Hammam House

Western Crete

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Web Ref: 2339
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Accommodation

  • Ground Floor: Open plan living/dining area/kitchen (A/C, TV, DVD, CD, WiFi, oven, microwave). Shower room.
  • First Floor: Double bedroom (A/C) with en suite bathroom (half bath) with doors to sun terrace.
  • Outside: In built barbecue. Covered and open terraces.
  • Private swimming pool (6m x 4m).

Imaginatively renovated and bursting with authentic Cretan character this simply styled hideaway was originally built for a Turkish pasha as a hammam over two hundred years ago. Situated off a sleepy side lane at the top of Vamos village and fringed by cultivated greenery which enhances privacy this charming village house also has attractive mountain and distant sea views from the upper balcony.

Adhering to strict guidelines from the Cretan 'National Trust', the original stone arches on the ground floor have been incorporated into a simply styled living, dining and kitchen area creating a unique atmosphere that conjures up the relaxing character of the hammam whilst still providing a practical space in which to relax. A compact kitchen is perfectly adequate for light meals and the barbecue provides options for al fresco dining.

Traditional décor including solid Cretan sofas and sturdy cross beams creates an authentic mood while, fascinatingly, the original hammam part of the property has now been remodelled into an atmospheric shower room, a lack of large windows on the ground floor reflecting the pasha's need for discretion whilst bathing.

Wooden stairs lead up to the double bedroom with French doors onto a good size terrace offering far-reaching views across the red ceramic rooftops of Vamos to the surrounding countryside, distant mountains and glittering sea of Souda Bay.

The elevated swimming pool and terrace overlook an olive grove to one side with tall palm trees puncturing the skyline, the whitewashed rendered exterior of the house a striking contrast to the vivid blue sky and lush vegetation. A wonderful pergola completely shrouded in ivy and climbing plants provides a cool, shady arbour for midday lunches with the barbecue alongside promising tasty al fresco meals under the clear night sky.

Undoubtedly, the key feature of Hammam House is that within a two minute walk you are in the heart of Vamos yet, being on a quiet lane at the top of the village the house remains extremely calm and peaceful - shops, tavernas, cafes and bars all easily to hand yet never perceived from the pool or balcony.

Surrounding the property the faded elegance of deserted houses brings a peaceful ambience, their empty shells lending a unique and timeless quality to the environs. Around Vamos lovingly restored neo-classical nineteenth century houses line the roads and the main square has a cheerful bustle with Kafenions offering Greek coffees and lazy games of backgammon while the locals go about their business between the shops, mini-markets, post office and tavernas.

Leaving this calm retreat you will find the magnificent sandy beaches of Almyrida and Blue Flagged Kalives (7km & 11km away respectively), easy to reach by bus or car, whilst Chania has a tremendously picturesque harbour to wander around and plenty of tiny side streets to explore.

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Location of Hammam House

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Great Things to Do Near Hammam House

Visit the naval museum in Chania town

(Maritime Museum) - it delivers a superb introduction to the History of Crete and is by no means only for maritime mavens, you will learn more here in half an hour than most could teach you, about the events that filled Crete's moving past.

Fancy Phaistos?

This is one of the best Minoan palaces to visit. It has been less enhanced than Knossos that makes it easier to imagine it in days gone by. The scenery on the drive up to it is beautiful and its location is stunning. Information panels are all all around to help you make sense of it all, although a guide book can be handy. One thing is that there is not much shade, so if you are there in the summer maybe get there early before the day heats up. There is a nice snack bar to refresh you once you have seen it all, and a good size gift shop to stock up on souvenirs.

No cars in the tiny village of Loutro

Only approached by boat from Hora Sfakia in the South, this amazing tiny village has a simplicity of lifestyle and an incredible beauty untouched by the outside world. It is a town consisting of three rows of white-washed, blue-roofed hotels, restaurants and homes built around the edge of a beautiful bay. There are no tides, but simply long hot days of water, swimming and kayaking. It's probably too far to try for a day trip, but check out the small pensions there and stay overnight - it's magical!There are no cars or motorcycles there, only boats that peacefully come and go from the little town.

Beautiful Balos and Grand Gamvousa - sail to this protected biotope

From May to October, you can take daily cruises from Kissamos port (42 km west of Chania), to Gramvousa and Balos leaving in the morning and returning in the evening. Gramvousa (also called Tigani peninsula) has a castle on top of the island built by the Venetians to protect Crete from a Turkish occupation. It was one of the last unconquered bastions and it was the first area of Crete to be liberated from the Turks in 1825 (Turks were expelled from all the rest of Crete only by 1898). 3000 Cretan rebels were planning operations from Gramvousa.During this period of turmoil, the residents of the island started looting boats passing through, which gained the island its pirate reputation! The Gramvousa/Balos region is a protected biotope. There are 400 different plants on Gramvousa, 26 of them endemic to Crete. The Anthemis glaberrima (a type of daisy), the Allium platakisi (a wild onion) and the Silene litegripetala are found only in this area and are protected species. In the shallow parts of the sea, the Mediterranean plant Posidonia oceanica thrives, providing shelter for marine life. 98 bird species have been reported in the area. 20 of them are protected and 14 of them are threatened species (like the vulture Europe Gypaetusbarbatus). The Mediterranean seal (Monachus Monachus) and the Caretta Caretta turtle find shelter in this area. Also, a flock of wild donkeys lives on the peninsula.

