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“Our stay in Maria's room at Makrygialos”

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Maria Tsanakalioti's Apartments
Lyon
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Our stay in Maria's room at Makrygialos”
Reviewed 30 July 2013

We have just spent 10 days in a little nice paradise; Makry-Gialos in Maria's room on the beach!

Maria and her daughter are perfect hosts! The house is very pleasant, ideally situated on the beach. All which you need and more than you need is in your studio! The welcome is warm and frienfly. During your stay, Maria, perfect cooker, will bring you some savourous tadziki dishes or other so that you enjoy it while you will look at the sea from your balcony. On the beach in front of the villa, a tree on the sand keeps a little of shadow on your deckchair. A stay in Maria's house is a stay in the paradise!

Room Tip: Ask for one of the room with balcony on the sea, they are perfect!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank pat D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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75 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2012

We stayed at Maria's apartments for two weeks in October 2012, and it was a delightful beach break.

Situated in the lovely village of Makry Gialos and literally backing onto the beach, the apartments were in an ideal location.

Welcomed to our temporary home by Maria and her daughter Despoina, we were made to feel at home right away. Maria even cooked for our party of 12 one night, while Despoina bought all the children in our party a t-shirt as a memento of our stay.

The town itself if beautiful. Unspoiled yet enough 'English' trade to be familiar but not quite so commercialised as places like Malia. Many small supermarkets are dotted about, along with a couple of pharmacies and a butcher's, green grocers and many, many restaurants.

The accommodation itself was basic and small, perhaps too small for our family of five in essentially a one bed studio, but that isn't the fault of Maria. The traffic on the road at the front of the apartment could be busy some evenings, and with two of the children sleeping in the front kitchenette room this could cause a problem for light sleepers (thankfully not us).

At the back of the apartment is where you really get your money's worth though, as doors open onto a semi-private patio, which leads to a sand and pebble beach.

The beach was stunning, if a little stony, but I believe that this changes from year to year depending on how rough the previous winter has been. Indeed some mornings upon going down to the water most of the pebbles would have been washed away.

Almost a private beach, it's an idyllic place to relax. Warm waters (and many small fish who come and say hello!) in the very shallow sea make it a perfect place for kids.

Would we come back? To Makry Gialos almost certainly. I baulked at the idea of a two-hour drive from Heraklion airport to begin with but I'm now so happy that we stayed where we did; the drive across the island is stunning and the drive is a fair trade off for the tranquility of the south coast.

I'm not sure we would come back to Maria's apartments as they are though, purely because I'm not sure there will be enough room as the kids get older - my youngest is 4 months and was in our room with us so it wasn't too bad this year.

I understand however that the upstairs apartments are being renovated into a spacious two-bed layout, which will be much more roomy and we will be checking out.

You certainly won't regret a stay at Maria's.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank MarkMcBurney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Biggin Hill, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 October 2012

A blissful holiday destination.

We hadn’t visited Crete before and were enchanted with Makry Gialos and Maria’s Apartments. This isn’t an anonymous hotel or a shoddy studio set-up, rather it is an exemplary, old fashioned, extremely comfortable place to stay for one or two nights or weeks or more, in a gorgeous seaside town. Maria, Despina and Manilos are discrete if you want them to be and generous and friendly if you prefer.

The location can’t be bettered. It really is the prettiest place to stay, people walking along the beach stop and take pictures. The sea is at your feet. Maria’s, and Despoina’s kindness and delicious gifts of food were unexpected but gorgeous.

Getting there is easy. We flew into Heraklion and got a taxi (10 euros) to the Marin Dream Hotel and were having a beer overlooking the Phoenician Fort on the seafront, within 40 minutes of landing. We ate at Hippocampus about 500 metres from the hotel then we had a nightcap on our balcony overlooking the port. More expensive hotels are available but I loved it. The front desk staff couldn’t have been more kind or informative, and the shower was brilliant.

Next day we went to the KTEL Bus Station A. It took us 2 minutes to walk there, and bought tickets to Ierapetra. http://bus-service-crete-ktel.com/timetable.php

You only need to get to the Bus Station 10 minutes before the bus leaves and the station has perfectly acceptable public toilets and a café that makes a mean iced coffee (you can’t take the coffee on the bus, but water is allowed). The station staff are very helpful and will show exactly which bay your bus leaves from. Any large luggage is put in the storage hold. Don’t worry it will be there when you get to Ierapetra. Enjoy the ride, you might be lucky enough to see vultures circling the mountains. The bus follows a scenic route and can get quite crowded but it quietens down after it stops at Agios Nikolaos. (Long enough for a comfort break, but tell the driver you are nipping out for a few moments. The loos are downstairs in the bus station) The coach then continues on to Ierapetra.

