Here we are on the second part of our Cretan luxury holiday. Still in Elounda, it's where the majority of 5* hotels are. We are at the Domes of Elounda, luxury boutique resort. A favourite with families, its sandy-beachside kids club run by the trusted Worldwide Kids Company (they run the one at the fabulous Sani Resort in Halkidiki where we will be jetting off to for the last week of our holiday).
Set into the hillside, the suites with jacuzzis or private pools have spectacular domes in their roofs. Painted in candy pinks, baby blues, terracotta reds and whites, the buildings themselves form part of the stunning views. We ambled each day down paths and stone walkways and steps lined with rosemary, lavender and no end of fragrant colourful flowers, such a world away from urban London. Steps provide easy walking from the highest villas down the hillside to the reception and swimming pool and beach beyond.
Domes is what I would call laid back luxury. Feet-in-the-sand beach bar serving simple but delicious food and drinks, a sandy beach (very unusual for Crete) with shade provided not by umbrellas, no, instead by a canopy of olive trees where lying beneath them, a breeze keeping the heat at bay, I read my book happily!
I chose Domes based on the private pool option (it's such a luxury but brilliant when you have little ones learning to swim) as well as it's glowing reviews on Trip Advisor; I had to see for myself. It seemed too good to be true. Also, It's quite a bit cheaper than some of the other 5* hotels in Elounda which got my attention and when you start travelling with children the costs start to to add up quickly, especially if you need to travel during school holidays.
Our suite was almost at the top of the complex. Breathtaking views to Spinalonga Island but also simply out across the bay of Elounda. Swimming, playing and splashing about in our pool Alexander and I played spotting boats sailing back and forth to the distant mountains and beyond.
He also very much enjoyed the bubble-in-whirlpool bath experience! For any interior designers out there, the decor is eclectic. Not the standard luxury offering.
Hand-built wardrobes, shabby chic mirrors and middle eastern low tables. Our sitting room complete with its its own Dome in the ceiling felt like an observatory.
Our heated pool was our true haven though. Sprayed with Eucerin or Nivea sunscreen for me and the obligatory Soltan Once for Alexander we hardly left but to drop off at kids club or to eat. Kids club here is at the beach. It's big too and crucially for us pale Brits has outdoor covered space with ride on cars and plenty to do. I particularly liked the activities. It's nice to see children going out to pick flowers or find stones to use for crafts later.
It's the staff that really makes you feel welcome here; knowing Alexander by name for instance, always ready with a buggy to speed you to your suite. Parents beware, kids love them so be prepared for a lot of eating and not much exercise! That said make sure that you have a sturdy pair of sandals for the terrain. Alexander wouldn't take off his Geox dinosaur light ones!
We ate every night in the main restaurant. It's buffet-style but don't be put off, they have different themes each night to avoid monotony. They have a buffet especially for kids, not obligatory but a godsend for many! What struck me however was the authenticity of the food and freshness of the ingredients. One of the three restaurants is presided over by a Michelin Starred awarded Chef too, so will satisfy any gourmet!
One afternoon, whilst Alexander was off playing, I paid a visit to the spa. With stunning black seawater pool and black and gold mosaic tiled walls, it has a truly luxurious feel. A special mention to Robin. I was lucky enough to have a holistic massage with him. A physio to world-class football teams too (don't ask me which, I've forgotten!), this man has magic hands which meant that when it was sadly time to leave, I was feeling relaxed and ready for anything! Off to Halkidiki now but we will be back next year, of that I am pretty sure!