If you are looking for beautiful accommodation in Crete, complete with a chance to learn and sample the local wines of Crete, staying at Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences is the perfect boutique accommodation choice for you.
Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences: Beautiful Accommodation and Great Wine Too on Crete!
The landscape dramatically changes from flat, sandy, landscape to lush green hillsides as we drive from Heraklion Airport toward Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences, our first accommodation in Crete. As we pass through the small town of Scalani the hills are covered with vines as far as the eye can see.
Before we know it, we arrive at Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences, a modern winery set atop a hilltop with stunning views. Our greeting is warm, like arriving at an old friend’s house and the welcome drink, a chilled glass of Iouliatiko, a unique dessert wine, provides our first introduction to Boutari wines.
We have selected Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences for its location, the quality of the accommodation, the reputation of the restaurant and the opportunity to learn about Cretan wine. With only three luxurious residences, luckily, there was availability for our dates.
Boutari Wines and Scalani Hills Boutari Winery
A well- known wine producer in Greece, Boutari has six wineries in Greece and one in France. Boutari is one of Greece’s larger producers. You might find them in your local wine shop at home as they do export. The 130-year-old company is family-owned and uses organic farming methods.
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Scalani Hills Boutari Winery is the Boutari vineyard on the island of Crete. If you are traveling elsewhere in Greece, you will find Boutari wineries in Santorini as well. For a full list of wineries, check Boutari Wines online.
Scalani Hills has been in the portfolio for years, but recently they upgraded the facilities building a modern wine making facility and adding luxury accommodation. The former estate cottage, has been turned into three luxury residences.
The Residences at Scalani Hills Boutari Winery
We stayed in the two-story Kotsifali Residence. Since this is the conversion of the former estate cottage, features from the original building including stone floors and the thick stone walls have been retained. It has been updated with a mezzanine bedroom featuring great closet space to unpack and a powder room for an en-suite bathroom.
There’s a desk if you need a work space, and it overlooks the main sitting room, so the aspect is rather pleasing. The lighting is good (one of my complaints as I get older and my eyesight gets worse!) and the furniture very comfortable, a great place to enjoy a bottle of wine and curl up with a good book.
The main bathroom downstairs has a large walk in shower, rain shower head and classy, orange blossom-scented toiletries. With luxurious towels, bathrobe and slippers, you can just relax and enjoy.
And if you are an early riser, there is coffee and tea making supplies in your room and a small refrigerator. We enjoyed the complimentary bottle of Scalani’ s Vilano (white) wine, which was a nice welcome.
A Great Night’s Sleep at Scalani Hills Boutari Winery
The bed is worth a mention, it is a COCO-MAT® bed and mattress. Prior to arriving in Greece and Crete, I had never heard of COCO-MAT®. By part way through our trip, I came to realize this is a good indicator the bed at the hotel will be perfect! Definitely one of the most comfortable beds I’ve slept in and I seriously looked the company up to see about buying one! Stay tuned, a few more of our Crete accommodation recommendations also feature COCO-MAT® beds and mattresses.
The thick stone walls (and the fact there is no one around) mean the suite is quiet and with wooden shutters, the room is dark. So sleeping in is easy, maybe too easy! A great bed, high quality linen and towels, a luxurious bathrobe and you have everything you need!
Management and Future Plans
Management of the accommodation is by the Aria Hotel Group, a family-owned and operated local company. We looked at several of their other properties, they are all small, boutique luxury hotels and holiday homes scattered across Crete and several other Greek Islands. Based on my experience at Scalani Hills Boutari Winery and Residences, I would gladly stay at one of their other properties on my travels in Greece.
There is talk of future expansion to include ten additional self-contained residences and swimming pool.
The Winery at Scalani Hills
Boutari produces six types of wine, for about 50,000 bottles a year, on the seven acres of vines at the Scalani Hill Winery. Each guest receives a free wine tasting and complimentary tour of the winery. For those not staying at the winery, you can still also take a tour or have a wine tasting and there were many people taking this option.