There we bought tickets to Makry Gialos, (the bus stops just outside the ticket office) and asked the driver to tell us when we got to Andreas Station, which he did. Maria’s apartments are well sign-posted under 100 metres east of the bus stop. Very simple, great fun, only 14 euros each from Heraklion, and air-conditioned all the way. The journey took about 4 hours, but the time seemed to fly by as Crete is spectacular.

We did the same on our return journey. All as simple and gentle and it made leaving Crete easier.

Makry Gialos is relaxing. It is where Greeks go to holiday, and they are lovely people. There are lots of bars and tavernas by the harbour, about 500m from Maria’s and a scattering of other good ones to the east. We ate at Agyrovolos most nights. Gorgeous seafood and you don’t have to order lots if you don’t want to. There are loads of other places, which were good too. It cost on average 30 euros, with water and delicious local house white wine. The Cretans have a lovely tradition of offering free dessert and sometimes Raki too.

Stay there, if you can. Such authentic Greek kindness and hospitality is to be celebrated. 10 nights were not enough.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank easilypleased067
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2012

As we drove through the mountains of Crete towards Makry-Gialos, my heart sank lower and lower. We had just spent six days in Loutro, the car-free bay, having a peaceful 'grown-up' week to ourselves. I was loath to leave, but we had organised to head to Makry-Gialos after to meet some friends. The further east we drove, the more rowdy and in-your-face became the resorts; the more flourescent the bikinis on the bill-boards advertising sun, sea and sand. I have to admit that as we entered the grey concrete strip of unfinished building sites lining the main street of Makry-Gialos, my spirits slumped even lower. I peered out the car window seeking the sign for Maria's apartments. From the street side, there was not a great deal to recommend it - I thought about turning right around. But oh how deceiving a facade can be, for on the other side of this uninspired whitewashed block, riotous flowers, sunshine and unadulterated sandy bliss awaits, literally beginning at your back door. And it is this, not the cement blocks on the street side, is what I now remember most of all about our holiday.

We stayed for three nights - wish it had been more - in September 2011 and had the most wonderfully relaxing time. Every morning I placed my sun-lounger - provided by Maria - on the sand, approximately ten metres from our patio door, and about 10 metres from the shoreline, and watched the sun creep into view. When the sun grew too hot, I waded into the sea; it's one of those very gently sloping beaches with a soft sandy bed, so you have to walk out about 100 metres to get to waist height - VERY safe for children. When I needed a drink, the fridge was practically right there on the beach. Every evening I sat with a beer and watched the sun disappear again. You don't have to lie in the sun: my pallid shade-loving husband kept to the enormous shadow of the pines which flanked our patio, offering a semblance of privacy. In truth our neighbours (also residents of Maria's) were just the other side of an opaque glass partition but it still felt beautifully private.

As other reviewers have noted, Maria is the kindest, most thoughtful landlady I have ever had the good fortune to encounter. Her equally lovely daughter Despina - who is the one to ask about internet access and the like - lived on site at the time as well, and together they provide an immaculate service. They were understanding when we changed our plans last-minute, gave us a fantastic ground-floor sea-front studio although I'm sure that was just lucky timing, gave excellent advice on where to eat, and made every effort to ensure that we were accommodated comfortably.

Finally, a note on the surroundings: perfect location in terms of walking distance (approx 5 leisurely minutes) to bars and restaurants in both directions. We found the majority of the fare on the main beach strip to the west of Maria's apartments very much wanting in quality, but found some far superior (but no less expensive) authentically Greek meals by going in the other direction.

Room Tip: For the perfect, relaxing beach holiday definitely plump for a ground floor sea-facing self-catering...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank takeabrolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2012

I won't repeat what most of the reviews have already said, it is all true! Being right on the beach was fantastic for my partner and I with our 2 year old, once our son was down for a sleep we were able to have our 'five minutes peace' out on our patio, better than being stuck in an apartment with a balcony let me tell you!

I have a few points though that I think should be addressed -
1. I think the kitchen needs to be renovated, we were there for 3 weeks and it was very difficult to even make a sandwich without getting crumbs everywhere, which wouldn't bother me but the ants will find it and an army will appear! a little thought would go a long way if it had an extra worktop and cupboard.

2. I have been in may Greek bathrooms but I think it's time that Maria should get with the times and put in shower that you don't have to hold with one hand and wash with the other, also it was nightmare trying to wash our son as there was no plug and he is too young for a shower, we fixed that by buying a paddling pool.

