The setting for this hotel is out of this world, situated on the shores of the Merambellos Bay and facing the island of Spinalonga, the setting for Victoria Hyslop’s moving story of a leper colony established on the island. Indeed the views from the dining area, other public spaces and living accommodation are spectacular. The small (yes really small) fishing village of Plaka is only a 15 minute walk away, where ferries to Spinalonga depart every 30 minutes. The larger port of Elounda and Plaka are easily reached by a regular ( every 2 hours) bus service (1.60 €) or by taxi.
We arrived about midnight to be made most welcome by the reception staff and offered a complimentary proseco in the bar while porters took our luggage to our accommodation. Awaiting our arrival at our suite was a beautiful salad, bottle of water and wine. How thoughtful to have this for us on arrival.
Throughout our stay the staff continued to be thoughtful, helpful, friendly and communicative.
The food in the main dining area was superb. Although it was buffet-style, there was no sense of sameness from one day to the next. Wonderful variety and quality.
The public areas were luxurious. The guest accommodation was commodious, well furnished (if a little quirky) and always kept scrupulously clean, with fresh towels delivered twice daily and bedding changed daily if requested. Nice to have fresh flowers and an orchid in our room.
Our departure was late in the day (19.30) and although we could not remain in our suite, we were offered another suite until 18.00. All luggage was transferred by a porter. Although the holiday company (Olympic) advertised that a late checkout was possible, provided that accommodation was available, the management in the hotel seemed resistant to this provision. Being met with excuses – guests are allocated to your room and you must be out by 12.00 (no one had arrived by 19.30 when we left); the hotel is full (when it blatantly was not) – contrasted with the cooperative attitude of the staff during the rest of our stay. We met other guests waiting for taxi pick-up who had not been as persistent as us and had been left without a room for the day. Why lose the good will of guests at the end of their stay?
As with all hotel stays there were a few niggles, and we offer some guidance to those wishing to use the hotel.
The accommodation is situated on a steep slope above the reception and public areas, and is accessed by means of rather steep and twisty stairs and paths, which are poorly lit at points. The shower is sited in the centre of a large spa bath with a high step-over, which for older stiff and arthritic legs was difficult and scary with wet floors and bath base.
We had some issues with noise from the accommodation above – scraping furniture and clicking heels on the tiled flooring.
A courtesy bus service to Plaka and Elounda (or even a ferry boat service for something a bit special) would have been an improvement, as going anywhere from the hotel in the evenings required a taxi. There were no pavements on many parts of the road between Plaka and Elounda ( the nearest forms of civilisation to the hotel), and walking would have been hazardous in the dark. There was no entertainment in the hotel while we were there. The main bar was deserted in the evenings, only being occupied by the barman and two television screens. Another reason for the vacant bar area was the very high cost of drinks - 4.80€ for a cappuccino! The mini bar prices were equally as frightening – Whisky (8€); glass red wine (8.50€); coca cola light (4.50€); sparkling water (6€).
The early breakfast service was disappointing. Twice we had an early breakfast before catching a tour bus. Early breakfast consisted of tea or coffee and a packed lunch box (two dry sandwiches, boiled egg, fruit and various sweet breads and biscuits, all icy cold from having been stored in a fridge overnight) served in the reception foyer.
Dining in a buffet-style restaurant is never as pleasant as in one where there is waiter service. However the dining experience was spoiled by significant numbers of noisy and feral pre-school age children who frequently ran around the dining room, making the carriage of food from the servery a hazardous activity. The atmosphere was not at all relaxing, with parents seemingly unconcerned by the effect of their children’s actions on other diners. The number of adults in attire more appropriate to the beach also conspired to detract from the dining experience. Beautiful setting, splendid food, attentive staff – what a shame. Other guests with whom we spoke were also discomfited by these features.
Still, we had a super holiday. Would we return to Domes of Elounda? Only if the dining experience changed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 5-star Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection is set on the most privileged hill and offers luxurious accommodation with spa bath overlooking the island of Spinalonga and its Venetian castle. It has a spa and 5 restaurants serving haute cuisine dishes, a sandy beach and many swimming pools. Each of the air-conditioned suites is uniquely decorated and has easy access to the private sandy beach. They include a spacious living room with wooden floors and a satellite LCD TV. Some suites also have a private pool or open-air hot tub. This year, the new Domes Luxury Residences, along with the stunning Domes Ultraluxe Villas, come with the 'Haute Living Selection', essentially creating an exclusive haute-luxury villa boutique experience, within the already impressive resort of Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection. The spa of Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection includes an interior seawater pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub. It also offers rejuvenating therapies, such as facial and massage treatments. The 5 restaurants offer casual beachside settings or elegant dining rooms with panoramic sea views. Guests can taste progressive Greek cuisine, seafood and Cretan dishes. An Asian restaurant is also possible. The hotel is very conveniently located. The village of Elounda is 2.5 km away. Part of the Elounda myth, is the Venetian Castle on the Island of Spinalonga, the setting for Victoria Hislop's bestselling novel "The Island". The lively seaside town of Agios Nikolaos is within 12 km of Domes of Elounda. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Domes Of Elounda All Suites And Villas Spa Hotel Elounda
- Domes Elounda Hotel
- Domes Elounda Resort
- Domes Of Elounda, Autograph Collection Crete