Exceed your expectations in Crete
At this time of year Greece is an ideal destination for those seeking a dose of real summer sun. That is exactly what I found on my five day trip to the Elounda region of Crete! As a relatively new member of the ITC Classics family I had high expectations of what was to come. My expectations were well and truly exceeded; our properties are stunning and the service they offer is impeccable.
The first stop on my trip was to the exclusive family owned and run resort of Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites, situated on the hillside overlooking the stunning Gulf of Mirabello. The 18 Luxury Villas all have their own private pools with Jacuzzi and spectacular sea views making relaxation the order of the day. 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. The resort feels very exclusive and individual; from their characterful styling of the accommodation to their warm welcome they make you feel more like a member of the family than a guest.
Onwards from Elounda Gulf Villas to Elounda Beach Hotel and Elounda Beach Hotel. They are amazingly hi-tech with, it seems, 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.
Next stop was The Blue Palace Resort and Spa, directly opposite Spinalonga Island, a former lepper colony, anyone who has read The Island by Victoria Hislop will know all about it, 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 relative newcomer to our portfolio and one that is proving to be a huge success. It is certainly somewhere that I would not hesitate to recommend. From its Elixir Spa offering Ayurvedic treatments to its Luxurious Dream Villas the whole experience is one of undiluted luxury. 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.
It was with much regret I returned to the airport for my flight home. I'm pretty sure it won't be long before I find a reason to head back!