If Winter weather has you ready for fun in the sun what better value is there than Crete? The land of the Minoans is possessed not only of one of the world’s healthiest climates, but aquamarine seas and cultural events, ancient history, and best of all the friendliest people anywhere. Add in some luxury treatment and the best seaside values one can imagine, and you have a vacation option fit for any fantasy getaway notion.
Argo did a little research to ferret out some of the best hotel values on the Island. The criteria included; location, guest ratings, overall amenities per dollar spent, and of course aesthetics and perceptual value. Here’s five stays on Crete you cannot miss with, and who knows, maybe you’ll be the first to decipher one of the only two undiciphered languages on Earth, the Minoan’s Linear A (you did not know this).
Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites
For most travelers Elounda Gulf won’t strike a chord of recognition, but the little fishing village of Elounda is just to the East of Heraklion tucked away in one of the Island’s most beautiful bays. It is here visitors will find many of Crete’s most fantastic luxury resorts. Whether it’s secluded paradise you’re after, are all the spirited seaside sports and parties imaginable, this is one place on Crete to find all that and more.
As for the Villas, these lavishly appointed bits of seashore heaven each has its own private infinity pool, elegant appointments, and virtually every amenity one can think of in the five star range. 18 villas and 10 executive suites are more than a home away on Crete. This stay overlooks the beautiful Maribello Bay, one can almost imagine (if not hear late at night) Minoan priestesses looking out to sea here. Calling this place magical is an understatement. The video below from Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites says it better than I can. The Villas were winners of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for 2012, a very highly rated stay across the Internet actually.
Expect to pay €5535 euro for the executive two bedroom villa shown in the image above for a week. The stay includes free half board plus all the amenities and extras you’ll find here.
Royal Heights Resort
The name sort of says it all here. In between Heraklion and Mirabello Bay, the little city of Malia sits along Crete’s Northern coast. The site of the ancient wonder the Palace of Malia from the Bronze Age, what was destroyed by earthquake later arose as a gem of a vacation spot. To see the commercial side of Crete, replete with classy restaurants, bars, and shops, this is one destination the shopaholic will find memorable. And, the Royal Heights Resort is just the place for resting one’s feet after all day toting shopping bags too.
Once you too have discovered the only recently discovered Minoan town located here, or the many other ruins from antiquity, surely the hospitality, cuisine, and life of luxury offered by Royal Heights Resort is worth € 1,421.65 for the ambassador villa! Six nights with your own private pool and saving over €400 euro, come on, I know you are ready.
The resort is situated high on a hill overlooking the Cretan Sea. Some 60 Acres of land with a breathtaking view of the big blue, not to mention the convenience of being only 20 minutes from the airport in Heraklion, make this a natural choice for a Spring escape to remember. From facials to fine restaurants and bars, the indoor and outdoor pools, or even an ambassador or presidential villa of your own, this luxurious place is another top spot with no down side.
Grecotel Creta Palace
To the West of Heraklion, the town of Rethymnon sits as a reminded of not only Minoan grandeur, but of the Venetian conquerors of the Island who essentially built the town you see today. Situated nearby, The Grecotel Creta Palace sits on the so called Cretan Riviera only minutes from the Venetian harbor. In a class of its own, this luxurious resort offers a virtual Eden to guests. But their videos of the resort (above), and below the fabulous Elixir Spa probably tells better than I how much value you get for as little €912 euro for your week in a spa apartment. The kids stay free here, by the way.
Hotel Astron in Ierapetra
Maybe you just want to hang out on the beach and get to know the people if Ierapetra? An ancient respite and once a fortress, this little town was actually the last inhabited Minoan city. Aside the historic significance of the place, it is just down right homey and laid back. Situated to the far South and Eastward end of Crete, Ierepetra affords visitors a bit more of what really living on the Island is all about, and so too the Hotel Aston in crisp and clean like the air here.
And when you are weary of the quint shops in town, or perhaps from exploring the unique natural beauty offshore on Chrysi Island, coming back to the friendly faces at your hotel matters a lot. More of a three our four star affair, for those on a budget this hotel offers just the right balance of luxury and economy. For less than €600 euro per week you can book a family suite where you can toss stones in the Libyan Sea. In case you don’t know, Ierapetra is famous for its nearby beaches – even Minoan royalty thought so.
Lato Boutique Hotel – Heraklion
I ran across this hotel recently while searching news bits about Greek hotels, and in particular those on Crete. Recently remodeling and expanded, the Lato Boutique Hotel is one of the perfect spots on Crete where being in the thick of things goes. In the heart of the capital, within a stone’s throw of the airport, the Palace at Knossos, and everywhere central to visiting Crete, this luxury boutique offers a lot.
Saying a luxury hotel is “middle of the road” is a bit inaccurate, but for the right mix of location, services, and economy, many people just have to consider where there time and money is spent. Using Heraklion as a base of operations for exploring Crete just makes sense, and staying at wonderful hotels is just fun period. Lato Boutique is one of the most venerated hotels on the Island, and one of the best local wise. A family room for a week at peak season here, overlooking the harbor in Heraklion, runs only a bit over €800 breakfast included. Other hotel amenities and features include: balconies with views of the harbor, the two fine restaurants, bar, and all the usual four star suspects most travelers are accustomed to, at three star prices or better.
For those of you interested in Crete, and particularly the ancient Minoan civilization that thrived there, the following video is fascinating proof of Crete’s fabulous past.