Reviews
58 reviews    1 2
Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   27 October 2022

Sophie who has been on 3 In The Saddle rides. The perfect relaxing break | Excellent


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   9 October 2022

Vanessa who has been on 7 In The Saddle rides. Fabulous location and excellent horses | We were extremely impressed with the equestrian centre at Velanie, the yard was organised, clean and with good facilities. The staff (Vladimir and Julia) were extremely helpful and patient. We were expected to help prepare our horses and, as it was some time since we have done this for ourselves, we needed some help. Both Vlad and Julia were happy to show us what to do and careful to check everything was in order before anyone mounted. They clearly loved all the horses and made sure their welfare was always the priority.

We were both very happy with our horses and when we were allocated less interesting horses on one of the days, the situation was quickly rectified following a chat with the team.

The riding was on fairly hard and narrow tracks which limited freedom a little but this had already been explained before we went so we knew what to expect. However, the scenery and the overall experience made up for these limitations and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   8 October 2022

who has been on In The Saddle rides. Fabulous - again! I’ll be back - again. | I rode the wonderful Mangas who suited me completely. Willing, able and with a great temperament. I also had three lessons on him in the open air ménage - with a great view down to mountain.

I am not able tack up the horses but this was done very willingly for me.

I was on the Sunny Rides programme which proved suitable and fun for an experienced rider of advancing (advanced!) years.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   8 October 2022

Olaug who has been on 12 In The Saddle rides. Ride, food, relax. Hospitality. Lovely hotel, room/food. | Excellent


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   8 October 2022

Grethe Lill who has been on 6 In The Saddle rides. Wonderful | A good selection of horses in a changing landscape.
Did different rides everyday and enjoyed the variety this offered.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   8 October 2022

Elisabeth who has been on 18 In The Saddle rides. Beautiful location and excellent service | The riding took place in small hill/mountain/field roads, with gravel or concrete or asphalt surface. Most of the riding was upwards or downwards with beautiful views and with short and some longer canters in the more relative smooth upward parts with gravel ground. The selection of horses is varied and will fit the unexperienced and the experienced rider. I got to ride 3 different horses and was very pleased with 2 of them. We were riding in one line with the same order within the same day. It was therefor a nice experience to change the horses some days to also get another place in the order, being in the back and also being in the front. It was difficult, some times, to get the information given by the guide when riding in the back. The guides were very helpful and nice in all respect.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   6 October 2022

Joanna who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Great riding, great people, great accommodation and location | Riding was great, lovely horses - clearly well cared for. Enjoyed being able to help with grooming, tacking up etc.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   25 September 2022

Louise who has been on 7 In The Saddle rides. Fabulous time in a beautiful setting | Excellent


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   25 September 2022

Charlotte (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Excellent


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   25 September 2022

Tessa (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) brilliant | great stable and very fun rides and guides


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

4 star rating   11 September 2022

Katherine who has been on 11 In The Saddle rides. Velani Hotel, Crete - gentle riding and a beautiful view | The riding was very steady and the terrain was demanding on the horses. Very rough going and concrete roads. Cantering on hard road surfaces. Lots of walking up and down the steep hills. Fabulous views but very similar every day. The horses really knew their job but were rather bored and robotic. Good for the not-so-experienced.

[In The Saddle replies: Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your holiday. We appreciate your constructive comments].


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   2 August 2022

Emma who has been on 6 In The Saddle rides. Fantastic riding | This holiday was great. We were all matched with horses that suited our needs and the guides we’re always willing to adapt the riding or horses to suit our needs. One member of our group was a novice rider and everyone went out of their way to accommodate her offering her lessons and hacks that involved a quieter pace. I would definitely return!


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   27 July 2022

Penny who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Pretty amazing | The only thing that I was not happy about on this holiday is the horse trainers. I observed a very heavy handed approach to training that left the horses fearful of the trainer. Horses were disciplined while on the rides in a manner that I felt was not safe. On one occasion the trainer was attempting to school her horse who was afraid of the mounting stairs in the arena. He spooked and fled dragging the trainer while several of the riders were mounted in the arena and waiting to go on the ride. I know that Sabine cares deeply for her horses and do not understand why this type of training is allowed to occur.
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for letting us know and we've followed this up with the owner, Sabine. The safety and welfare of the horses is very important to us.
Sabine explained that the horse in question was only recently backed and has a tendancy to bolt when spooked. He isn't easily mounted and so for now he remains a guide only horse until he becomes more confident.]


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   20 July 2022

Caitlin (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) A Perfect Week! | The riding and the horses all exceeded my expectations. No ride was the same and the variety on offer was great. They are wonderfully trained and cared for. [In The Saddle replies: we are pleased to hear that you had such a great time.]


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   16 July 2022

Christel Shermer (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) We had a really nice experience at the Velani Country Hotel in Crete and a nice riding experience. The riding suited our level well and there was an opportunity for our 12-year-old daughter to get extra hours and enjoy herself in the stable with the horses. Both guides were competent, friendly and welcoming, and we felt in safe hands with both, especially the male guide. The female guide was super good at “nerding” horses with our daughter and was sweet and welcoming, which provided a wonderful experience for young and old ones. It works well with some in the family riding and others walking, there are good hiking trails right outside the hotel.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   5 July 2022

Susan who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Wonderful | The riding net my expectations, and was very enjoyable. Our guide was extremely good and very knowledgeable about horses. Nothing was too much trouble and they were very accommodating.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   5 July 2022

Helen (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Fun and relaxing | Riding was brilliant. Really liked that there was only us with the guide. They look into account some of the difficulties my daughter was having mentally and made her feel comfortable.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   30 June 2022

Fiona who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Fabulous trip | I loved everything at Velani.
The people, the riding, the horses, the food, accommodation and the scenery.
I will definitely go back there as it was just the right combination I was looking for.
Vladimir and Giulia were very helpful and did their best to keep all riders happy.
Sabine is a very astute horsewoman and has a very good knowledge of horses and their suitability for the riding at Velani.
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for your lovely feedback and we are so pleased to hear you enjoyed your holiday.]


