Welcome to Villa Janoula, a private 3 bedroomed villa with swimming pool, that is surrounded by olive groves on the outskirts of the village of Skepasti, near Rethymnon, Crete.Read more
One of only 2 villas in a former olive grove, Villa Janoula provides a perfect home from home, a tranquil base, and as much privacy as you could want.Read more
With spectacular views of Mt Psiloritis, day-long sunshine, and enough room to dance*, why not breakfast on the terrace?
* We all dance at breakfast, don't we?Read more
In the fabulous Cretan air, the outdoors is just another room.
With very hot lighting.Read more
A cool shady lunch by day, or a romantic meal in the evening.
Both taste better outside.Read more
Tea, cappuccino, toast, a full roast or a microwaved meal* - if that's your thing? With a fully equipped kitchen and cupboards stocked with the essentials, its up to you.
* Actually, they don't sell microwave dinners in Crete. Thankfully.Read more
There's nothing like mealtimes with your loved ones.
Sit, eat, chat, relax, romance.
Let the dishwasher take the strain.Read more
Catch the news, watch a movie, read a book, or plug your MP3 player into one of the speaker docks and play backgammon like a Greek.
On comfy sofas and a rug you'll want to bury your toes in.Read more
With the best memory foam that SilentNight can provide, and luxury linens and throws, we know you'll sleep well.
It's hard work on holiday. You deserve it!Read more
We've provided all the small things that make a house a home.
Forget your toothbrush, hairdryer, GHDs, travel iron and all the other stuff that weighs you down*.
* You'll need to bring your personal toiletries and suntan lotions.Read more
With all-day solar-heated hot water, you can indulge in a relaxing soak, or power your way through a shower.Read more
We think Villa Janoula is fabulous, but don't take our word for it, hit the "read more" button to see what past guests have to say.Read more
Beaches, tavernas, mountains, gorges, history. Crete has it all. And above all, Crete is about people.Read more
Skepasti lies almost equidistant from both Heraklion and Chania airports, adjacent to Crete's main E75 highway.
Leave the airport at 1pm, eat lunch by the pool at 2pm.Read more
We think that you won't find a comparable villa, or even a 3 star hotel, cheaper locally. So, when are you coming?Read more
This website offers a brief tour of the villa and other useful information. The site uses some advanced programming techniques to offer the best user experience, and is best viewed on a modern web browser like Mozilla Firefox, Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari or Opera.
All photographs on this site were taken in either February or May 2012 - before the pool was finished, before the pergola on the roof terrace was built, and before some of the outdoor furniture was delivered. Updated photos will be uploaded soon. Other than being reduced in size, none of the photos have been retouched or otherwise processed in any way. Yes, the sky really is that blue.
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Villa Janoula (Greek for "little Jane's house") sits in 1.2 sq.km of private gardens, nestled amongst olive groves on the western edge of the village of Skepasti, on the north shore of Crete - the largest of the Greek islands, which is located in the centre of the Mediterranean.
Skepasti (pronounced Skep-ast-EE) is a traditional and friendly agricultural village with little modern development. It has a taverna and kafenion, a junior school and village shop. Skepasti overlooks Crete's main E75 highway, and is only 1km from the sea. Skepasti has a small shingle beach - a secluded cove really - that is accessible only from the village.
The town of Rethymnon, with it's long sandy beaches, picturesque harbour, quaint old town and Italian fortezza is only 18km away.
The villa has three bedrooms, an open-plan living and dining area and a fully-equipped kitchen. The villa sleeps 6-8 adults: the two upstairs bedrooms are equipped with double beds and have access to a large roof terrace, whilst the downstairs bedroom has two single beds and offers access to the pool and its surrounding seating, dining and sunbathing areas. A suprisingly comfortable double sofabed is available in the living room.
Level access between the ground floor and rear patio, and a ramp to the front door, enables ease of use for both disabled guests and prams and pushchairs.
