Suite with a private Pool
After a 50-minute transfer from Heraklion (also Iráklio) airport in the island's east, the charming Vassia welcomes me to the Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas. The young lady speaks some German. I don't let myself down and throw in a few Greek words before we agree on English. After the very personal check-in, she explained the essential points of the vast complex by the sea (120,000 sqm) and accompanied me to my junior suite with a private pool, which is located directly by the sea. Behind the entrance door are a chic terrace with said pool, parasol, sunbeds, and a breathtaking view of the sea and mountains. Oh my gosh, that´s gorgeous!
Fresh fruit is ready and waiting, as is the espresso machine I love. "Water and fruit are provided every day," Vassia tells me before explaining the many counters - but more on that later. I even get to set my preferred times for the maid and pool boy; what a service! The huge bathroom is a dream; from the bathtub (with integrated whirlpool), you look back at the pool and the mountains. The highlight: the shower is also a steam bath - how cool is that?
The walk-in wardrobe finally has enough hangers, irons, and ironing boards.
I still have to get used to the many switches in the room. When I want to turn off the light, the automatic curtains open. It's dark in the bedroom, but a light comes on in the bathroom. After a few failed attempts, I managed to darken everything and sleep blissfully. Kali nichta, good night!
All by myself in the sea
The following morning, after opening the curtains, I look directly at the glittering sea, what magnificent views. In the afternoon, I take the stairs to my private plateau with sunbeds and climb a ladder directly into the well-tempered sea - wonderful! Important: If you want to do this too, bring bathing shoes, the ground is rocky (and studded with sea urchins here and there).
I reserve a table at the Italian "Argonaut" - one of five restaurants in the Elounda Beach Hotel. Guests who have booked half-board can dine in all restaurants with a prior reservation. The anticipation of the coming days at the Elounda Beach Hotel is rising! The Argonaut is located in a building directly by the sea on the first floor with a correspondingly breathtaking view. I enjoy a dorado fillet with potato crust and local white wine - so delicious!
In the morning, I enjoy the first rays of sun on my terrace before breakfast. Amicable staff is already waiting to guide me to my table on the large deck in the Artemis restaurant. I am careful with the expression "perfection," but it applies to the service in this case. The breakfast buffet leaves nothing to be desired; I especially liked the many excellent types of bread. Health-conscious people get their money's worth with lots of fruit and vegetables. No wonder the Elounda Beach Hotel has had so many regular guests from worldwide for years. Honestly, the start of the day couldn't be better.
Let´s get physical
The tour of the extensive grounds is a little bit of a sports programme. I wonder how many gardeners are working on the lush green grounds.Worth seeing is the Veghera Bar at the end of a jetty, washed by the sea, where it is lovely to chill out in the evening.
Not far away is the sandy bay with sunbeds and umbrellas. Next to it you can go diving or do all kinds of water sports (including water skiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, and various boat trips). What was new for me was the expression "inflatable toys" – fun equipment (such as the "banana") to conquer the sea!
For me, the sea is always the preferred place to swim. But some people prefer to hang out by the pool all day. For them, the Elounda Beach Hotel has a large swimming pool with sea water and a pool bar.
Well-being at its Best
The Chenot Spa is worth seeing, with an outdoor pool and a view over the complex to the sea. I like the holistic approach with numerous individual treatments and therapies that promise wellness and serve health. You can get advice from a doctor and have a personal meal plan prepared.
Suppose you prefer to be active in the fresh air. In the somewhat private, well-equipped gym, modern equipment is available. You have to book your training in advance, and you can have a personal trainer get you in shape. Do you prefer physical activity outdoors? In that case, there are five tennis courts and facilities for mini-golf, volleyball, badminton, basketball, and table tennis. That should be enough, shouldn't it?
22 Different room categories - what do you prefer?
A word about the rooms - there are 22 (!) different categories. I recommend accommodation directly by the sea; it doesn't have to be the presidential suite. Have a look here.
Holidaying like the Celebs
Who hasn't stayed at the Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas - high-profile politicians such as Kofi Annan, footballer Ronaldo and the divas Montserrat Caballé and Mariah Carey. "The band U2 stayed at our resort, using the hotel as their base and travelling to their concert in mainland Greece by private jet." says Dimitra Chatzikonstantinou, Sales Manager at Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas. A helicopter landing pad is available for well-heeled guests. He who has! "Our guests enjoy the peace and privacy they have with us." True! On my evening walk from one of the restaurants to my suite, I hear almost nothing; the many lights in the park and on the beach create an incomparably romantic atmosphere.
