Villa Maris has a superb location - on a hilltop at the foot of the White Mountains, just forty minutes drive from Hania, thirty-five from Rethymno and five from Vrisses. The piece of land on which the villa is built has belonged to the current owner's family for at least three generations and has been used for the most part as pasturage, or for the production of barley for bread. There are also olive trees, from which olive oil is produced, on the property.
The current owner, Sifis Maridakis, was given the property by his grandfather because from an early age he had always loved that spot. Wanting to show the world the beauty of the place and at the same time to demonstrate his family's hospitality, he built a small stone church there surrounded by mulberry and cypress trees and had it dedicated to Saint John the Hermit. Every year a traditional celebration is held at this church on 6 and 7 October.
Next, on the highest part of the property, he built the Villa Maris, using stones from this piece of land, and restored the nearby stone shelter his great grandfather had built to get away from the wet and cold while he was watching his sheep.
Villa Maris consist of two floors:
On the ground floor there is a large open-plan air-conditioned room comprising a dining area, sitting space, stone fireplace and a modern fully equipped kitchen. In the sitting area there is a television with satellite channels, video player and a sound system. On the same floor, near the stairs leading to the first floor, there is also a bedroom with a double bed and a TV, and a shower room with WC.
On the first floor there is a study that leads to a balcony with a view of the sea and of the town and harbour of Rethymno. There is also a bedroom with a double bed and an en suite bathroom and another with two single beds, both of which lead on to a large balcony, and a further bedroom with two single beds. All the bedrooms are air-conditioned. This floor also contains a bathroom with bath and a washing machine.
From the sitting area and the bedroom on the ground floor you can walk out on to a large tiled veranda that contains two separate areas for sitting and eating or drinking outdoors while enjoying a magnificent view of the White Mountains, the valley with its vineyards, olive trees and cypress forest, and small picturesque villages.
In front of the veranda there is a garden containing a variety of plants and fruit trees and a 200-year old olive tree with a stone table under the shade of its branches where you can sit on hot summer days. Next to the veranda are the swimming pool, which is surrounded by a lawn, and sunbeds and parasols. From the kitchen you can reach another veranda with sitting area and a barbeque overlooking a vineyard.
In a fenced-in area to the south of the villa lives Cleopatra, a thoroughbred black Cretan mare whom the owner of the villa loves dearly. She was born on the 15 March 2006 and is fun-loving and friendly towards children.
Visitors to the Villa Maris will lack for nothing as the nearby village of Vrisses offers lots of restaurants, cafes, shops, a post office and a bank. Traditional Cretan products are also on sale there.
You can also try the owner's wine, tsikoudia (raki), fruit and vegetables, which he produces himself.