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Ecotourism Hotel Mourtzanakis in Achlada rural village (near Agia Pelagia holiday resort area) on the island of Crete GREECE

AWARDS & Articles on Mourztanakis Eco Hotel

A perfect Crete escape: Mourtzanakis Residence Ecotourism Hotel

A perfect Crete Escape: ecotourism holidays in Greece
 
by Phil Butler (Phil is a prolific technology, travel, and news journalist and editor. A former public relations executive, he is an analyst and contributor to key hospitality and travel media, as well as a geopolitical expert for more than a dozen international media outlets)

 

The coronavirus pandemic has put most of us in recluse mode. The resultying effects for tourism and hospitality, are evident, logical, and not at all a bad thing if you liked unique experiences to begin with. And Crete is the capital of secluded places where privacy meets adventure. Another eco-tourism value we just came across, Mourtzanakis Residence in Achlada, is a perfect example. 

Situated high up on a ridge overlooking Agia Pelagia, Crete’s most picturesque seaside village just five kilometers away, this eco-retreat features four villas, and three cottage apartments surrounded by five hundred year old olive groves. The property enjoys stunning panoramic views of the Cretan Sea, Heraklion, and even Fodele Bay to the west. If the stress of urban life and the coronavirus have you edged-out, this tranquil but invigorating Cretan place is another hidden gem of this paradise we live on. 

We stumbled (literally) upon Mourtzanakis Residence one a photo op trip to Aklada some weeks ago. Driving the mountainsides of Crete is one of our favorite pastimes, and I remember commenting on the perfect location of this place. This morning I talked to the couple who run the resort, after I discovered their stellar five-star TripAdvisor ratings, perhaps the highest on Crete (I will investigate). The Instagram share will give you an idea of the “place” I am describing.

Eco friendly hotel - ecotourism Crete
 

 

The resort features traditional Cretan dining along with cooking classes for those interested in this famous cuisine. There are two swimming pools, one for adults and one for kids, along with all the customary amenities. As is customary with many of the Crete ecotourism and agritorism offerings, Mourtzanakis Residence also offers special tours and activities like yoga, bird watching, sailing, horseback riding, wine tasting, and so forth. But in all honesty the real value at any of these wonderful resorts is the energy of the places. And Elli and Giorgos, who manage this resort, are expert at helping guests feel that energy flow. Let me explain. 

This part of Crete, the area surrounding the Achlada village has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Interestingly, a distinct blue-green metamorphic rock (slate) from ancient quarries in not far from the eco-hotel were once used to pave the streets of the Minoan Palace/Temple at Knossos. Later, the dominating position overlooking the Cretan Sea, made a perfect fortication against pirates, and invaders. Once you are in these hills, you’ll quickly realize why invaders always had so much trouble with the Cretans. The island is huge because of the topography. And gigantic because of the spirit of the places one visits.

Eco friendly hotel - ecotourism Greece
Eco friendly hotel - ecotourism Crete

 

The name “Achlada” comes from the wild pear tree called ahlada or agoutsakas that abounds in the area. And if you sit for a spell under one of the lovely bougainvilles that dot the Crete countryside you’ll feel it, the unique soul specific to this speck of the island. Like our journeys to Thronos overlooking the Amari Valley, or the sensory spell places like the lost Minoan Palace at Galatas cast, the nature surrounding Achlada and its neighbor Rogdia is mesmerizing, indescribable, ghosty in a way. You have to go there to understand, but if one word were all we had, that word would be “peace.” Another way of expressing places like this is, “there is something indescribably here.” More often than not, we end up telling people who come here this. Then, when they leave, we are always gratified when they express their understanding.

https://www.argophilia.com/news/another-perfect-crete-escape-mourtzanakis-residence-ecotourism-hotel/229738/

Booking.com AWARDS

Booking.com - MOURTZANAKIS ECOTOURISM HOTEL was awarded the Guest Review Awards in 2017
Booking.com - MOURTZANAKIS ECOTOURISM HOTEL was awarded the Guest Review Awards in 2016

Customer Reviews

What our customers say about our Eco hotel

Our customers' testimonials

Kretaurlaub für Menschen die das Besondere suchen!


