The Mistral hotel located in picturesque Maleme, the largest Greek island in Western Crete, caters for over 40’s solo travellers.

This family-run, small, boutique, with just 35 rooms and no single supplements, offers dedicated mind and body healing, relaxation, and inner peace week. There are five mainly Hatha yoga sessions, organic vegetarian food, herbal teas, a full body massage, and a ‘gong bath’. 

It was here at the Mistral hotel, some years ago, I first met a real Adonis, joint owner alongside brother Vasillis, who built the Mistral on their grandfather’s land and launched the charming hostelry it is today in 1991.

Yoga & Wellness

At 7am the apricot sun rises over the glittering Mediterranean sea to greet us. It’s the first session of our Yoga and Wellness Week in Crete and unsurprisingly, the beach is deserted.

Just a few yards from the sea, we take in the sensational sunrise and watch the foamed breakers, feeling the warmth on our faces as we place our mats on the sand to begin our breathing and stretching.

Seven of us, all female, are here on this yoga and wellness-themed stay and it’s evident I’m the only beginner. My Happy Baby pose resembles more of an Upturned Turtle. But our instructor Aspasia, certified by the International Yoga Teachers’ Association and the Hellenic Yoga Association, smiles and assures us it’s ok just to do what we can.

After our first yoga session on the beach, refreshed and ready for the day, we return to the hotel for a buffet breakfast on the terrace and mingle with the other guests.

Mistral Bedroom

Mistral Hotel bedroom

Each of the spacious, stone-walled, well-fitted bedrooms has a balcony or terrace. Each room is equipped with comfortable double bed, fridge, walk-in shower (plus bath in the luxury rooms), fridge plus tea/coffee-making facilities.

Mistral Hotel front

Mistral Hotel front

There’s a pool and Jacuzzi at the back, another pool at the front and circular bar on the patio where guests meet and chat over a drink before dinner, which is served meze-style at a long table, usually outside, weather permitting.

Chef Kiki at Mistral

Chef Kiki

Chef Kiki prepares large platters of home-cooked, Greek and Mediterranean dishes.

I tucked into Boureki, (courgette, cheese and potato gratin) huge, sweet stuffed tomatoes and peppers, lightly curried artichokes, lentils, traditional cheese and spinach pies and fresh Cretan salads which are passed around the long table. The healthy Cretan diet comprises organic vegetables, mainly sourced from the hotel garden, locally farmed meat and fish and lots of home-produced olive oil.

Carafes of red and white wine are filled and refilled. Entertainment includes free cocktail/mocktail demonstrations and tastings. Guests can display a few dance moves at the disco and Greek nights and there are aqua aerobic classes..

Nothing is too much trouble for Adonis, wife Aura and their ever-smiling team. Adonis says: ‘Some people have saved up and/or waited a whole year for their stay with us. We want to make sure they enjoy their holiday and to come back again’. Guests are made to feel welcome and special as soon as they arrive. Some have been coming for more than 30 years.

Bea, 68, from Exeter, who has a ‘summer clothes’ suitcase stored permanently at the hotel, has stayed at the Mistral for 17 years. ‘I’m usually here for six weeks a year split into two visits of three weeks,‘ she says. ‘I think that adds up to around two and a half years of my life!

In July and August many younger guests who include teachers and others who have to go away during school holiday/peak periods, choose to stay at the Mistral.

It’s easy to make friends here and following our daily practice, the yoga group bonds quickly with fellow guests. Our sunset yoga session is preceded by sun-bathing time on the glorious, golden Falassarna Beach, named as one of the top ten in Europe and one of the best in the world, and a swim in the glassy turquoise waters.

Back at the hotel, I’m all set to ‘bathe’ in the sound healing of meditation during the vibration of the ‘gong bath’ at the hotel. Maybe, as I was lying on a sunbed and so relaxed, I did reach a state of altered consciousness, but I think I went to sleep.

How much

Yoga and Wellbeing Week from: €1479 seven nights to include:
Daily breakfast; 7 dinners with wine5 yoga sessions, full body holistic massage; group gong bath3 excursions. Free airport shuttle (Tuesdays only)*Flights not included
Find out more:

What’s Nearby?

The Mistral is situated on a through road in the small resort of Maleme, but the relatively underdeveloped area is not overrun with tourists. There’s a pleasant, sea-front walk, lined with a few bars and hotels. Buses take passengers to the resort of nearby Platanias, with lots of shops and a sandy beach and Kolymbari, with its pretty harbour, is a 10-minute ride away.

Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete

Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete

A selection of excursions is available from the hotel. In the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete, iridescent blue/green peacocks strut their stuff. Set around 165 metres above sea level, the land’s formation and region’s microclimate made it a paradise for thousands of flowers, fruit trees, herbs and ornamental plants from all over the world.

An adventure walk of between one to two hours follows paths of unique natural beauty. In the restaurant, we tuck into a superb vegetarian lunch.

One memorable warm evening, we explore the colourful craft boutiques and art studios in the up and down, cobbled back streets of Western Crete’s stylish capital, Chania, before feasting at a long table on Michalis Taverna terrace in the old port overlooking the twinkling lights of the 14th-century Venetian harbour. This is Cretan magic!

Getting there: There are direct flights to Chania from Manchester, London and other UK airports.




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