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Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Crete
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Reviewed 2 July 2014

Below is a note that we wrote to the general manager that descirbes our experience... we have yet to hear a response...

We departed the hotel this morning and were very disappointed that we were not contacted by you following our request via email for you to do so on Saturday morning. Disappointed... But not surprised. This is because the feedback we wanted to share with you was in regards to our generally negative experience with the staff of the resort (with only a few exceptions) specifically that there was very little personal care taken to try to "right" some unpleasant situations we encountered on the day we arrived.

When we arrived check in on Thursday afternoon, we were greeted by a trainee at the front desk and checked into room 720. As gold members of spg, we are always acknowledged as such and informed of the room "enhancement". This was not the case - we were only asked to choose from the three standard gold-member perks (we chose free wifi).

We were given a brief tour of the main area of the hotel and some information on the restaurants and facilities by a concierge trainee and then brought to our room via cart. When we arrived at our room, we immediately realized a number of things...that the room was quite small (compared to the pictures on the hotel website and the room description that it 'sleeps 3' - 3 would be absolutely impossible in this room), had minimal/unimpressive views from the living space, the bed did not appear to be a true king sized bed - was rather two twins pushed together- and that the pool was very small, did not have proper lounge chairs (just propped up cushions) and was not only not in the "infinity" style that we were expecting (again from the pictures on the hotel website) but had absolutely no view from inside the pool (isn't that one of the best features of the property - the view??). Nonetheless, we unpacked and headed down to the beach for the rest of the afternoon.

When we came back to the room around 6, we called to make a spa reservation for Sunday and a dinner reservation for Thursday night at the Asian restaurant. We were promptly told that the Asian restaurant was not open on Thursday nights (and that all the restaurants had staggered nights that they were closed during the week). We were a bit frustrated that we weren't informed of this - or at least given the schedule of restaurant openings at our arrival, but booked at the Blue Door instead. We then started to get calls on our cordless phone - with the caller id reading as "reception" - however we couldn't answer the phone because the battery was not charged (and could not be charged) and the calls weren't coming through to the landline. We ended up working out that it was actually the spa calling back - after 10 minutes of frustration with the phone, operator and front desk (who were saying they weren't calling us - even though that's what the called id showed). Anyway, we then tried to turn on the tv to watch the pregame coverage of the World Cup game on espn USA (which is listed as channel 17 on the tv channel guide in the room) - but quickly realized that the channel is not actually available on the tv. Then we tried to sign into the wifi and we're not able to get a consistent connection in any part if the room (again, frustrating). The final straw was the site of dozens of ants walking around under the bathroom counter after we got out of the shower.

At that point, we called the front desk, expressed that we were unhappy with the size our room, the size and style of the pool and had issues with a number of basic room amenities and asked to be put into a different room that had features closer to what we expected as the "basic" room from the website photos. The woman who we spoke to told us that she would have to get back to us.

To give you a bit of perspective, we travel on leisure about once per month and for business several times per month and have NEVER asked to change rooms before. In fact, we are always grateful and complimentary of the "enhanced" or "upgraded" rooms we are put into. In the case we actually were convinced that we were as far away from an "enhanced" room as possible but in fact that we were put into the "worst room" in the room category we reserved. You can imagine we were shocked to be informed that we were actually in an enhanced room - which is considered "enhanced" because it has a heated pool. We could not figure out how this could be considered an enhancement when it was 38 degrees out and in light of the other room features that were clearly sub par to the standard rooms.

Anyway, after about 20 minutes we received a call back from the front desk where we were asked to reiterate the complaints about our room (as if the person that took our original call had not provided any of the information with the message). This person again told us they would call us back. About 30 minutes after that, we got a call back that were told we should come to the front desk "right now" to have a look at the prospective new room. We were not thrilled to have to do this immediately - mostly because the USA/Germany World Cup game was now on - but we figured it would be quick. We walked over, met the concierge, asked again to explain what we were unhappy with about the room and then were brought over to room 324. We liked the room - it was much larger - and the pool (also much larger and in the infinity style). However we made a comment that we were disappointed that there were still not proper lounge chairs - similar to what we had seen in other outdoor areas from the public paths and from what we thought the website pictures depicted.

