ACRO Suites, Crete: adult-only luxury wellness retreat for a complete mind and body detox
Crete, one of the ancient Greek islands, has long been the ultimate all-inclusive holiday destination guaranteeing sun, sea and delectable seafood. In recent years it has also become a sanctuary for wellness travellers seeking everything from sound healing and meditation to Qigong and kirtans.
Tucked away in a tranquil corner of Mononaftis, with nothing but the Aegean sea for company, Acro Suites is a hideaway with well-being at its core.
Where is it?
Perched along the edge of a cliff in Agia Pelagia, the resort is positioned perfectly to provide exclusivity and privacy, with nothing to disturb the sweeping sea views apart from the occasional cargo ship and curious goats from local — yes, you may have company from time to time. Should you want to venture out of your zen sanctuary, an intimate sandy cove is a short walk away, and Heraklion Archeological Museum is a 30-minute drive from the property.
The unassuming appearance, plastered in brown with exposed stone walls, does nothing to stand out. In fact, much of it seamlessly blends into the hill it occupies. A short stairway leads you to a glass box reception whose sole purpose is to wow guests with blue sea views synonymous with this Aegean island.
The interiors are designed by Danae and Konstantina Orfanake, sisters and co-founders of ACRO Suites. “Our vision was to bring together locally sourced materials along with renowned Cretan hospitality to create a new project entirely dedicated to wellness. Our vision came to life with the launch of ACRO Suites, developed as an eco-friendly destination to encourage the preservation of the local culture, values, and natural Cretan landscapes.”
And the landscape is king indeed. Every nook and cranky directs you out to what nature has in store. The overarching theme is minimalist meets boho-chic. The restaurant and bar are dressed using muted tones of beige, light grey and soft wood, contrasted only by the black walls of the open kitchen and the stoneware pottery that sits along its shelves.
The rooms embrace the same bohemian characteristics of concrete slabs and natural stone flooring throughout. Accents of black in the vanity bathroom add a touch of modernity to an otherwise cave-like decor. At the centre of the property lies a world war monument converted into a stylish mirror installation. Hugging it from both sides is an infinity pool with circular cabanas and sunbeds.
All 49 suites, including four villas, follow the height and curves of the natural hill, making some suites higher and some closer to the sea than others. There are four room types sleeping between 3 and 6 people, each with a private outdoor patio, temperature-controlled pool (some infinity), and loungers. And because no suite is taller than two floors, there is no chance of one overlooking the other. The sunrise or sunset villas are aptly placed to capture the magical moments with that special someone.
Food & drink
In the small open kitchen of Cremnos, the only restaurant inside ACRO, executive chef Yannis Rokanas and his talented young team are creating culinary masterpieces worthy of Michelin recognition. Inspired by homegrown ingredients, Greek and Cretan, Yannis produces picture-perfect dishes with complex flavour profiles that dance in your mouth and leave you wanting more.
Lunch options range from fresh salad and steaks to more on-the-go dishes like burgers and chips. Vegans can dive straight into a cauliflower steak with berries and black truffle. We were treated to the freshest pescatarian delights like the house favourite grilled octopus glazed with sweet sauce sitting on a bed of chickpea cream, caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes confit and capers. Other must-try preparations are asparagus and green onion risotto with scallops and salmon with tangy guacamole.
Dinner is a sophisticated affair with dimly lit tables with buzzing sunkissed guests. An elaborately planned a la carte menu celebrates freshly caught produce like meat, seafood and vegetables. If an authentic Cretan meal is what you desire, ask the courteous kitchen crew to prepare a traditional lamb recipe cooked for over 24 hours. Fish lovers can choose from tempura with beetroot and garlic sauce or lobster with a truffle emulsion. You cannot complete your meal without delectable desserts prepared by a gifted pastry chef whose genius includes sourdough bread ice cream, sweet potato brownie and galaktoboureko cream, a crunchy filo pastry filled with vanilla cream topped with honey syrup with lemon and cinnamon.
An expert sommelier is at hand to pick the perfect wine accompaniment with your meals, or just outside at Circle bar, bartender George can shake up a delightful tipple with your favourite spirit. We asked for his recommendation and got served Gaia, a rum-based cocktail with passionfruit and a leaf of a local herb called cappuccino.
There is plenty to keep you intrigued at Cremnos, but if you are after something homely and rustic, head to Minoan Cretan Taverna over at Sea Side resort and spa. The all-inclusive hotel, owned by the same group, welcomes guests from ACRO at all four restaurants and several bars.
You are transported into a meditative world the minute you step into ACRO. The staff, all of who walk around in long grey robes, look like masters who have the power to heal a chaotic city dweller. While nature does that job nicely, there is a full schedule to help you experience wellness at your own pace.
One of the most tranquil spaces is Asana Yoga Shala, a yoga and fitness studio with a view of the rugged mountains. The semi-circular dome is an architectural delight and a sanctuary of peace where professionals hold yoga, pilates and cross-training sessions throughout the day. The resort has also introduced a new weekly deep relaxation session called the art of yoga nidra (conscious yogic sleep). This type of yoga refers to conscious sleep, where the body rests while the mind remains aware and active.
Purify your body and soul with the Byzantine hammam at their spa Bath House. The cave-like interior, covered in granites of various shades, is designed to calm your mind and isolate you from the world outside. Expertly trained hands will vigorously scrub every inch of you with fragrant bubbles and aromatic Greek plant oils. A post-hammam herbal drink awaits with Turkish delight while you look out over the swimming pool into an ocean of calm. There is also a dry sauna, heated pool and several other treatments. If your idea of relaxation is to sweat it out, there is also a fitness centre with the latest equipment.
Anyone longing to reset their mind and body in a modern contemporary resort surrounded by nature, excellent food and top-notch facilities.
Stay at ACRO Suites starts from £350 per night, including breakfast; acrosuites.com