By Nina Lloyd – Greece conjures up images for me of never-ending sunshine, white-washed walls, miles of aquamarine coastline, ancient ruins, olives and feta so I was excited to see for myself if my first ever visit to this collection of beautiful islands would be as magical as it appeared in my dreams. I was not disappointed. As our flight landed on Crete, Greece’s largest island and the birthplace of Zeus, the sun was already high in the sky with not a cloud in sight! How refreshingly different to the rain-filled clouds of home.
Just an hour’s journey by car along the stunning coastline and we arrived in Elounda, a small fishing village which has become famous in recent years thanks to its popularity with A list celebrities who flock to the exclusive hotels nearby, one of which was to be our ‘home’ for the next 2 nights, Elounda Peninsula.
A warm welcome from the friendly team set the tone for the next couple of nights and with a glass of champagne in hand, we set off to settle into our rooms. When I left home that morning in the cold rain, I promised myself that I would be on the beach sipping a cocktail, letting the sun warm my skin before the day was out so I quickly changed and headed to the most private and secluded beach I have seen in a long time. I sank into a sumptuous sun lounger and looked out at the still, clear blue Sea, pinching myself every now and then to make sure this was real.
Dinner that evening was in the sublime Aglio E Olio, the Elounda Mare’s Relais & Chateau open air restaurant overlooking the bay, where I ate the freshest Greek salad with huge olives and creamy feta cheese. Well, when in Greece …… I’d never even thought about Greek wines before and I don’t know why as we ‘sampled’ many different types of Greek wine and each one was as delicious as the next. I certainly slept well in my Suite that night!
I woke the next morning to the warm sun reflecting off the Azure blue Sea and I couldn’t wait to go exploring. The Elounda Peninsula is an all-suite hotel and each suite shares a pool with XXX suites. The décor is authentic Greek and I loved its sense of place. I had a simple breakfast of Fruit, boiled eggs and juice before heading off to the Elounda Mare to see it in the daylight. The gardens were magnificent and it is easy to see why guests return here time after time. The lush green lawns were looked even ore beautiful against the bluest blue of the Sea. I got a total sense of peace and tranquillity here and felt incredibly humble to be able to experience this piece of paradise.
We wandered to the other sister hotel, Port Elounda and was struck again by the beauty of the white-washed walls f the Suites against the green lawns and azure sea. The new Porto Sea View Suites were private pools are perfect for honeymooners or couples who want to just ‘be’ and drink in the unobstructed views of the Sea.
Shared between all 3 properties is the Kid’s Ark, a club for all ages of children from 4 months upwards. All manner of activities abound here from drawing and painting, to story telling and supervised swimming in one of the two shallow pools attached to the club.
There is also a Six Senses Spa, the only one of its kind in Greece. Packed with wellness programmes and tailor made packages specifically designed for the clients’ needs, it would be difficult to leave here not feeling like a new and rejuvenated person.
There really is something for everybody at these hotels and guests can be as active( or not) as they wish.