This comment about the lounge chairs turned into a fairly strong debate with the assistant manager - who we asked to meet with after we saw the prospective new room. We disagreed that the pictures on the website accurately depicted the propped up cushions (you can't even call them chairs) by the pool. We thought the website pictures looked like actual lounge chairs (which is what we were expecting - but acknowledged that given he camera angle that that could be a mistake). However, at a minimum we argued that they looked like thick full body length cushions, whereas in reality, they are thin, half-body length, fairly ratty looking cushions Basically, we were still not "thrilled" with the room amenities and were hoping he might acknowledge our points, apologize for our disappointments with the first room and seek another alternative (perhaps a discounted upgrade???). He did no such thing... Instead he was argumentative about the chairs and offered only to "print us a copy of the room description" - which was in no way helpful or with any tone to try to remedy the complaint (nowhere near the type of customer service that we have experienced in many many other high end hotels and resorts in our travels). We left the reception area because we were getting no where with him... In this first interaction, I would describe him to be at best unhelpful and at worst rude and argumentative. Anyway, more on him later...

We returned to our room to "think about whether the hassle of repacking and moving was worth it" and most importantly to watch the rest of the World Cup game. We ended up making our decision on the room much quicker than we expected as when we arrived back to our room door, we could not get in. That's right, somehow the door had jammed shut and we couldn't get back into the room. It was immediately apparent to us that this had happened in this room before as there were marks in the wood where the door looked like it needed to be pried open at least once before.

We immediately returned to the reception - pushed to the maximum of frustration about yet another room mishap (the list continuing to mount...bad wifi, broken cordless phone, ants, small bed, small room, small pool, no view, bad management interaction, etc, etc). We thought - perhaps most of this was just a bunch of "bad luck" - but after we were not treated well be the asst manager and then couldn't get into the room, we were really upset. We told the front desk what had happened - asked to again see the assistant manager - asked him to have someone deal with the room lock out situation (he told us that he was going to go over himself with the maintenance person and to see for himself our complaints about the room) and then we promptly walked into the bar area - ordering two glasses of wine along the way - to catch the last 5 minutes of the football game. There we were greeted by the server, Barbara (who was absolutely without a doubt the one star employee we encountered during our stay .. We cannot rave or say enough good things about her service and guest attention; however, we can't help note that in many other resorts we have stayed, her level of service was the standard rather than the exception) who informed us that there was no charge for he wine (appreciated, but the very least that could be done for us at this point).

We finished watching the game and returned to the front desk where we were informed that we could now get back into the room (the assistant manager was no where to be found - our expectation of him given the situation... An apology? An explanation? Acknowledgment of the issues we raised? No... He was not there). We told the front desk trainee that we were going to pack and that during our dinner that they could move our things to the new room.

We had a lovely dinner at the blue door, in fact our favorite meal on the property. We returned to the front desk around 10:30pm to pick up the new room keys, and walked back down to the new room. When we arrived, and slid the key through the reader, it didn't work. We tried the other key, also didn't work. So, we walked back upstairs to get the keys replaced. This was done promptly and we returned to the room with two new keys. They also didn't work... As you might imagine, we were NOT happy at this point. The second time back to the front desk, the assistant manager just happened to be there (we were not fooled to think that he might go out of his way to interact with us at this point). We told him what was happening - that we could not get into our new room - and that we were not happy about this...and do you know what he did??? Nothing. He said nothing. He just looked at us, rolled his eyes and walked away, letting the trainee staff who was confused and not sure how to help us at this point deal with the situation.

So there we were, left to a trainee to try to help us with yet another room issue. Here is what they suggested: That we go back downstairs to our room and wait for someone to come down with new keys. So we did. We literally sat on the floor outside our room for about 10 minutes before someone came, with yet another set of keys- which did not work - and a master key- which also did not work. Not wanting to continue to wait in the hallway even though that's what they continued to encourage us to do ...we came back up to the front desk (do you think that someone could have suggested we wait in the bar with another complimentary drink while the issue was worked out?? No. Somehow the right suggestion was to wait in the hallway).

