There is lots to like about this hotel but it will not be everyones choice. If you are looking for a peaceful and quiet traditional summer holiday by the seaside then this will be hard to beat. However, if you prefer the full service American Resort style hotels or the opulance and service of the Far East then you may be disappointed.
Overall the hotel is immaculate and very clean but as it is furnished in a simple cretan style (all quality) it has a more "eighties" feel to it. There is nothing wrong with that but as the world has moved on it feels more like a 4 star property rather than the graded 5 star (In my experience this is quite common in Greece).
The overall feel for the property will probably suit older couples and young families who want to spend time with the children rather than rely upon kids clubs.
The hotel's strength is its position and it is extremely peaceful with nice grounds that meander down to the sea with beautiful views across Mirabello Bay and is perfect for an early evening gin and tonic. The little sandy beach is ideal for swimming safely. It is all too easy to spend the entire day by the beach and do nothing. If you want to be more active there are a full range of water sports available (water skiing, sailing etc) and the team that run it are very helpful. The sun loungers are relatively well spread out so you are not sitting on top of one another! We were there in early September so getting one was not a problem but I would wonder about that in peak season. I would highlight that in September the sun disappears behind a hill shortly after 6pm and they close down the bar at the beach at 6pm.
When we were there the pool (near main building and short walk from beach) was hardly used and there was plenty of space there. The fitness gym is very small and not tempting to use at all.
As regards rooms, my wife and I had a sea view suite in the main building and our children had a standard sea view room on the third floor. Both were simply furnished and they felt a little bit too simple and eighties in their style. However, they did the job given we only used them to sleep and change in. They both had excellent views. One point I would highlight is that the shower cubicle is a tad on the small side. The suite did have a better layout but didn't offer much more than the standard room.
We found the food for dinner at both the Yacht Club and Old Mill to be very good and worth going to (note they do not open every night). The main "Deck" restaurant is, in my view, nothing special and whilst fine for breakfast did not draw me for dinner. This though is not a problem as the majority will want to go to Elounda village (20 mins walk or short taxi ride) or go to Agios Nikolaos (15 mins taxi ride) for dinner at various points. Others have mentioned the high cost of food and drinks, however, I would question that as I think they are standard quality hotel prices. In comparison you can eat out very cheaply in the local restaurants.
Overall I am a bit in two minds, there is a lot to like but I feel it is missing a little in opulance and facilities to be a true five star property. However, for a peaceful week by the beach in the sun it is hard to beat and as finding these sorts of hotels is difficult I think we may well come back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Famed for its gracious and attentive service, this hotel is the embodiment of all-time-classic style and cultured luxury, where antique art and traditional architectural themes adorn all of its private-pool bungalows - each with its own terrace overlooking the Aegean Sea. Three fine dining venues reflect the Relais & Chateaux tradition of excellence, their culinary delights ranging from enticing lunchtime snacks to five-course dinners, with flambe and fish specialties. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Elounda Mare Hotel And Bungalows
- Elounda Mare Relais & Chateaux Hotel Crete