Mesmeric views and authentic Cretan hospitality are the beating heart of Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort, Elounda, Crete.
Sitting in a tranquil spot to the north east of Crete, close to the quaint fishing village of Plaka, where the shore is bejewelled with private villas, ‘mesmeric’ seems an apt description of Blue Palace’s surrounds. From the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean sea, to the impossible blue sky, and azure accents throughout the interiors, this beachfront resort more than lives up to its name.
The Packing Edit
Perhaps it’s the mammoth chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of the lobby, or the dramatic arches through which you catch your first glimpse of the mythologised Spinalonga, or maybe it’s the genuine warmth from the affable staff, but entering into Blue Palace feels positively paradisiacal.
Set within mountainous terrain, with striking views of the aforementioned island of Spinalonga front and centre, Blue Palace could not be better placed. The decor works with the natural surrounds – think olive and palm trees, wildflower gardens, natural stone, and earthy tones, whilst the architectural brilliance of the arches, and glistening infinity pools give the resort a slick, modern feel. The hotel has that magically intimate boutique feel, whilst in actual fact it is sprawling. Happily, a whizzy funicular runs from the palatial resort down to the beach to make getting around effortless.
Rooms fuse traditional Greek decor – ornate mosaics, eclectic artwork, blue accents, and natural rattan touches – with a pared-back neutral palette to complement the wild surrounds. Privacy is a huge draw at Blue Palace and the Island Luxury Suites are particularly delightful: with spacious living rooms, a private pool, and a perfectly positioned balcony to watch the sunset.
CF Top Tip: Post-check in, have some local delicacies like kalitsounia (cheese pastries) delivered to your suite while you unpack.
The Little Extras
As if the Blue Palace experience wasn’t already luxe enough, guests of The Haven Collection – the Island Luxury Suites and Villas – get the V.V.I.P treatment.
Experience top-notch pampering at The Beach Haven – a stylish beach club with reserved loungers and raffia parasols – where staff are just a buzz of a button away, delivering baskets laden with fresh towels, waters, and SPF; all the essentials a sun-worshipper could need. Guests can also enjoy The Haven Breakfast: a languid dining affair on the mosaic-clad courtyard of the Anthós Restaurant, indulging in Cretan mountain honey, local cheese, and figs amongst other delicacies.
The Food + Drink
If you’re the sort of person whose holidays revolve around cuisine, you’ve come to the right place. Blue Palace offers up a gastronomic extravaganza: with five restaurants, there is something to appeal to every palette, and no chance of going home hungry. The jewel in the crown is Anthós, set against the organic garden to celebrate the very best of Cretan local produce. Here traditional Greek cuisine is served up with a modern twist. Asia Deep Blue offers a riot of Pan-Asian dishes, whilst Isola is the place to go for informal daytime fare: expect to nibble on guacamole and fish tacos from your lounger whilst pondering braving a dip.
Blue Door is a charming old fisherman’s house right on the water, fashioned into an authentic Greek taverna. Be warned, dining here is a marathon not a race; starting with little jars of Greek dips and mezze delivered to your table, followed by just-caught fish, handmade pies stuffed with local cheese and honey, and chased with shots of Grappa with the restaurant manager. In all restaurants, waiters are expertly knowledgeable and keen to extol the virtues of local wines. You may well come home with a new tipple of choice…
The To-Do List
You may need a little convincing to leave your private pool – I know I did – but there’s plenty to explore beyond your suite. Slink away for a spot of solo pampering at The Elounda Spa; with an impressive 24 treatment rooms – psst… there is an extensive treatment list to boot. The deep tissue massage – using a heady fig-tree oil – was particularly mollifying. I floated out feeling three inches taller.
Thrill seekers can enjoy an array of water sports, from kayaking and paddle-boarding to paragliding. If you want to dial up the romance on your trip, a cruise aboard the resort’s traditional wooden caique, complete with champagne and canapés, should do the trick. The whizzy concierge can also organise wine and olive oil tours and excursions to explore the surrounding archaeological sites. The possibilities are endless…