Domes of Elounda, Crete, Greece
Discover the best of all worlds at this vast-but-manages-to-feel-intimate hotel overlooking the dazzling Aegean.
03 December, 2021
You've probably heard about Domes. With five properties spanning Crete and Corfu, this is one of the most famous hotel groups in the Greek islands - and for good reason. These spacious sanctuaries have a laid-back feel to accompany five-star service and accommodation, so it's unsurprising that they welcome many repeat guests each year.
Multi-awarded Domes of Elounda is perhaps the most celebrated, sprawling out as it does around Mirabello Bay on Crete's northern coast. Complete with one of the best private beaches we've seen - a glittering aqua lagoon, icing-sugar sand, warm shallows, a gentle decline - that overlooks Unesco World Heritage Site Spinalonga (an island fortress and former leper colony), the hotel embodies the very essence of a Greek holiday.
Where to start… A Rolodex of room options range from gorgeous doubles for a romantic couple's break to duplex villas featuring hot tubs, private infinity pools and outdoor kitchens.
We were invited to experience the hotel's highly stylish CORE villa complex, where chic slate-grey pools meet spacious, design-led interiors and utter privacy. Connecting doors are an attractive prospect for families, while the set-up here is more akin to a villa with amenities than a typical hotel - a sought-after option in a post-pandemic world.
What's for breakfast?
Head down to the deliciously monstrous buffet at Tholos, in the main building, where your eyes will bulge at the delights on offer. From local Greek specialities to full English fare, healthy to hearty, smoothies to sparkling wine, these guys have it covered.
How about lunch and dinner?
In typical Domes style, there are four dining options to choose from. The jewel in the hotel's crown is impressive beachfront TOPOS 1910, an à la carte seafood restaurant for those who want to push the boat out.
In the mood for sushi? Yaosai is an Asian-fusion restaurant dishing up authentic cuisine alongside views of Spinalonga, while those wishing to travel to more than one place in an evening will find plenty of international dishes at the Tholos buffet.
CORE, meanwhile, is a range of street-food-style stalls that we found rather incongruous (someone definitely came up with "a concept" here), but burgers and big tables seemed to be keeping families happy.
Of course, you'll find a smattering of bars serving lunchtime bites by the various pools and down on the beach, too, while 24-hour room service is also available.
A sneak peek inside Domes of Elounda, Crete, Greece:
Is there a bar?
Bars galore! Beachfront, poolside, in the main building, you name it.
State-of-the-art spa including a hammam, outdoor fitness centre, four outdoor swimming pools, indoor pool, children's pool, games room, watersports - the list goes on…
Things I should know
This isn't a cutesy little boutique hotel. While it is popular among couples, it's incredibly family-friendly; if you don't want to see children on your holiday, it might be better avoided - and definitely in school holidays.
What about their eco-credentials?
There's a 12-page booklet detailing the property's sustainable, environmental and social-responsibility policies. Nice.
And their accessibility?
Fantastic. Going above and beyond accessible rooms, Domes of Elounda has an accessible pool, fitness centre, spa, and so on.
Within a short walk I can find…
More of the hotel. This place is enormous, though manages to feel not at all like a Disneyland-style resort, thanks to a clever layout and architecture and high standards in everything from bed linen to the brilliant staff. We saw more than one group requesting a photograph with their favourite waiter.
If you're wanting to explore further afield, Elounda is a characterful harbour town, while Agios Nikolaos is the place for a night out.