Crete island became a feature story on Harper’s Baazar recently owing to “A-list” celebs like Lady Gaga and Rihanna vacationing at Elounda. But Crete is more than a Mykonos wanna be, the island paradise is a real alternative experience well suited to the luxury travel segment – only with a twist. Simply put, there’s a lot more room and history on the island where the Minoan Empire was centered.
How many times have you seen a video, news, or images of celebrities being ushered out of limos or haunted by the paparazzi on Mykonos or at Santorini? Well, the story at Harper’s speaks well of Crete’s fabulous Blue Palace outside Agios Nikolaos, but there’s a lot more exclusivity on to be had on the island of the mysterious Minoans. Here’s a look at Greece’s biggest island, and five great-big value it offers visitors.
Beach House Arvi
Tucked away in the far south of Crete near the seaside village of Arvi, this magnificent villa is on the secluded Meakis Beach. There are the main house and a guest house blessed with every conceivable luxury. There are 12 bedrooms and 10.5 baths in case you bring half of Hollywood with you.
For a bit less than $20,000 per week, this luxurious stay on Crete rivals anything Mykonos or Santorini has to offer. Here’s one of many stellar reviews of Beach House Arvi:
“This was one of the most fantastic holidays of my life! That you for making it so so special! The hospitality was at the highest level! We felt like we were at home with all the food, the care, and amenities we were provided. The place itself is fantastic & was perfect for a retreat if you are into places with no other people around. Everything in the house is made with so much love and care and nature there is fantastic. It must be the best place in the whole of Crete! “
Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas
Marketing and tours professionals will tell you about 5-star resorts all over Crete, but the fact is there really very few legitimate ones. There are, however, a plethora of 4.5-star luxury stays, with the possible exception of Blue Palace, which was featured in the Harper’s piece. Some will argue my point here, but ineffectively, I assure you. Be that as it may, Daios Cove at the head of a cove off fabulous Mirabello Bay is a satin luxury affair no starlet would turn her nose up to. Let’s call the resort a 4.95-star experience.
300, including 41 suites, and 38 villas wait to bathe you in everything from champagne arrival gifts to amazing watersports and luxury spa treatments here. Here I’ll quote from the Mr. & Mrs. Smith description, cuz they do it best. Daios Cove has a:
“Private beach, watersports, scuba diving centre, sailing and motor yacht rental, spa, yoga, swimming pools, tennis courts, gym, gardens, four restaurants, two bars, crèche, kids club, hairdressers, beauty studio, a boutique, and…”
Book direct and I think you will save a little. Superstars will have more money to throw around at Crete traditional villages too since even the suites go for a nice rate here. The Waterfront One-bedroom Villa with Private Pool goes for under €8,000 euro for 6 nights on the website.
Blue Wave at Chorafakia
This villa is amazing. I was there once with a friend looking to buy a luxury property near Chania. The Spartan and pristine architecture, combined with an unequaled view of the Cretan Sea and Chania, makes this place all the more special. With 4 bedroom and 4.5 baths, a stunning infinity pool, and a “superhost” taking care of the particulars, Blue Wave is perfect for that Russian oligarch or Broadway star headed to Crete island.
A private chef, breathtaking boat trips, spa and beauty treatments, whatever your heart desires is a part of this definitive Cretan exclusive experience. A week here in late summer goes for about €8,000, and trust me, it’s worth it. Contact the hosts via Airbnb here.
Villa Faros at Agios Pavlos
I guess most celebrities had rather not let the world know where they vacation. Well, Crete has hundreds of secret coves and beaches where it would take NSA or CIA surveillance satellites to find you. And the closer you get to mysterious Sfakia, the more reclusive and exclusive your stay will be. Villa Faros sits on a promontory overlooking Agios Pavlos in the far south of Crete.
This 4 bedroom, 4 bath stay is perfect for nature lovers, and for those who need to just stare out onto the Libyan Sea. As a bonus, the two islets offshore, Paximadia Ena and Dio, they’re where the gods Apollo and Artemus were born. Really.
The villa goes for about €900 a night during the season. To find out more contact superhosts Emmanuel & Yannis here.
Amirandes Grecotel Exclusive Resort
This luxury resort has a lot going for it. Located a stone’s throw from shopping and sites in Heraklion, Grecotel luxury stay has all the usual exclusivity suspects. A popular and fun resort, it’s not the ideal place for reclusive superstars, but it does have its celebrity level perks. The VIP Two-Bedroom Suite with its own gym and a private heated pool is one to note.
I guess if Lady Gaga were to want to rub elbows down here with the rest of us, the Presidential Villa Seafront at Amirandes would make sense for her. This magnificent Crete stay goes for just over €2,100 euro per night.
The Ultimate Luxury
To find the ultimate luxury stay on Crete island we only need to return to amazing Daios Cove and the Mansion Villa there. To be honest, before researching for this report, I did not even know such a place existed on Crete. “The Mansion,” as it’s referred to, is 600 square meters (indoors) of understated exquisiteness. Three huge bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, staff quarters and a private heated indoor swimming pool, a sauna and spa, and every conceivable option you can imagine grace this Crete lucid vacation dream spot.
Guest here get their own dedicated concierge, a chef upon request, catering for private dining events, a personal fitness trainer, in-suite spa treatments, and many other exclusive perks. Personally, I am interested in the rib boat private experience to explore secret pirate caves along the secluded coasts of the island! Okay, okay, I admit it. Crete does have real 5-star resorts, and this level of exclusivity proves the island can compete with any place in the world. Oh, the mansion is not cheap, it goes for just over €5,000 per night.
The Real Exclusivity
As you can surmise, there’s not a shortage of exclusive accommodations on Crete. Sure, some resorts try to sell themselves a bit higher than they should, but what makes Crete a perfect celebrity destination is not where a movie star lays his or her head. The depth of experiences here on Crete simply surpasses any place we’ve been. You can stay in the middle of a 24-7 beach party, or you can venture off to a secluded villa in mysterious Sfakia, a place so remote no army has ever conquered it. In between, there’s a 5,000-year-old Minoan palace around every corner.
There are hundreds of villages where summer festivals welcome strangers as if they were long lost, brothers and sisters. There’s a thousand churches and shrines, more sacred places where prayers ride on the air than any place on Earth. And there’s a majestic natural beauty, not even Hollywood can reproduce. Mykonos and Santorini are magic, but in the brilliant light of the island the Egyptians called Keftiu, all other Aegean destinations pale in comparison.
Now you know why the Greek tourism ministry created a site called Incredible Crete. We suggest you investigate this digital library, then get your publicist to book your exclusive vacation stay. We’re hoping to see you again soon Lady Gaga.