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“Great beach, nice people, but overpriced hotel”

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Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection
Ranked #4 of 35 Hotels in Elounda
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 July 2014

Very nice place, great beach - perfect for children, very nice friendly staff, very average food in restaurants. But the most important thing in my opinion its seriously overpriced for what it is.
And don't go to what they call a new part of resort - on the other side of the hill. They started to put people over there, but its still a building site (in was June 2014).

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank Natalie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 July 2014

We stayed here for our Honeymoon at the end of June for a week. Upon arrival we were welcomed from our taxi and our luggage was taken to our room. We recieved a lovely glass of sparkling wine and were given a much needed cold towel.

We had an intro to the hotel and were taken by buggy to our room which was beautiful and spacious. It was kept clean, though the hot tub could definately have done with being emptied and re-filled as there was quite a lot of sand in the bottom of it. We did get a bottle of water left in the room on a couple of occasions but not every day for some reason?

I can not praise the food at this hotel enough, there was nothing that I didnt think tasted amazing - Asian night was especially good. The onnly negative thing would be that although you get juice, sparkling water or sparkling wine with breakfast you do not get anything with your evening meal and a bottle of water is €4. I do think it should be complimentary with your dinner.

The hotel was full but I didn't feel it at all, we never had to wait to be served and there were always plenty of loungers by the pool and on the beach.

The staff here are amazing and can not do enough for you. Its so refreshing to see staff that clearly enjoy their jobs and are genuinely friendly and welcoming.

We would definately return, but maybe dine in nearby Plaka or Elounda a few times (we didnt have dinner out this time as the food is so good at the hotel and we were half board)

Room Tip: As others say, ask for one further up. Ours was quite low down and the hot tub was not as private as...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank laulee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2014

This is a marvellous resort hotel, with amazing views and excellent service. The resort is set on quite a slope, so you either get quite a lot of exercise up and down the hillside, or rely up the readily available chauffeured buggies. The views of the bay and Spinalonga are wonderful.
The only issue we have with had was with the meals. The main restaurant (Tholos) is a buffet service, which is wonderful for breakfast, but less inspiring for evening dining. Also the Anthos restaurant is a wonderful location with excellent service, but the food is average and massively over-priced. Our starters were fine, but both our main course fish dishes were served with the same over-cooked, stodgy risotto; neither of us could finish this. The deserts were boring and not worth close to 42 Euros price. Thankfully there are many better restaurants available in Elounda, particularly the Kalypso.Take our advice do stay at this wonderful resort, but eat out as the food is much better elsewhere.

Room Tip: The higher you go the better the view, but the more of a climb (unless you rely upon the free buggie...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank JNT015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2014

We stayed at Domes for one week at the beginning of June 2014.

It is an attractive hotel with beautiful views over to the island of Spinalonga. The staff are fantastic - really friendly and helpful but not at all overbearing.

Room.
The rooms are very pleasant - we had a one bed suite with separate living room to accommodate our 3 year old. It had a lovely balcony with hot tub. For us this worked very well - both the living room and bedroom have separate lockable access to the balcony and to the bathroom, so we could move about in the evening without waking the small person. The only concern I had was that the access door could be opened from the inside (no removable key just a slide lock) so we did have issues with our child escaping on occasion. For that reason I was glad we had not chosen the pool option.

Food.
We stayed bed and breakfast. The breakfast was excellent with a great variety of items. If you want freshly squeezed orange juice you just need to ask. For lunch we tried topos, the beach bar and the pool bar. By far the best of these was the pool bar (surprising as it does not look much) - great salads and sandwiches (the steak sandwich was epic). For dinner we tried topos, the buffet (which is where you eat if you are half board) and the themed greek bbq night in topos. The dinner in topos was nice but worked out very expensive, particularly because my partner ordered lobster which turned out to be £80 (way more expensive than we have paid at top end restaurants in Devon). The buffet I was not impressed with. the food was very average and, as we weren't half board, cost 90 euros plus drinks for 2 of us and a 3 year old. The bbq night in topos was 130 euros with no drinks included - the setting is lovely but again the food was very average (standard bbq fare) and I don't think it was good value for money. All in all if we went back we would go B & B again and probably have lunch at the pool bar and go out for dinner in the local village, Placa, which is a short walk away or 7 euros in a taxi. Placa is absolutely gorgeous - picture postcard, with some lovely little bars and restaurants. We had a great meal in the little restaurant right in the middle of the village (called something like the Olive Grove) and a fabulous meal in a restaurant called Thalassa on the front. These were very reasonably priced (59 euros and 78 euros respectively - the latter including pre-dinner drinks and two flasks of wine) and in the case of Thalassa quite superb food (but beware - massive portions!!) - have the parmesan and sundried tomato salad with a portion of calamari (this would probably feed two, it is huge)!
Kids
The kids club was great for our three year old - it did seem more geared towards younger ones, but then we did go outside school holiday times so there were only a few school age kids there. The beach is great for kids as it is very narrow and on a safe lagoon - you can sit on a sunlounger and be right next to where the kids are playing. The staff are all very geared up to dealing with kids. We booked babysitting for two evenings which I was quite nervous about as I have not done that before - it turned out to be ladies from the kids club so our daughter was delighted and very happy to be left as she knew them, which made me feel much more confident about it. The good thing about this resort is that there are designated 'non-kid' areas - both in the restaurant and on the beach - meaning that you could come here without kids and not be subjected to constant noise etc.

