Romance, Adventure and Magic; Our Stay at Casa Delfino in Chania, Crete
Our Journey to Chania
This post is in collaboration with the gorgeous hotel Casa Delfino in Chania, Crete.
We boarded a high-speed ferry from Santorini and arrived on the big, lively island of Crete around sunset. This "sea jet" was a miracle compared to our previous 8 hour ferry trek from Athens to Santorini. *Travelers tip: when given the option to take a high speed ferry vs. the longer ride between the island, spending a bit more on a ticket and getting to your destination faster is highly advised.*
Our rental car was waiting for us at the port and we hopped into our island ride for a 2 and a half hour journey to the north side of the island. The drive to Chania from Heraklion port was long and windy, but we made it an adventure as we soared through the dimly lit streets (and only got one speeding ticket thanks to the hidden roadside cameras!). *Second travelers tip: BEWARE of the roadside cameras; they will flash if you're going too fast. You will most likely get a ticket. You will not be super excited about it. You will then drive even more cautiously and ridiculously slow to try and avoid these ticket traps.* I was definitely thankful Matthew was in the drivers seat.
Our stay in Crete began at the incredible, Casa Delfino located in the middle of the Old Town in Chania. We arrived at Casa Delfino around 10pm and were quickly greeted by an associate of the hotel, Nikos, who easily found us parking and helped us with all of our (mostly my) luggage. I was immediately entranced by Old Town, as he drove us through a narrow, picturesque looking street in a golf cart to the back entrance of the hotel. At night, Casa Delfino looked exotic and romantic; like something straight out of a vintage love film, and rightfully so- the history of the hotel is as unique as it gets. The story begins in 1835, with a knight and ship-owner named Giovanni Delfino. Delfino bought the Venetian mansion in the heart of Chania and once his daughter, Margaritte came of marrying age, the home was given as a part of her dowry. Generations of the Delfino family came to live in the home until the Second World War when the property suffered severe damage and was torn apart. In 1989, Manthos Markantonakis (a fifth generation descendant of the Delfino family) decided to restore the family home to its original beauty. Casa Delfino was renovated to a boutique, luxury hotel - serving as both a perfectly central landing spot and incredibly private residence of Chania, one that I found to be luxurious and approachable all at once.
We were greeted with smiling faces and the check-in process was a breeze. After a quick overview of the hotel, we were shown promptly to our incredible, thoughtfully designed room on the second floor. The details of our Standard room were immaculate, from the organic skin care products with their intoxicating scents, to our big, luscious bed with plush pillows and soft sheets that wrapped around you like a bear hug - needless to say, this place wasn't hard to fall in love with.
We placed our bags down and went on the hunt for a filling meal. Although it was well after 11 pm, it was recommended that we eat at Tamam, a casual Turkish cuisine restaurant set just steps away from Casa Delfino. We had a delicious meal; complete with fresh fish fillets, local wine, incredible vegetables, lamb (and lamb butter potatoes!). Our waiter even brought turkish delights and homemade grappa to finish off our feast. We left with tired eyes, full hearts and satisfied bellies.
Our Room and Breakfast:
Sleep that night was a dream. The bed in our room was definitely the most comfortable I had slept on in the entirety of my trip. The next morning, I woke up refreshed and excited about the organic, home-made breakfast that Casa Delfino provides guests to start the day. The spread was immaculate and included anything you could imagine.
I am not exaggerating when I say I had a beaming smile on my face upon entering the buffet area. The entire breakfast was home-made, with local Cretan dishes and treats, like orange cake (yes, it was amazing), espresso drinks, fresh juice, cold cuts, local marmalades for the delectable selection of breads, eggs cooked your way any style- the list goes on and on. The hotel was very gracious in accommodating my dairy-free restriction and we ate like royals. Margarita, the daughter of the owner greeted us and made sure we were enjoying ourselves. She gave a bit more history about the hotel and plenty of recommendations on how to spend our first full day in Crete.
Our Day Spent Around the Hotel:
Our day was spent getting lost in Old Town and enjoying the warm golden sun. We immediately headed towards the ancient lighthouse of Chania; This Venetian lighthouse was built around the late 16th century to protect the harbor. It fell into disrepair during the Turkish occupation but was eventually rebuilt between 1824 and 1832. You can read more about this beautiful, historical landmark here.
Our time walking around, getting lost and window shopping concluded with Americanos at Paraga, a beautiful cafe set in the middle of a bustling pedestrian packed street. We watched young children play with balloons and feed pigeons brownies, which made me smile (and wonder why I wasn't getting fed brownies). The adorable, friendly stray dogs followed people in the hopes of getting a pet or snack. *Travelers tip 3: Be sure to take out plenty of cash when you get to Chania, you'll want to buy treats or a neat souvenir in Old Town and might need it!*
Afterwards, we headed back to Casa Delfino for a rooftop sunset and a bottle of wine. I looked at the gorgeous buildings and people moving about and wondered what life there was actually like; to know all your neighbors and perhaps generations of their families, to live amongst decades of rich history, to see snow-capped mountains and the Mediterranean sea co-exist like old friends, to walk to school or work every day through the alley ways of Old Town; I was completely entranced.
Our stay seemed to fly by and I woke up on our second and final morning actually sad to leave. I feel that that's how you know a hotel has done and incredible job at making you fall in love and feel right at home. We enjoyed one final, decadent breakfast, spent a bit more time sipping coffee in the gorgeous outdoor courtyard (next to my favorite 30 year old cactus!) and upon check out time were graciously helped with our (my) heavy luggage back to our car. We reluctantly drove away and I was left with total gratitude for the wonderful experience that was a stay at Casa Delfino.
Whether you're coming to Chania for a celebration or simply just because, I can honestly say staying at Casa Delfino would be worth every penny (starting at around 189 euros via their website, depending on your dates). Thank you to the incredibly kind and accommodating staff for making us feel like more than guests, but old friends. From the bright, welcoming faces of the staff members, our gorgeous room, the turn down service and chocolates at bedtime, to the recommendations of Old Town and the incredible food at breakfast, no detail was overlooked. I would highly recommend booking a room at Casa Delfino for a luxurious, yet totally comfortable and relaxing romantic getaway.
Check out the mini gallery below! (click to move to the next photo)
Why you'll love Casa Delfino
- Organic, home-made breakfast included
- A staff member will find you free parking, take you + your luggage to the hotel
- Comfortable, clean rooms with a spa-like bathroom
- Zen feeling in the middle of gorgeous, bustling Old Town
- Rich, interesting history behind the hotel
- Easily Walkable
- Gorgeous rooftop
- Spa services available
- Luxurious yet approachable
- Helpful, accommodating staff that will go the extra mile for you