Having just got back form a wonderful trip to Crete I can't believe it has taken me this long to discover Greece. All my expectations were exceeded on seeing this beautiful Greek island.
Our first stop on my trip was to the exclusive family owned and run resort of Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites. Set in the hillside overlooking the stunning Gulf of Mirabello, the resort feels very exclusive and individual, from their characterful styling of the accommodation boasting 18 spectacular Sea View Luxury Villas with their own private pools and Jacuzzi. There are also 10 stylish suites, great for families with access to the main infinity pool. The Argo Restaurant was a perfect location for a relaxing evening complemented by the excellent food and Cretan wine. I must mention the owners of the resort Anna Kadianakis and her daughter Charitini whose hospitality made me feel like I was one of the family rather than a guest.
Our next stop was Elounda Beach Hotel and Elounda Bay Palace for a whistle stop tour of the properties. These two sister hotels lie side by side stretching along the coast. The watersports facilities are second to none and ideal for those who prefer a more active holiday. Alternatively, if like me, relaxation is high on the agenda then a visit to the Thalaspa Chenot is a must. It offers a combination of holistic rejuvenation and relaxation to soothe body, mind and soul. I was in awe by the Yachting Club Villas at the Elounda Beach Hotel. They are amazingly hi-tech with, it a button for every function! State of the art technology abounds. They also have breathtaking views over the private terrace and pool out into the sparkling azure waters of the bay.
Now an overnight stay at The Blue Palace Resort and Spa was next. Directly opposite Spinalonga Island, a former lepper colony and now a mecca for culture seeking visitors.
Top tip: Steal a march on the day trippers by taking an early morning private speedboat from the hotel's own jetty to Spinalonga Island; a truly magical experience to treasure. The Blue Palace itself has rooms, suites and villas that cater for every possible need, with facilities to match. The five restaurants at the hotel serve to provide a wide range of cuisine for every conceivable taste. I dined at Asia Blue, which served Asian Fusion delights from Japanese to Polynesian. Even the slightly odd sounding Wasabi Creme Brulee was truly delicious!
Heading back towards the airport the final nights stop was at the Grecotel Amirandes Resort, a new resort for ITC and one that is proving to be a huge success. It is certainly somewhere that I would not hesitate to recommend. I stayed in a 2 Bedroom Beachfront Villa with Pool & Garden. On check-in I was met by my butler with a glass of champagne and canapés - the start to what was a magical final evening!!
After exploring my villa I then took a few steps onto the beach to my private gazebo which offered full beach service including complimentary fruit and water throughout the day. The hotel has numerous room categories that exceed all expectations but I did have a soft spot for the villas which are perfect for both honeymooners and families offering undiluted luxury. The Elixir Spa offering Ayurvedic treatments which I very lucky and got to sample the most amazing Ayurvedic massage. This is definitely a must for all spa lovers. Amirandes offers something really special for families too.
The children can enjoy spending time at Grecoland Children's Club with their experienced staff; they even have a mini allotment in the garden for those with green fingers! Tasty Corner provides food and snacks for those aged 3-12 throughout the day. With the children so well looked after the parents are sure to have a wonderful holiday too. I ate at the Blue Monkey which is decorated in the most vibrant red and has the most unusual yet most comfortable chairs.
On my final night in Crete I experienced the most amazing colourful sunset which alone will entice me back. I now cannot wait to explore Greece further to experience what a wonderful country has to offer.