Overall we really enjoyed our holiday here - it was very relaxing and we may well return in the future.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank TigerFeet2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2014

We stayed at this hotel for 4 nights to celebrate our wedding in Elounda on June 14th, having previously stayed at the superb Elounda Heights Studios. The Domes is everything you'd expect from a 5-star. Attentive staff dealing with your every possible need, well manicured grounds and polished marble floors and an immaculate beach covered with pine and olive trees.

Upon arrival and after hearing of our wedding, we were upgraded to the Royal Suite, a 3 bedroomed, 4 bathroomed villa at the top of the hotel which, in all honesty, was far too big for our needs but a really nice touch nevertheless. We particularly enjoyed having our own private pool and outdoor hot tub which was beautiful to use at night under the stars.

Service clearly is the number 1 priority here and everyday you are asked if everything is ok, if there's anything they can do for you etc. There's always a passing golf buggy to hand should you not wish to walk back to your room and all the staff always shout a cheery 'Good Morning' or 'Good Evening' as you pass.

The food, on the whole, was very nice. We ate twice in the restaurant in the evenings and have no complaints. Breakfast was delicious although by day 4 got a little repetitive. Champagne and freshly squeezed juice every morning was very enjoyable.

So why not give it 5 stars? Well, put simply, for us this hotel is not the real Crete. It is a self contained complex which actually could be anywhere and despite all its efforts, lacks the charm of this beautiful Greek island. We ended up going back into Elounda and nearby Plaka several times during our short stay as we missed the real Cretan hospitality that we had experienced in abundance prior to our wedding. After dark, the hotel lacks atmosphere as the bars and restaurants are mostly empty, guests assumingly put off by the expensive drinks prices. There were also quite a few young children here which, for us, somewhat spoilt the luxurious and tranquil surroundings.

So, did we enjoy our stay? On the whole yes. The upgrade to the Royal Suite in particular was a very kind gesture and something we will never experience again. Will we return? Probably not. As nice as the hotel is, this just isn't the real Crete. We like places that feel Greek. Shame really but I don't think there's anything they can do to change this.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Manc_Ste
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2014 via mobile

My wife and I visited mid-May for 1 week, staying in a Suite with outdoor Jacuzzi.

Ok, so first advice on transfers: although max. an hours drive direct we ended up on a Resort Hoppa bus service. Despite being well organised and punctual it took 3hrs to get to the resort. It's not a terrible experience but if you'd rather not waste 2 hrs of your precious holiday time find a more direct means.

On arrival to the hotel you are immediately looked after and I'd say this theme continued throughout the week, service here is good throughout, albeit in some areas a bit over the top (I am capable of putting on my own shoe covers in the Spa..), but overall in line with a 5 star hotel.

The resort itself well maintained as are villas and public areas. The layout is compact and the vast hill it is built on has advantages of villas being relatively close to each other but the gradient adding to the perception of space. That said we did request to move villa after 2nd night and something to consider when allocated your room: 1st suite was on the main buggy route up the resort and on a corner with a pedestrian route to others, this meant any thoughts of a private relaxing time on your ample terrace or use of outdoor tub somewhat spoilt by passing 'traffic' and other guests, this was at its worst around late afternoon when everyone returning from beach.

