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Villa Olous: Moonrise Over The Sea

Prepare to dive into an exclusive interview unveiling the secrets of Villa Olous, a lavish sanctuary nestled in the heart of Elounda, Crete. Embark on a journey through its enchanting architecture, luxurious amenities, and seamless fusion with the local landscape. Be captivated by personal anecdotes, insider tips, and the unparalleled experiences that await at Villa Olous, promising an unforgettable escapade into luxury, tranquillity, and Greek hospitality.

Villa Olous: Moonrise Over The Sea

Prepare to dive into an exclusive interview unveiling the secrets of Villa Olous, a lavish sanctuary nestled in the heart of Elounda, Crete. Embark on a journey through its enchanting architecture, luxurious amenities, and seamless fusion with the local landscape. Be captivated by personal anecdotes, insider tips, and the unparalleled experiences that await at Villa Olous, promising an unforgettable escapade into luxury, tranquillity, and Greek hospitality.

“The landscape belongs to the person who looks at it” - Victor Hugo.

Villa Olous was built to be a sanctuary of happiness. Nestled on a sunlit hill, it weaves a tale of joy and heritage. Before the current family acquired the land, there was no road connecting it to the village. The dedicated owners constructed a path leading to this serene retreat, infusing every detail with their passion. The villa boasts breathtaking sea views, offering both tranquillity and seclusion. Here, you can relish an infinity pool, secluded sea access, a tennis court, a chapel, and the services of a private Relais et Châteaux chef. Yet, just a short distance away, the village’s charm invites you to explore, effortlessly merging two worlds. Inspired by global travels, this retreat is a mosaic of treasured memories and diverse cultures.

Elounda's Allure: Why Choose This Corner of Crete for Your Next Luxury Escape?

Elounda's Allure: Why Choose This Corner of Crete for Your Next Luxury Escape?

The Greek islands boast countless beautiful destinations, making it difficult to choose a favourite. Yet, Elounda in Crete is undeniably a standout. This charming town faces the Mirabello Gulf, offering breathtaking views framed by golden sandy beaches. The landscape is a serene blend of the sea, hills, olive groves, and the sunrise over the Spinalonga peninsula. Elounda is also notable for the ruins of the ancient sunken city of Olous, once a significant and prosperous city in ancient Crete. The warmth and hospitality of the locals are unforgettable, making visitors feel genuinely welcomed. Around the harbour, you’ll find attractive shops, bars, and tavernas that extend north along the sandy beach and south along a paved waterfront promenade. Fishing boats sway in the harbour, where you can catch a boat to historic Spinalonga. Several nearby beaches, including Agios Nikolaos, are worth visiting. With a car, it’s easy to explore attractions like Lake Voulismeni and the picturesque village of Kritsa. Elounda offers ample opportunities for both exploration and relaxation, drawing American film stars and Greek politicians alike.
A Seafront Sanctuary: Embrace Cretan Charm at Villa Olous

A Seafront Sanctuary: Embrace Cretan Charm at Villa Olous

Villa Olous epitomises the spirit of the island. Its expansive grounds are adorned with sculptures, olive groves, and a variety of local flowers. This vast and captivating estate encourages you to fully immerse yourself in its beauty. The villa, with its enchanting architectural design and exquisite interior crafted by Mary Callahan, mother of the owner Chris Callahan, is a true masterpiece. While luxurious, the villa maintains the cosy atmosphere of a family home. It features six exceptional bedrooms, stunning living spaces, artistic accents and an impressive curved facade. The living room, with its sweeping sea views, includes a 600-year-old fireplace. The separate two-bedroom cottage is perfect for those seeking additional privacy. The terrace is a social hub with a beautiful pool and shaded seating. On calm days, you can still see the sunken ruins of Olous, adding to Elounda’s rich cultural heritage. The villa enjoys a prime seafront location with private sea access via a sea platform with sun loungers, drinks fridge and stairs into the sea. With its stunning design and breathtaking sea views, Villa Olous is a unique family retreat and holiday haven.
From Serene Sunrise to Evening Elegance: The Perfect Day in Elounda

From Serene Sunrise to Evening Elegance: The Perfect Day in Elounda

There are numerous upscale hotels, along with the quaint village of Elounda, offering an array of sophisticated dining options, vibrant bars, and convenient amenities such as grocery stores and wine boutiques. Villa Olous promises a refined ambience perfect for indulging in delightful meals, discovering local culture in picturesque fishing villages, and engaging in exhilarating water sports like waterskiing and jet skiing. For local activities the villa’s esteemed house manager, Georgia stands ready to curate bespoke experiences tailored to guests desires. Whether arranging exclusive helicopter excursions or unveiling hidden gems within the region’s cultural calendar, her expertise ensures an enriching and memorable stay. Envisioning the perfect day at Villa Olous, one is drawn to the allure of a serene sunrise casting its golden hues upon the tranquil surroundings. A leisurely breakfast on the terrace sets the tone for a day of exploration, whether it be a dip in the azure waters or a leisurely stroll through quaint coastal villages. The evening unfolds with an elegant dinner affair, accompanied by fine wines and stimulating conversation, culminating in a harmonious blend of relaxation and refined indulgence amidst the villa’s captivating ambience.

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Explore the Area’s Top Beaches:

Explore the Area’s Top Beaches:

  • Voulisma Beach: Just 20 minutes’ drive from the villa, Voulisma Beach enchants with its picturesque half-moon shape and soft sands. Recommended by Villa Olous Knowledgeable house manager, Georgia, this beach offers warm, crystal-clear waters and the option to rent comfortable lounge chairs for ultimate relaxation.
  • Kolokytha Beach: Accessible primarily by boat, Kolokytha Beach is a hidden gem boasting mesmerising aquamarine waters, soft sands, and breathtaking vistas. Ideal for a day excursion, this secluded spot promises a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
  • Plaka Beach: After a morning exploring iconic Spinalonga Island, hop on a boat back across the water to the pebbled shores of Plaka. Just north of Elounda village, the sweeping curve of Plaka Beach boasts aquamarine waters and gorgeous views across to Spinalonga.
Immerse Yourself in Local History

Immerse Yourself in Local History

  • The Minoan Palace of Knossos: Step back in time to 7,000 BC and explore the magnificent Minoan Palace of Knossos, the heart of Minoan civilization. Unearth the rich history and cultural heritage of this ancient site, which serves as a testament to Crete’s illustrious past.
  • Spinalonga Island: Delve into the captivating history of Crete at Spinalonga Island, nestled in the Gulf of Elounda. Adorned with fortifications from the Venetian and Ottoman eras, and the site of a former leper colony, this island holds significant historical importance and offers a poignant glimpse into Cretan heritage.
  • Chania Old Town: Embark on a journey to Chania’s enchanting Old Town, located in the island’s northwest. Renowned for its Venetian port dating back to the 14th century, this picturesque town boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and architectural splendour waiting to be discovered.
What Guests Say About Villa Olous?

What Guests Say About Villa Olous?

“This was one of the most magnificent vacations our family has ever taken! The villa is so gorgeous and the attentive staff were so thorough but never intrusive. They took care of all of our needs. I must make a special mention of the gorgeous Georgia who was responsible for everything! I also have a very special thank you to our wonderful nanny, Maria, in whose safe care we left the babies! These two women will stay in my heart. We will return! Many thanks to you all!”

We spoke to Chris Callahan, owner of Villa Olous, to find out more about his luxury estate.

The Secrets of Villa Olous: A Conversation with Chris Callahan

The Secrets of Villa Olous: A Conversation with Chris Callahan

Why is Villa Olous a perfect retreat? Peaceful beauty. The most extraordinary thing about Villa Olous is its serene and stunning environment. The views are fantastic, and it offers both privacy and accessibility. My mother always says that when she wakes up in the morning, she feels like she’s with God because of the beautiful light and scenery. It’s incredibly relaxing and gorgeous. If you read the guest reviews, you’ll see the same sentiments repeated about how beautiful and peaceful it is. Another highlight is our amazing house manager and her staff, who create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for guests. This personal touch is crucial because it’s not just about the beauty of the villa—many places have pretty pools and nice views. What sets Villa Olous apart is its warm atmosphere and the fact that it feels like a family home. Additionally, the villa is like a self-contained paradise for you, your friends, and your family. It’s easy to stay here for a week or two without needing to leave, making it a perfect retreat.
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How do you infuse local culture and traditions into the guest experience at your villa? Villa Olous is incredibly private, yet conveniently close to the village of Elounda, just a five-minute drive away. Nearby, you’ll find several great hotels for dining and various beach clubs. It’s also perfect for events like weddings, with plenty of nearby accommodations for guests. My parents built the property from scratch, even constructing the road to access it. It was originally the side of a mountain, and they carefully restored the local landscape after building, using local plants and maintaining the olive groves. The grounds blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, without any manicured English gardens. Our house manager, Georgia, is a local and knows everyone in the community. She can arrange authentic experiences like visiting local raki distilleries or honey producers. Most of the produce used in cooking is local, with olive oil coming from our own trees. The honey, meat, fish, and vegetables are all sourced locally, ensuring the freshest ingredients and supporting the local economy. Guests enjoy local wines and produce, truly immersing themselves in the Greek experience. Seasonal availability is key; if tomatoes or oranges are in season, you’ll find them fresh at the villa. This commitment to local and sustainable living is something we continuously strive to enhance. The villa offers a unique blend of privacy, luxury, and authentic local charm, making it an ideal retreat for families and friends. The stunning views, serene environment, and easy access to local amenities create a perfect balance for a memorable stay.
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What is the most unexpected request or demand you’ve received from a guest? I have some interesting stories to tell. One time, guests wanted a massive yacht that simply didn’t exist in Crete for rental. Undeterred, Georgia managed to have one brought in from Athens to pick up the guests and take them to Santorini for the day. This level of dedication truly goes above and beyond. Another time, guests were arriving by helicopter from a day trip but it was too windy to land near the house. Georgia coordinated with a restaurant on a nearby peninsula to allow the helicopter to land there. The guests were then driven back to the villa, a quick 10-minute trip. These stories highlight Georgia’s incredible ability to accommodate even the most challenging requests, ensuring our guests have an unforgettable experience.
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If your villa had a signature scent, what would it be and why? Last time I visited the local physiotherapist, we had an interesting conversation about different places we’ve lived and travelled. He shared that before moving to Crete, he had lived in Thailand and China, and had travelled extensively across Europe, including France, Italy, and Spain. He mentioned how he had been to many beautiful places like Thailand and Vietnam, but nothing compared to the fresh air in Greece. He explained that the air in Greece is incredibly clean and fresh, something that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world. It’s unpolluted and natural, giving a unique and invigorating scent. We both agreed that the dry climate in Greece contributes to this freshness, unlike humid places where the air can feel sticky and less pleasant. The combination of the dry heat and the pristine, clear waters makes the air in Greece smell wonderfully fresh and beautiful.

If you could offer guests one piece of advice for making the most of their stay, what would it be? Explore, explore, explore. Take your time to truly explore the property. Spend time sitting and relaxing. One guest review mentioned that their favourite thing to do was to walk around and find a new place to sit and read every day before heading down to the pool or the sea platform. There are benches all over the property. If you spent 45 minutes each day reading a book, checking your email, or just relaxing on a different bench, you’d be using your time well. There are many hidden spots, not just the ones you see in pictures. Everyone finds their own favourite place. So go out and explore. Walk around, enjoy nature, and take your time to experience everything the property has to offer.

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What key insights have you gained about guest preferences and luxury service standards at the villa? I was talking to our house manager, and she emphasised the importance of honesty, friendliness, good service, and fantastic hospitality. She explained that these qualities are naturally ingrained in Greek culture. They genuinely want to make guests happy. This genuine hospitality means everyone becomes a part of the experience. Often, the staff ends up dancing with the guests, sharing a glass of wine, and teaching them Greek dances. It’s a lovely touch that happens naturally and only if guests invite it. This kind of genuine hospitality can’t be faked, and it’s a key part of what makes staying at Villa Olous so special.

What daily ritual brings you the most joy while working at Villa Olous? I love walking around at sunrise. It’s amazing to find your own favourite spots to relax and enjoy the view. The morning sun and the stars in the evening are truly spectacular. If you’re lucky, you might witness a moonrise, which is even more special. The moon rises over the water, casting an orange glow that lights up the entire sea. It’s an incredible sight that happens fairly often and is definitely a reason to visit. While people often talk about sunrises and sunsets, the moonrise at Villa Olous is an extraordinary experience that shouldn’t be missed.

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What would be a perfect day or weekend at Villa Olous? A day is just not enough at Villa Olous. We should make the most of it. Try waking up early to catch the sunrise if you can. Then, take a leisurely walk around the property and enjoy coffee on the terrace. Find some nice spots to explore and have a lovely breakfast with your companions. Engage in a morning activity like swimming or anything else you fancy. Afterward, if you feel tired, take a nap or relax with a book. The great thing about Villa Olous is that you can spend time with others or enjoy your own space. You’re not constantly on top of each other. In the afternoon, do whatever you feel like—whether it’s lounging on the sea platform, playing tennis, watching a movie, or having a swim. People often go their separate ways for a while and then come together for drinks, lunch, and dinner. Personally, I enjoy playing bocce in the evening with a glass of wine before dinner. Then, it’s time for more drinks and a delicious meal. There’s so much to do here, you’ll never be bored.
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