At a Glance
This ritzy waterfront resort put Elounda on the map and still has the edge over the competition.
- The superb seaside location—you can dive straight into the sea from many suites
- The state-of-the-art Yachting Villas, with more gadgets than a James Bond movie
- The sense of privacy and personal pampering, despite the resort’s size
The first fully-fledged five-star resort in Greece, Elounda Beach put this sleepy fishing village in northeast Crete on the map back in 1971. Since then, half a dozen pretenders have squeezed into Mirabello bay, jostling for a sea-view slot, but Elounda Beach still has prime position. It’s owned and run by the local Mantonanakis family, who have been in the hospitality industry for over half a century (their luxury portfolio includes several properties on Crete, as well as others on Nafplion and Lagonissi on the Greek mainland). Over half the guests are repeaters—mostly affluent older couples, families (there’s a well-run Kids Club and watersports galore), and the occasional celeb toning up and trimming down at the Espace Vitalité Chenot spa (upgraded in 2014).
Set in 40 acres of gardens overlooking a private beach, the resort is spread out so that couples and kids are segregated. With 245 rooms, suites, bungalows, and villas across seven different categories, choosing the right lodgings can be mind-boggling. Sleekest of all are the Yachting Villas, curvaceous waterfront suites designed to feel like superyachts, with counter-current plunge pools, retractable video projectors, and glass doors leading to teak decks.
The drawback to being the oldest kid on the block is that parts of the resort could use an update. There are eight restaurants serving everything from Polynesian to ‘bio-light’ cuisine, but the award-winning Dionysus is the only one that consistently gets rave reviews. Concierge services for the high-maintenance guests range from private jets to synchronized swimmers (yes, really).
Who Should Stay
With so many different room categories, this resort caters to all sorts—as long as they can afford it. The amenities and restaurants are seriously pricey. Villas and bungalows with their own pools and gardens are ideal for families.
Written by Rachel Howard