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Special feature: Elounda Mare, Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort and Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel, Crete

I had the privilege of visiting these three very different hotels in the north-east of Crete  last month.     The brainchild of owner-architect Spyros Kokotos,  they are all situated on the same complex and are therefore able to share facilities such as the Six Senses Spa, the 9-hole golf course, the Children’s Ark, private beaches,  watersports centre, luxury yachts, a helipad  and more.   All three hotels are very well thought out, using natural light where possible and with all rooms looking out towards the  sea. The first of the site’s hotels was the Elounda Mare, operating since 1981 and  a member of the prestigious  Relais & Chateaux  group. This hotel has a more traditional feel than the other two and  attracts an older clientele.   Rates start from 296 euros per night for a twin room up to 2,400 euros per night for a superior 3-bedroom bungalow (sleeps 6) in the height of season. Second up is the Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort, affiliated with Preferred Hotels & Resorts and situated in the thick of the action, with beautiful views out towards the island of Spinalonga.  Unlike the other two, this resort is open all year round and many of the rooms have access to shared or private pools.   Within the resort is Crete’s first ever golf course, a challenging 9-hole par-3. Finally, the Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel is the most contemporary of the three.   We stayed in Room 19 – one of the Grand Villas – adjacent to the Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort.   This 2-bedroom, 3-bathroom property offers an abundance of space not only inside but also out, with a private outdoor garden and pool – not to mention beautiful views of Spinalonga and  the sea.   Heaven! One of the highlights here is the Six Senses Spa, the first such spa in Europe and  voted Best spa in the World by the Sunday Times Travel Magazine.   The moment you step into the spa, you know you have arrived at a place of ultimate relaxation. Here I enjoyed a Turkish scrub – an abrasive,  yet relaxing,  massage; an Oriental massage – a full body massage combined with stretching; and finally a facial using olive and lavendar (at which point I was obviously so relaxed that I fell asleep!). The Children’s Ark is another key attraction here and one our two boys loved.   It’s not just called an ark – it even looks like one – such is the architectural brilliance of Mr. Kokotos.   Children are well looked after here, taken on trips to one of the resort’s private beaches, playing games and doing craft activities such as painting T-shirts.   Powder Byrne, a UK company, also operates from here with their own dedicated staff ensuring weary parents get a well-deserved rest. Across the three hotels is a multitude of places to eat and drink.   We had breakfast and delicious buffet dinners at Nafsika restaurant within the Elounda De Luxe Resort whilst lunch was enjoyed at the Odysseus tavern – with its wonderful selection of seafood and Greek dishes – right at the water’s edge.   The Beach Bar is ideal for a leisurely drink when you’re in need of a little shade from the sun’s rays. It’s hard to do justice to three  stunning hotels  in one short review, and I’ve only briefly touched on the key services on offer, but hopefully this gives you a sufficient insight into both the quantity and  quality of the accommodation and associated amenities.   I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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