Reviews
58 reviews    1 2
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

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   5 July 2022

Sue 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   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

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   26 June 2022

Bev who has been on 9 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

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 29 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 3 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   4 June 2022

Laura who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Great food, good company, beautiful surroundings & lovely horses | Excellent


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   15 May 2022

Mandy who has been on 3 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   15 May 2022

Louise who has been on 18 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   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

Annie 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   30 April 2022

Judith who has been on 15 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   24 April 2022

Lesley who has been on 10 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 5 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


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   31 March 2022

Gillian who has been on 3 In The Saddle rides. A great Spring riding break. | The riding was varied in pace and type of surface. Cantering on hard stoney paths came as a bit of a shock at first, however, the horses are clearly well used to the terrain and I felt very secure. It was lovely riding amongst all the Spring flowers.


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   17 December 2021

Julie who has been on 5 In The Saddle rides. A fun and relaxing week with lovely horses, people, scenery and food | I was given Mangas on my first day, I had mentioned I enjoyed riding Icelandic horses and Mangas was about their size! I was pretty nervous as I had not ridden for so long due to lockdown, and Mangas, though he was the Grandma Giles of the equine world, was perfect for me because he just carried on through everything that came his way, sure footed, eager to trot and canter, ignoring any excitement around him, patient with my useless fumbling with his tack and entirely unconcerned with anything that might make a lesser horse shy.

I was really impressed with how fast this little powerhouse walked and easily kept up with the others.

My holiday included 2 hours riding a day and they were very generous with this.

I really enjoyed the rides as they were so interesting, riding up to the cave which we were able to visit inside. (I was impressed with the way the horses were left tethered, probably the safest way I have seen this done.)
Also the ride to the "drowned village" in the lake, up on to the plateau, and through the village which was really fun, as was encountering flocks of sheep with clanging bells and seeing all the different trees. Not to mention 30 griffon vultures coming out of the mist and circling right over our heads.

I really enjoyed the fact we were encouraged to groom, tack up / untack, as I hadn't done this for years and Beau was exceptionally patient in demonstrating this.
The horses were really well cared for and Beau who took us out was among the best guides I have ever had - she was so calm, kind, encouraging - and funny! And of course, always safe.

On my second day I had Olympia, she was a very beautiful mare and had I not been so rusty I would have enjoyed trying more of the horses, but I went back to Mangas from the third day.

The horses happily trot over stony ground that many would baulk at, but they are so used to it...


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   21 November 2021

Sarah who has been on 17 In The Saddle rides. Great horses and scenery with excellent accomodation. | Excellent


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   31 October 2021

Tess who has been on 15 In The Saddle rides. Olive groves and mountains on horseback - what’s not to like? | So impressed with these tough, happy horses - really enjoying their work and so fit!


Velani Country Hotel - Crete

Sun and Riding

5 star rating   9 October 2021

Anne who has been on 18 In The Saddle rides. Was rather startled to be given a pony to ride the first day as I am by no means pony rider sized!! The little mare was, however, a pocket rocket and incredibly sure footed not to mention as tough as nails and I very much enjoyed her.
I rode 3 other horses during my holiday and enjoyed them all. The terrain is incredibly stony, even rocky, but we trotted and cantered away over all sorts of ground with not a hint of a problem. The ride through the gorge and up to Kera was a highlight.


58 reviews    1 2