This is an excellent resort, lovely contemporary architecture and beautifully maintained, all very fresh. This is a big hotel complex spread out on the side of an east facing hill sloping down to the resorts private beach. Although the resort is big (circa 250 rooms?), it is spear out, so it didn’t feel crowded at all. As far as I could see, all rooms had sea views and get morning to midday sun. There are five restaurants in the resort (Greek, Italian, Asian, Fine dining etc.), we only tried the Greek Taverna on the beach, which was excellent, if 2 – 3 times the price of the local off-resort restaurants, I suppose to be expected.
There is a small funicular to help you get up and down the resort, but it can be slow and sometimes quicker to walk. The main road from Elounda to Plaka runs through the resort and separates the beach facilities from the hotel accommodation, but there is a pedestrian underpass, so you only need to go out onto the road if you want to walk to Plaka.
Breakfast is excellent and is a huge American style buffet, complete with cooked on request omlettes / waffles etc. and champagne.
The staff in the resort are numerous and all excellent, very helpful and fluent in English (and probably many other languages).
The resort has it’s own private beach which is stony and would be hard to walk on but for paths and duckboards connecting all of the rows of sun beds. There are towels available at the beach. There is a watersports centre and a PADI dive centre both on site at the beach (but no jet skis). You can private hire the speedboat for EUR35 return for a max of four people to take you to Spinalonga, which I highly recommend! There is an excellent beach bar and they take orders from your sunbed. There is a spa centre which looked excellent with all the facilities you would expect, together with thalassotherapy and various treatments. There is a pontoon you can walk out on and dive and swim or snorkel in the sea. While it is not a coral reef, the snorkelling around some of the rocks near the pontoon wasn’t bad at all. Careful f walking in as there are some sea urchins around.
There are a number of pools around the resort, a big salt water pool on the beach (with a shallow pool for kids), an indoor pool at the spa centre and a smaller, quieter pool in the Asian dining complex at the top of the resort. The pools all seem to be 1.3m deep.
There is free WiFi in reception only (internetfree) and paid for access around the resort (blue_palace).
They will give you an iPod dock on request. There was no cashpoint in the resort. There is a Hertz car rental desk in reception which is manned part time with a dedicated phone at other times. They deliver and pick up from the resort.
We booked a superior bungalow with sea view and private pool. The pool was private only in that it was separated from other pools for rooms either side, but it was visible from occupants of other rooms sitting on their verandahs (ask me how I know!). The verandahs are quite private and east facing, with a great view of Spinalonga Island and gets the morning sun – sunrise is great if you are up! The pool is small and 1.3m deep, but fine for relaxing in. The rooms are very fresh, light and airy of course with air-conditioning. There is a separate shower and bath and there is a range of good quality toiletries provided. The bed is huge but quite firm - too firm for us. There is an arrangement of push button lights that signal housekeeping, they were excellent at respecting the ‘occupied’ (i.e. do not disturb) light. Housekeeping was excellent, with a morning make up and an evening turn down.
My only criticism was that there was no in-room tea and coffee making facilities.
Off Resport – Plaka:
This is the local village and a mere 500m walk away along the road to the north, easily visible from the resort. The road has a sidewalk for about 2/3rds of the way then you walk along the road for the rest, not a particularly busy road, but keep your wits about you! We really liked Plaka best of all and would consider staying there in a hired apartment next time. There are at least 12 restaurants / tavernas, two bars, one mini-mart and several tourist stored / boutiques. It all feels really nice and a little bit above the usual tat. Best place we found was also pretty cheap, the taverna along the road under the trees next to the Pine Tree Bar, good food, quirky service and very sensibly priced! You can get frequent boat trips to Spinalonga here.
Off Resort – Spinalonga:
This is the historic island that guards Elounda Bay. Started as a Venetian fortress, then and Ottoman fort, then a Leper Colony until 1957, now unoccupied. Allow 1 to 1.5 hours max to see the place and walk around the island. You don’t really need a guide as there are plenty of placards around the place in English. It gets pretty busy from 11:00 to 14:00 so best to visit early or late (closes at 17:00). Small admission charge. We took the speedboat from the resort, well worth it!
Off Resort – Elounda:
Not very impressed by Elounda. Bigger town and still a fishing port. The port bit is scenic with loads of restaurants and bars. The town was a bit tat with basic grade tourist shops. Get a taxi from Blue Palace for EUR 7. Far preferred Plaka!
The only other thing we did was to hire a car and do a self-guided trip to the Palace iof Knossos. Drive about one hour back to Heiraklion, then turn right and head inland for a few miles. It was pretty busy, but people spread out once in the complex itself and a very interesting place well worth seeing if you care at all about history. The town of Heiraklion might have been OK, but we timed out.
Very impressed indeed with the Blue Palace resort. A large resort, but didn’t feel like it when you were there. Staff were excellent and unfailingly helpful. Fantastic breakfast. Loads of facilities, restaurants, pools and a large private beach. Very close and an easy walk to Plaka. Expensive (but I suppose you have to expect that). Just a shame there was no in-room tea / coffee making facilities.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape to the wild beauty and unrivalled island style of a bohemian luxe resort with emblematic sea views, crystal clear waters, sparkling infinity pools, world class cuisine and bespoke services. All this combined with the resort's beach experience create a unique setting , where time seems to stand still. Blue Palace, a setting of wild grandeur. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blue Palace Resort And Spa
- Blue Palace Hotel Elounda
- Blue Palace Resort & Spa
- Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Crete Elounda