Die Mourtzanakis Residence ist der ideale Ort für alle, die Ruhe und tolle Gastgeber suchen. Die Villas sind sehr geräumig und gut ausgestattet. Der Duft nach frischen Kräutern, die wunderbare Luft und das sanfte Läuten der Schafsglocken verleiht diesem Ort eine meditative Ausstrahlung, die unvergleichlich ist. Der Blick von den Bergen in Richtung Meer, sowie die schönen Sonnenunter- und Sonnenaufgänge tun ihr übriges um sich hier ausgiebig zu erholen. Zentral gelegen bietet der Standort hervorragende Möglichkeiten die gesamte Insel zu erkunden. Und hat man mal keine Lust ins Auto zu steigen, ist ein Tag am Hotel eigenen Pool eine sehr erholsame Alternative. Marcos und Smaro (die Besitzer) sind ganz wunderbare Menschen, von denen man in ausgiebigen Gesprächen viel über die Insel und deren Geschichte erfahren kann. Oder man redet über Gott und die Welt, genießt dies in freundschaftlicher Atmosphäre, vielleicht auch bei einem Glas Raki.
Unser Tipp: Hinfahren!!!
dirkmeister wrote on Jun 2011
Hamburg, Germany
Excellant séjour


La résidence est idéalement située à 10 minutes de la mer, au calme au milieu des oliviers et centrale par rapport au reste de l'île. Vue magnifique depuis les deux terrasses de la maison. Ne manquez surtout pas les couchers de soleil à couper le souffle.Le cadre est très reposant avec sa piscine et ses transats. La maison est grande, propre et bien agencée. Les services hôteliers sont très appréciés (changement de drap, nettoyage et vidage des poubelles).

Marcos et Smaro sont très accueillant et parle très bien français. Merci pour leur disponibilité et leurs précieux conseils!

Pour ce qui veulent, la voiture est indispensable pour découvrir la région. Bien choisir la compagnie de location de voiture!!
Ariane S wrote on Aug 2016
Canton of Vaud, Switzerland
Again, again, again and again amazing...


"It is strange when you check my Tripadvisor, I am always reviewing only Mourtzanakis Residence. During these 5 years we visit with my wife and 6 years old son some places in the Europe, we met nice people and owners of small hotels, restaurants or apartments, but there was always something.... For us became Achlada our summer house, we find there everything what we need for great vacation, nice and clean house, quiet neighborhood, delicious dinners served on the terrace with stunning views and great owners which will try always help you with your requirements. When we came back home, many people asked me about crisis on Greece, Crete etc., they are influenced by the media, but from my point of view I must say that I found Greek people the same as always, living and enjoying their lives. So, our next will be Crete again."
PIaNL123 wrote a review Aug 2016
Den Bosch, The Netherlands
Hard to describe, you have to experience it !!!!!

We have been coming to Achlada since 2013, almost every year, visiting our friends Marcos and Valerianos. This place is so nice to stay, calm olive garden around, breathtaking sun sets every evening and beautiful sea views from each villa and terraces. The villa is clean and well designed, also pool is clean and refreshing. You can order tradition Cretan dinner for very good price, all done from local ingredients and really delicious. From this place you can travel to lots of other great beaches every day, just short drive away. Very close to Heraklion to visit museums, to do shopping and visit good restaurants too. This year is first year of Ellie and George taking care of apartments and they are doing they job really well with big enthusiasm, we were very happy to met them and drink wine together. It is really our love place, with great spirit, for sure we come next years again.
JanNassir wrote a review Aug 1
Prague, Czech Republic
Best place we have ever been to

Coming to Crete at least once a year we have stayed in many places during all the years. This one was by far the best we have ever been to. We had a wonderful time there! Its location is perfect… high on a Mountain with the view of the sea on the one side and Heraklion on the other. Watching the sunset In the evening feels like being in paradise. The apartments are very clean and equipped with everything you need! Travelling with children, the pool is the best thing to entertain them..You should definitely not miss the fantastic food served there! We were warmly welcomed by Elli and Giorgos who are the most friendly, open-minded and helpful hosts we have ever met!!! We are looking forward so much to swing them again next year
Daniela S wrote a review on Jul 2021
Perfect family vacay!!


Scenery is breathtaking!

Wonderful relaxation.

Perfect for families wanting some time out of hectic schedules.

Simple & spacious accommodation.

Great base for travelling around Crete.

Lots of beautiful beaches to visit.

Tips:

- Bring hairdryer/iron if dependent on it.
- You will need a car to get out and about.
- If you arrive at night like we did, phone Costas (phone number on sign)

Thank you to Costas for all your help & hospitality!

I would highly recommend these villas & we would love to return!
Fanny Cunningham
Hard to describe, you have to experience it !!!!!

