Don’t get me wrong I’ve stayed in my fair share of nice hotels; high rise monoliths in the U.S with Jazz bands playing in the lobby, vast country manors in the UK with charming ‘olde’ world architecture and acres of land, and Spanish resorts with world-class leisure facilities. Nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience on an impromptu four day trip to Greece in the early autumn however.
Crete had never been on my radar, which is odd considering it by far the largest Greek island, and save for a few specs of rock, the most Southerly point in Greece. I certainly didn’t know the island was home to what was known locally as the ‘Greek Riviera’, a small stretch of coastline in the north east that housed some of the most luxurious hotels, certainly in Europe, and possibly the world. Now, ‘luxury’ is a subjective term – to some it means their hotel room has had a quick spring clean before they arrive, but if I tell you Jennifer Aniston stayed (and allegedly got married) in the Greek Riviera, you should get some idea of how renowned, even amongst celebrity royalty, this part of the world is when it comes to luxury living on Greece holidays.
So we rolled up at the entrance to our hotel, (the main entrance had its own floor by the way) only to be greeted by an elegant looking member of staff who handed us each a moist, cold towlette, more than welcome after an hour long coach transfer from Heraklion! Then we were treated to a view across the hotel.
Greeted with a series of geometric shapes that looked like something like a three-dimensional Picasso masterpiece, the visual delight that was Daios Cove came together to form a beautiful vista tinged with blues, greens and beige. Almost too much to take in, yet at the same time clean, minimalist and unfussed, this hotel was some serious eye-candy, occupying a intimate cove without disrupting the natural flow of the landscape.
Taking a tour of the hotel it became evident that Daios didn’t just exude effortless style on the outside. The vast, open-plan reception area was like a modern art gallery with marble flooring, an open airy feel, and the assorted oddly-shaped furniture warranted a second glance, while looking far too good to actually sit on. Oh, and there was a luxury jewellery concession complete with full time member of staff placed inconspicuously in the corner.
Each area of the hotel had a different theme, perhaps most impressive was the entrance to the spa, looking like fantasy film-inspired treetop lair with luminescent strands hanging from the ceiling, giving the room a relaxing blue glow. The gym and indoor pool area were unsurprisingly immaculate and decked out with top draw equipment.
As for the rooms themselves, the open plan design echoed the overall theme of the hotel and created a wonderfully airy sense of space. A single partition between the bedroom and bathroom area created just enough privacy without being overly divisive. The balcony offered a picturesque view over the cove, enabling a quick, easy assessment of congestion levels on the beach and by the pool (neither was ever too busy).
After a quick freshen up we reconvened on the main terrace, featuring a spectacular view across the cove and the social hub of the hotel, the Crystal Box bar. Oozing minimalist elegance, this raised glass-panelled room was separate enough from the hotel to feel individual, yet was connected enough to make amenities easily accessible – and by amenities I mean toilets, which, by the way were the only example of which that I’ve wanted to spend more time in than was completely necessary!
Daios Cove has three on-site restaurants, we were lucky enough to sample two; Pangea and the Taverna. The former served us modern five-course seafood themed feast, the highlight of which was a Tuna Sashimi worthy of the best Sushi restaurant I’ve visited, the later was a less structured delicious Greek finger-food affair including some divine stuffed vine leaves, culminating in a mouth watering platter of meats prepared Greek-style.
It’s hard to fault the Daios Cove experience, staff were attentive without being intrusive, the hotel was the perfect size, housing just the right amount of guest so that no area ever felt crowded, the facilities were truly top class, and the overall experience had character – many upmarket or ‘luxury’ hotels have a stuffy, sometimes clinical feel, not Daios Cove; this was without doubt amongst the ultimate luxury hotels in Greece, and Europe too!