Blue Palace Resort & Spa, Crete, Greece

Blue Palace Resort & Spa, Crete, Greece

With its rolling surrounds, rugged terrain and cerulean
seas, Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection
Resort and Spa
offers yet another reason to pack your bags and
head for Crete.

We know, we know, we’ve waxed lyrical about the myriad
Greek islands
that you should be visiting this summer.
, Hydra,

, Ithaca
but there’s something to be said for going with the grain and
hitting up the big players – there’s a reason they’re so popular,
after all.

With its rugged terrain, varied cuisine – this is the garden of
Greece – and wealth of ancient sites, not to mention the cerulean
Aegean licking its shores, Crete
is always a winner.

Distilling the best that the island has to offer is Blue Palace
Resort & Spa, which sits on the seafront and blends into the
distant rolling hills near the tourist town of Elounda on Crete’s
northern coast. A sprawling resort that offers several restaurants
as well as private swimming pools with the majority of rooms, the
hotel manages to retain a sense of boutique luxury despite its size
– not least thanks to first-class staff, many of whom have worked
for the (family) company for 20 years.


Individually designed rooms are done up in blue and white tones
evocative of Greece, while natural wood and a muted marble colour
palette in the bathrooms further bring the outside in. Eclectic
artwork that has been carefully sourced by owner, Agapi (she’s
stayed in almost every room) brings a personal touch and is a
colourful reminder that you are in Crete. Blue Palace is one for
those who like to spend time relaxing in the privacy of their own
little haven (read: sunbathing naked). The main draw are the 142
shimmering, private plunge pools that jut out of the back of many
accommodations (choose from 251 luxurious rooms, suites and
villas), each offering striking views of the ocean and historical
Spinalonga island in the distance. It’s a villa experience for
couples or families, with all the amenities of a hotel.

What’s for breakfast?

Head to the hotel’s main restaurant, Olea, for a mammoth
breakfast buffet. Alternatively, guests who are staying in
two-bedroom suites, island luxury suites and villas can head to
Anthós for a tranquil start to the morning in a fragrant courtyard.
Here, artisanal treats and local specialties are followed by
made-to-order hot dishes in an experience that is akin to eating
breakfast in a Cretan family home – albeit one with spectacular
views of the coastline.

How about lunch and dinner?

The dining offering means guests could eat for almost a week
without having to visit the same restaurant twice. Our favourite
has got to be the traditional Greek taverna, Blue Door, which feels
like you’re in a local, family-run restaurant, while other options
include Olea for international cuisine; Asia Deep Blue for Asian
fusion; Isola for
Italian plates
and Isola Beach Club for bohemian vibes by the
sea during the day. For a special occasion, book into Anthós for a
refined Grecian affair with an open kitchen beside the hotel’s
organic garden. The wine list here is excellent.

Is there a bar?

Yes, there are several. Striking Arsenali Lounge Bar is the main
event, where guests gather for sundowners in the shadow of dramatic
sandstone arches. During the day, Isola Beach Club will keep you
more than satiated with frozen cocktails and bottles of Whispering


A fully equipped watersports centre caters to both adults and
children, offering paddleboarding, jet-skiing and flyboarding
alongside more traditional seafaring activities. Don’t miss the
gorgeous Elounda spa, fit for Greek emperors with its indoor pool
surrounded by olive trees, and multiple treatment rooms offering a
range of high-end therapies. We were also pretty impressed by wine
tasting aboard a traditional caïque boat, and wish we’d had time to
try our hand in a Greek cooking class.

Things I should know

The watersports centre lets you hire a little motor boat without
having a powerboat licence (don’t panic, it’s only 40 horsepower).
Book your ride, get the hotel to pack you a picnic and spend a day
pootling around the coastline, channelling The Talented Mr. Ripley
as you dive in and out of the clear waters.

Within a short walk I can find…

Probably yet another swimming pool. But hop on a boat to make
the short trip to Spinalonga island just across the bay. Now a
Unesco World Heritage Site, the rocky outcrop has a chequered
history that’s seen it repurposed from a Venetian fortress to a
leper colony. Definitely worth the trip to break up lengthy
sunbathing sessions with a spot of culture.