This place gives off a great first impression. After driving up the gated driveway, we were greeted by the guard who welcomed us by name and immediately arranged for a bellman to come and take our luggage. We checked in pretty late in the evening, as we were coming by boat and rental car from Santorini via Irlakion. We were given a warm reception, complete with a glass of champagne. The gentleman at the front desk made check-in very easy, which was welcome after a long day of travelling. The room was gorgeous, and we had a bottle of champagne and finger foods waiting for us in our suite, which was perfect since we didn't have time to stop and eat dinner.
Unfortunately, the remainder of our stay didn't live up to that first night expectation. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things happening at the hotel. We found the bellmen very friendly and accomodating. They seemed always to be around, ready to give us a golf cart ride. Also, the concierge (I can't remember her name) exudes the very definition of customer service. Besides the room, the pool is beautiful and the private beach is, for the most part, peaceful. We spent a lot of time on the beach, and the water is beautiful and feels great.
The downfall of this place revolved around the general service of the staff (other than the bellmen). We didn't know this while we stayed here, but I guess there is an all-inclusive option with the hotel, which in retrospect, makes sense, as it doesn't have that personal touch that other luxury hotels have. It reminds me of the inpersonal service one receives at chain all-inclusive. I'll start with the nitpicky stuff, which I'm sure many will roll their eyes and say I'm being overly judgey. However, we had just arrived from Katikies in Santorini, where every staff member greeted us by name. Whenever we requested food, extra towels, or placed our breakfast order, they responded with such haste, with an "of course, we should've know you wanted that" attitude. Domes is a much larger hotel, so I wasn't expecting that kind of specific attention; however, after spending over $500/night, I would hope they rememeber our name less than 10 hours after checking in.
Another nitpicky thing, we received daily notifications of what's going on in the hotel. For instance, the evening after we arrived, we were told they were having a BBQ by the beach with traditional Crete music and dancing. On a side note, we were told that this was a one time special event, so we immediately made reservations since we were told it would probably sell out. However, very few guests actually attended the dinner, and there was very little enthusiasm around the music and dancing, which didn't make sense if this was a "one time event." I'll go more into the dinner later. Back to the daily notifications, the ink on the flyers were faded, and the print job was crooked. It looked like the handouts our daughter gets in her elementary school, done by a school on a budget. I wouldn't mind if it wasn't a luxury hotel. But the least they could do is get a good printer.
The major hiccups while we were there revolved around the dining and beach service. Back to the dinner I mentioned, my husband and I were sitting on a deck just off the water, next to the path leading to the pier (so slightly elevated off the concrete). Apparently the chair my husband was sitting on didn't have the metal stopper on the foot, like all the other chairs had. So, as he was sitting down after picking out the meat he wanted for his entree, his chair leg wedged itself in the crack of the deck. His chair subsequently fell over due to the unevenly distributed weight, where he stopped himself from hitting his head on the concrete (he fell off the deck) by extending his arm, causingh is wrist to hurt for the remainder of the trip. Fortunately, he's in pretty good shape so it was more embarassing, but had he been a child or elderly, he would've been seriously injured. After helping him up, and loudly explaining why it happened so other diner's didn't think he was drunk and just falling off chairs, they switched our chairs. Now, if this happened in America, they would've at the very least comped our meal for fear that we would sue. But this is Greece, so I'm not sure what the policy is in this situation. We didn't make a huge stink about it, so perhaps they thought everything was okay. But this is a five star hotel, so you'd think they comp the dinner, because in the grand scheme of things, we're paying thousands of dollars for our stay, and we should at least have peace of mind that we won't get injured at dinner. We told the front desk staff what happened on our way back to the room, again, not making a big stink, but emphasising that had it been a child or elderly person, they would've been seriously hurt. I at the very least wouldn't expected an apology letter. I think that's the minimum a place like that can do after such an incident.... but nothing. Again, the next day, the same guy we reported the incident to didn't remember who we were. I mentioned this whole thing on the customer comment brochure we gave at check-out, hoping we'd at least get an apology email or something. Again, nothing. All we received is an email survey asking the same questions as the brochure we filled out, which leads me to believe nobody read it. Alright, I'm getting fired up thinking about this, because such a lack of concern for a guest would be unspeakable at the other hotels we stayed at during our honeymoon.
Second, besides the fact that you have to hunt someone down to get service at the beach, we placed a food order with someone, who maybe didn't speak English very well or just didn't care to confirm our order, but after waiting close to an hour for two sandwiches, she came back with the wrong sandwich for my husband. Rather than take it back, she proceeded to argue with us and insist that he said tuna and not prosciutto. My husband is allergic to most seafoods, so there's no way he would've even accidentally ordered tuna. But she was very adament that we ordered tuna. Finally, she told us she'd get the prosciutto sandwich, which took another hour. There was no sense of urgency over the fact that she got it wrong the first time. Finally, what I assume was the manager, came over with the sandwich, and she at least apologized and comped his sandwich. We weren't trying to get things free. We were genuinely hungry and had to wait close to two hours to get a simple sandwich. Also, during that time, we could've ordered more cocktails at least while we waited, but nobody came by to take our order. So, the hotel lost out on more of our money, as we probably could've had a couple more drinks each while we waited.
Finally, the breakfast buffet, I believe, epitomized all-inclusive food fair. And, the last day we were there, I noticed on the reader board that it was "international food" night, which is a sure sign that quality of food or at least authenticity of "Cretan" food isn't so much as important as catering to a variety of tastes, primarily for children. The breakfast is full of cheeses, fruit, and sweets, complete with flies and other bugs swarming the food. At one point, a kid dropped the bread tongs on the floor, picked it back up and put it back on the bread. This kind of thing wouldn't happen if they had people manning the stations. Instead, it was kind of a free for all of standard continental breakfast foods. It was nothing exciting. Fortunately, it was included in our stay, because I would've felt cheated had I paid for it.... well, I guess it's probably built into the overall cost of the room, the least they could do is give us a mediocre breakfast.
In summary, this place would be great for a family wanting a five star feel, while also offering things that won't keep the kids bored. Kids seemed to love the breakfast, which makes sense because there were doughnuts and sweets aplenty. They also offer a daycare as well as non-motorized water sports for rent. If we were to come back to Crete with children, I'd condsider staying here, however the whole falling off the deck thing really turns me off to it. Bottom line, I would return to Elounda, however, there are plenty of luxury resorts along the beach that I'm sure would've at least apologized after causing a guest to get hurt. For a honeymoon, I'd suggst staying somewhere else. Research the other places along the coastline.
In general, the hotel grounds are beautiful, but the place leaves a lot wanting in service, especially if it is the five star hotel it claims to be.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.