We have been coming to Achlada since 2013, almost every year, visiting our friends Marcos and Valerianos. This place is so nice to stay, calm olive garden around, breathtaking sun sets every evening and beautiful sea views from each villa and terraces. The villa is clean and well designed, also pool is clean and refreshing. You can order tradition Cretan dinner for very good price, all done from local ingredients and really delicious. From this place you can travel to lots of other great beaches every day, just short drive away. Very close to Heraklion to visit museums, to do shopping and visit good restaurants too. This year is first year of Ellie and George taking care of apartments and they are doing they job really well with big enthusiasm, we were very happy to met them and drink wine together. It is really our love place, with great spirit, for sure we come next years again.
JanNassir wrote a review Aug 1
Prague, Czech Republic
Best place we have ever been to

Coming to Crete at least once a year we have stayed in many places during all the years. This one was by far the best we have ever been to. We had a wonderful time there! Its location is perfect… high on a Mountain with the view of the sea on the one side and Heraklion on the other. Watching the sunset In the evening feels like being in paradise. The apartments are very clean and equipped with everything you need! Travelling with children, the pool is the best thing to entertain them..You should definitely not miss the fantastic food served there! We were warmly welcomed by Elli and Giorgos who are the most friendly, open-minded and helpful hosts we have ever met!!! We are looking forward so much to swing them again next year
Daniela S wrote a review on Jul 2021
Perfect family vacay!!


Scenery is breathtaking!

Wonderful relaxation.

Perfect for families wanting some time out of hectic schedules.

Simple & spacious accommodation.

Great base for travelling around Crete.

Lots of beautiful beaches to visit.

Tips:

- Bring hairdryer/iron if dependent on it.
- You will need a car to get out and about.
- If you arrive at night like we did, phone Costas (phone number on sign)

Thank you to Costas for all your help & hospitality!

I would highly recommend these villas & we would love to return!
Fanny Cunningham

Freunde in der Fremde (Friend Abroad)

article on Mourtzanakis Residence Ecotourism Lodge - Achlada (Agia Pelagia), island of  Crete

 

Friends abroad.

 

Why complaining? (About Greece)  Holidays in Crete means delicious food, a pleasant comfortable atmosphere, sun and lovely people.

A brief description:

It is a place to rest.

There is a gentle breeze tonight and sometimes through the rustle of the wind, you may hear the soft ringing of bells from the grazing goats from the surrounding hills. The table is set: there is bread, olives and dakos - the Cretan bruschetta - with feta. Smaro Mourtzanakis lays the table in front of the residence. Smaro lights the candles at 9 p.m. this summer evening. The first guests from the small villas are coming for dinner. As always a mixed group of different cultures of English and French people is talking and discussing together: laughter, political discussions about the situation in Greece, enthusiastic storytellers describing the last hike and of course discussions about the exquisite fish meal from the 42-year-old Smaro.

Since 2008, the Greek couple (Smaro and Marco) has been running the Mourtzanakis Residence in the north of Crete. They are situated approximately 20 km away from the airport of Heraklion, overlooking the medieval village of Achlada. The whitewashed small holiday villas offer you a wonderful view over the olive trees, some of them more than 500 years old, the mountainous hinterland and the Mediterranean Sea. Singles, couples as well as families with children, everybody is welcome to visit the Mourtzanakis Residence. They come from all around the world with the intention of being surrounded by nature far away from the mass-tourism. Marco and Smaro will organize tours for the customers who are willing to. They give tips on how to reach the Samaria gorge or travel tips to the 17th century Savvathiana monastery.

“We would like to give our customers an inside view of the typical Greek life, the way we live, our culture and how we cook. The Residence is an ecological project supported by the European Union.”

Smaro and Marco met for the first time in Agia Pelagia, a village with a nice beach very close to Achlada." Achlada is our home" said Marco. “When we settled down in Achlada with our 11 year-old son, Valery, we wanted to build a place were people from all over the world could meet each other, where everybody is welcome. Here you can relax, read books, play games, discuss and advice. A place to say Farewell and Hello. "You arrive as a Guest, you leave as a Friend" That is our vision. When you are back home and remember us with a smile, then our vision has come true.”

 

Best holiday season: Beginning of April till end of May and from September till mid October. From June till October it is very hot on the island.

 

Airlines: Daily, all year long with Olympic Airlines and Aegean Airlines from Athens to Heraklion and to Chania. Charter flights and special offers from Easter till the end of October.

Ferryboat: Daily from Piraeus to Chania, Heraklion and Rethimnon. From Italy: Italy-Patras, Piraeus-Heraklion.

Tip: You can hire a car here or you can book one in your country. The price is about 35 Euro per day, including free km and full insurance.

Mourtzanakis Residence Eco Hotel is a proud member of

Our Eco Lodge is a member of Ecotourism Greece
Agrotourism Union of Crete Greece
Agrotourism Union of Crete

Ηeraklion,  03.02.10

 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

According to the designated terms of AGROXENIA, the Achlada - Mourtzanakis Residence in the island of Crete, does correspond to the entire norms and descriptions which fully abide to AGROXENIA's ecotourism philosophy and regulations in Greece.

 

Sincerely,

Korina Miliaraki
President of Agrotourism Union of Crete

17 Dodekanissou str.
GR-713 06 Heraklion
Crete – Greece

Tel:
0030.6974.920998
0030.2810.228723

 

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