Anyway- we came back up and demanded to speak again to the assistant manager. We stood to the side of the front desk and could see him in the back room. He did not come out. Instead, the person who could not get us into the room with the master key came back out and told us that "the assistant manager has left for the night". We could not believe our ears. It was about 11:05 at this point. We realized that his "shift" must have ended at 11pm. We were appalled at this. How can an assistant manager that knows he has extremely unhappy (gold spg status) guests - about this comedy of errors that continues to persist - leave without seeing through that everything has been resolved to the guests' satisfaction??? We asked when he was back next and were told 11am. We asked that he give us a call as soon as he got in the next day.

Finally, we were brought downstairs with a maintenance person - who was able to fix the lock and get us into our room. We again point out that this is unprofessional and not very customer friendly - couldn't the issue have been taken care of without us there?? Shouldn't we have been asked to relax in the lounge in the meantime??

Altogether it took almost an hour to get us into our room after dinner. Back and forth to the front desk, waiting in the hallway, by the front desk, etc. It was very unpleasant.

The next day we expected to hear from the assistant manager - an apology? A complimentary meal? Some sort of attempt to make up for this unpleasant set of events? Nope... Nothing. We never got a call, an apology, an acknowledgement or any attempt to compensate us for all of this, which is why we asked for your card from the front desk on Friday night and sent you the email on Saturday morning requesting you contact us before we left on Monday at 11am, which obviously did not happen either.

I will reiterate how we disappointed we are by your and your assistant manager's lack of contact with us before we departed and in general your team's inability to offer a level of customer service that any guests in our situation, at a luxury resort such as the blue palace, should expect.

We had a generally pleasant time the other days but can say with confidence that the service levels across the property are very basic (maybe because it seemed at least half of the staff we encountered were "trainees"??). Seldom were we greeted with a smile or any personalization to services. Corners were cut in a number of places - Our 80 minute massage appointment was more like 65, the beach specialty drinks were in TINY glasses that were only filled 3/4 of the way to the top (for €11 each - couldn't they at least fill them up??), drink orders at the beach were forgotten, the concierge never sent us a map promised to be delivered to our room prior to an excursion we booked, wait staff didn't know the menus at the restaurants (e.g., which wines are sold by the glass vs not). Perhaps standards expected from a 3* hotel - not what we were expecting at the blue palace?

Perhaps as well... that this other stuff just bothered us that much more because of the experience the first day... But I would think that guests having a bad experience on the first day would be something to be avoided at all costs so that these other small guffaws are not magnified... This does not seem to be something that the assistant manager understands...

Just so you know, we will be also sharing this experience with others who may consider staying at the Blue Palace and with the spg customer service department - and hope that by doing so that similar experiences can be avoided for future guests.

As before, we remain available and open to speaking with you directly about our experiences.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank emmaly2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sotikre, General Manager at Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Crete, responded to this reviewResponded 3 July 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your feedback regarding your recent stay with us.
It is with much disappointment that I read your review and realized that your experience was short of our commitment, and for that I would like to offer my apologies.
Feedback such as your own is crucial for us and of the highest importance in order to improve the level of service that we provide so we do appreciate all your comments. I was surprised to read of the challenges that accompanied your stay with us as well as your encounters with members of our team. I have already shared your dissatisfaction with my team and have scheduled additional training which will help us improve in what we do. Providing our guests with the best possible hospitality and service has always been our mission for which we always receive positive comments and therefore your feedback did come as a surprise.
Once more I would like to sincerely apologize if you felt our service was unfriendly and not up to your standards and I hope you will give us another opportunity to prove to you the standards of service our guests have come to expect from us.


Kind regards,


Sotiris Kremastiotis
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2014

We were in a suite with a private pool, high on the hill overlooking the bay and the islands. The suite itself was beautiful, but there was some noise from the hallway. All the rooms probably aren’t this nice, but the public areas of the hotel are large and well appointed. There are several restaurants, pools and other public areas, some of which are served by an interior funicular. Because the hotel is so large, it is a little on the impersonal side

We particularly enjoyed the Asian restaurant and found the Italian one to be so-so.