3. Our son's cot broke in the last 4 days of the holiday, we told Maria and it was supposed to be fixed, we had propped it up with some books. It couldn't be fixed and it was left that way. I'm sorry but a travel cot costs just a few pounds, it could have been replaced!

4. Our bed was too hard!

5. We had a ground floor studio, we had the only one that wasn't separated by the kitchen, the noise from the road was terrible late at night, it sounded like some cars were going through the village at a mighty speed!

I know the above sounds like I'm a bit of a moan but this is our holiday for the year, and a few small things could have made it just that little bit better. Otherwise all I can say is that the studios are in the best location you could find and Maria was nice.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank linda_cLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
stockport
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 August 2012

I have thought very long and hard about writing a review about this place at all. I am still not sure that I want to share with all you lot how brill it is, but eventually my sense of duty over-rode my selfishness and here we go: My 3 oldest boys and I spend a week in July this year in one of the studios at Maria Tsanakaliotis, as other people have described Maria and her family are really lovely people, perfect hosts and Despoina is very knowledgeable about a very surprising variety of things. (Perfect for someone like me who is always bothering the locals for all manner of information.)

The accomodation itself was the most perfect location we have stayed in as a family. In the morning I just had to open the back door to the beach and the kids could start to enjoy themselves. No packing of bags, walking anywhere or getting into a hot car in order to get some beach action was a revelation. The studios are petit, but nicely furnished and are well equipped kitchen wise. The studio was pleasant,cool and we only had to use the airconditioning a couple of time for a few hours. The terrace to the beach has a mini garden (some vegetables) in front of it and there is a lovely (tamarisk?) tree, which offers lots of shade if you want it. The beach is nice and shallow and also has a lovely sand bank, which the kids enjoyed. Some parts have pebbles right at the front, but I think this changes from year to year depending on the previous winter.
The location in the village is perfect with all facilities in close walking distance.
Although I have given it an excellent, there are a couple of things I think you should be aware of when booking. The extra bed(s) is in the kitchen and the kitchen is also the main entrance, which goes straight onto the village road. This means that there is a considerable amount of noise in that room and if you have children that sleep lightly this may be a real problem. Ours slept just fine, but I did put up my black travel cloth in order to block out the light as the sun rises that way too.
You also may have to think again if you have an insect phobia, - the studios are very clean, but this being directly on the beach and having a little greenery around it, it means you do get a certain amount of exposure to the cretan flora and fauna. Personally I'd rather have some green around me than a sterile environment, but I understand some people can't relax around insects and the odd (very beautiful) lizard. ( I would suggest a big hotel complex instead, but even that is no guarantee on an island like Crete)

Makrygialos itself was a very pleasant surprise. Admittedly the drive across the island to it is no where near as stunning as the drive to Plakias, but on the plus side the roads are very good, fairly straight and I didn't have the kids queuing up for the sick bag, - always a bonus! The village itself is not as overdeveloped as Galini has become (in my humble opinion) and I loved the traditional feel of it. What I really was the impression that makrygialos is a fully functioning village all year around and the local are very friendly and are themselves quite an ecclectic mix of people. Many completely local, some from the mountain villages, some who grew up in northern europe before returnig to their roots and many people who have studied aborad.

So, I would be much oblidged if you could please leave your booking as late as possible so I get a chance to sort mine out first, as we are planning to return to Marias as many times as possible in the next few years. Thanks ever so much!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank MissKriti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paris
Level 6 Contributor
146 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2012

We stayed at Maria's for 2 nights beginning of July and we loved it! We were not able to get a room with a sea view but as we were in our room just for sleeping this was not a problem. When we arrived we had a wonderful welcome by Maria and her daughter Despina. They offered us frappé, drinks and cakes in their own living room. We had a good laugh. It was like a family reunion. You can see that they have a passion to welcome their guests and they take very good care of them. In our room, we had fruits and homemade cake. Those of you who are looking for a fancy 5* Deluxe extravagant place, pass your way. Maria is a hidden gem for people who really love Crete, the Greek hospitality, and the real simple life made of blue sea, good fresh grilled fish and good laugh! We enjoyed our stay and as a former reviewer wrote "helpful atmosphere is something money cannot buy"!

Room Tip: If you have the chance book a room with a sea view?
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank MicheleParis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Maria Tsanakalioti's Apartments

Property: Maria Tsanakalioti's Apartments
Address: Makry-Gialos, Crete, Greece
Region: Greece > Crete > Lasithi Prefecture > Makry-Gialos
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 33 Speciality Lodging in Makry-Gialos
Number of rooms: 127
Also Known As:
Maria Tsanakaliotis Apartments Makriyialos
Maria Tsanakalioti's Apartments Crete, Greece

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