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I could not stop staring at the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea from the lobby terrace of Domes of Elounda, an Autograph Collection hotel in Crete, Greece. Also in view was the property’s adults-only pool that overlooks the glittering waves below.
The drive to Domes of Elounda from Heraklion Airport (the primary airport on the island of Crete) takes about an hour, but it’s a scenic journey. Upon arrival, welcome drinks and cool towels offer a first glimpse into the service that pampers guests throughout their stay.
For starters, breakfast is complimentary for all guests in one of two buffet restaurants, while Marriott Bonvoy’s Titanium members also get one free dinner during their stay. Additionally, Titanium members can receive welcome amenities, potential room upgrades and free access to the spa’s wellness areas as part of the deal, too. It’s no surprise that this resort is so popular with American travelers. However, despite the resort being almost completely sold out, I often felt like I was the only person around.
The 118-room property is so spread out that golf carts are a must for traveling around the winding pathways. There are five private pools to enjoy — two with saltwater and three with freshwater — including a family pool where much of the activity happens.
The Core, the resort’s newest addition, is a pop-up entertainment venue with food trucks that prepare traditional Greek cuisine. (I could have eaten my weight in grilled halloumi cheese and chicken souvlaki — it was that delicious.) Artisans sell goods here as well, which is intended to intrigue travelers who are tired of venturing to the nearby town’s more touristy spots.
There are plenty of other dining options, including a new Japanese-Peruvian restaurant serving tasty ceviche and sushi, and an Italian restaurant touting fresh pasta and pizza. The resort also occasionally throws a Cretan barbecue dinner on the beach, which is a family favorite.
Each of the accommodations at Domes of Elounda is luxurious, with a private whirlpool or a larger swimming pool. Guestrooms are grouped into various buildings designed to maximize the views; decor includes island-inspired fabrics and modern furnishings. In bathrooms, guests will find locally produced toiletries made from olives and herbs.
The two-bedroom villas are the most impressive, in part from their recent renovations, but also thanks to their sizeable swimming pools. A selection of the villas can be adjoined by a door that links their respective pool and terrace with a neighboring villa — a perfect option for groups, who are an obvious target for this vacation hot spot.
Guests in the two-bedroom villas can also expect complimentary minibars and access to the new Haute Living lounge. Like a club lounge, the Haute Living space is open to premium villa guests, featuring all-day snacks and generous refreshments including Greek wine.
Domes of Elounda has its own private beach and a traditional sailing boat that takes guests on weekly tours around the bay for swimming and sightseeing. If clients are concerned about crossing the road to the beach, never fear — there’s a private tunnel that makes its sandy shore easy to reach.
The DetailsDomes of Eloundawww.domesofelounda.com