Modern construction techniques, like cavity-wall insulation, and state of the art fixtures, like german-engineered windows and doors that are double-glazed and thermally-efficient, mean that the house is well-insulated and remains cool, even as temperatures soar outside.
Security shutters that can only be operated from inside the property are integrated into all windows and external doors, bar those that give access to the upstairs terrace. These shutters can also be used to completely black out a room, assuring a peaceful night's sleep or afternoon siesta. All doors and windows have multi-point locking mechanisms for full peace of mind and multi-way opening, allowing even the patio doors to let in fresh air whilst remaining secure.
Built-in fly screens are also integrated within all doors and windows, allowing them to be opened wide, letting in only fresh air and keeping out pesky bugs.
Open the bedroom door and step out onto the terrace. The magnificent view of Mt Psiloritis, often snow-capped, to the south, Crete's White Mountains to the south west, and the fresh green of Crete's rural panorama is simply breath-taking. Temperatures start to climb early, and the fresh air, scented by the surrounding olive trees, offers the perfect place for a breakfast of creamy yoghurt and local honey, Cretan style.
With the nearest house over 100m away, you can sunbathe on the terrace in complete privacy. A couple of sunbeds have been placed on the terrace in addition to those by the pool, and a couple of small bistro-style tables and chairs are provided under the pergola, allowing you to take shade when necessary.
You'll probably spend most of your time outside whilst on holiday. At Villa Janoula, we treat "outside" as additional living space. So we've provided an outside living room for you to relax in, complete with sail shades that block most of the sun's harmful UV rays.
An external power point is provided for you to plug in a music player, and the comfortable seating and shade provide a lovely place for afternoon coffee, whilst overlooking the pool and garden.
In a quiet and shaded corner of the garden, you'll find the perfect setting for a nice lunch or early evening meal, with seating for the whole family.
The Cretan diet is one of the healthiest in the world, supported by fresh locally-grown ingredients, and of course the greenest and tastiest olive oil*, but it is the Greek attitude to food that is the chief factor in this - meals are never hurried, and are always an excuse to spend quality time with family and friends, talking, laughing, tearing a loaf of bread made freshly that morning and drinking a little locally-made wine**.
Why compromise? Self catering shouldn't mean you have to try to cook a meal on a two-ringed portable hotplate, or keep your food and drinks cool in a tiny countertop fridge. At Villa Janoula, we've fitted a modern, luxury-class kitchen, complete with huge fridge freezer, touch-controlled halogen hob, eye-level oven and grill, a microwave oven and a full-sized dishwasher. There's a full set of cookware and ovenware too.
Practise for your barrista exam with the supplied coffee maker, or have a refreshing cup of tea. There's a four-slice toaster too, and local jams and marmalades in the fridge.
Ample soft-closing cupboards are stocked with enough crockery to keep the dishwasher fully employed, and enough glassware to cater a party.
One of the biggest expenses when self-catering is having to buy all the basics like salt, pepper, herbs and spices and canned goods at the start of your holiday, so we've gone the extra mile to provide all the essential foodstuffs you'll need to complete any recipe.
When it gets too hot for you outside, or perhaps for a more intimate dining experience, you may choose to eat indoors at the handmade oak dining table.
We've provided drawers full of candles, and the plethora of candle and tea-light holders mean you can be as romantic as you dare (without burning the house down).
We've worked hard to set up a home from home for you, and in the living room we've installed a comfortable leather sofa, armchair and footstool, and a three seater sofabed - enough for the whole family to relax on.
The latest-generation Samsung 42" LED TV has a satellite feed offering 3 movie channels and access to BBC news, but if you'd rather avoid television, we've stocked the bookshelf with a range of titles by well-known authors, we've provided a chess and backgammon board (backgammon, or "tav-LEE" is the national game and played with a competitiveness that resembles the Trojan wars), and a deck of cards.
There are several iPod/iPhone speaker docks around the house, with additional cables that will let you plug in any other brand of MP3 player (but you'll need your own charger). The villa is equipped with wifi internet.
