They say Greece represents many countries rolled into one. From the serenity and tranquillity of the mainland’s remote rural regions, to the islands with their picturesque bays and bustling towns, there’s plenty to choose from - particularly if you have the good fortune to pick Crete. To many people, this most southern of the Greek islands- just a hop and skip from the north coast of Africa- equates to a nation in itself. The biggest of the islands, it’s with good reason people often return waxing lyrical about the sheer variety of landscapes. Inland mountain roads meander through impossible peaks, whilst the coastal areas are renowned for their endless beaches. Opting for the Domes Luxury Residences in the much sought after spot of Elounda on our most recent visit to this wonderful destination, we immediately felt calm, relaxed and in the holiday spirit.
This is, after all, one of the most beautiful spots on Crete. With traces of a settlements dating back to the ancient city of Olous, today it’s a small and thoroughly charming fishing town comprising several villages, along with the small islet of Spinalonga- a former leper colony that’s well worth a day trip if you feel inclined to take in some of the regional history. Put to use as recently as the early-1900s, it makes for a truly fascinating insight into times gone by. As do the ruins of Olous, which have long since been reclaimed by the sea, but are still visible to scuba divers - a veritable Atlantis if ever we saw one.
Ultimately though, we didn’t feel inclined to do too much given our exceptional accommodation. The Domes Luxury Residences are a unique offering that combines the ambience of a private villa, but with the full service you’d expect from a luxury hotel. The kids loved having their own pool to play in and the whirlpool and waterfall certainly added to the entertainment factor. That’s when we weren’t at the beach, which was just under half a kilometre away.
On site the restaurant served some exquisite dishes, but we also wanted to explore the local cuisine. While the close by Aghios Nicholaos may lack the character of the island’s big hitters such as Rethymnon or Chania, it more than makes up for it with an abundance of fantastic tavernas and a real welcoming spirit. We ventured in twice during our seven day stay, and certainly didn’t regret it. That said, we could easily have stayed put at the Domes, spending the week wandering through the beautiful grounds, relaxing in the marble-clad bathroom or enjoying al fresco evenings staring at the impossibly stunning Cretan sky. A home from home in the truest sense - needless to say we never wanted to leave.