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Reviewed August 29, 2012

To summarize what I will explain in greater detail below, the problem with this hotel is its misleading marketing. They end up with guests expecting different experience to what the hotel actually offers. This is perhaps a good hotel for families with small kids and ability to pay more than your average Joe. But it is not luxury and it is not 5 star, not even remotely.

Why this hotel is not a 5 star as misleadingly advertised, in chronological order of our disappointment:

1. Taxi at 90 euro one way, Mercedes, offered no cold or any kind of water for a ride that took another 50 min from the airport. Small things do matter.

2. Hotel first impression: cheap decor, slow meet and greet service, and welcome Prosecco instead of said Champagne – does the hotel staff know the difference?

3. Misleading marketing:

a. We were led to believe there was a slow cooking food festival as part of our package, however it turned out this was a biweekly event which we entirely missed. We were offered a buffet dinner instead... You don't really expect a buffet dinner at a five star, but if it is a bonus, then you sort of expect a five star buffet. See my photo of the buffet table at our first dinner. We never went back.

b. All the nice photos you see on the hotel website are photoshop enhanced. In reality, furniture is cheap, plastic and tacky. The only useful purpose of plastic materials that I can see is to prevent the kids from spoiling it. Shame.

c. Advertised romance and honeymoon, well, maybe if you had some privacy. The only place with total privacy is the bathroom (no bidet here, sorry had to add) but only because it is dark and the fake windows are small. There is a balcony overlooking other people's balconies or their swimming pools. Try hugging your husband with a bunch of kids staring from a balcony above? The same goes for the Jacuzzi tub, which is not maintained after your arrival so the last day we couldn’t even use it.

d. The spa classified as a world class spa is everything but a world class spa, I have seen better, definitely better equipped and designed. (see my photos) The products used contain glycol so the talk about natural ingredients and “this is what doctors use due to its high concentration” is cheap talk for the illiterate.

e. The fine dining restaurant, Michelin stars, not sure if the chef worked at a Michelin star restaurant before or the menu is created by a Michelin star chef, but the food here has nothing to do with Michelin type of food apart from fancy menu names. See my photo on their most expensive dessert, a total disgrace if you ask me. See also their starter that supposed to be clams and sea urchins.

4. Internet is advertised as free wifi, but if it is important to you - you will get frustrated. It is as slow as a dial up, it is weak, you can’t log on and best of all, it is not ipad friendly. We complained 5 days out of 6 that we stayed there and they finally fixed it the last evening before our departure.

5. Drinks at the beach bar are of very poor choice and quality and above all served in terribly looking plastic cups. Just imagine treating yourself with a nice Kir Royale, but instead you get a cheap Prosecco mixture in a yellow plastic cup?

6. The views described as stunning to us, perhaps they are if you don't know any better. There is a tiny strip of the open sea and you are right in the middle of the Mediterranean... I am sure the hotel cannot change the setting, but they should not advertise it as ‘stunning’.

7. Uniforms of the hotel staff rather look like pyjamas, for ladies very much like pregnancy uniforms.

8. The water sports are available, but you have to pay even for the peddling experience! I guess the philosophy here is - if it is a five star then everything has to be expensive and nothing comes free.

9. Fresh fish at the beach restaurant with very uncomfortable chairs (no cushions to support your back, so you lean against a metal back) is definitely overpriced and octopus one day was great and the following day too chewy and a total disgrace. How can it be that a restaurant by the beach, in Crete, in the Mediterranean, doesn't have the fresh and superbly cooked seafood? If you walk 10 min or rent a boat to taxi you to the village, you will get the freshest, tasty food for 3 times less money. Does it mean the hotel is not interested in keeping the guests who prefer good food or rather rips them off when they don’t feel like walking to the village? So much boasting about Cretan diet and local food and the hotel can't even hire a decent chef. Beyond disappointment!

Good points:

1. Piano music at the main bar every night
2. Lounging under the olive trees at the beach
3. Beautiful green and blue color of the lagoon
4. The choice of music at the beach bar

Room Tip: You must make sure you get a decent view of the lagoon, otherwise you will end up looking at your neighbors or the walls.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank sister-karamazov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
domesofelounda, General Manager at Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded August 30, 2012

Dear Sister-karamazov,

Thank you very much for taking the time to post your review and to share your personal point of view.

