Tuesday, July 26, 2011
WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO CRETE part 4, Elounda Peninsula
ELOUNDA PENINSULA ALL-SUITE HOTEL is the Pride and Joy of the Kokotos family – who also built Elounda Mare (described in a previous blog). Architect Spyros Kokotos & CEO Eliana Kokotos helped to launch Elounda area as Crete’s luxury mile with Elounda Mare and its romantic pool bungalows. Next to be built was nearby Porto Elounda with large shared pools, more activities and easier prices - appealing to families. Then in the mid 1990s Elounda SA Resorts launched their most luxurious resort – Elounda Peninsula All-Suite.
It is all suite accommodation, all with pools. It was more urban in feel than Elounda Mare with its gardens and hideaway bungalows and attracted moneyed people who felt most comfortable with everything brand new and contemporary. The intention was to draw people who wanted to be seen. But it ended up being even more of a hideaway than Elounda Mare – albeit without the maze of paths in flowery gardens. A really attractive breakfast room with view over the water is hardly used. People like to dine in suite. Guests seem to have a habit of moving in to this home from home and can stay months. Husband jet-sets on business and wife and kids bury themselves in the Peninsula and its luxuries.
The property has only 66 suites. Five-star pampering and friendly personal service is what it is all about.
WHERE TO STAY
The presidential suites along the waterfront are appealing, all with sizable waterfront pools and private sea access. From stone platforms with sunbeds above the sea a ladder drops into the waves slapping on rocks or offers access to the beach with a less adventurous descent.
Décor is attractive with blue and green giving a fresh spring and water feel. Built on different levels – the dining area looks down on the lounge and its huge windows, light and views. There are also spacious junior suites with pools on the beach front.
The top accommodation we saw was the Royal Grande Suite. This is vast, with contemporary modern feel of uncomplicated space and hi tech features: lift (elevator), hammam, sauna, indoor pool with tropical garden – as well as the large outdoor pool and terrace. The living room brings church like awe with its very high roof and tall windows – and tall chimney. The dining room with long table is on a higher level and looks dizzingly down on the lounge. The nice surprise was the indoor pool with tropical banana palms – the other surprise was the body’s guard’s room with separate entrance - a teeny hideout. Or maybe the twin loos en suite with the master bedroom?
The Peninsula Palace is a vast waterfront hotel suite combining a “Royal Grand Suite” and the “Peninsula Residence”.
The lead-in type – “Collection” suites (1, 2 and 3 bedrooms) – also have fresh blue and green décor. Built on two levels with bedroom upstairs – all have sea view looking down and over the presidential and other suites. And they all have pools in front with tall walls to give privacy - very cosy and compact compared with the Presidential.
Facilities shared by all three Elounda SA Resorts include: the vast Six Senses spa with stunning crystal glass features; an ample kid's area, dive club, tennis courts, two yachts for charter, 9-hole golf course, and a couple of Greek Orthodox chapels and designer shopping centres. There is also a super high tech conference facility for 5000 people.
Altogether there are 7 restaurants between 3 resorts, and 5 bars. One of the choices is gourmet restaurant “Calypso”, formerly under French Michelin-Star Chef Jacques Le Divellec - now under Eric Maio Italo French Chef. Further the hotel is walking distance from a plethora of tavernas along Elounda harbour and village beachfront.
Beach at sister hotel - Each of the three Elounda sister hotels has a sandy beach
View across to Elounda Peninsula from Elounda Mare (sister hotel)
Dining area of a presidential suite at Elounda Peninsula
HOW TO GET TO ELOUNDA PENINSULA ALL-SUITE
1 hour by car from Heraklion International Airport. Helicopter transfers possible.