For those of you who were on my webinar, you now know how to book your own private villa. Yay! Below is my review of my hijab free holiday.
I am really excited about this review because I had such an amazing time in Villa Elena. Honestly not sure how I managed to stay in two different countries and hotels and both occasions I get a room called Elena. 🙂
After spending sometime thinking of where I would like to go I decided to book Crete for a few days. My sister was visiting my cousin in Cyprus but I didn’t find any budget friendly and appealing villas close to them so I thought I might as well spend it just as a couple. It was a brilliant decision and I think we both enjoyed this entire holiday much more than many other.
This trip has many firsts for me. It was my first time booking Airbnb. It was also my first time going to a private villa and my first time in Cyprus. So I couldn’t have been more excited.
My husband arrived from the United Kingdom while I came from Athens; thanks to the low cost Ryanair flights. I will be writing another post about Ryanair in Greece but I have to say I am loving it.
We rented our car from the airport and headed to our villa just outside Rethymno, about an hour’s drive.
It was easy enough to find the villa and there was plenty of signs to navigate us. I decided to book ‘villa Elena’ because in my communication with the host she was excellent and the price of the villa was a bargain at £55 per night.
The villas are located on a hill and there are only two of them surrounded by olive trees with some nice views and it was extremely peaceful.
On arrival, we were greeted with a smile by the hosts and we were shown around the house. They even had a cooked meal and a stocked fridge with snacks, fruits, water and juices.
There are no car noises as it is a private road and only our villas and one more are using the road. Plus if someone is coming towards your villa you can easily see them.
Honestly, this place was beautiful and it was fully equipped. It can easily fit a family of 4-5 people and they can all be comfortable. It wasn’t a five-star luxurious place but rather a nicely decorated house and it was more than enough for us.
On the inside, the villa had a kitchen with a dining table, living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom with a bathtub. What I really loved is the fact that it had a washing machine and other amenities in the kitchen so if we were a family we can cook and enjoy ‘homecooked’ meals. I usually stay in hotels and not apart-hotels or villas so I was pleasantly surprised.
Once you enter it is the living room, on your left it the kitchen and a fireplace. Then there is a large balcony that takes you to the pool & bbq area.
There were 2 bedrooms that had everything you might need. The beds were comfortable and there is plenty of space to store your clothes and luggage. Also, both bedrooms had balconies as well.
We spend most of our time outside and eating in the veranda. We had some beautiful weather and I honestly didn’t see the need to spend my time in the house. If we were staying longer or we were a larger group I would have definitely made use of the bbq that was available. Even the pizza oven next to it seemed so inviting. I guess first I had to learn how to start a fire since my skills in that department are non-existent. Well, I can’t be good at everything. 😉
The pool area is nice and it is great to be able to swim and there is plenty of space for sun-beds. The pool is automatically cleaned daily and has a timer. I guess my only comment for the pool will be to set the timer earlier and twice a day. I found that after 3 pm the pool had some leaves that had fallen from the tries and cannot be cleaned with the net.
Depending on your level of privacy you may find that the villa is ‘too open’ for your liking. There is a high wall and trees surrounding the villa and you cannot be seen from the back.
However, the front of the pool area is open so you can enjoy the views of the mountain and the sea. If you are a Muslim woman you can still sunbathe and swim. I have also asked that if Muslims book the villa if they can cover the area more. Just make sure you mention this in the communication with them prior to your arrival.
Area & Tips
The area where the villas are located is great. You definitely need a car but there is a supermarket 5 minutes drive. There is a ‘touristy’ village on the way to Rethymno. If you take the old national road there are plenty of shops, restaurants and you can enjoy an evening walk there too.
We also went to Rethymno which is only 20 minutes drive but it is a nice place to visit and explore. The old city and the small souk style streets are great and buzzing in a summer’s evening.
I will also definitely recommend you having a GPS, either on your phone or your rental. I did get lost 2 times on my way out of Chania since the signs are not very helpful after all you are in Greece.
As a Muslim I would like to say that it is great to explore Crete, people are friendly and welcoming and we didn’t have any issues or racist comments. Everyone speaks English and are happy to point you in the right direction so even if you don’t speak Greek you won’t have a problem.
We didn’t visit but I know there are some mosques where local Muslims pray. If you are going and you would like to find out more about halal food and mosques you can use Islamic finder or just ask on the Muslim Association of Greece’s Facebook page. I am sure they will be more than happy to help.
Overall I loved my stay in Villa Elena and will definitely return there. The area is great, the hosts are awesome and I couldn’t have been happier for a first Airbnb experience. If you want to get £16 off your first booking with Airbnb check this.
- Definitely hiring a car
- Exploring the ancient parts of Crete
- Driving around Crete as there are some beautiful places
- Having a GPS to navigate you
If you are thinking of using Airbnb to look for hijab free villas you might want to watch my free online training for s step by step guide and demo.