There's nothing like a good night's sleep, even when you're on holiday, so we've imported top-of-the-range SilentNight memory foam mattresses for the double bedrooms*.
Luxury linens and duvets, sumptious throws, soft pillows and blackout curtains. Sweet dreams.
* If you've ever stayed in a Greek hotel, you'll know that their beds are often made of breezeblocks, so we hope you'll appreciate the difference.
Finishing touches are important. Whilst we can't think of everything, there are some things we can take care of to take away some of the minor stresses. Travelling with liquids these days is a major pain, so feel free to use our shower gels and shampoos, toothpaste and toothbrushes*, make-up remover, cotton wool, earbuds, disposable razors... You may prefer your regular brands, but if you forget something of your own, they're there.
We've also provided a couple of hairdryers, a proper ironing board and iron, and clothes airers. If you like, you can use the washing machine in next door's storehouse too. A full load dries in an hour in the Cretan sun, so you can take all your holiday clothes home clean.
* New and unopened, of course.
With buckets of hot water, you can really clean up in style. Ok, enough puns - but with Crete's average 12 hours of sun per day, the house's solar panels get to work early to provide plenty of hot water. There's usually hot water to spare in fact, so the panels are often just in top-up mode the next morning.
The shower pressure is amazing, so much so that with the shower on full, you could probably take the paint off your nails!
Crete's beaches are many and varied. With a 1000km coastline, there's a beach to suit every taste, from the white-sand, crystal blue sea at Shinaria to the five separate beaches of nearby Bali (Bal-EE) with its multitude of cafes and restaurants - just 5 minutes drive from the villa.
For a full guide to the beaches in the Rethymnon area click here.
You can still eat out, in a family-run taverna for under €15 per person, grab a delicious souvlaki for a few euros, or make any occasion special at one of Rethymno's upmarket restaurants. Many beachside restaurants will even cook your own food for you - buy some fresh fish at the market in Rethymno, walk down the promenade at nearby Bali and ask! Click here for an independent restaurant guide.
With stunning scenery at every turn and several thousand years of Minoan, Greek, Italian, Turkish and modern history and culture, Crete has something for everyone. The image gallery above shows just a small selection of the sights and places to visit, but you can find many more by clicking here.
Do you remember when a total stranger was last genuinely pleased to see you, just to talk to you and offer you something, seemingly with no thought of recompense? This seems to be a really common experience in Crete, and it's for you to discover for yourself, a personal experience. To illustrate, click here to read someone else's experiences of legendary Cretan hospitality.
The climate in Crete is a temperate mediterranean one, characterised by mild rainy winters and hot dry summers. The table below describes average weather conditions between April and October.
|Temperatures (°C)||Water temp.|
|April: Spring time in Crete with medium temperatures and low rainfall. Crete is full of wildflowers and it is magnificent.||11.8||16.5||20.0||18|
|May: The weather in Crete becomes warm and sunny. Rain is unlikely to occur past May 10. The "meltemi" seasonal North winds have not yet started to blow, the sea is calm and nature is at its best. May is considered the best month for outdoors activities. A jacket will prove useful for the night.||15.0||20.8||23.6||20|
|June: Sunny and hot. Time for the beach!||19.1||24.4||27.3||22-24|
|July and August: Windy and very hot. July and August are the months that the seasonal North winds blow. It is hard to do anything else during these months, than spend the entire day at the beach. Look for a shady place and drink plenty of water. Do not forget your hat and sunscreen. Not the best weather for people who cannot stand high temperatures (30-35 C).||21.6||26.1||28.7||24-26|
|September: Sunny, less windy and slightly cooler. Good for outdoors activities. Get a light jacket for the night, especially if you plan to visit any mountainous areas.||19.3||23.5||26.4||24-26|
|October: Sunny, very few windy days but some rain will fall, especially in the west part of Crete. The weather is very good for outdoor activities. October is the month that the traditional drink of Crete, raki, is distilled from grape skins. Warm clothes are rarely necessary.||16.5||20.0||23.4||22|
Happy customers make all our efforts worthwhile, and after your stay we'll actively seek your opinions and use them to improve what we can.