Visit the huge indoor market in the centre of Chania

This vast agora is a bustling noisy colourful place, where the abundance of fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, meat and everything edible is spread out over four sections fashioned like a cross. It is based on the famous marketplace of Marseille. There are plenty of bargains to haggle and great for barbecues

Wine tasting with a bit of history

On the way from from Chania to the beach of Elafonissi via Drapanias there is a sign stating Wine museum, a bit like the Agroturismo places in Italy. The Pnevmatikaks Winery is a dellightful wine tasting place, a family business that grows grapes and olives. You can taste all their produce: different wines including a wine called Romeiko, produced the way it was done in Antiquity. The Romeiko has a taste similar to a nice sherry and is 14.5 proof.Recommended are their olive oil taste and Raki (tastes similar to Grappa). If you purchase wine and oil and they pack the bottles in such a way that they arrive safely home.

pedaloes across Kournas Lake

This breath-taking lake is the only one in Crete, and the brillliant aquamarine waters are a wonderful backdrop for a spot of lunch. Afterwards, you can rent peddaloes or a small boat for half an hour and row yourself around the lake, and work up an appetite for supper!

Zorba the Greek

Take a drive to Stavros beach on the Akrotiri peninsula, not only is it a beautiful beach, but also famous as the beach that Anthony Quinn as the famous Greek Zorba in the film Zorba the Greek, danced with Alan Bates. Check out the film and see if you can dance a few steps - obah!

An order for Dakos

A Cretan speciality served in most tavernas as a starter. Dried crusts soaked in tomatoes and topped with crumbled feta cheese – delicious!

Get Reading

The Cretan Runner written by Giorgos Psychoundakis is a great book describing some of the heroic exploits the Cretan resistance along with British soldiers and pilots got up to during the second world war. Giorgios was originally a shepherd but became a member of the resistance after the German invasion. His heroic and selfless exploits and the general population are described in the book. It is regarded as a classic book of its type. There are two British War cemeteries in Souda Bay, however, much of the action took place around Maleme where a large German War cemetery dedicated to German soldiers was until recently tended by Giorgos himself. The British cemeteries are in a beautifully kept place, moving and humbling.

absorb yourself in modern Cretan history

The Cretan Runner written by Giorgos Psychoundakis is a great book describing some of the heroic exploits the Cretan resistance along with British soldiers and pilots got up to during the second world war. Giorgios was originally a shepherd but became a member of the resistance after the German invasion. His heroic and selfless exploits and the general population are described in the book. It is regarded as a classic book of its type. There are two British War cemeteries in Souda Bay, however, much of the action took place around Maleme where a large German War cemetery dedicated to German soldiers was until recently tended by Giorgos himself. The British cemeteries are in a beautifully kept place, moving and humbling.

Wine tasting at the Manousakis Winery Vatolakos

The Manousakis Winery is the culmination of the dream and passion of founder Theodore Manousakis. Ted, as he is more frequently called, was born in Vatolakkos in 1943, and spent his early childhood years in the village until the age of 11. For reasons much beyond his control and much too complex for a young boy to understand, he left his home to find a better future in the far away “Promised Land”, America. Following his university education in the U.S., he entered business and was successful in a number of business endeavours including industrial security, real estate development, and hotels. Meanwhile, he assimilated in the great melting pot of the world, America, and nearly forgot his native language and Cretan traditions. Yet during the years away from his native village he always yearned to return home and find his roots; if not permanently, certainly more than as a mere visitor. Wine was a way of life in the village for as long as he could remember from his boyhood years. What a way to pay tribute to and honour the Cretan traditions and way of life, he thought. And, what a wonderful and civilized way to bring people together to enjoy the simple joys of life! The combination of nostalgia or “nostos”, as the ancient Greeks made reference, along with the perfect soil, sun, and weather conditions of Crete were the driving forces behind our first vineyards in the foothills above Vatolakkos. For Ted, the Manousakis Winery represents his roots; his yearning to return, his tradition, his heritage, and, above all, his family. Our logo with the three flowers called “Manousakia” in the Cretan dialect, (from which our name is derived), represents his three daughters. It is only fitting that the inspiration of this symbol is a blending of the beauty and exquisite fragrance of nature and the warmth and comfort of family! Ted Manousakis has his permanent home in Washington, D.C., but the winery remains a family-run business. His youngest daughter, Alexandra, moved to Chania in 2007 following studies at New York University, and now manages the Manousakis Winery. - See more at: http://nostoswines.com

Chania harbour

Chania is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name and the second biggest town in Crete, with a population of 60.000 inhabitants.Chania is one of the nicest towns of Crete with wonderful houses, parks and squares.The old city has preserved the charm of the Venetian and Turkish periods. Entire Venetian, Turkish and Jewish quarters are saved, with many well preserved buildings in the narrow picturesque streets. On Leather Lane near the harbour selling all kinds and qualities of leather goods and a really interesting indoor covered market Chania Town is worth a visit just for the shopping. The harbour is beautiful with an old mosque providing interesting architecture. Museums from the Naval Museum to the Byzantine Museum there is something for everyone. Restaurants and Taverna`s Surround the harbour and Boats leave from here for 2-3hr trips and you can also catch a horse and buggy.Have a wonder around the back streets, they are mainly pedestrianised and the houses and shops are very Interesting and pretty, with little restaurants and Café`s tucked away in corners - very romantic.

Nearby

Towns

Chania 35 mins
Rethimnon 35 mins
Heraklion 105 mins

Beaches

Georgiopoli 15 mins
Almyrida Beach 17 mins
Kalives 18 mins
Kalami Beach 20 mins

Airports

Chania 35 mins
Heraklion 120 mins
Times are approximate

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