Last year, we were incredibly fortunate to go on several holidays, the common theme however, being that they were all very busy where we were on our feet exploring most of the time. I’m certainly not complaining by any means but this year, we decided that one long holiday where we could spend hours stretching out in the sun was exactly what we needed. For a change, we thought we would wait as long as possible to book to try and get a better price. I managed to wait until April (which is very good for a meticulous planner such as myself) when we booked 10 days in June to go to the beautiful Crete.
It’s safe to say, I scoured hundreds of hotels before we finally settled on Elounda Blu. If we’re going to be spending such a long time (and a lot of money!) somewhere and bearing in mind this happens only once a year, then I want it to be absolutely perfect. Throw in the fact that both Matt and I have a ‘must-have’ list and you can imagine it isn’t an easy task. That said, as soon as we stepped into our room in the early morning, we both looked around and then hugged each other, squealing (me, admittedly).
Elounda Blu is located in a small fishing town on the northern coast of Crete, Greece. Admittedly, we didn’t know too much about the area, just quite simply that it offered spectacular views and was neither too busy nor too quiet. So in other words, exactly what we were looking for. Our flight from Birmingham were just under four hours and then after a two-hour transfer and then check in, we finally stepped into our room at 4am. I say room but it was more like an apartment! While we had booked a garden view room, what we found ourselves in was, in fact, a junior suite with sea view and our very own pool. We simply couldn’t believe our luck.
The spacious suite was simple and classic in decor although we both delighted in having our own toilets (with amazing power showers) and large wardrobes, split across two rooms with plenty of areas for relaxing and even a jacuzzi bath! It’s safe to say that the veranda stole the show in every sense with our very pool and the most breathtaking views of the endless sea and Spinalonga Island. It would have been so easy to spend our whole holiday right there on the veranda and I’ll admit that for many days we could be found in our own private spot, admiring the view.
We opted for half-board (breakfast and dinner) as previous experience on package holidays had led us to find that we never really ate much lunch anyway so we could do without all inclusive. There were lots of really lovely dining areas, both inside and outside, with cushioned areas if you fancied something a bit more relaxed.
Food can always be a bit hit and miss at hotels, especially if you’re eating the same things every day but I was impressed to find that Elounda Blu had something new to offer every day. “There’s literally something for everyone, there’s nothing to complain about missing,” I said thoughtfully to Matt one breakfast time, which happened to be my favourite meal whilst on holiday. Whether you wanted a full English, fruit and yoghurt, plain cereal, toast and peanut butter, pastries or (my personal choice) crepes and nutella, the Island restaurant, had it all. This was especially helpful to us being half board as we were able to fill up on breakfast quite contentedly.
Dinner too was a similar affair. Dishes were varied and covered many bases so whatever your diet you were catered for. I marvelled in the delicate desserts and the fresh cheeses, meat, pasta and more that were made available to you. My only issue was that unlike breakfast where there was a range of drinks available to you as part of your board, at dinner you had to pay for all drinks, including water, if you were half board. This frustrated me as I of course understood a limited drinks menu if you had not paid for all inclusive but to not be allowed any at all when it is common to want a drink with your evening meal made no sense to me. “But,” Matt pointed out, “that’s exactly why it does make sense. You’re going to want a drink so you’re going to spend the money, right?” He was, I conceded, correct and admittedly I think this was my only complaint about the whole holiday which is pretty impressive in itself.
While not all rooms had their own pool, you didn’t have to go far to use the hotel pool which was huge with more than enough sunbeds to go around. With such wonderful views, it wasn’t hard to see why this was a popular place for visitors to spend most of their day. If you didn’t fancy lounging by the pool, the rooftop Blue Bar offered a comfy space to take to after a filling dinner where you could cosy up with a cocktail. Did I mention Elounda Blu was adults only? I’ve got nothing against children whatsoever but you could really see and feel the difference of staying at an adults only hotel, it was such a serene, peaceful environment and we quickly decided that we wouldn’t hesitate in booking adults only for future holidays.
Nothing is forced upon you at Elounda Blu. There are daily activities you can join in with, evening entertainment you can observe without fear of being pulled on stage and the staff are there to help with whatever you need. I’ve stayed at places whereby excursions are constantly shoved down your throat but at Elounda Blu, everything is at your own pace and it’s you who leads the way for your holiday. Special shout outs go to Nikos, the lovely Room Division Manager and Marcella, the concierge who has to have been one of the most helpful people I’ve ever met and as a local had lots of handy and precise advice for when we were renting a car.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our stay at Elounda Blu. I would most definitely recommend it in a heartbeat. As well as being a genuinely beautiful hotel, it is all the little components which help make it a fantastic stay: the golf buggy which runs you up and down the hill to your room, the picnic box you are given when you go on excursions and the greek olive oil you are gifted before you depart, Elounda Blu has taken the time to relish and luxuriate its guests and when you step through the front door, you are treated like royalty.
I’ve decided to split our Crete adventure into two posts so as not to make it too long. The next one will focus on more of what we got up to whilst in Crete so stay tuned for more!