A quick word about gastronomy: On the second evening, I was a guest at the Kafenion, a friendly Greek taverna with down-to-earth cuisine (a little too meaty for my taste, though). Next to the Kafenion is a row of small shops that are still open in the evening. Don't forget the small chapel, where you can even get married!
My dinner on the terrace at Blue Lagoon Restaurant & Sushi Bar (below Argonaut) was the final highlight at the Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas.Creative Asian-Peruvian cuisine, fine wines, and pure summer feeling right by the sea.
Unfortunately, I missed the award-winning Dionysos restaurant (considered one of the best restaurants in Crete), but maybe (and hopefully) there will be another time.
"Hospitality is in our DNA," Dimitria tells me, and at the Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas it couldn't be more pronounced. I was impressed by the friendliness of the staff - no matter in which area.
As beautiful as the Elounda Beach Hotel is, you should do a few excursions. During my short stay I did the following:
You can take a golf cart to the gate of the sister hotel Elounda Bay Resort and walk from there to Elounda in about 10 minutes. The charming village is only about 2 km from the hotel. You will automatically reach the beach promenade with many excellent bars and boutiques. Tip: Drink a delicious smoothie or coffee in the cosy Isalos with a beautiful view of the sea and neighbouring islands.
From the central square in Elounda, boats take you to the small, uninhabited island of Spinalonga in about 20 minutes. This island has a very moving history; from 1904 until 1957, it served as one of the last leper colonies in Europe. Today, Spinalonga is an open-air museum, so to speak - exciting and, at the same time, somewhat eerie. The islet can be walked around in a good 30 minutes, which is worth it, primarily because of the breathtaking views of the sea and the island of Crete. There is a bar and a shop in Spinalonga. The excursion lasts two hours and costs 20 EUR (12 EUR for the boat trips and 8 EUR entrance fee - as of May 2022).
3. Agios Nikolaos
The small town (12,000 inhabitants) on seven hills is about 9 km away from the hotel and can be reached by taxi in about 15 minutes (EUR 15 per ride - as of May 2022). Directly in the town, not far from the sea, a beautiful lake is surrounded by promenades with many cafés and restaurants. In addition to the usual tourist trinkets, you can also find typical Cretan handicrafts in Agios Nikolaos. The place is particularly romantic in the evening. Tip: Let the taxi take you directly to Café Arc, which is perched on a hill above the town - with the best view of Agios Nikolaos! There is a café on the upper floor and a restaurant with a terrace below. From the Arc, you can take a stroll into the centre; it's a pretty steep downhill.
If you have more time than me, there is a lot more to see on the largest Greek island. There are more than 100 wild canyons, caves, mountains of more than 2,000 m in height, and rustic mountain villages. You can get some inspiration here.
Crete has two airports, as mentioned above. Heraklion is served by numerous airlines, including AEGEAN, British Airways and easyJet from the UK. The transfer to the hotel Elounda Beach & Villas, approx. 65 km away, takes approx. 50 minutes. Masks are still compulsory on the plane. No proof of vaccination is required for entry into Greece, and face masks no longer have to be worn (as of May 2022).
The hotel is a member of the "Leading Hotels of the World." You can book it directly via the website.
72053 Elounda, Crete, Greece
Tel.: +30 28410 63000 , Fax: +30 28410 41373 email@example.com
Best Travel Time for Crete
I was in Crete at the end of May - for me one of the most beautiful times to travel in Greece. July and August are too hot for me, but from mid-September it becomes more pleasant again. The Elounda Beach Hotel is closed in winter.
Over the past few years, Greece has become one of my favourite destinations. Apart from the breathtaking landscapes, I have enjoyed Greek hospitality, culture and excellent food. Are you looking for more Greek destinations? How about Mykonos, for example? You can find my article about this dazzling island here.
You may also consider a combination with a few days in Greece´s exciting capital city. Here are my tips for Athens.
If you cannot get enough of Greece (like me), have a look at more destinations in this stunning country: