Blue Palace Resort Greek Spa Review
Blue Palace – a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete
Celebrities are drawn to the island of Crete to relax at this luxury Greek spa, so we thought we’d try it out for ourselves.
The clue is in the name of this five-star luxury hotel. Here, you are greeted at every turn by stunning views of cerulean skies and the azure waters of the Sea of Crete, and treated like royalty. If you’re looking for somewhere to totally switch off and relax, and come home feeling like a Greek goddess, this is the place for you.
Built with local stone, with plenty of olive trees dotted around and terraced into a dramatic hillside backdrop between the small town of Elounda and charming village of Plaka, this much-loved hotel and award-winning greek spa blends beautifully into its surroundings. Despite its large size (251 rooms, with over 140 having their own infinity or plunge pool), there’s a wonderful atmosphere of calm, exclusivity and privacy.
No surprise then that this is where the likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna come for a getaway (well, there has to be a reason for the hotel’s helipad!). They presumably book one of the uber-decadent private villas on the complex, but every room here will make you feel like a star. With floor-to-ceiling windows to ensure you enjoy the sea views, all rooms are tastefully decorated in contemporary crisp cool whites and traditional Greek blue hues – as well as being equipped with every mod-con you can think of, and spacious marble bathrooms. There’s also thoughtful little extras, like a plentiful daily supply of fresh fruit and bottled water, handmade nibbles, a bottle of local honey liqueur to enjoy on your balcony at sunset, and a soothing overnight facemask for sun-kissed skin left on your pillow.
Set on a steep hill, you never feel far away from the sparkling sea directly below, with the fascinating isle of Spinalonga floating in the distance across the bay. This tiny island has a rich history which has left behind a mix of Venetian, Turkish and Greek architectural ruins. It became a leper colony in 1903, but after the discovery of antibiotics cured its patients in the 1950s, the island was deserted and remains uninhabited, although it is a popular day trip for tourists. It’s the subject of Victoria Hislop’s international bestseller, The Island – the perfect holiday page-turner to read while lying on the beach here.
To get around the steep incline, there’s a glass funicular to whizz you up and down between the hotel and the beach, or you can grab a lift on a golf buggy. By the lapping water’s edge, you’ll fi nd an immaculate large-pebbled private beach with wooden walkways to guide you to the welcome shade of an umbrella and sun lounger. Each umbrella has a call button for ordering cool drinks and a bite to eat, which makes it very easy to just laze around enjoying the sea breeze all day. There’s also a stretch of beach reserved for guests staying in one of the luxury
suites or private villas, where you’ll find a peaceful cabana for an afternoon snooze and waiting staff on hand to bring you a basket of fresh towels, ice-cold water, magazines, cooling aromatherapy spritzes – you get the picture!
Just off the beach there’s the renowned Elounda Spa, complete with gym, hammams, saunas and 24 rooms – many overlooking the sea – offering an extensive range of facials, massages and treatments to indulge mind and body. I enjoyed an alfresco Cretan Bliss massage, and the extraordinarily skin-softening Aphrodite Beauty Ritual, which involves an exfoliating all-over salt scrub followed by a soothing candle massage with essential oils and cocooning hair mask. The thalassotherapy pool is also a must – jets of water are aimed at different parts of your body as you slowly walk through the pool – guaranteed to make muscles melt and release any tension. We also loved the indoor saltwater pool at the spa – so tranquil, and just so floaty! For anyone feeling energetic, there’s a gym on site, plus tennis courts and numerous water sports that can easily be arranged.
On the food front, there are some seriously impressive restaurants and two bars to enjoy, all of which cater to different tastes and all are excellent, without exception. The Blue Door is a typical lantern-lit, chequered-tableclothed taverna in a converted fisherman’s house, situated right next to the beach. Go on a Friday evening when you can experience a Cretan feast with antikristo lamb sprinkled in sea salt and slow-cooked on an open fire for five hours, together with some live music and dancing.
The stylish Asia Deep Blue serves up delicious and inventive Thai and Japanese dishes – its sushi was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Then you can enjoy an Italian menu at Isola, with masses of fresh seafood and salads to tuck into, and lastly an outstanding, lavish buff et breakfast at Olea, complete with a glass of champagne if you wish.
If you fancy a night out, then walk five minutes down the road into Plaka, where you’ll find a small selection of friendly tavernas waiting to welcome you in. We headed straight to The Carob Tree (Haroupia in Greek) where Stephanie and Greg often have live music playing and an even livelier crowd enjoying deliciously cooked local cuisine and plenty of raki (try their cheese pie recipe here).
Above all though, it’s the staff that make this hotel such a joy to stay in. Many have been here from the beginning and you can sense their loyalty to the family owners and passion for their job. I can’t remember coming across a more friendly, committed and knowledgeable team of staff, who genuinely want to make sure you are having the very best of times – which I can confirm we were.
Rates start from €237 (inclusive of breakfast and tax, advance purchase rate).