The Blue Palace was generally as I expected it to be. Most staff were pleasant and most, very willing to help. I give it 4 stars for the room we were in, 5 stars for cleanliness, food (in most restaurants anyway), spa etc.
The location is superb with views out to Spinalonga Island which is also well worth a visit. We made a mistake and went as part of a Thomson excursion. Although there was a very good guide (Maria), we couldn't hear her as there were so many other excursions there at the same time and it was very crowded. I would recommend just walking into Plaka and getting a local boat over and take your own time exploring the island. There is a book called 'The Island' by Victoria Hislop which would be worth reading as it explains everything you need to know about Spinalonga.
We booked a junior suite but it seemed to be just 2 rooms with inter-joining doors so we had a bedroom, a lounge area and 2 bathrooms! All the rooms were very plain with nothing on the walls i.e. any pictures etc. and the bed was 2 joined together. We didn't think our room was anything special as we'd paid for a junior suite with sea view. We asked if we could view a junior suite in the main hotel and the male receptionist was very unhelpful and refused our request. When I challenged this, he said every room was in use. This was not true (The 2 next to us were empty for a start). As I write this, my wife is looking at the Blue Palace website and it contradicts what we had. We were given water (2 small bottles) each night. The website shows 'fresh fruit and flowers and a bottle of wine replenished every 3 days. We had a bowl of 'dubious' grapes when we arrived and a small bottle of Raki but nothing after that. It also states Junior suites should have pure cotton-satin sheets etc. We did not have that. I would advise that if you book an upgrade from the standard room, check you have the right room.
I had asked for a quiet area as I'd read reviews stating that if you were near the funicular, you could be overlooked and it could be noisy. They certainly put us in a quiet area as there was only our room and 2 others in the same location away from the main complex (rooms 603 and 604 were ours). This was great as there was a pool outside which apart from the last couple of days, was ours alone. Maybe that's why we had our room configuration but that's not right.
We went half board which turned out a big mistake. On arrival, we asked where the restaurant was and were told the buffet restaurant (as advertised) was not open and that all the restaurants were fully booked until 21:30 hrs. Having spent the day travelling, we didn't want to be that late. We were fitted in to the Asian Blue restaurant and as we'd gone to Greece/Crete, we didn't really want a Chinese! We were told we would have to book for the restaurants and not all the restaurants were open every night. If we wanted something like Fillet steak then we also incurred a 'dine around' charge (effectively a surcharge) and as we'd already paid a considerable sum for our holiday, we thought this was very unacceptable . This was something not mentioned when we booked half board. There are some very good Taverna's in both Plaka (five minute walk) or Elounda (five minute taxi ride away and 7 euro's). There was much hype about the famous 'Greek breakfast' before we went. I couldn't see what that was unless it was the different olives and nuts together with the very sweet pastries. As for the 'Champagne' breakfast, it was cheap sparkling wine (i.e. J P Chenet £3.99 at Tesco). The breakfast however was very good in general.
I took my wife here as we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and wanted a great hotel. We didn't want a noisy, bustling place but somewhere to relax. That said, it would have been nice for some form of entertainment (some Greek dancing perhaps) even 2 or 3 times a week. They did have a pianist who did a great impression of Les Dawson with the amount of bum notes he hit and a bouzouki player twice a week at the Greek restaurant. One night, there was a Sax player (who was very good) but he played for about half an hour and that was it.
The hotel attracts celebrities and the well off. We didn't see any celebrities (or at least nobody we recognised) but we saw plenty of the 'well off'. The Blue Palace is certainly multi-racial with plenty of different nationalities! We found most, very arrogant, ignorant and generally not very nice. We did meet a few nice people but these were very much a minority. It's very much a 'snobs' Palace. They would look you up and down and then look down their noses at you. I watched them doing it to everyone so it was not just aimed at us. We went the other way and played a game with them by saying, 'hello' forcing them to acknowledge us! Most however, didn't reply. My wife summed it up as, 'NOT A HAPPY HOTEL'. The hotel doesn't have any soul and the atmosphere, we found, uncomfortable. I also noticed that there was not much laughter. Very strange when people are supposed to be relaxed and enjoying themselves.
At reception, the female staff were very helpful but we found the male staff quite surly. On a trip out (the 4x4 safari which was very good), we were told that Greek men don't like being told what to do. This was reflected in the attitude of the male reception staff when things weren't quite right. This was contrary to all our previous Greek holidays as we have been to several of the Greek islands and we have always had a great response/reception from the Greeks (which is why we go there). The attitude was only felt at reception as the Spa manager in particular was very helpful as were the men in the restaurants.
Bar and room mini bar prices were high (as I expected and was prepared for). However, 7 star Metaxa worked out at 172 euro's a litre and we found it at around 32 euro's in a local shop. That's quite a mark up.
Spa treatments are again very expensive (again I knew and expected this). I didn't go here without doing my research so none of it came as a massive shock. The treatments are very good. It was however, still disappointing.
My wife was ill one day (stomach bug?) and I asked if we could have our evening meal (as we were half board) in our room accepting that I would have to pay the room service charge. This was refused and told we could only order from the room service menu and pay the whole amount plus the room service charge. Considering my wife was ill, I was surprised that the hotel would want her to go to a restaurant and possibly ‘spread’ an illness bearing in mind if it had been something like Norovirus, how quickly that spreads.
As I've stated, we were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. I wasn't expecting the world but some acknowledgement of that would have been nice. The hotel certainly don't give you anything for free. This was also the first time we've been abroad and not been given at least a fruit cocktail upon arrival. We were given a cold glass of water on arrival but that was it.
In the words of Harry Enfield, if you like using the expression, 'I am considerably richer than yow', then this is the place for you. If you like snobs, this is the place for you. If you like posing/posers, then this is the place for you. If you want to hide from other guests (sometimes a good thing), this is the place for you. It is certainly not worth the money and we won't be going back.
- Also Known As:
- Blue Palace Resort And Spa
- Blue Palace Hotel Elounda
- Blue Palace Resort
- Blue Palace Resort Spa
- Blue Palace Hotel
- Blue Palace Resort & Spa
- Blue Palace
- Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa Elounda, Crete
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Blue Palace, Resort and Spa is a place of rediscovery. A member of the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2013, this luxury resort with exceptional charm, architecture and style, is the perfect hideaway to experience island luxury accommodations, authentic cuisine and the breathtaking beauty of a Greek island. Crete is a magical place. Spend a day exploring old villages, wineries and the ancient Palace of Knossos or simply unwind with cocktails under the enchanting arches of the Arsenali Lounge Bar. Get on board the traditional wooden boat “Meraki” which will take you around the coast of Elounda, followed by a BBQ on the remote island of Agios Fokas. Explore the island of Spinalonga with its Venetian, Turkish and Arabic monuments just across from the resort and finish your day with an authentic Greek dinner at Blue Door, the tavern right at water’s edge. ... more less
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