A beautiful empty road centered in a tiny village leads the way to Natalia’s Houses, a warm and traditional Greek guesthouse experience in Crete.
Traditional Greek Guesthouse Experience
One of the most authentic stay experiences you can have traveling in Greece is enjoying the environment of a traditional Greek guesthouse set in the natural beauty of a region. A Greek guesthouse is a cross between a villa and cozy living spaces that incorporate the design and furniture from the eras before plastic furniture or IKEA existed.
Finding Natalia’s Houses
I was excited to arrive in the area, but we needed to find Douliana village first. Problem was Google Maps didn’t have Douliana on its radar, and some locals at a gas station didn’t know where Douliana was either! However, after some easy instructions over the phone from our host Vasso, we were on our way.
Soon we were driving down a small tree-lined road, the kind you drive down feeling unsure if you’re going the right way. Turns out we were on the right and only path. It led to a small clearing with a sign for Natalia’s. After warm greetings from Vasso and her husband Andreas, and the classic welcome serving of a bit of Cretan raki, we settled into our lovely traditional Greek guesthouse.
Greek Guesthouse Accommodation
Our traditional Greek guesthouse was the essence of Crete tradition, like a comfy Greek grandmother’s old village house complete with what felt like much loved and carefully polished Cypress wood furniture, handmade doilies and neutral knitted curtains. The loft setting featured a seating area, stone fireplace and a daybed.
A four-seat dining table sat in the corner kitchen complete with fully stocked cabinets perfect for preparing food.
A big and lovely surprise was the fact the refrigerator was already stocked with complimentary groceries including beer, bottled water, juice, milk, some fruit, bread, jam and fresh vegetables.
Upstairs in the bedroom, a vintage kind of feeling continued with details like a rotary phone, a traditional wood wardrobe and a canopy bed.
Another plus, the bathroom had a great shower with excellent water pressure.
One of the guesthouse’s best qualities was its windows on Crete’s countryside. Each one opened up to an amazing view of the surrounding fields and lush valleys surrounding Douliana. Every time I clanked back the wood shutters, the smell of wild flowers, olive groves and clean fresh mountain air would just hit me in such a refreshing way.
The Property and the Lourakis Family
These two go together because the family slowly built Natalia’s Houses over the decades. The first house on the property was their own.
The accommodation was named after their daughter, Natalia, who now manages the property with her parents.
After making improvements and investments for 16 years, Natalia’s Houses has grown into its present landscape with stone paths, fragrant gardens, and sunny yet shady spaces to eat, read or just relax.
There are two larger houses on the other end of the property, perfect for families, featuring excellent rooms for children.
The family also runs the town’s only small market on the property. The residences also have access to a poolside area with café seats. While I was there having a drink or a meal by the pool bar, travelers would stop in and order a coffee. Locals would come to say hello and see what Vasso had been cooking. One morning Vasso even offered us her delicious homemade orange cake – delicious.
While Natalia’s Houses are the first traditional houses accommodation in town, others have popped up since. The Lourakis family live on the property so anything you need, a meal or help or directions – they are there to happily assist which makes the difference.
Boofy and his charming cat gang are also around to make sure your stay is cool, calm and quiet.
The Douliana Area
Trips to either Rethymno or Chania take about 30-minute drive. There are nearby beaches Kalives, Almyrida and Vamos all within less than five kilometers. You can also go hiking down a nearby trail.
Conclusion: Natalia’s Houses
I think a traditional Greek guesthouse experience is even better when a Greek family is behind it. It becomes not just about the physical stay but the connection with locals.
The hospitality here was genuine and the Lourakis family clearly puts everything they have in what they do. They love their village and they love Crete. The guesthouses themselves are a wonderful traditional stay experience in terms of design and overall environment.
Families would love this property thanks to the ample space for children to roam free and the refreshing pool. The houses are very child friendly. The fully equipped kitchens are a plus. We enjoyed it as a couple, too.
I know this description is overused in travel writing today but Natalia’s Houses is really a hidden gem! Not many people know about it and its success is thanks to word of mouth. Its a simply great place to relax and have a great connection to Crete’s amazing nature and its most hospitable people.
73008 Douliana Vamos | Chania Crete
From 100 Euro per night, high season
From 89 Euro per night, low season
Natalia’s Houses is part of the Guest Inn rural Greek guesthouse accommodation network. For more properties like this throughout Greece, visit the website: www.guestinn.com.
Have you ever stayed in a traditional Greek guest house in Greece? I’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to comment in the comment boxes below.