It is clear that Domes of Elounda has not met your expectations and we are truly sorry about that; it is a rare phenomenon and we appreciate the fact that you highlighted your concerns, which we will surely take into consideration.

With regards to the airport transfer, please note that there are always bottles of water beside the seats and we apologize, if that was not the case during your ride.
We totally agree and strongly believe that small things and attention to details do matter.

It was with great surprise to read that you found the greeting service to be slow. Our well trained and educated team members are eager to cater to your needs at all times. It is a shame that your first impression was not that favorable and we do wish that it has been altered afterwards.

With respect to your opinion about the marketing of our resort and consequently about the services that we offer, we regret to know that you have felt misled.

The 3rd Consecutive Festival De la Gastronomie that presented the Slow Food Celebration has been taking place every second weekend for 5 weekends from the 6th of July to the 1st of September, as announced in all our printed and online material. It is a pity that you did not get to experience it.

Concerning the decoration, it is widely known that Domes of Elounda has been uniquely designed by three separate celebrated designer teams – Skandalis & Partners, Schema 4 and Olyvia Siskou. The elegance of Mediterranean interiors is embodied and the resort is decorated with hand-picked local art, earth colors, hand-carved wooden furniture and designers guild fabrics, making it one of the most luxurious Hotels in Greece. Therefore, there would be no need to enhance the photos taken and make use of any digital imaging software.
The suites and villas offer privacy, but at the same time, they are a part of the resort, thus, if you wish to have absolute seclusion, it would be advisable to request the most isolated suites and villas to avoid frustration.

The spa products are environmentally tested and approved for hygienic control and in fact we have never received a complaint in relation to them or to the Soma Spa itself before, on the contrary we have been invited to be listed in the World Luxury Spa Awards of 2013.

The watersports center is located at our private beach and it is being managed by an independent company, therefore we would not be able to make an observation about their pricing policy, only a suggestion.

Furthermore, we do value your aspect about various other features such as the uniforms, the views and the quality of food; we are pride of their class and we are repeatedly complimented on them, thus, we do take your comments into account and feel sorry that they were not to your liking.

On a positive note, we thank you for sharing your tips and recommendation about neighbor sites. Domes of Elounda is conveniently and strategically located in one of the primest regions of Crete that offers a variety of offsite activities for the travelers that wish to explore the area. In addition, we are pleased to know that you really enjoyed the music choice, the calming colors of the lagoon and the natural shade that the olive trees provide during a hot day.

Thank you once again for your valuable feedback.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

