Hideaways in Crete: Lush gardens, whitewashed walls, and a former olive-oil press

The Big Six

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The Independent Travel

Caramel, Adele

This tasty little boutique resort had a soft opening at the end of last year but officially launches this month. It is set on an eight-mile beach and has 71 guestrooms, varying from suites for two to villas sleeping 10. The decor is very Greek: eye-achingly bright white walls, gauzy curtains and hand-painted tiles. The hand-carved wooden furniture adds texture. The sea-water pool is surrounded by palms and lily-pad loungers while the beach, on the hotel's doorstep, comes complete with cream-coloured cabanas. Restaurant food is locally sourced, adding to the resort's authentic feel.

Adele, Rethymnon (00 30 2831 071803; caramel.grecotel.com). Doubles from €245, B&B.

The Blue Palace, Elounda

Tucked away in the quiet bay of Elounda, this resort oozes glamour. The lobby of the hotel has been built to replicate the Venetian Arsenali of the harbour of Heraklion and, at 36 feet high, it's an imposing and impressive entrance. Suites are large and have four-poster beds, separate living areas, private heated pools, sea views and Jacuzzis. There's also a spa and several restaurants with sea views.

Plaka, Schisma Elountas (00 30 2841 065500; bluepalace.gr). Doubles from €400, B&B.

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The Blue Palace, Elounda

The Olive Press, Agios Pavlos

A quirky combination of rustic and modern on Crete's south coast. This former olive-oil press now sports three luxury suites and a shared pool. The rooms are chic – grey stone walls, heavy-set stand-alone baths and mezzanine floors. The sharp lines and simple colour scheme are in contrast with the distressed furniture. The communal dining area is a horseshoe-shaped table set around a stone platform. Alternatively, guests can eat outside, beneath the olive trees.

Agios Pavlos, Apokoronas (bookings through i-escape.com/the-olive-press). From €180, B&B.

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The Olive Press, Agios Pavlos

Avli Lounge Apartments, Rethymnon

Housed in a Venetian-era building, this romantic retreat dates back to 1530. The small courtyard garden is covered in vines while the bedrooms offer seductive low-lighting, with four-poster beds, exposed brick walls and Jacuzzi baths. Some rooms are colourful while others are more subtle: white brickwork and wooden furniture. The cosy restaurant is almost cave-like, with a low ceiling and candles adding to the romance.

Xanthoudidou 22, Rethymnon (00 30 2831 058250; avli.gr). Doubles from €230, B&B.

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Avli Lounge Apartments, Rethymnon

Villa Kynthia, Panormos

Villa Kynthia has a charming, Mamma Mia vibe. It's an intimate guesthouse-cum-hotel with quirky, antique-filled bedrooms, blue shutters and whitewashed walls. It's located in the quiet village of Panormos on the north-central coast, which is home to two white sand beaches. The five, beamed bedrooms have cast-iron four-poster beds. Some have terraces or balconies looking out over a secluded courtyard, and there is a small, shared swimming pool. Rethymnon is within easy reach.

Panormos (00 30 28340 51102; villakynthia.gr). Doubles from €105, B&B.

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Villa Kynthia, Panormos

Domes of Elounda, Elounda

This hotel is replete with sleek suites, lush gardens and a private beach. Rooms are colourful, forgoing the more traditional white and blue in favour of pinks, purples and greens. Wooden shutters add to the homely feel, while glass doors open on to terraces that look out over the water. Some rooms have private pools, but there are also two saltwater pools, two freshwater pools and a children-only pool, not to mention dozens of family-friendly activities.

Elounda, Agios Nikolaos (00 30 28410 43500; domesofelounda.com). Doubles from €290, room only.

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Domes of Elounda, Elounda

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