Founded in 1987, in a Venetian-epoch building dating back to 1530. Lying in Rethymno’s lovely pedestrian-only old town, its courtyard garden was planted with bougainvillea, palms and vines and decorated with objects from medieval villas and abandoned workshops: stone mill wheels, antiquated farming tools and restored wooden furniture.
Avli offers 7 sumptuous suites (‘lounge apartments’), added in 2005. Delightfully extravagant but well within the realms of good taste, each combines the building’s traditional elements (stone walls, beamed ceilings, Venetian arches) with modern comforts and Baroque-kitsch décor.
Best suited to couples, Avli makes a perfect escape for a romantic weekend or a couple of blissful days of indulgence at the end of a Crete holiday.
The 7 suites spread between two 16th-century buildings and each named after a colour, which is reflected in their decor. Traditional features such as wooden floors, beamed ceilings and exposed stone walls have been retained and pepped up by ostentatious modern details: flamboyant chandeliers, mosaic-tiled Jacuzzis, brightly coloured high-back suede chairs. On a more practical level, you also get spotlights, dimmer lights and a CD player.
In the same building as Avli’s restaurant, you’ll find Green and Red (Junior Suites) and Brown (top floor Penthouse Suite). All are peaceful, bar a gentle hum of diners in the courtyard garden below at meal times and romantic in decor, thanks to open-plan layouts and in-room Jacuzzis.
The Red, whose Jacuzzi is decorated with deep Bordeaux and gold mosaic tiles;
The Brown, with its 2 small balconies and intricately carved wooden bed and the Green with its indulgent candlelit soaks. The 4 remaining suites are in a separate building a few minutes’ walk away:
White (an Executive Suite), Orange, Blue and Champagne (Junior Suites). These are less ornate than their counterparts, but just as lovely, with whitewashed stone walls, leather sofas and Jacuzzis in their bathrooms.
Champagne has a beautiful old fireplace, which would make it favourite choice for a winter stay; Blue has an elegant four-poster bed and turquoise suede chairs. On the roof of this building, there’s an open-air Jacuzzi open to all hotel residents, plus sun beds and great views over the old town and its Venetian fortress.
Phone, TV, CD player, DVD player, WiFi Internet, Safe box, Air-Conditioning, Central Heating, Baby Cots, Extra Beds, Complimentary toiletries, Mini-bar, Hairdryer, Complimentary soft drinks.
Communal areas: None
Swimming Pool: An 8-person open-air rooftop Jacuzzi (unheated)
Spa Treatments: In-room massage and spa treatments available on request
Disabled Access: Not suitable
Pets: Not allowed
Parking: Public car park 120m from Avli; €7 per day; open 24 hours
Rethymno lying midway between Chania and Heraklion, on Crete’s north coast, it also makes a sophisticated base for exploring the island’s cultural attractions, beaches and mountains. The Avli suites occupy 2 separate buildings in Rethymno’s charming old town.
Meals are served in the garden restaurant, from which Avli takes its name (‘avli’ is Greek for courtyard). Planted with palms, bougainvillea and vines, plus potted geraniums and aromatic herbs, it makes a lovely peaceful setting for breakfast. Inside, there’s a dining room with exposed stone walls and a wooden beamed ceiling, where you eat in winter.
The menu features innovative Cretan cuisine, combining traditional ingredients with modern Mediterranean influences to create exquisite meat and seafood dishes – think skewered shrimps with avocado, lime and parsley vinaigrette; mountain goat with honey, thyme and baked potato; rabbit and spring onion pie.
Chania airport lies 68km west of Rethymno and Heraklion airport lies 82km east.
From the Airport
Avli can arrange transfers from either airport on request.
Chania’s port, Souda, lies 56km west of Rethymno, while Heraklion port lies 79km east. Both are also served by daily overnight ferries from Athens’ port, Piraeus, on the Greek mainland. Transfers from either ferry port can be provided upon request.
If you want to explore the region while you’re here, you really need to hire a car. There’s a public car park 120m from the hotel, which is open 24 hours.