London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Family holidays in Crete tick so many boxes for children looking for fun, parents looking for zen and luxury lovers. We stayed 5 days with Domes of Elounda over July and August 2020 and the conclusion is this lovely Autograph collection and Mr and Mrs Smith boutique hotel accomodates super well the needs of younger travellers whilst keeping all parties safe in the new brave world of 2020.
The location overlooking Spinalonga is stunning: the island of Victoria Hislop’s bestselling novel and a former leper colony, rich in history and nuances. We could not get enough of the million shades of Aegean turquoise and this fascinating island : from our suite, hotel’s lounge, the beach, the spa pavilion.
Topos beach restaurant with Mediterranean a la carte dining is bliss. Right by the water, so kids can also play merrily on the sand and by the rocks once they finish dinner or lunch.
We loved the seabass, the shrimp saganaki and the mussels with chilli and feta cheese. We also had a great lunch with friends in here, 5 kids and 6 grownups rose wine and spritz flowing, all loved it. And the kids were ecstatic with their icecream with marshmallows and M&Ms.
The breakfasts at Tholos were superb but occasionally felt super busy. My boys loved the pancakes with blueberries, my other half the eggs royal and me the French toast. The fruit platters were so fresh and exquisite, watermelon, apricot, melon and peaches – all super juicy and packed with flavours.
The beach is lovely and sandy, just bear in mind that the shady bits can be scarce and as it can get quite windy at the Moet bar end, so installing umbrellas is not always feasible. The waters are crystal clear but beware of the fire worms by the shallow rocks – I got a terrible bite and rash on my bum, worst in 15 years of extended diving and many more of swimming and snorkelling. The hot tub has done wanders initially for 2 hours and thereafter with lots of swimming in the sea the pain was gone. A week in and still had the marks but judging from another guests post a couple of years ago, I am on the lucky side for figuring out what it was and how to treat it.
The suites are stylishly furnished and have generous terraces, perfect for stargazing , sipping wine and a great family holidays in Crete.
Mosquito repellent is probably a good option if you are as fond of us of stargazing and wine! The youngsters are also super spoiled with their own bathrobes, slippers, and toiletries – our boys loved them!
Other considerations and 2020 adjustments:
(i) The kidsclub location is quite a hike and in July Cretan heat without a buggy it is quite a workout for all parties. In the new era of travelling with Covid 19, the kidsclub activities were all outdoors but did not lack variety: yoga in the grass, painting, Greek mythology and seeing the Museum of the Greek Monsters.
(ii) The pool is nice but also quite a ride from Reception and the beach. Given the Covid 19 circumstances, the pool by reception is closed.
(iii) The leading sushi Peruvian restaurant became an open-door gym, whoever can exercise in 33 degrees Cretan heat will have a blast in here. There’s rowing and plenty of equipment, Swiss balls and yoga mats. Perfect for our little rowing champions on a fundraising mode!
(iv) In the new world of 2020, the spa only offers treatments to adults, massages more specifically. No treats for kids or sauna, steam room or jacuzzi. Better safe than sick we agree. The marketing team generously gifted me a 20min back massage, after months and months of no spa it felt bliss! The spa villa was at the top has a private pool and blissful views over Spinalonga.
Domes of Elounda staff is graceful and kind, all so responsive to new norms and instructions.
There is a water sports centre right by the restaurant, driving the boat around Spinalonga was fun, so scenic and felt so easy.
Zenbabytravel visited Crete first time in 2005 with Greek friends and fell in love: over the years we explored Heraklion with its stunning Byzantine churches, Venetian wall and harbour fortress; the famous Knossos with the Minotaurus legends, residential Ierapetra, Rethymnon with friends and baby, enchanting Agios Nikolaos, boutique Daios Cove and stunning Elounda also at the blissful Elounda Beach Hotel & Villa.
Disclaimer : many thanks to Domes of Elounda for the media discount and upgrade to free dining. All impressions all ours as usual 😊