A 20-Year-Old Gem: Blue Palace, Crete – Hotel Review

By Jessica Harris

11 months ago

Jessica Williams checks in to celebrate 20 years of Blue Palace


Celebrating a 20th anniversary is no mean feat in the hospitality industry. But, with their cliff-side villas, clean and minimalist interiors and unspoilt views of the Aegean Sea, it’s no surprise that Blue Palace has reigned supreme for the last two decades.

Read The C&TH Guide To Responsible Tourism

Hotel Review: Blue Palace, Crete

STAY

Set on Crete’s north-eastern coast, and quietly nestled between the small fishing village of Plaka and the port town of Elounda, Blue Palace is as authentic as a plate of Moussaka. An hour’s drive from Heraklion airport, the family-owned resort sits discreetly and sympathetically into the rocky landscape high above the sparkling sea. Completed in 2003, it shuns the traditional complex layout of a hotel and is instead configured over a sequence of levels and a series of low-rise two storey buildings. Although this offers an aspect of separation that makes you feel as though you’re not in an over-crowded resort, it does also mean guests rely on one exterior lift which requires oodles of patience and, at certain times of the day, can parallel London’s Central line.

A bedroom at Blue Palace, Crete

Every detail in the design of the hotel has been thoughtfully considered to respect the bones of the land. From the grand arcs of the Arsenali Lounge Bar to the mosaics of Ottoman tiles and Arabic-style furniture from Morocco – every element is a nod to the Arabs, the Turks and the Venetians; all former invaders of Crete whose presence lingers aesthetically throughout making it a design feast for the eyes.

With 230 rooms including 80 suites and four private villas, there’s plenty of space to spread out. Many of the villas and suites offer private pools overlooking the beach where you can watch the sundowners taking a last lap of the bay or enjoy the tinkling sound of the fishing boats rolling in. But at a chilly 20 degrees, it sadly remained untouched throughout our stay with a baby in tow.

Staying in the Superior Pool Bungalow category was able to provide a welcome oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the main hotel. The room, with a small sofa area to the side, was spacious enough for three but the star of the show was the queen size complete with 320-thread-count Frette linens, mattress by Simmons, and a pillow menu for the best night’s sleep.

DO

Perfectly situated above a pebbled beach and turquoise water, the sea is the focal point for Blue Palace’s extensive activities menu. More traditional sports such as water skiing, windsurfing and wake boarding make way for the more adventurous travellers such as scuba lessons, night diving, boat diving, and snorkelling. For the more passive ocean lovers, a trip around the Mirabello Gulf in the hotel’s traditional caique boat is a must. Setting off from the hotel’s own jetty, you can sail around the coast of Elounda and the isle of Spinalonga before tucking into a Cretan feast of local cheese and wines on board. But the best bit? When the captain drops anchor and you can take advantage of the turquoise waters below with a swim.

Back on dry land, the foodies among us can revel in the farm-to-plate concept led by the hotel’s  Phāea Farmer and Executive Chef. Hand-pick your ingredients before whipping up a Cretan banquet accompanied by sustainably-grown BIO wines and learn all the best tricks of the trade. With a decidedly family supper feel, you can get to know fellow guests or book the entire session for you and your party making it a memorable day under the Greek sunshine.

A swimming pool at Blue Palace, Crete

EAT

Food is a big focal point of the hotel. Their culinary ethos is fresh, authentic and seasonal, focusing on produce from their own kitchen garden and relying on suppliers in the local area. For a taste of real Greek food, you don’t need to leave the hotel as Blue Door restaurant provides all of the charm and cosy feels of an old taverna just a stone’s throw from your room. Sitting on the side of the beach, it’s rustic stone stairs, blue checked tablecloths and wooden structure give it an endearing quality as you overlook the horizon. Dishes range from homemade hummus and fresh mint tzatziki to the catch of the day (an incredible red snapper) with fried potatoes and greens. Simple, delicious and unapologetically Greek.

There are a total of seven eateries scattered around the hotel, all offering a laid-back atmosphere and an accessible menu for all. A mojito cocktail and chicken taco is a must for lunch at Isola Beach Club or the homemade pasta with lobster at Isola restaurant is not to be missed. When the sun sets and you fancy something a little different for dinner, Asia Deep Blue offers a romantic ambience and unforgettable sushi.

Blue Palace, Crete

THE FINAL WORD

Offering all of the amenities and lively atmosphere of a luxury hotel with the independence of a villa, Blue Palace is a no-brainer for couples and families alike. Although set away from the local towns and villages which could be seen as a disadvantage for those looking to roam the area, they’ve made sure you have everything you need on site without losing the charm and authenticity of a traditional Greek lifestyle.

BOOK IT

Room rates at Blue Palace start from £215 for two-adults sharing on a bed and breakfast basis.

Plaka, Schisma Elountas 720 53, Greece

bluepalaceresort.gr


How You Could Own Five Holiday Homes For The Price Of One


Thinking of purchasing a holiday home but can’t settle on a location? We know the feeling. But what if you didn’t have to choose? This is the concept underpinning August, a global homeowner network celebrating unique real estate in Europe’s most beautiful destinations. Elevating second-home ownership to a seamless and hassle-free experience, here’s exactly how it works, plus how you can join Europe’s pioneering luxury co-ownership community.

Want to discover more? Request a Brochure from August today

Introducing August, The Better Way To Own Holiday Homes

A large home in the Cotswolds

Cotswolds, Premium Home

How Does It Work?

August facilitates effortless holiday home ownership; with fractional ownership, multiple people can own and enjoy up to five residences across Europe. August finds, buys, designs and renovates all five homes to an exceptional standard across five sought-after European destinations, taking care of all admin and maintenance – and you get to call all of them home for less than the price of one.

It’s the next level in effortless travelling and home-ownership, and members of August’s exclusive community holiday an average of 12 weeks per year. There are five collections to choose from, spanning Europe’s most iconic destinations, including the French Riviera, Tuscany, Mallorca, the Alps and the Cotswolds – all highly-sought regions you’ll want to visit year-round, with easy flight connections. Each home is welcoming, family friendly and features stylish yet timeless interiors curated by experts, charmingly matched to the destination.

Outdoor dining in Provence

Provence, South of France, Signature Collection

Why It Makes Sense

Full Ownership

Not only will you get to holiday in these five gorgeous houses, but every family or individual has collective ownership. This is an equity purchase, with real ownership, transparency and control.

More For Your Money

With shares starting from €365,000, you can part-own over €7,500,000 of prime real estate for a fraction of the cost. Plus, with five destinations at your disposal, you’re not restricted to just one property to call your second home.

Hassle-Free

August takes all of the hassle out of holiday home ownership, managing the purchase, maintenance and management of every home, including everything from housekeeping to gardening, cleaning the pool filter to paying the bills. If you’ve been put off holiday home ownership due to language barriers, unfamiliar legal and administrative processes, a lack of market expertise or simply not being in the area for viewings, August is the perfect antidote, allowing you to simply show up after all the hard work has been done, lie back and enjoy your dream property.

Stylish

With a wealth of experienced interior designers underpinning the collection, your five properties are carefully renovated and designed to expertly blend home comforts with modern technology. Welcome home.

Want to discover more? Request a Brochure from August today

Here Are The Homes You Could Own With August

Ready to take a look at the gorgeous properties already owned by the August community? August has a collection for every lifestyle, including multigenerational properties the whole family can enjoy. You will have the opportunity to own up to five properties grouped into one of four collections. And if you can’t decide which community suits you best, why not join two?

A villa in Tuscany at sunset

How To Join August

Ready to join the August community? Click here to contact the August Advisory team today.