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Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa 4.5

Elounda, Lasithi Prefecture, Crete

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • On the Aegean Sea, overlooking Spinalonga Island
  • Walk into Plaka in less than 10 minutes
  • Spacious and breezy units, some with private pools and balconies with sea views
  • Private beach with deck and beach service
  • Three outdoor swimming pools, kids' pool, and indoor pool
  • Full-service Thalassotherapy spa with therapy pool and sauna
  • Water sports, PADI dive center, tennis courts, Cretan theme nights
  • Several restaurants, including a steak house and Greek taverna
  • Multiple bars, including a beach bar and poolside bar
  • WI-Fi is free in public areas and some rooms

Cons

  • Fee for breakfast buffet
  • Fee for Wi-Fi in some rooms and signal can be weak
  • Charge for use of Nespresso machines in guest rooms
  • Beach is rocky, and requires a funicular ride to reach
  • Rates are pricey, even compared to other luxury properties

Bottom Line

Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, is a luxury resort overlooking the Aegean Sea and Spinalonga Island. The 251 rooms, suites, and villas are loaded with Mediterranean, breezy style and many have private pools and balconies with sea views. Other features include three outdoor swimming pools, an indoor pool, a full-service Thalassotherapy spa, and several restaurants and bars. The vibe throughout is elegant and relaxed, though travelers should keep in mind that the beach here is rocky. Travelers may want to compare rates and features at the nearby Domes of Elounda Boutique Beach Resort, where rooms have an even sharper artsy style.

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Scene

Seafront resort with bright and breezy contemporary Cretan style

The seafront Blue Palace is housed in a series of contemporary buildings set on large grounds dotted with olive and pine trees. The resort stands on a hill, and from nearly everywhere on the property guests are afforded panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and Spinalonga Island. Designed after a historic palace in Heraklion, the high-ceilinged lobby has chandeliers and large arches with big windows to let in the Aegean light. The vibe throughout is tranquil and relaxed, though the hotel does organize various parties from time to time that liven things up. There are some drawbacks to the hilly seaside location though, and it's a lengthy walk or a funicular ride to reach the main pool an the beach -- though most guests here don't seem to mind. The resort draws well-heeled tourists, who appreciate the spacious and upscale rooms, excellent array of facilities, and seafront location with beach. Blue Palace has a kids' club but the resort is a little better choice for couples, given the rocky beach and deep water for swimming. Keep in mind that rates here are high, even when compared to other luxury properties, and there are fees for seemingly everything.

Location

Seafront location, a five-minute walk fo Plaka and the boat to Spinalonga

Map of Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

Set on a hill that falls toward the Aegean Sea, there are numerous other resorts in the area. It's less than 10 minutes on foot, or one-minute drive, to reach the village of Plaka, which has taverna restaurants. From here, travelers can catch the boat to Spinalonga Island. Elounda town is a bit larger and features, shops, restaurants, bars, and nightlife -- it takes 10 minutes to reach by car. Expect a 20-minute drive to reach both the Diving Centre Blue Dolphin and Elounda Beach. The city of Heraklion is a little over an hour away by car, and the Palace of Knossos -- on the site of what is considered Europe's oldest city -- takes an hour and ten minutes to reach. Heraklion Airport is about an hour away by car. 

Rooms

Spacious and bright rooms with elegant island decor

The Blue Palace's 251 spacious units are housed in a series of two-floor buildings and individual villas. The look is contemporary and defined by a sharp island style, with sea-blue and sandy-brown colors lending them an airy and bright aesthetic that's perfect for the resort's seafront location. Decor varies from unit to unit and, not surprisingly, higher-category rooms have upgraded design, and can include wicker lounge chairs, gauzy half-canopies, and charming blue-and-white mosaic tilework. All units come with flat-screen TVs with satellite channels (including plenty of English-language channels), air-conditioning, plush beds, and twice-daily housekeeping with nightly turndown service. However, not all rooms have coffee- and tea-making facilities, and there's a fee for use of the Nespresso machines in rooms that do have them. Though Wi-Fi is free in the villas and some suites, it costs extra in most units, though the connection can be spotty regardless. The marble bathrooms are clean, bright, and spacious, with ample counter space. In upgraded rooms, some rooms have flat-screen TVs or separate showers and soaking tubs.

Units range from Superior Suites and Bungalows (some with sea views and private pools) all the way up to villas, many with multiple bedrooms. Most of the higher-end units have some combination of jetted tubs, DVD players, four-poster beds, and living rooms. Villas may include some combination of private car parking, fireplaces, gardens, outdoor dining and barbecue areas, indoor pools, saunas, massage areas, fitness equipment, video game consoles, and iPod docks. Butler service is available on request. 

Features

Private rocky beach, three outdoor pools, full-service spa, and multiple restaurants

Blue Palace offers a ton of amenities, including a private rocky beach on the Aegean Sea with lounge chairs, beach service, and a deck to jump off of into the water. There's also a beach bar with drinks, snacks, and a DJ. The Blue Palace features a PADI dive master with scuba, night diving, boat diving, snorkeling, deep diving, and underwater photography tours available. Water sports include water skiing, wake boarding, windsurfing, kayaking, and canoeing. 

The resort also has three outdoor pools, namely a free-form Arsenali pool, a huge bi-level main pool, and a smaller Asia Blue pool with water jets. There's also an outdoor children's pool. The full-service thalassotherapy spa has a sizable heated indoor pool, plus a hot tub and an indoor therapy pool with water jets. The spa also offers a wet sauna and treatments like traditional olive oil massages. 

Dining and drinking venues include a steakhouse with locally sourced meat, a beachfront Greek taverna, an Asian restaurant with an open kitchen, a sea-facing Italian restaurant with outdoor seating, Greek/Cretan/International restaurant, and an American breakfast buffet (for a fee) with hot and cold items and French champagne. There's also a sea-facing cocktail lounge with occasional live music, an  afternoon tea service, a poolside bar, and a beach bar. Room service is also available 24/7. 

Those looking to get in a work out can rent a bicycle, head to the sea-facing fitness center, or serve and volley on two lighted tennis courts (fees apply at certain times). There's also play table tennis, billiards, backgammon, and cards. Children get a playground and supervised kids' club with theater lessons, painting, crafts, and Greek dancing. The resort also features activities and parties such as themed Cretan nights on the beach, Cretan dance lessons, land safaris, family excursions, and caique (traditional Greek fishing boat) trips around the coast of Elounda and Spinalonga -- but some of these can be expensive. There's also a chapel, conference rooms, wedding hosting, a helipad with helicopter transfer to the airport (for a fee), free self and valet parking, a gift shop, and boutique clothing, jewelry, and local food products shops. Two public computer corners are available. Wi-Fi is free in public areas and in some rooms, but not all.

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Address

P.O. Box 38, Elounda 720 53, Greece

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