One of the main sights on Crete, Spaginola Island is within swimming, or a brief boat ride, across the water. This island has a long history ranging from the Venetians to lepers of the 20th century.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Jerome P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2014

After the long journey down from Heraklion airport in pitch darkness I was never so pleased to arrive at a hotel......and it is quite a welcome you get. Very impressive reception atrium where we were given a drink and something to eat. Everything was taken care of and all we had to worry about was settling into our junior suite. In the morning was woken by dazzling sunshine and deep blue water and sky with stunning views of Sinalonga.
The rooms were very clean and large with two bathrooms and a huge sitting area and balcony...very comfortable. There is no need to leave if you don't want to as you can take all your meals in your room ...and it is very tempting. They are all well spaced out so no unexpected noises although you can end up walking a fair distance. We didn't have a pool and although a nice thought most of the small pools didn't seem to get used.
This is a big hotel so you do need your map initially to find your way about but everyone is very friendly and falling over themselves to help. The breakfast was excellent with a choice of Greek traditional, fruit and yoghurt or anything cooked or toasted that you can think of....and there are plenty of tables inside and out so don't worry about it being crowded.
There is a funicular to take you from reception down to the beach and this adds a dimension of adventure to the trip....there were no problems when we were there but could get busy at peak times. Lovely pebbly beach and 2 or three large pools that were never that busy.
The restaurants were all good with a choice of Italian, Steakhouse, buffet, Asian or traditional Greek. the service and food were all good with great views although we did love the Greek restaurant. The bars were good to laze around in..especially in the evening when Spinalonga is flood lit and quite spectacular.
The village of Plaka is within easy walking distance and it has plenty of shops and bars and restaurants all with fresh fish on the menu and sea views.....the tourist shops here are much better than elounda or and ....you can also get a boat across to Spinalonga much cheaper and faster.
If you are going to or Aghios and don't have a car it is easy to get a bus or taxi....would recommend taxi which is quick and reasonable.
did I mention that there is a gym,spa,tennis,table tennis and water sports as well..the spa was really relaxing and well worth a treatment
The staff at the hotel were uniformly friendly and were prepared to go the extra mile to make sure you got what you wanted.....all in all I would highly recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: You do not need a pool with your room....but if you can get a suite on a high floor you will have a great view
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Andrew C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2014

A lot of thought has gone into the design and location of this hotel. We went for a relaxing break and that is exactly what we got - beautiful views, comfortable bed, lovely room with lots of excellent facilities in the room and throughout the hotel. The staff were all pleasant and, although not particularly personal or proactive, they were, without exception, always professional and helpful when asked and everything ran smoothly from first to last. The large array of food at breakfast time was of a very high quality and the breakfast terrace was particularly nice and never overly crowded. We had meals at the Blue Door, Flame and Isola - all were good, although we were the only people there at Flame and I would have preferred to have had fewer waiters hovering quite so closely but I can hardly complain that we weren't well served! I'd like to put a good word in for the Italian restaurant, which has lovely views and good food. The Blue Door was very atmospheric. While we were at the Blue Palace, the hotel received a large party of people for a conference for 3 nights. There was a lot of noise from them and very loud music (which I enjoyed) blaring out across the resort at night and yet, when you closed your windows, you could hear none of it at all, which was impressive. There are tempting tennis courts at the top of the hotel but it was too hot (at least for me) to contemplate playing! If I have a complaint, it is that, without a car, it was a particularly tortuous, very poorly explained and lengthy transfer process to and from the hotel with ResortHoppa. I would not recommend it. The alternative is a 90-euro one-way taxi hire. And the airport was particularly chaotic and blood-pressure raising to such a degree that quite a lot of the sense of relaxation had already been nullified by the time I got on the plane home. In the hotel, The Arsenali Bar area is lovely, especially when darkness is falling. It's well worth a short walk down to Plaka, which has good shops, relaxed cafés and lovely views and you can go over to Spinalonga from there. I would happily recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a relaxing break.

Stayed: June 2014
3  Thank Katielucerne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2014 via mobile

I have never stayed in a facility quite like the Blue Palace. It truly has everything you need (so it's hard to leave to explore Eloundi). You have lots of options for meals, relaxation, and activities. I thought the staff was particularly patient and helpful. I had an issue with my door and keys and I had to have staff help me MULTIPLE times and they were VERY attentive. Beautiful resort and amazing amazing views!

Stayed: June 2014
Thank Lilly C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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