Other than that the rooms are great, the absence as standard of tea and coffee facilities is an issue for a Brit and despite requesting prior to arrival we had to ask again when we arrived, however request soon attended to and we retained for the week. For simplicity we got a small milk from the little shop in Plaka and used the fridge to store, no need to wait for service then... Mini Bar plentiful. Beds comfy. Good bathroom and shower. Lots of space. TV waste of time, not impressed by selection of UK channels and pay per view far too expensive. Strangely no Ipod Dock (or equivalent) either... Should be considered for addition. Outdoor jacuzzi was great, the constant temp. made it far more useful than a pool this time of year, I usually like to go for private pool but think this was better for May climate. Bottle of wine and fruit on arrival, 1 litre of water replaced every day,

Wifi coverage and speed one of the best I've ever encountered in the world for such a resort, you can even surf on the beach :-)

Gym: useable but not great. Limited CV kit and poor weights / machine selection. If you're innovative you can just about maintain some sort of your routine from home if you wish.

Beach area is really nice, resort has really made good use of a limited space. Water sports again overpriced, I'd expect basic kit to be free. I did hire a bike through the resort (supplied direct from Elounda, nothing to do with resort itself) which was good with the exception that they could not supply a decent helmet for an adult, otherwise bike in good condition and the rides out from the resort soon elevate you to some great views of the bay.

Food selection good throughout, quality is also very good but in the main restaurant the temperature of the food is NOT good. The themed buffet evenings mean you get a very varied choice but when it's served only tepid it spoils what could be very good meals. Not sure how the hotel should address this, but they should. Service in this restaurant was excellent however and I cannot praise the waiting staff and those chefs at the stations enough for their knowledge, attitude and demeanour. Nice that you can 'save' your wine across two or more evenings if you wish. Again, a personal preference but the excessive number of non-productive management welcoming you to this restaurant does nothing for me... One would do, 4 just makes me think the resort are wasting my money.

Food elsewhere WAS hot, the quality at the pool restaurant excellent and staff here also very good.

One funny thing to address, the 'library' always locked? Why have somewhere to share books if you lock them up? Not a biggie of course, just a bit strange.

Location is perfect for a quiet resort holiday. Spinalonga obviously very accessible via Plaka or Elounda. Plaka is a short walk and the little shop there useful for extra water, a beer for your fridge, or an ice cream! Elounda itself is 'ok' a 30min trek on foot and bit tatty when you get there to be honest. Some authentic places to eat though and welcoming people.

This resort will cater to your every need, it has access to any service the island can offer and I believe is well organised and managed. Standards are high and well maintained. I'd certainly recommend to others.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
3  Thank SMB_2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2014

Goats, lepers and lollypops

We stayed in the Domes for 2 weeks – the last week of May and the first week of June. The weather was warmer in the UK during the May bit, but that’s hardly the fault of the hotel. Last year apparently it was plus 40 degrees in May – so it’s pot luck.

The flight was bearable – happily it was a new plane and Easy Jet has done away with reclining seats on short haul so there was no air rage (mine) and no one sitting on our laps.

We asked how long the transfer would take – oh about an hour. Eventually the coach set off and apart from being told eating on the coach isn’t allowed because of smells, it was a fairly calm nearly four hour trip. I would swear that we saw every hotel, bed and breakfast, apartments and etc. on that bit of Crete. On enquiry we found that a taxi would have cost about £80, we hired a car for 12 days, cost was about £170 returnable at the airport and worth every penny.

The hotel is built on a slope, in fact Crete is on a slope and I would swear that everything is up, even going down hill feels like it’s up! This really is an island created for goats. Our ‘suite’ comprised a balcony with a table, an uncomfortable wooden settle and two uncomfortable chairs. A sitting room with a bed dressed as a settee, tele – (take a HDMI adaptor if you want to watch films via a lap top or ipada v poor choice of films to hire), fridge and air cond unit. Bedroom and another smaller balcony complete with a Jacuzzi (not used as the water isn’t changed just more chemicals added as necessary), and a bathroom also equipped with a Jacuzzi this time a circular one with taps on the far side, see photos. You can see that the bath is set into a circle of shiny marble, the taps are furthest away from the getting in bit opposite the plug mechanism. On the other two sides (it’s not round) are seats, this means:

1 – you need to climb up onto the ‘shelf’ and walk round to turn it on
2- then while it is filling make the return journey hopefully with dry feet as wet marble is very slippery
3- there is nowhere to lie down and read in the bath (it is a holiday!) without taps, plugs or seats in the way.

While we are still able to climb up and walk around a bath I would grumble if I were handicapped by age etc., equally running children and wet marble are a bad mixture.

There is also a shower, a loo, a sink and awful lighting, ladies be warned!

