Crete's Blue Palace hotel is a secluded gem that offers a relaxing break in a beautiful place. Victoria Marston paid a visit.
Reclining in the enveloping warmth of the Cretan sun on a private beach, with salted waves creeping up the stones at our feet, light dancing on closed eyelids and the soporific thrum of cicadas drifting on the breeze, I feel transported.
This tranquil spot in the Gulf of Elounda feels like a forgotten corner of the world, with a Polaroid-perfect view around every corner.
From our balcony, the infinity pool blends seamlessly into the wild waters beyond and, ultimately, the glowing horizon in an endless stretch of blue. The uninhabited form of Spinalonga – once a fortress island, then a leper colony – is framed in great pale arches of stone.
Food and drink
Each day, we ate our fill and then some at one of the five restaurants: highlights were translucent slivers of beef carpaccio and slippery octopus salad, courgette tzatziki and the catch of the day washed down with fiery raki and sumptuous steaks with fresh bread and fragrant oil.
And to drink? Ask for a bottle of the Domaine Costa Lazaridi 2015 Vintage Merlot Dry Rosé – this delicate, pale wine is like gold dust and you won’t find it in a shop in Greece.
What to do
- Hold on to your hats: July and August are windy, although this does take the edge off the heat
- Ask about the resort’s 10 Memorable Experiences: the concierge recommends sunset sailing aboard a traditional wooden caique, Cretan wine tasting and a Greek cookery lesson (don’t book a table too soon after this one – you’ll be stuffed)
- Leave your room in plenty of time for spa or restaurant bookings – the glass lift that glides down the hillside from the main hotel to the villas, restaurants and beach is in no rush
- Get a bird’s-eye view: the resort has a helipad and can organise airport transfers as well as day trips to Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes
As the light fades, Latin music pervades the balmy air, beckoning you to the Isola Beach Club for salted margaritas and dancing beneath the stars. This is the place to while away your evening. Or your week, your month, your summer…
Seven nights at the Blue Palace hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Crete, cost from £1,645pp, based on two sharing a Superior Bungalow Sea View room on a half-board basis, Easyjet economy flights from London Gatwick with private transfers and UK lounge passes in October 2017. Elegant Resorts – 01244 897515; www.elegantresorts.co.uk