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.

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Hotel Review: Blue Palace, Crete


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.


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


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


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.


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

Plaka, Schisma Elountas 720 53, Greece


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