Best Crete All-Inclusive Resorts

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Oyster's investigators have visited around five dozen all-inclusive hotels on the Greek island of Crete. These seven are the best of the bunch.

  1. The 245-room Ikaros Beach Resort & Spa is a luxury property on the northern coast of Crete, 30 minutes from the capital Heraklion. Set on a gorgeous sandy beach on Malia Bay, guests have access to ample lounge chairs by the sea or at one of the multiple outdoor pools. A children's pool with slides, a fun entertainment team, and recreational facilities make the property suitable for kids (the hotel brings in an equal number of families and couples). All-inclusive packages are available for the several restaurants and bars, which offer outdoor seating and gorgeous views of the sea. Air-conditioned units range from Classic Rooms with basic amenities to seafront suites with private pools. All have a mini-fridge, flat-screen TV, coffee/tea facilities, and free Wi-Fi.

  2. The 680-room Creta Maris Beach Resort is a large beachfront resort with a Cretan village vibe. While it doesn't live up to its own luxury claims (Ikaros is more luxurious), it does have a beautiful beach, 14 pools, a full-service spa with sauna and hammam steam room, and a wealth of water/land sports and activities (many for kids). There are six restaurants, including a Cretan restaurant and Greek barbecue buffet, and six bars, including a poolside bar and a nightclub. The simple rooms, suites, and bungalows all have small terraces or balconies, mini-fridges, and free Wi-Fi. 

  3. The 450-room, upscale Pilot Beach Resort is on a beautiful and large stretch of sandy beach, a 15-minute walk from the restaurants and shops in Georgioupolis. There are four pristine pools (as opposed to the 14 at Creta Maris) and seven total restaurants and bars (a dozen at Creta Maris) as well as an elegant spa. A kids’ club, sports facilities, and organized games keep little ones occupied. Guest rooms are basic compared to the rest of the hotel, but they all have outdoor spaces and flat-screen TVs, while higher-category rooms offer a more upscale experience. The hotel has facilities to suit every taste, but due to the extensive family-friendly features, couples and honeymooners may feel a tad out of place.

  4. The upper-middle-range Lyttos Hotel is a sprawling beachfront property catering to families, but with a full list of facilities for every type of vacationer. Many of the interior spaces are dated, but they're comfortable and spacious. A 2015 renovation enhanced the main buffet restaurant and pool bar into more modern and attractive areas, though guests should expect both of them to be quite busy. Fortunately, the 365 rooms are separated from the activity and dining hub (which also includes multiple pools, a kids’ club, sporting facilities), and are spread out among lush and peaceful grounds, with walkways shaded by vine-covered trellises. All rooms come with free Wi-Fi, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and balconies or patios. Older rooms are outdated and show wear; Pilot Beach's standard rooms are basic and bland as well, but they have better bathrooms.

  5. The unobstructed Aegean Sea panoramas are blissful at this quiet, adult-only resort, where ocean-facing pools lead directly onto pebbly Kolymbari Beach. The pebble beach has loungers and umbrellas available for rent, or they're included in the ultra all-inclusive package. (Ultra-inclusive packages also waive menu fees at the beach, and throw in beach massages and in-room Wi-Fi and minibars. The more popular standard all-inclusive package covers three meals, local alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and snacks.) A 10-minute walk from the calm fishing village of Kolymbari, Grand Bay has a secluded feel throughout its cool interiors, sea-facing outdoor spaces, and sleek pools. The 75 rooms are pleasantly outfitted, with furnished outdoor spaces and modern (if a bit underwhelming) decor, however, there are fees for safes and Wi-Fi. Two restaurants, indoor and pool bars, and a gym round out amenities, while the no-kids policy means a relaxing atmosphere. Lyttos (where in-room safes and Wi-Fi are free) is a good family alternative.

  6. The 234-room upscale, all-inclusive Stella Palace Hotel offers constant entertainment for all ages. It is out of the way of the major tourist attractions, but there is so much to do at the resort. Kids programs are exceptional, and adults will enjoy the full spa, huge pool, and private beach surrounded by man-made jetties that create a peaceful swimming spot. Rooms come with large flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi for a fee; some suites and villas have private pools. However, room decor is a bit bland for a four-pearl property, and the pool area gets crowded and noisy. For more stylish rooms and a calmer (and adult-only) vibe, try Grand Bay.

  7. The 373-room Aldemar Knossos Royal is patterned after ancient Minoan palaces, as evidence by the two-story, whitewashed buildings with columns, pediments, and a blocky look. The flower-filled grounds are lovely, with multiple pools and vantage points of the ocean. A solid list of on-site features includes direct beach access, well-reviewed restaurants, play areas, sports facilities, and organized activities. Rooms are comfortable (but dated), and offer flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, free safes, and free limited Wi-Fi. Off-site, there is little to do and there isn’t a nearby bus stop for local travel. 

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