Hotels for the Leisure Traveler

Tucked away on the sun-drenched shores of northeastern Crete, facing the azure waters of  Mirabello Bay and the Aegean Sea, are the three hotels of Elounda SA: Elounda Mare Hotel, which cradles seasoned aristocrats in classic comfort; Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort, a hotbed for family fun; and the Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel, an ultra-exclusive enclave for romantics and those in search of complete escape.

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The first-ever member of Relais & Châteaux in Greece, Elounda Mare Hotel (www.eloundamare.com) comprises 37 rooms and suites in its main building and 38 bungalows and bungalow suites. Sea View Rooms and Suites (one and two bedrooms) in the main hotel feature private balconies with views of the Aegean Sea, but for added luxury we suggest a private freestanding bungalow; each has its own pool and garden. If your VIPs want to live like a god and goddess, select the two-bedroom King Minos Suite; it’s closest to the sea, so views are vast and unobstructed. The suite has its own gym, sauna and steamroom complex, and each bedroom has its own bathroom; we loved the private pool and garden (guests of the suite enjoy complimentary limo transport from and to the airport). If you aren’t booking an over-the-top suite, Presidential Suites with private pools are a perfect alternative (all rooms here feature views of the Aegean Sea).
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Though there is no spa on site, guests enjoy access to the renowned Six Senses Spas at sister hotel Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort a few minutes away. Here, the signature Sensory Spa Journey (four-hand massage, footbath, full-body aroma massage, cleansing facial, scalp massage) comes highly recommended; book treatments at the 23-room spa when booking rooms, and be sure to request Adonis or Lisa. Contact Spa Manager Elli Soumaki (spamanager@elounda-sa.com; 30 2841 0 68000).   
Three restaurants on site—Deck, Yacht Club and Old Mill—serve breakfast and five-course table d’hôte and à la carte dinners; à la carte lunch and dinner; and drinks and light meals during the day, respectively. All are open to locals, and insiders recommend making dinner reservations before 4 p.m. the same day to secure a table. Tip: We recommend stopping at Karavia Bar for pre- or post-dinner drinks; the views of Mirabello Bay are mesmerizing.

For assistance in arranging off-site activities, such as sightseeing and shopping in the village square, contact Front Office Manager Eleni Kourouni (porto@elounda-sa.com; 30 28410 68000); she has arranged private guided tours and countryside excursions, luxury day cruises, helicopter tours and private yacht hires. Travel advisors may also contact Sales Executive Lazaros Mallis (mallis@elounda-sa.com; 302 841 068000) and General Manager Chris Tzianos (mare@elounda-sa.com).

If your VIPs plan to arrive via private aircraft or yacht, recommend Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort (www.portoelounda.com), which has a private helipad and large moorings for three yachts (this hotel is insiders’ pick for families; choose a two-bedroom beach villa). Best to book is the two-bedroom suite in the resort’s main house; it has a private pool and is adjacent to Six Senses Spa. Like Elounda Mare, all accommodations here feature sea views.

For spectacular on-site dining, ask Kourouni to reserve a table at Nafsika, Playiada or Elies for dinner, or Odysseus for a lazy afternoon lunch. Tip: Don’t miss Greek evenings at Playiada, complete with local dancers and live music.

Travel advisors are welcome to contact General Manager Costas Papachristophorou (porto@elounda-sa.com; 30 28410 68000), who divides his time between Porto Elounda and the nearby Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel. He has catered to notable guests like NBA star Peja Stojakovic.

When it comes to shopping, guests can venture to Playiada, a traditional Cretan village square brimming with boutiques, and Six Senses Gallery for jewelry, souvenirs and art (where guests of Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel shop, too).

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Catering to a client who loves the links? Ask Kourouni to book a tee time on the hotel’s nine-hole championship golf course.

For clients who prefer absolute exclusivity, book accommodations at Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel (www.eloundapeninsula.com), which, like Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort, is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. All 46 suites feature private pools and sea views, but we love the seafront two-bedroom Grande Suite, which has indoor and outdoor pools, a private gym, sauna, hammam and elevator (it’s the only one of Elounda’s accommodations to offer private butler service).

When your clients aren’t indulging in a day’s worth of treatments at the hotel’s Six Senses Spas, they can enjoy gourmet dining and fine wine at Calypso Restaurant (the tuna with foie gras and truffle sauce is superb); ask concierge Kourouni or Sales Executive Lazaros Mallis to assist with reservations. Admiral’s Bar and Serene’s Bar are best for a refreshing nightcap and jaw-dropping views; we loved the Kelari Wine Cellar for private wine tastings. Kourouni or Mallis can also assist with golf arrangements on the hotel’s nine-hole course.

Note: Elounda Mare Hotel is open from April through late-October; Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort is open all year; and elounda peninsula All Suite Hotel is open from April until late-September. Pets are allowed in accommodations with private gardens at all three hotels.   



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