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“Elounda Mare Hotel”, the one and only Cretan “Relais & Chateaux” – World meanderings n°146


By Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny



The Elounda Mare Hotel is set on a lovely rocky and sandy cove overlooking the beautiful Mirabello Bay. When it opened in the 1980’s it was one of the very first hotels in the world proposing bungalows with private pool. It was an immediate success and an undeniable one ever since. In Crete, it’s the only member of the famous brand “Relais & Chateaux”.



Today the hotel is part of a luxury complex of three hotels stretching along the coast close to Elounda, the trendiest resort on the island. Heraklion international airport is only a one-hour drive away. You can either stay at the Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel, one of the most exclusive hotels in Greece, at the Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort and of course, or at the Elounda Mare. All together they create a haven of wellbeing and luxury set in a vast estate planted with olive trees, carob trees, tropical ferns, cactus, roses, palm trees… You will find there a private 9-hole golf course, several private beaches, a state-of-the-art Six Senses Spa, several pools, a nursery and kid club, a shopping centre, an art gallery, private sailing and motor yachts, tennis courts and of course all kinds of water sports. A complimentary shuttle service is available to get to the different spaces of the hotels’ complex.



There are no less than 9 restaurants and 6 bars on the resort open to guests from the three different hotels with the “dine around” program. You will hardly be able to try them all during your stay and choose from Japanese, wine cellar, Italian, seafood, Greek and Cretan… and special thematic dinners with live music. Three of these restaurants were recently awarded for being among the best restaurants in Greece.



The “Toque d’Or” prize is awarded to Greek restaurants recognised for their fine cuisine, excellent service and immaculate environment. A team of experts travels throughout the country each year on an incognito basis reviewing hundreds of restaurants before making their demanding selection. The 3 awarded restaurants at the Elounda Hotels & resorts are the “Old Mill” at the Elounda Mare that proposes a gourmet Cretan cuisine. The second one, the “Yacht Club”, also is at Elounda Mare and serves a Mediterranean cuisine mostly based on seafood and fish. Last but not least the “Calypso” set in the Elounda Peninsula offers perfect food and wine pairing thanks to its large wine cellar.



At Elounda Mare Hotel all rooms, suites and bungalows have a sea view over the quiet Mirabello Bay and its crystal-clear waters. The bungalows offer a great experience with a private heated pool with seawater and garden. Built in the middle of the lush gardens on the seaside each bungalow has its own spirit and decoration and offers total privacy. You will feel there like staying in your own holiday home. Don’t expect outrageous bling-bling. The decoration is sober with white walls, authentic Cretan materials, a fireplace in the lounge area and a vast marble bathroom.



Small bonuses will make your stay even more enjoyable: welcome gift, Nespresso coffee machine, tea set, hypoallergenic or feather pillows, breakfast on your terrace next to your pool… you can even stay here with your pet! The Elounda Mare recently renovated its seven Minoan Royalty Villas and its Minoan Imperial Villa. These huge accommodations can welcome up to 5 people (7 for the Imperial) with one to four bedrooms. They are built right on the seafront with a vast outside space and offer an unobstructed view over the Aegean Sea. Some of them have a private fitness area, sauna, marble Turkish baths or a kitchen.



The “Elounda Mare” has been an iconic hotel in Crete for 40 years and a member of the “Relais et Chateaux” since 1988. Through these four decades it has succeeded to stay one of the best resorts in Greece never ending to enhance the guests’ experience. A secure value of Cretan hospitality!

More info: www.eloundamare.com/en/home

Text ©Annick Dournes

Photos: ©Frederic de Poligny or ©Annick Dournes