My husband took me here for the last day of my 30th birthday celebration in Crete last week, the fabulous husband he is!
Tan and relaxed, we rolled up to this Relais & Chateaux and Leading Hotels of the World property. It being on the cusp of high season, the front wasn't busy which is good, considering the driveway is small. (No, that is not a gripe, merely an observation.) Our rental car was relatively dirty from a week of driving around the mountains and hidden beaches of Crete. I immediatlely felt self-conscious because we both looked a bit, um, beach bummish and Elounda struck me as the kind of property that instructs its staff to turn away dirty people. (I assure you that my husband and I are your typical yuppies on non-vacationing days.) Anyway, fears aside, the bellman was very helpful with our bags.
We stepped inside this amazing property and went to the front desk where we were greeted by an instantly recognisable condescending man. After checking us in with the normal chit chat he handed us a glass of champagne and showed us to our bungalow. Our bungalow was very close to the main hotel which was good and bad. He spent some time showing us around our room and opening the patio doors that spilled into the private pool. (Provided, of course, the smaller bungalow next to ours is not booked, which it was not.) It was gorgeous. The pool, we believe, is pumped with filtered sea water and looked gorgeous against the unobstructed views of the Mediterranean. (Although we feel western Crete gets better sun...and sunsets.)
This is where the Above Average (4 dot; although I'd rather give it 3.5 dots) review comes in: from the moment we checked in throughout the 'tour' of our room (which was very large and had an amazing bathroom, even if the furniture seemed a bit dated) to the minute we pushed him out the door, he kept noting we were only staying one night, as if we weren't worthy or wealty enough to stay longer. I played good cop to my husband's growing annoyance by saying that maybe something was lost in the translation. It happens. Fine. He left (with no tip because being shown to my room is something that I can and would do on my own) making us feel like we were paupers...and like we should tip him. (I HATE when people do that.)
My husband had booked a dinner for us that night at The Old Mill weeks before but we were told during our room tour that the hotel had made a reservation for us at The Yacht Club. Confused why our booking would be changed, we were told there was a big party the night before and The Old Mill couldn't be ready in time for dinner 24 hours later. After taking a much needed dip in our private pool we went to The Old Mill for a light lunch. (I'm still confused why we could eat lunch there but not dinner. But as I am not a restaurateur, I am sure there is more that goes into dinner.) We had a lovely waitress, a great view and a refreshing breeze. The food was simple but good. Yeah, as some other reviewers have noted, it is pricier (I think my salad was 13 Euros) than the rest of Crete, but come on, it is a resort...it's to be expected.
We lounged around for a while until our dinner reservation. It is truly a wonder to eat outside. If I could do it every day, I would. The food was good, but not great. (I took a look at the menu of The Old Mill and it was way more appealing despite being told the food was the same.) I think our meal was around 150 Euros, which by NYC standards is normal, but for Greece...hmm. Again, it's a resort.
Yes, this property attracts an older crowd but the older crown generally has more money to spend on expensive holidays! It was a quiet evening which was fine by us. Our pool wasn't heated so it was a bit chilly to take a midnight swim which was okay since we entertained ourselves doing other things.
The next morning we went to the buffet breakfast on the terrace. Decent service, as I don't really care for servers fawning over me..especially at breakfast! Did I notice better attention being lavished on the Germans? (See earlier posts.) No. But do I care? No. My God, don't blame the Germans! I read the review about being stuck there on 9/11 and I was shocked. Behaviour like THAT is unacceptable, but being nice Germans and not Americans? I think there's too much being read into that.
Because we had to check out in the afternoon to catch our flight to Athens, we took advantage of the strong Greek sun and found ourselves a secluded stretch of rock by the sea. I'm being high-maintenance here, but when there are permanent umbrellas with a table at a 5 star resort, I sort of expected someone would come around asking if we wanted something to drink or eat. I apologise for being momentarily high-maintenance.
We checked out with the same guy that checked us in. Sigh. What this really long review boils down to is being treated poorly by one or two individuals. Really, this resort is great. It is hands down the most beautiful view I've ever had in a hotel. While I can't claim that I ONLY stay in 5 star establishments like other reviewers, I have stayed in great places around the world. I would definitely go back for a day, a week, a month...all summer. And I'd probabaly end up buying some of the shiny jewellery that teased me in the window of the shop.
In short: This is a one-of-a-kind property for people that love resorts and aren't afraid to spend money. If anyone is rude, tell them! (Or just don't tip 'em.)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Famed for its gracious and attentive service, this hotel is the embodiment of all-time-classic style and cultured luxury, where antique art and traditional architectural themes adorn all of its private-pool bungalows - each with its own terrace overlooking the Aegean Sea. Three fine dining venues reflect the Relais & Chateaux tradition of excellence, their culinary delights ranging from enticing lunchtime snacks to five-course dinners, with flambe and fish specialties. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Elounda Mare Hotel And Bungalows
- Elounda Mare Relais & Chateaux Hotel Crete