, the pool overlooks stunning rural landscape. Set on the island's largest olive grove, the estate also features an ancient olive press that guests are free to explore.

Kapsaliana Village, Arkadi (00 30 28 3108 3400; kapsalianavillage.gr). Nightly from €130, including breakfast. Suites sleep two to four.

Bleverde, Gavalohori

Bleverde comprises two luxury villas, Elia and Levanda, that both offer idyllic rural views midway between Chania and Rethymnon. Surrounded by orchards, both have a full kitchen, luxurious living room, several balconies and a private pool, ensuring the sun's rays will never be missed. Inside, clean and elegant interiors contrast perfectly with the vibrant colours of the landscape around. For an extra charge, the hotel can also arrange a private chef or yoga instructor for guests.

Bleverde, Gavalohori (00 30 698 5875 903; bleverde.com). Weekly rental of Elia from €1,190; Levanda from €1,680. Each sleeps six.

Metohi Kindelis, Chania

This beautiful stone farmhouse dates back to the late-Venetian period. This, and a neighbouring building have now been restored into three independent apartments, each with a private pool, patio and garden. Fridges inside are stocked with fresh produce, grown in the surrounding estate, with provisions for breakfast, as well as wine, coffee and other delicacies, all included. Regular cooking sessions provide guests with a hands-on insight into local cuisine.

Metohi Kindelis, Chania (00 30 28 2104 1321; metohi-kindelis.gr). Nightly from €220, including breakfast. Each sleeps two to four.

Villa Ippocampi, Koutouloufari

Built in classic Greek-island style, this resort offers 11 simple apartments and two larger suites. Laid-back and peaceful, each is set in a leafy walled garden lined with olive, lemon and orange trees. Most also have a private terrace and pergola with views of the blue Aegean waters and the old fishing port of Chersonissos. The town of Koutouloufari itself is a traditional tangle of winding lanes and tavernas, within easy reach of a range of sandy beaches.

Villa Ippocampi, Koutouloufari (00 30 28 9702 2316; ippocampi.gr). Nightly from €100, self catering. Villas sleep two to five.

Eleonas, Zaros

Eleonas offers 20 pastel-coloured cottages on a sloping mountainside in southern Crete, with a lovely pool and taverna. The estate grows its own vegatables and has a handful of goats, chickens and horses, which guests are invited to help feed. The mountainous scenery is perfect for activity enthusiasts too, with boat rides, bird-watching, mountain biking and horse-riding on hand at nearby Lake Zaros and the Agios Nikolaos canyon.

Eleonas, Zaros (00 30 28 9403 1238; eleonas.gr). Nightly from €70, including breakfast. Cottages sleep two to four.