We stayed at the villa at the top of the hill at the Domes for one week last July. It's the villa where you see the photos with the pool close up and Spinalonga below. First of all, I need to say the Villa was not worth the money we spent. We have stayed in Bora Bora and other 5 star hotels and I strongly recommend the hotel manager travel to the US, Asia, and Tahiti to compare what a 5 star hotel should offer. Having said this I need to mention we were upgraded to that villa, which was very nice.I also need to mention that the staff is absolutely incredible, young people that go out of their way to help you with a smile. The staff was so nice that my 4-yearson cried his eyes out the day we left. Stelios and Babis are a great asset and they drove us to our villa educating us about Crete and telling us about their lives every day. Although the hotel is beautiful and intimate (it really feels like a small village) it is the staff that make the experience so wonderful. Is it the best 5 star hotel you will ever go to? No, but the positives are:1) the view - it is as breathtaking as it looks on the web. You get lost in your daydreams gazing into the Cretan Sea. 2) The pool. Awesome, huge, and never busy. 3) The breakfast buffet-to this day my wife and I still talk about it. Local yogurt and honey, tasty fruit smoothies, all kinds of bread, all kinds of coffee. 4) The sailboat cruise the hotel staff took us on. We mingled with other guests and again were amazed at how clear the water is. We sailed close to all these natural caves, what a sight! 5) Again, the staff:they were Greeks, Romanians, Ukranians, and they were all naturally friendly all the time. I have been to other nice places where the staff served you because they had to, but at the Domes they really want you to have a great time.
Now the negatives: 1) if you have been to other beaches in Greece or in Crete then you know the beach in front of the hotel is not one to brag about. It's small, and although clean, there is seaweed and small rocks, not all sand once you get in. I recommend you rent a car( they bring it to you right at the hotel) and go to other beautiful nearby beaches in Agios Nikolaos about a 45-minute ride. 2) As someone else mentioned this place is in need of some serious maintenance. The hot stone lounge chair, and the jacuzzi bath never worked in our villa. We were later told by a staff member that the jacuzzi never really worked right. We had an indoor pool and an outdoor pool. The outdoor pool had lining that came off the walls. A staff member fixed it one day because he fell bad, not because we asked him. The private outdoor pool water was cold. I don't expect them to heat itup, but I am just giving you the facts. We had this beautiful pool with an amazing view of Spinalonga but couldn't stay in it too long. The large common pool had a wall light that came off underwater one day. Serious need for repair.
Despite these negatives the location of the hotel, the intimacy it offers, the views, and the amazing staff made this for us a vacation we will always remember.
By the way for meals, go to the small village to the left of the hotel, there are some amazing tavernas. I also recommend if you rent a car to take the mountain road to the left of the hotel that will bring you inland to these beautiful villages, and give you majestic views of this beautiful part of Crete. Just be careful the roads are narrow and I don't remember seeing any barriers on the side.
I hope Domes continue to improve because they are almost there.

Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
1  Thank George L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2012

Have just returned from THE best holiday ever at Domes of Elounda.

- incredible views
- beautiful safe beach
- fantastic kids club
- premium one bedroom suite with private pool - wonderful
- great watersports
- brilliant location - lots to see and do in the area
- really friendly and helpful staff - special thanks to adam/amy and team, georgio, alex and spiros
- food - okay although lunch and dinners not amazing
- lovely spa treatments

Would recommend to any families who enjoy staying at stylish hotels where kids are fully catered for. It is expensive but it is a 5 star hotel -so well worth saving up for as an unforgettable experience.

Room Tip: try and get room near reception as saves on a lot of walking uphill/catching a golf buggy
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank motheroftwo378
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2012

My husband Googles everything. He insists upon hours and hours of research before deciding on the specifics of a trip. Our honeymoon was something he wanted to get exactly right. We had already decided upon a neighbouring hotel only to find that we had family members coincidently already booked in there. In a bid to retain some intimacy, we decided on the Domes of Elounda down to the cracking location, the spectacular views, the proximity to Elounda and Agios Nikolaos and also, it has to be said, down to the fantastic reviews on Trip Advisor (his travelling bible). Our arrival was lovely, we were greeted with a glass of champagne and the warmest welcome. We sat on the balcony outside the bar and were enraptured by the view of Spinalonga. We were escorted to our room via golf buggy and were delighted to find that we had been upgraded to a "Premium Suite". The lounge area was spacious, the bedroom- comfortable, the bathroom- stylish, the balcony and hot tub enjoyed stunning views and the accommodation (apart from the jacuzzi bath) was immaculate. We wandered to the beach and were greeted and shown to some sunbeds. The overall impression and welcome was superb. We were truly prepared to be wowed! However, all too soon cracks in the quality of the hotels facilities and practices became apparent. As honeymooners, we indulged in long lie in's and would often miss breakfast. We would be disturbed up to 6 times a day- 4 times before midday. The first visit from housekeeping staff was to offer fresh towels, the next to drop off a bottle of water, a further to ask if we wished for the mini bar to be restocked, another to ask if they could make up the room or turn down the bed whilst we were dressing for dinner. Whilst these services are great, the continual knocking on the door was always accompanied by a staff member letting themselves in before we even had the chance to respond to them shouting through the door. On more than 5 occasions we were disturbed in bed. What started as an amusing joke became a real nuisance towards the end of our stay. The few items that we did use from the mini bar were replenished until the second to last day of our stay. After a fantastic night out in Agios Nikolaos, we decided to treat ourselves to a room service 40 euro "Deluxe" breakfast, which promised eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, toast, a continental breakfast selection and fresh coffee. The breakfast arrived missing half the items, but had enough smoked salmon to feed 4 people. Very odd. On one day we hired a small boat and requested a picnic. We were provided with stale ham baguettes, a slice of cake wrapped in cling film, a banana, a peach and a bottle of water. For two of these picnics, we paid 58 euros. I was appalled. Other small details that we noticed were that the wifi connection was very poor, our in-room bath robes were not replaced from day 4 onwards, and when housekeeping made up our room we were not provided with large bath towels- only small hair towels. Both times we used the jacuzzi bath in the bathroom, there was a distinctly unpleasant odour. There were wilted flowers in vases in the bar area (despite the landscaping of the hotel being laden with the most stunning fresh flowers), the pool area was furnished in cheap and unattractive furniture and the railings around the pool were reminiscent of those that you would expect around a pool at Butlins. The hotel owner/president was present on the last couple of days of our stay and we witnessed reprimanding some of the staff in the middle of the breakfast buffet causing an unpleasant atmosphere. He even leaned over my husband whilst he was serving himself some food in order to stir the baked beans. I cannot abide people who moan for the sake of it- and there are a lot of details that perhaps others would not have mentioned. However, we were sold this hotel as the epitome of 5 star luxury and we did not find this to be true. The positives were undoubtedly the friendly staff, the lovely service, the exquisite views, the large suite and the brilliant milkshakes in the beach bar. We would not return.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
2  Thank SafariW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
domesofelounda, General Manager at Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded August 20, 2012

