Arriving at Domes of Elounda couldn’t be a more relaxing experience. We came by taxi (just under an hour from Heraklion airport), but if you fancy rocking up in a helicopter, that’s fine too. There is no impatient wait in reception or queue to check-in. The form filling-in takes place on a sun-drenched balcony with a view of the ocean – and a complimentary glass of champagne, followed by the pleasing realisation that we weren’t in London any more.
We stayed in a premium one-bed with two sea-view balconies. One of the balconies had a jacuzzi and a blue hazy view that had a hypnotically relaxing affect (aided perhaps by us finishing off a bottle of champagne).
Once we could bear to leave the confines of our balcony, we explored the rest of the resort, all of which is begging to be Instagrammed. The hotel itself is made up of white and terracotta suites and villas, each with their own private entrances. Perching on the hillside above Elounda bay, topped with little domes, it’s reminiscent of a small impeccably cared for Greek village. Each room is accessed by winding stairways and steep cobbled paths, navigated by staff members on speedy golf carts who are tasked with transporting guests from their rooms to the restaurants, beach and pools.
Yes, I did say pools, plural. Thanks to recent redevelopment, the resort now has five pools over two areas: a quiet adults-only section, manned by an incredibly attendant barman, and a larger area, with an 880m2 pool, heated pool and shallow pool for little ones.
The hotel’s main attraction has to be the private beach though. Make friends with the staff and you’ll be guaranteed a good spot (plus a sun-lounger, cushions, umbrella, inflatables, buckets and spades, and a menu in case you fancy another glass of something bubbly) on the sand or beneath the olive trees. The Mediterranean practically laps at the bottom of each bed – perfect for obligatory holiday snaps, and keeping you cool in the midday heat.
We certainly didn’t, but if you need anything else to keep you entertained, there is a gym, a cool seawater spa (including chocolate facials and mini manicures for kids), a crèche and teenagers club, tennis courts and a professional on-site photographer to capture your holiday memories.
I challenge you not to be unrecognisably laid-back by the end of your stay.
Food and drink
It’s a good job the airline only weigh your baggage on the flight home – I reckon I put on about a stone in mini puddings, pool-side cocktails and complimentary bowls of nuts. As part of their half-board option, Domes of Elounda puts on an impressive buffet spread for breakfast and dinner. The restaurant changes theme each night, with a highlight being the Greek night. If you don’t fancy the dinner buffet (it’s understandable if you’re not in the mood for sweet and sour pork or fortune cookies after a day in the Greek sunshine) there are also a la carte options, such as beachside fish restaurant Topos 1910, which puts on weekly Cretan barbecues, plus Anthos, which often hosts internationally renowned chefs.
Once desert is over, there’s not much going on in the evening – unless your idea of a wild one is listening to a live saxophonist. The hotel has a great beach bar during the day (unfortunately it closes at 6pm). But I suspect most residents don’t choose Domes for its night life, there’s always Malia nearby for that…
Price: Suites start from €216 (approx £156) per night
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.