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   26 June 2022

Bev who has been on 7 In The Saddle rides. Just what we planned | Would have liked it to have been a little faster pace but it was particularly hot. Maybe riding earlier or later would have been better. Vladimir our lead was great and the horses in good condition and well looked after.
My horse was delightful albeit a little on the small side for me.
Overall though thoroughly enjoyable.
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for your feedback and we are pleased to hear you had a great holiday despite it being very hot.]


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

4 star rating   26 June 2022

Karen who has been on 6 In The Saddle rides. Sunny Ride at Velani Country Hotel | There was a bit of confusion when we arrived, we thought we had booked the Sunny Ride and that is what we went for in the end. It was very hot during our week of Riding and one day we decided not to ride as it was 36 degrees. We did manage to persuade Sabine to let us ride later in the day (after the first 2 days) as it was so hot, we rode at 4:30pm rather than 3:00pm.

All of the horses were well cared for and we were able to help with grooming and tacking up and also wash down on our return to the stables. The tack was in good order and clean.

As we were only riding for 2 hours per day, the rides were very gentle passed (mainly walking) with the odd trot and very rare canter. The terrain did not help with this as most of the riding is on rough tracks and paths through Olive trees.

[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for your feedback. As per your itinerary booklet and invoice, you had booked the Panorama rides. I am very sorry if this wasn't clear when you arrived and I will certainly follow up to see where we could improve.]


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   25 June 2022

Penny who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Wonderful hotel with delicious food very friendly hosts and well looked after horses | Thoroughly enjoyed my days at Hotel Valani. Charming hosts Sabine and Manolis absolutely delicious food wonderful accommodation and fun riding.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   25 June 2022

Verne who has been on 25 In The Saddle rides. Sun, Riding, Loafing and Eating | Well mannered horses, very well looked after, good quality tack.
Great guide, some steep trails (which made for some slower riding). Hot at times.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   4 June 2022

Jenny who has been on 4 In The Saddle rides. The riding was great, we cantered wherever possible, the horses were well behaved and there were a good selection of types to cater for the different riders abilities.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   15 May 2022

Louise who has been on 15 In The Saddle rides. Superb | The riding was brilliant with enough faster paced riding. The horses were well cared for and in good shape surprisingly for the terrain. The guides were fantastic. The accommodation exceeded expectations. The hosts were immensely warm and welcoming, the food just kept coming.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   15 May 2022

Amanda who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Wonderful location and riding experience | The stables are right next to the hotel so could wonder down after breakfast/lunch.

The horses are well looked after and well behaved. As a relative newcomer to riding, I was matched with Mangas for the whole week, who was a perfect match for me. I went on the shorter two hour trails, which provided plenty of opportunities to trot and canter. The trail leaders were excellent - always happy to help out and put you at ease. Plenty of time with the horses before and after the rides as tack and untack the horses (in addition to the two hour ride itself).

My rides were at the same time each day so it enabled us to explore the local area (in the morning) using a hire car. My friend was not going to ride but she managed to arrange a couple of lessons directly, which she really enjoyed.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   10 May 2022

Nancy (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Beauty trails in Cretan countryside. Happy horses! | Excellent


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   30 April 2022

Judith who has been on 12 In The Saddle rides. Mountain retreat | I knew from previous comments about the terrain and heard from fellow guests doing the Lassithi trek about their experiences which were even more extreme. It was clear that these horses are used to this, cope extremely well and it's the humans who need to be brave! I would classify it as a "holiday with riding".
Valdimir was one of the most helpful and kind ride leaders, even if his hand signals needed interpretation sometimes!! He could not do enough to help us with tacking up etc and taking good care of us on the ride. I agree somewhat with previous comments about numnahs being clean.
[Becky from In The Saddle replies: Thank you very much for your feedback.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   30 April 2022

Ann who has been on 15 In The Saddle rides. None of us rode this year. Horses look very good, excellently cared for, and tack clean and well cared for. Saddles looked newish and very comfortable.
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All horses even the stallion were very well behaved in their stables.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

4 star rating   30 April 2022

Penny who has been on 9 In The Saddle rides. A relaxing week in a stunning location | I did not ride!


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   24 April 2022

Lesley who has been on 9 In The Saddle rides. Crete - fabulous week with the right balance of riding and holiday | Our guide, despite only having been in post 3 weeks was very knowledgeable and attentive to our needs. The scenery was spectacular, even some snow on the highest peaks. The tracks were mainly very stony and hard with frequent patches of concrete which could be very slippery but the horses were very sure footed. I have to say most of the places we cantered I would never have dreamed of cantering on but the horses are obviously used to it.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   24 April 2022

Paul who has been on 4 In The Saddle rides. Hotel with stable attached | A fairly relaxed week with excellent accommodation and food. Riding is mainly on hard ground - gravel, stone, concrete carved out of the hills. The horses cope with it extremely well but best not to fall off! Really nice guides, very helpful. All the hotel staff were great too.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   17 April 2022

Jane (this is their first In The Saddle holiday) Amazing experience | Instructors were excellent, support was fantastic and riding was wonderful


58 reviews    1 2