Dear SafariW,

Thank you for taking the time to post your earnest review on Tripadvisor and for sharing your experience with us and again congratulations on your wedding. We are really happy that your honeymoon was incredible.

We are sorry to hear that the boutique style of Domes of Elounda was not completely to your liking. Being an exclusive, intimate property, we do like to offer as many different dining options and common areas and public spaces as possible, hence the existence of three restaurants, of three bars and the two swimming pools.

We were however pleased to hear and read that you did appreciate the high level of service provided by our team here. We strongly believe that the high ratio of staff to guests is a key component of our Five Star treatment that differentiates ourselves. Our team has such zeal for what they do and always try to exceed guests’ expectations and we apologize if that was of excess to you in a few instances.

Domes of Elounda is a boutique beach resort in a fine prime location that offers a 5 star accommodation; putting particular emphasis on providing a personalized service, relaxed and private surroundings and a high quality dining experience to all our guests.

The resort, uniquely designed by three separate celebrated designer teams – Skandalis & Partners, Schema 4 and Olyvia Siskou - embodies the elegance of Mediterranean interiors, decorated with hand-picked local art, earth colors, hand-carved wooden furniture and designers guild fabrics, making it one of the best Luxury Hotels in Greece.

We were glad to hear that our warm greeting and the suite upgrade proved to be a welcome addition for you; we aim to provide tailored extras to ensure that our guests’ stay is even more comfortable and memorable than imagined.

In addition we are delighted to know that you have found the suite’s facilities immaculate and that your overall impression was superb. Indeed the settings and the views to Spinalonga Island are spectacular.

Once again, thank you very much for your review and your valuable feedback, which we do take into consideration to improve our services.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2012

The beach is nice all the rest is overrated medium food,not very nice
Swimmingpool and pretty much not feet for the money we paid.
We were 3 families and we came back all disappointed.
The stuff was very nice and the view also but that's about it.

Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
6  Thank Avi M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
domesofelounda, General Manager at Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded August 20, 2012

Dear Avi M,

Thank you for posting your review and for sharing your personal opinion about your stay with us.

We are sorry to read that your recent stay did not live up to your expectations and we would wish to ask you to be more precise in order to find out which aspect of your holidays at Domes of Elounda was not as enjoyable as you wished. You can contact me directly and I would be pleased to discuss the issues raised further.

On a more positive note, we were happy to read that you liked our private beach, which is the only natural beach that you can find in the region and provides a pristine way to relax, the efficiency of our team and also the outstanding views that make our guests unwind and unlax.

Thank you again for taking the time to post your comments.

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