As you'll quickly discover, the Top Hotel is aptly named. Not, as we thought, because it is top (in that slightly Mancunian 90s style) but it is AT the top of quite a steep hill. This means that most of the rooms have fantastic views out over Stalos and across the bay to Theodoropoulos Island, home to the fabled kri-kri goats. It also means that if you're on foot you have quite a climb up from the village, especially in the heat of August! So, anyone with mobility problems or who is less than fit (I count myself in this category!) might want to think twice - or hire a car.
The advantage of the location - aside from the spectacular views - is that at this height it's pretty quiet and the relative seclusion is part of Top Hotel's charm. The flip side is that it's a bit of a trek to the nearest shop. Mind you, a few libations in Stalos and the climb doesn't seem nearly so bad on the way back...
We stayed in Room 201, and had we been paying full price (90 euros a night) might have been a bit disappointed, but our deal meant we were only paying 50 a night and so this seemed quite good value. We were delighted to have an actual double bed rather than two beds pushed together, and the room was clean with an adequate little kitchenette and a great roomy balcony. The room had airconditioning at no extra cost, but it wasn't massively effective - it seemed to have some kind of limiter which meant the lowest temperature the hand set read was 24C, so sleeping was quite difficult during the hottest few days of our break. And, when emerging onto the balcony in the morning you had to take care not slip in the puddle which had gathered over night - the drainage pipe for the air conditioning emptied directly on to the balcony!
However, the most negative aspect of the room was the tiny bathroom - the only time I've seen one smaller was the so called "ensuite" in a Scarborough guest house with ideas above its station! Opening the door from the inside was tricky, and the toilet was crammed in next to the "bath" and shower. I was practically able to reach out and touch the far wall while seated. Anybody taller than five foot ten would probably find the whole experience very cramped - which is the perfect description for "the Bath", which was about the same size as one of those 1920s tin baths: you could sit in it with your knees round your chin, but that was about it! There's a shower too, with plentiful hot water, but not very powerful: adequate to the job.
What Top Hotel lacked in amenities was more than made up for by the other features of the accomodation: excellent service (our room was cleaned and bedding changed on 12 out of 14 days!), very helpful staff and owner (we were transferred from and to Chania airport at no extra cost) and a lovely big (and deep!) swimming pool, which is quite sheltered so it was possible to sun yourself on a lounger and take the plunge even at the height of the August winds which bracketed our stay. There's even a lift between floors - no lugging cases up and down stairs!
Stalos itself is a lovely village, as much residential as resort. There are a few shops and supermarkets, a number of good, cheap tavernas and best of all the "Seaside Bar" on the beach front behind Seaside Hotel. Run by the gregarious Paris and his wife, you'll struggle to find a friendlier or more cosmopolitan watering hole - we find ourselves in good company with Swedes, Norwegians and even Hungarians: in fact we barely saw another British tourist after we'd left the airport!
Stalos is ideally located as a base to strrike out to nearby Chania and points east, or to head West to the lively resorts of Agia Marina and Platanias. This is where you can pick up the Little Fun Train which trundles about this part of the island on local tours, and also where the banks are. Be warned: Stalos has one ATM which we were told could be pretty temperamental, and we had a long hunt to find a bank which would change Travellers Cheques - which was not a lot of fun in 40+ degree heat!
If you're after good basic accomodation, great views and a quiet base, Top Hotel and Stalos are for you. We had a fantastic chilled two weeks here. Just be prepared for the hill. And the tny loo...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Top Hotel welcomes you to the beautiful island of Crete and the cosmopolitan city of Chania! Our hotel is located upon the hill Psathi of Stalos village. We are just 10 minutes drive from the city center of the most romantic city of Crete, Chania. Here you can realize why Crete was chosen by the Gods. We offer you the most picturesque and relaxed holidays you ever had. The beautiful sun set combined with the sound of the sea makes your dreams come true! The hotel consists of 30 rooms which are divided into 20 1bedroom Apartments sea view and garden view till 3 persons and 1 baby cot, 2 2bedroom Apartmets panoramic view till 4 persons and 1 baby cot, 5 stoudios panoramic view till 3 persons and 1 baby cot and 3 stoudios garden view till 3 persons and 1 baby cot. All the rooms are fully equipded with kitchenettes, air conditions, TV, music system and telephone. Moreover, TOP HOTEL offers a number of facilities for our guests confort such as 24hours reception, free WIFI at public areas, free mini bus transfer from the hotel to the beach of Stalos and back, pool snack bar and traditional cuisine for dinner, greek and cretan breakfast, free parking and pool for children and adults. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Top Hotel Chania Crete - Stalos