I think the Palazzo is a little gem in an excellent location for those who value a sense of historic surroundings. A comfortable small hotel has been created in a stone building dating from the period of Venetian rule, located in a quiet street but close to the harbour and an easy walk to the rest of the 'Old Town'.
Too small to be of interest to big tour companies, the hotel caters largely for independent travellers of all ages and nationalities. There are only a few rooms, on 4 levels. Many have useable balconies, over Theotokopoulou Street, which get the afternoon sun. The rooms are not numbered but are named after classical Greek deities. They vary in size. Our twin-bedded room on the first floor (in British terminology; ie: on the second level) was quite spacious with a fair sized fully tiled bathroom. All very clean. Apart from the usual furnishings the room had a telephone with outside line (charges), TV (lots of Greek channels) but no clock or working radio. A good refrigerator, air conditioning and a small safe. The beds were firm; some might call them hard. Linen was sheets and blankets, not duvets. The balcony had two chairs, a marble-topped table, and even its own light. One could see the sea beyond Talo place on the right, but in general the rooms look across the narrow street to the buildings on the opposite side (gift shops, cafes and holiday accommodation) which themselves back onto the old Venetian western fortification wall. There were a few minor points that one would criticize in a luxury hotel, but which are part of the character to be expected in a small Greek hotel. Electricity is expensive, so lighting was low-energy and not always bright enough for reading small print. To save electricity, the room key has a card attached that must be put into a master slot inside the room before any lights can be turned on. All lights therefore turn off when one removes the key on leaving the room. There were one or two items of unfinished wiring, but they seemed safe. An oddity of construction meant that water from the bathroom on the floor above sometimes gurgled along a pipe in the ceiling of our bathroom. The bedroom floors are varnished wood planking that looks nice, but if you walk on it in hard heels it will bother the people in the room below. Apart from that, the thick old stone walls are soundproof. The lack of any lift/elevator will handicap anyone infirm who cannot climb the stairs. The top floor room, which sleeps 3, and the adjacent roof terrace, involve climbing 3 flights of stairs.
Breakfast is served on the ground floor, in a nice light room next to reception, with flowers on the tables. No other meals are offered. Breakfast is a generous selection of cold 'continental' assortments. Nothing cooked or hot - except that the always-smiling Irini or her cheerful daughter Anastasia will make you real Greek coffee if they are not too busy and if you ask them nicely! Both speak excellent English and are unfailingly helpful. One or the other are at the reception desk from early morning until 10 pm, when they lock the front door. They will give you a pass key to this door if you expect to come back after 10 pm - and Greeks do tend to eat and party late.
Theotokopoulou Street is almost traffic-free, as is most of the 'Old Town'. Delivery vans, supplying the small local shops, use it. Some local residents have permits to bring their cars or motorbikes along it. As well as the hotels, apartments and rooms to let, the street has a permanent population of people, dogs and cats, and one quickly has the feel of a small self-contained community. Taxis can get within 25 metres of the Palazzo Hotel which is at the northern end of the street, and the drivers will usually help to carry luggage to or from the hotel. There is free car parking at Talo place, 2-3 mins walk from the hotel, though spaces are hard to find at some times of day and night. Be careful not to park in the areas reserved for genuine residents of the 'Old Town'. Beware of inaccuracies in street maps of the centre!
The Byzantine Museum is 2 mins walk from the hotel, as is the Maritime Museum of Crete - possibly the best naval & marine museum in Greece now that it has been fully refurbished. A good cafe for leisurely harbour-watching is next to it. The Archaeology Museum and the Cathedral on Halidon Street are a few minutes walk away. There are exhibition galleries alongside the Venetian harbour and an interesting speculative reconstruction of what a Minoan ship might have been like is exhibited in one of the old Venetian boat-sheds at the easternmost end of the harbour. It is no longer possible to eat as cheaply in Chania as it was before Greece joined the European currency, but there is no shortage of restaurants. Many of the harbour-front ones are tourist-oriented. We had a good meal indoors at 'Tamam' (Zambeliou St) one cool evening, in what used to be the plunge pool of the Turkish bath. The dinner cost about 15 Euro each. The 'To Xani' restaurant, in an alley off Kondylaki St, is relatively new. It specializes in Cretan food and wines - the draught house wine is very good. An excellent place for families, as children can safely run about and play while adults eat. Everyone very friendly with fluent English. A bit dearer than average but good. If you avoid the tourist traps and eat in small local places in the back streets one can get a simple meal for under 10 Euro each.
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- Also Known As:
- Palazzo Hotel Chania
- Hotel Palazzo Crete/Chania