It is easy to see why Elounda Peninsula in Crete has been the getaway of choice for the jet-set crowd for nearly 20 years. Everyone from European Royalty to Hollywood stars have flocked to this island paradise, drawn by the beauty of its surroundings, but also for the discreet luxury and complete seclusion its offers its famous clientele from the prying eyes of the paparazzi.
Perched on a peninsula stretching out over the sparkling blue waters of the Aegean, surrounded by the dramatic views of the Sitia mountains, the resort’s unique design is the key to its appeal. The accommodation comprises a collection of individual private suites and villas, all beautifully redesigned as part of the recent major refurbishment, with Wimberly interiors, marble bathrooms, private pools and gardens surrounded by olive-trees – meaning guests never have to leave the sanctuary of their own space. For those looking for even more opulence, there is the option of staying the newly launched Diamond private residences, with up to seven bedrooms and complete with sauna and massage-rooms, and with the added benefit of direct access to the hotel’s own private beach and jetty (Elounda Peninsula is the only European hotel to offer this).
The resort aims to give each of its guests an entirely personalised experience, and there is truly something for everyone here. The award-winning Six Senses spa spread over 2,200 square feet has a treatment menu to satisfy even the most discerning beauty guru, ranging from the traditional authentic Turkish Hammam to state-of-the-art Biologique Research skin lab, and even lessons in Tao tantric arts. For the more adventurous traveller, there is tennis, golf on the resort’s own nine-hole course, or the chance to charter a private yacht and explore the magical ancient ruins of the island, said to be the legendary home of the Greek God Zeus. Children are also well catered for in the impressive Kids Ark, with its own freshwater pool, waterslides, playground, ball-games court and vegetable garden.
There is plenty on offer in the way of food and drink, with no fewer than eight excellent restaurants to choose from. Aglia e Olio has a relaxed vibe for families, serving international cuisine on the terrace under the olive groves, or you can opt for the fine-dining fusion fare at the Old Mill’s blossom garden overlooking the water. Traditional Cretan produce is at the heart of the menus, with a focus on the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Honey is collected from the island’s beehives, and jumbo prawns, octopus and calamari are all caught from the marina, grilled and served with the exquisite olive oil the island is so famous for.
For those of us who have been dreaming of escaping to sun-drenched beaches during the long winter lockdown, this idyllic resort has everything to offer for the ultimate post-pandemic holiday. Designed to cocoon its guests in luxury and set in a breath-taking surroundings with panoramic sea views, this beautiful island hideaway will surely be at the top of every traveller’s summer wishlist.
Elounda Peninsula, from £310 a room a night.