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Special feature: Lato Boutique Hotel, Heraklion, Crete

We stayed in Room 503 on the top floor of the Lato Boutique Hotel in Heraklion, Crete.   Being sited on the corner of the building, it offers views in two directions from a  generous L-shaped balcony with ample space for sun loungers.   From here you have the best views of the port and the Venetian fortress of Heraklion – and the sea beyond –  to be found anywhere in the city. The hotel has a very contemporary, forward-thinking look and feel throughout. Formerly a school of chemistry, the building has been in the Karatarakis family since the 1960s and now, under the skilled leadership of Lefteris Karatarakis, it is a hotel that is continually striving to be the finest in Heraklion.   A current Tripadvisor ranking of 6th out of 111 hotels in the city is testament to this.   Our room consisted of a lounge (which  doubled up  as a chilren’s bedroom with two single beds), a shower room, a main bedroom and a bathroom with  a whirlpool  bath.  It was an ideal family room for us but would serve equally well as a spacious suite for just a couple.  Lush fabrics and rich, quality décor provide guests with  a soothing  ambience  in which they can truly relax. A  recent addition to the hotel has been a rooftop herb restaurant, The Herbs’ Garden, which enjoys the same wonderful views and offers relaxed open air dining.   Scattered around this dining area are large plants pots with an abundance of different herbs which are used for dishes such as potatoes fried in olive oil with fresh oregano and grated anthotyro (a Cretan cheese). A buffet breakfast is  available  in the Aroma Restaurant, which is situated between the bar and one of the hidden gems of Lato: the fabulous  Brillant Restaurant. This gourmet restaurant is open to both guests of the hotel and the general public.   Unfortunately our visit was a little poorly timed as it fell in a short window just between the Herbs’ Garden closing and Brillant opening. Mr. Karatarakis’ generous hospitality, however, meant that we were able to dine privately in Brillant – despite it not being officially open – and enjoy a quite incredible Cretan feast. Everything from dakos with tomatoes to traditional Cretan omelette  to dolmades to deliciously tender octopus and much, much more – such an array of wonderful food that we felt somewhat overfaced, not to  mention very full!  Despite being a relaxed-yet-formal place to dine, children are welcome here, such is the family-oriented nature of the Greek lifestyle. To complete my round-up of the hotel, I should also mention that, tucked away in the basement are conference facilities, a small gym and a steam room which complete the offerings of this modern, family hotel.   With the hotel’s location, its friendly staff, unique design touches and continual upgrades, you really  ought to  look up Lato if you’re ever staying in Heraklion.   We’re glad we did.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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