With your permission, we'll post your reviews here (unedited), to give others some idea of what to expect. Here's what previous guests have said...
"The villa was fabulous - very homely, decorated to such a high spec and finished to an impeccable standard and I truly can't fault it - we were very impressed. M*** was very pleased with the flat screen 3D TV you have in there, he was glued to it most evenings! Liz was very welcoming and had provided us with everything and much more than we could have needed, she shouldn't have gone to so much trouble, but it was really appreciated.
We visited all the places that you suggested, M*** was over the moon to get a full breakfast at Christina's, in the end we spent most days at the beach in Rethymnon as we found this to be cleanest and least rocky, plus there were lots of good places to have lunch and drinks nearby."
"We thoroughly enjoyed our stay Villa Janoula. The villa is truly amazing in every aspect, inside and out. Finished to the highest standard, clearly much thought has been considered to make you feel more than at home, or more to the point a home we would all desire!
Stylish, contemporary decor throughout and furnished to match - every necessity has been provided to further enhance your stay.
The outside space is perfect for lazy days and relaxing evenings. With so many aspects to choose from there are plenty of retreats around the villa for a group of guests or family to comfortably enjoy their own space.
Car hire provides a cost effective means of travelling to & from the airport - with the added benefit of being able to visit the nearby resorts of Panormo (5 mins) or Bali (10 mins); slightly further is the larger costal town of Rethymnon.
Journey time from Heraklion airport is around an hour and is a straight route (not that the road is completely straight ;-) .. some amazing scenic heights en-route) .
Hoping to make a return visit soon."
You've pulled your cases from the baggage carousel. You're almost there.
Heraklion's Nikos Kanzantzakis Airport* sits on Crete's E75 highway, Skepasti sits on Crete's E75 highway - the last leg of your journey couldn't be simpler. However, you do have a choice... for less than ten euros you can catch the bus (toward Rethymnon, from Heraklion), or for 85 euros you can hire a taxi from the stand outside the arrivals hall.
For smaller parties arriving at Heraklion, we may be able to offer ad-hoc transport from/to the airport, at the availability and discretion of the driver. That service would be at their cost, so a fee would be payable directly to them for their time and fuel.
If you're planning on driving in Crete, you'll be better prepared if you read this guide.
* At the time of writing, there are direct flights to Chania from Manchester and Liverpool, and you may find others. The cost of transfers from Chania is not known.
Compare the leading villa websites. Search for villas near Rethymnon. Notice anything special? Probably not, because they're all the same. They all offer similar properties, all at similar prices - around £1100 to £1300 per week in high season.
It would be very easy for us to do same, but we're catering to a different market, to those who want a home from home, a practical hint of luxury at an affordable price.
Having stayed at many hotels in the area whilst building Villa Janoula, we know that a budget price is around the €35 per person per night, with a luxury stay costing around €1700 per week. Most hotels in the area have also begun charging for wifi access by the hour and, incredibly, a daily charge for using the sunbeds around the pool. Many private villas in the area charge on a per person, per night basis, which means that a couple pay more than a family...
|Period||€ / week||€ / night|
We're different. Our rates, shown in the table on the right, are for the whole villa. Including sunbeds and wifi. (And the fully fitted kitchen, private pool and grounds, 42 inch LED TV and streaming media player, cleaning, bed linens and towels, stocked cupboards...)
Booking is easy. Take a look at the booking calendar below, find a free period when you'd like to come, and drop us a short email by clicking here, telling us when you'd like to come, for how long, and how many people you're bringing. The calendar scrolls to show the next 18 months, and shows existing bookings in yellow.
When you've booked your flights, let us know and we'll firm up your booking. At this time we'd appreciate a small deposit to confirm your stay, and we'll send you our welcome pack that details all you'll need to know about the villa, the area, and your options for getting there. You can pay the remainder of your booking at any time up to two weeks before your arrival.