Meals are served in a main dining room, all buffet style. And as always with a buffet it is only just warm enough. That’s understandable because really hot food would have a shorter shelf life as the service lasts from 7pm until 10pm. There is a wide selection, one can also spot yesterdays food reincarnated as salads etc. and indeed why not? One would be hard put not to find something to eat.

My only food grumble would be on behalf of parents. This is a very child friendly hotel, children welcomed and catered for. However, the especially low children’s table was mostly filled with – sausages, chips, and similar fried food as well as cakes, biscuits, jellies, sticky lollypops cake lollypops etc.. Had I been there with children I would have been annoyed at having to either fight the children to get them to eat proper food or let them eat it and have a sugar hyped up child on my hands. At the very least the table could be higher and out of reach to small hands and sweet hungry eyes.

For those who either don’t want to or can’t walk up hill there are golf carts manned by very helpful and cheerful ‘drivers’.

About 5 minutes drive up the coast one can get a ferry from Plaka to Spinnalonga which used to be, among other incarnations a lepers’ colony. The tour is just a short walk along one side of said island, the ‘exhibition’ is comprised of a few period artifacts and some faded boards giving information. One thing I have to say for us Brits is that we put on much better exhibitions. Spinnalonga was used as the subject for Victoria Hislop’s “The Island’, it’s a good introduction to the island. You can go by ferry from Elounda but it’s more expensive. We ate lunch by the little port in a restaurant with a big Trip Advisor recommendation. I wouldn’t recommend it. Tiny ‘large prawns’, boring salad, service with a snarl, not cheap.

I think during the season Elounda town must be jam packed and quite horrible apart from far too hot. There are endless fur coat shops and jewelers. They are largely aimed at Russian big spenders who generally pay big bucks but were conspicuously absent while we were there - maybe Ukraine problems? The jewelers shop in the hotel is staffed by the lovely multi languaged Ilvya and has some gorgeous things – just wish we could have afforded the ones I fell in love with ……

The Dome staff are almost without exception – charming, helpful, hard working, polite, cheerful and lovely. The one exception was in the fish restaurant, the fish is sold by weight – caveat emptor, one pound weight of large prawns about 4 - 5 prawns would have cost £40.00! We went once that was enough. Surly, uninterested waiter.

Two nights a week there was superb music in the bar.

Wine in the hotel is very expensive, and most people were drinking water.

Would we go there again? No. Crete is and has always been a poor island and as such there is little architecture of note and endless vistas – all going up hill – scrubland and bare earth. Not really my cuppa tea, sorry.

But if you want a lovely hotel, lovely staff, good food, a kids club, two personal Jacuzzis, fur coats and a former leper colony than this is the place for you!

Room Tip: If you find climbing hard work ask for a room on a lower level.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank gribbly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection

Address: Elounda, Crete 720 53, Greece
Region: Greece > Crete > Lasithi Prefecture > Elounda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Elounda
#1 Luxury Hotel in Elounda
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Elounda
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Elounda
#4 Family Hotel in Elounda
#4 Romantic Hotel in Elounda
Price Range: £144 - £580 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection 5*
Number of rooms: 118
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 5-star Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection is set on the most privileged hill and offers luxurious accommodation with spa bath overlooking the island of Spinalonga and its Venetian castle. It has a spa and 5 restaurants serving haute cuisine dishes, a sandy beach and many swimming pools. Each of the air-conditioned suites is uniquely decorated and has easy access to the private sandy beach. They include a spacious living room with wooden floors and a satellite LCD TV. Some suites also have a private pool or open-air hot tub. This year, the new Domes Luxury Residences, along with the stunning Domes Ultraluxe Villas, come with the 'Haute Living Selection', essentially creating an exclusive haute-luxury villa boutique experience, within the already impressive resort of Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection. The spa of Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection includes an interior seawater pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub. It also offers rejuvenating therapies, such as facial and massage treatments. The 5 restaurants offer casual beachside settings or elegant dining rooms with panoramic sea views. Guests can taste progressive Greek cuisine, seafood and Cretan dishes. An Asian restaurant is also possible. The hotel is very conveniently located. The village of Elounda is 2.5 km away. Part of the Elounda myth, is the Venetian Castle on the Island of Spinalonga, the setting for Victoria Hislop's bestselling novel "The Island". The lively seaside town of Agios Nikolaos is within 12 km of Domes of Elounda. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Domes Of Elounda All Suites And Villas Spa Hotel Elounda
Domes Elounda Hotel
Domes Elounda Resort
Domes Of Elounda, Autograph Collection Crete

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