Right at the end of the Summer we booked a last minute trip to GK Beach Hotel in Crete with Simpson Travel. It was booked because we needed a week of rest and relaxation and if that’s what you’re after then this place definitely fits the bill.
NB: We paid for our flights but were hosted by Simpson Travel in Crete.
We also went back to GK Beach Hotel in July 2020 and you can read our review here.
The small 23 room hotel sits right on the beach in Northern Crete and the distance from our room to the sun loungers on the beach front can’t have been any further than 100m.
The view from the balcony was of the crystal blue sea, the swimming pool and the on site bar. What more do you need. You can also check out our video of the week at the bottom of the post!
The first thing you realise when you book a trip with Simpson Travel, particularly to a hotel like this is that you don’t have to do anything. You call the office and pay the bill and everything is sorted, from flights being booked, to your flights being checked in, to car hire or taxis arranging. Even booster seats are arranged without you having to think about it. It was one thing that everyone around the pool said about booking with Simpson Travel. It was so easy, you literally pay your money and turn up to the airport.
Whilst the GK Beach Hotel and restaurant has a planned refurbishment for 2019 we thought the rooms were very clean fresh and smart. As a family of 5 we had rooms 3m and 4m which had a connecting balcony. The room felt newly decorated with a clean small kitchenette and newly fitted bathroom. With children aged 7 and 6 we didn’t want them to sleep in the connecting room on their own due to the beachfront location, but we enjoyed putting them to sleep in one room whilst we sat on the balcony and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine, moving them when we went to sleep.
If you’re a family of 4 you would usually share a suite which has a double bedroom, bathroom and a lounge area with kitchenette, sofa and space for two camp beds. The suites allow children up to 13 to sleep on the camp bed in the lounge and after that additional rooms would need to be booked.
If you’re traveling as a family of 4 with children the same ages as ours I’d recommend you book rooms 1-6 as those rooms are on the ground floor, look out onto the swimming pool and would be brilliant for using to pop back to whilst the kids are in the pool (the toilet for the pool is round the back of the hotel out of sight of the pool so with younger children rooms 1-6 are a godsend). You can see how close the downstairs rooms are to the pool on the photo above.
The location of GK Beach hotel with the pool and the sea within 25m of each other means it’s perfect for families who find that after 10 minutes one of the children wants to leave the beach and go back to the pool. I also found it lovely for a late afternoon time out, when I crept off to the beach to enjoy some time in the shade and the breeze whilst Matt supervised pool time (or more likely enjoyed a beer at the bar with some of the other Dads).
GK Beach hotel may not be as luxurious as some of the other Simpson Travel properties we have stayed at and it doesn’t profess to be, but the atmosphere around the pool echoed that we experienced at Mousses in Lefkas and the Kalkan Regency, in Turkey. Like minded people in a small hotel around a pool. It’s actually all the kids really need to have fun, yet small hotels like this can be really hard to find.
What I love most about these sort of small hotels Simpson Travel find is the fabulous community atmosphere that is created. Throughout the week guests shared restaurant recommendations, top tips on trips to Chania and often beers and cocktails too. Some evenings the cocktails around the pool led to evenings when the kids left the pool so late that we couldn’t be bothered to get dressed, and it was all we could do to move the few paces from bar stools to table and eat there.
The kids relationships grew and grew through the week culminating in a full day of activity on the last day, ten kids in the pool all taking part in various challenges led by the older kids. There was so much laughter it was infectious.
The kids left exchanging phone number and postal addresses like I recall doing on holidays of old. The only difference being that the numbers exchanged could be used to contact each other on mum or dads what’s app and they also asked to exchange our email addresses too. Best friends that they want to remain in touch with, such was the bond created that week.
Nowhere is 100% perfect of course, and there were some small niggles expressed by a few guests during the week – the drinks service round the pool was sporadic and sadly didn’t extend to the beach, and the bar staff were a little abrupt when requesting signatures or enforcing the ‘no snacks by the pool’ rule! This could have been simply a language barrier of course, but at times they could have been gentler. I have to say I loved the fresh fruit and yoghurt served during the (included) breakfast every day, but the optional lunches and dinners were a little disappointing, particularly for the price. The next-door restaurant — Al My, which we discovered on the day before we flew home — was a lot cheaper and had wonderfully tasty and nicely presented food. Definitely a place to check out for food earlier in the week if you’re visiting.
We also took advantage of the supermarket which is less than ten minutes away and made lunches of cold meat, feta cheese and bread on the balcony. It made for a perfect lunch and it was also useful to keep the kids out of the sun for an hour or so. The kitchenette, with fridge, ketttle, and a small stove was definitely a useful addition to the rooms for this – oh and for the evening wine.
A visit to GK Beach Hotel would not be complete without a trip to Chania. Chania is a lovely harbour town with quirky back street tavernas, and port side restaurants with a sunset view. It takes 25 minutes in a taxi and costs €25, or you can actually get the bus which takes 35 minutes and stops outside the supermarket for €2.50 for anyone over 5. Just be warned that if you are using the bus, it is only a small bus (albeit with seatbelts and air con) and could be full when it gets to supermarket as it starts at the top of Kalyves.
The evening we spent in Chania was perfect. We shopped, ate ice cream by the harbour and drank wine whilst watching the sunset. We even bumped into another family from the GK Beach Hotel and had a wonderful dinner at Salis with the five girls sitting on one table and the four of us on another. The food at Salis was very very good indeed and combined with the company and its harbour side location was one of our favourite evenings of the week.
Other restaurants in Kalyves that we tried and liked near the hotel were
Koumos perhaps being our favourite due to the fascinating way the place has been created. Do check out the tripadvisor reviews.
Overall we loved our week at GK Beach, it was a fabulously relaxing week and the location was spot on – why not check out our video and you can see how much fun we had!