Greece offers a full spectrum of accommodations ranging from the extravagant to the basic. Within a given locale, of course, not all options are available, but most readers will find something that appeals to them.
Hotels used to be required to publicize a grading system imposed by the Greek government. Classes still exist and are indicated by stars, but these are based more on facilities such as public areas, pools, and in-room amenities than on any comfort or service ratings. (Each room's rate should be posted on the inside of the door.) Basically it is a market economy, for hotels know better than to ask for too much because competitors will undercut them. Frommer's own rating system of stars and icons for special features takes care of all such differences.
International travelers will be familiar with some of the major chains -- the Westin, Hilton and Best Western, for example. A number of Greek chains, such as Louis and Chandris, also own numerous hotels, while several hotels now belong to the Luxury Collection of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. These latter tend to be extremely upscale hotels. However, most Greek hotels are independent lodgings run by hands-on owners.
Be aware that a double room in Greece does not always mean a room with a double bed, but might be a room with twin beds. Double beds in Greece are called "matrimonial beds," and rooms with such beds are often designated "honeymoon rooms." This can lead to misunderstandings.
Climate Control in Greek Hotels -- Most of the Greek hotels recommended now promise air-conditioning in the hot season and heating in the colder months. The equipment is indeed there, but you should be aware that except in the most expensive hotels, neither will necessarily be as adequate as you might like.
Ask for Discounts -- If you're watching your budget (and who isn't?), ask for the cheapest room at hotels and inquire about special offers. If tourism continues to decline, and the Greek economy remains troubled, many hotels may offer seriously discounted prices. Still, expect weekend hotel prices to be much higher than during the week, due to weekend travel by the Greeks themselves.
Reserving a Room (for How Many?) -- Try to make reservations by fax so that you have a written record of the room and the agreed-upon price. If you booked by e-mail, bring a printout of your confirmed reservation.
Note that in a few instances -- usually at the most expensive hotels -- the prices quoted are per person. (We indicate this in our recommendations.) Note, too, that room prices, no matter what people say officially, are often negotiable, especially at the edges of the season. Because of Greek law and EOT regulations, hotel keepers are often reluctant to provide rates far in advance and often quote prices higher than their actual rates. When you bargain, don't cite our prices, which may be too high, but ask instead for the best current rate. Actual off-season prices may be as much as 25% lower than the lowest rate given to us for this guide.
Rentals (Apartments & Houses)
An increasingly popular way to experience Greece is to rent an apartment or a house; the advantages include freedom from the formalities of a hotel, often a more desirable location, and a kitchen that allows you to avoid the costs and occasional crush of restaurants. Such rentals do not come cheap, but if you calculate what two or more people might pay for a decent hotel, not to mention all the meals eaten out, a rental can turn out to be a good deal. (Cost per person per day in a really nice apartment runs about 100€; a fancier villa with two bedrooms might cost about 200€ per person per day.) Any full-service travel agency in your home country or in Greece should be able to put you in touch with an agency specializing in such rentals.
The fact is that the British dominate this field in Greece, in terms of both experience and sheer numbers of offerings. So via the Internet, anyone can now see what's offered and contact such outfits as Simply Travel Ltd., Columbus House, Westwood Way, Coventry CV4 8TT (tel. 0871/231-4050; www.simplytravel.co.uk); or Pure Crete, Bolney Place, Cowfold Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH17 5Q7 (tel. 1444/881-402; www.purecrete.com). Among those in the United States are Villas International, 17 Fox Lane, San Anselmo CA 94960 (tel. 800/221-2260; www.villasintl.com); and Villas and Apartments Abroad, 183 Madison Ave., Suite 201, New York, NY 10016 (tel. 212/213-6435; www.vaanyc.com). In Canada, try Grecian Holidays, 1315 Lawrence Ave, East, Toronto, Ontario M3A 3R3 (tel. 800/268-6786; www.grecianholidays.com).
For apartment, farmhouse, or cottage stays of 2 weeks or more, Idyll Untours (tel. 888/868-6871; www.untours.com) provides exceptional vacation rentals for a reasonable price -- which includes air/ground transportation, cooking facilities, and on-call support from a local resident. Best of all: Untours -- named the "Most Generous Company in America" by Newman's Own -- donates most profits to provide low-interest loans to underprivileged entrepreneurs (visit the website for details).
Another option is to rent a traditional house in one of about 12 relatively rural or remote villages or settlements throughout Greece. These small traditional houses have been restored by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO or EOT); to learn more about this possibility, contact the GNTO office nearest you.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.