Red, white and rose varietals are made at this winery. In 2015, Vidiano, Assyrtiko and Mavrotragano varieties were planted and the first harvest of these varietals is expected in 2019.
The most unusual wine, in my opinion, is the Iouliatiko (or Liatiko), a sweet table wine served chilled. Made from red grapes, the grapes are dried for six weeks, then go through the normal wine making process, and are aged in oak barrels for six years. The taste of iouliatiko reminds me of a nice port or muscat.
The very modern Scalani Hills Winery features a curved wall of glass providing spectacular views of the winery. The reception is in the restaurant and tastings are also held here. Both the winery and suites feature art works by local artists, so make sure you have a look around.
Dining at Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences
A generous breakfast starts the day complete with coffee, (or tea) and fresh orange juice. You select from a menu the night before. The chef, Maria, makes you feel as though you are a guest in her home. Her smile is infectious as she serves breakfast and checks you have enough to eat. As you can see from the size of our breakfast, we did not go hungry. (And that picture doesn’t include the eggs!)
Dinner in the restaurant was the same warm greeting. We felt as though we had arrived at Maria’s for a dinner party. Hugging us both, we were escorted to our table. You can choose wine by the glass or order a bottle with dinner. Our four-course dinner showcased local Cretan recipes. The first course of dolmades and zucchini fritters, was followed by a green salad (what we call a Greek salad when you are not in Greece, then it is just salad😊). The highlight was beautiful, slow roasted lamb and vegetables, a specialty on Crete. Dessert, and I am not a big fan of dessert, was a piece of the best orange cake I have ever had. It might be a future Greek recipe we feature on Compass & Fork!
You can also arrange (in advance) to take a cooking class with Maria. I think this would time well spent if you have any interest in Cretan cuisine. We will talk more about the famous Mediterranean diet and explore lots of local favorites from Crete in other posts.
Location of Scalani Hills Boutari Winery and Residences
Scalani’s location provides easy access to explore the surrounding area and we recommend you hire a car. Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences is 11 kilometers from Heraklion, so travel from the airport or ferry terminal is quick and easy.
Knossos Archeological Site, the largest Bronze Age Archeological site on Crete, and considered the oldest city in Europe, is five kilometers.
There are several swimming beaches nearby, ask at reception for recommendations.
As mentioned above, you can dine at the restaurant by prior arrangement, take a cooking class, or there are other dining options in Scalani or the nearby village of Archanes.
Staying at Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences
We really enjoyed our stay at Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences. If you are looking for a relaxing break, some great food and a chance to learn about the wines of Crete, this is an excellent choice.
Check current prices and availability for Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences.
Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences at a Glance
|Name||Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences|
|Where||Scalani, Crete (11 kilometers inland from Heraklion)|
|Style||Rustic Luxury in the Room, with a Modern Restaurant/Winery|
|Atmosphere||Rolling Hills, Vineyard Views, very relaxed|
|Type||Small Boutique Hotel at a Winery|
|# of Rooms||3|
|Service||Excellent, warm and friendly|
|Dining||Onsite restaurant (breakfast included), Dinner by arrangement|
|Facilities||Winery- wine tasting and tour included for guests|
|Extras||Cooking Classes (arrange in advance)|
|What we Liked||Stunning setting, friendly staff, great food and wine. A great opportunity to learn about the wines of Crete.|
|Good to Know||Car recommended to explore the local area (lots to see and do). If you want to dine in the restaurant or take a cooking class, arrange at the time of booking to avoid disappointment. |
With only 3 rooms, book early. Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences is quite popular.
We have additional information to assist with planning a trip to the Greek Islands. If you are passing through Athens, why not stop and visit the Parthenon. You can find more information about what to see and do in Athens on Compass &Fork.
For all the food and travel content about Greece and the Greek Islands on Compass & Fork visit our Greece page. And we have a handpicked selection of books, cookbooks and movies from Greece as well as specialty food items in the Compass & Fork shop.
We were guests of Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences, As always, our opinions are our own.