Crete may be among the more wallet-friendly Greek islands, but it still has plenty of hotels where one can dip into gilded luxury. Take a look at our picks for the most luxurious hotels on the island of Crete.
Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas is one of the most luxurious properties not only in the Agios Nikolaos area, but on the whole island of Crete. The five-pearl resort has a remote hilltop location overlooking the sea, with its own beach. There are 300 elegant and contemporary rooms, suites, and villas -- many of which have private saltwater plunge pools and gorgeous sea views. From the multiple bars and restaurants to the outdoor saltwater infinity pool, hotel features are notably modern and sleek. Potential dings are the rather isolated location, hilly grounds, and abundance of high-energy children. Couples looking for a quieter atmosphere and easier access to local activity could also consider the Minos Beach Art hotel closer to town.
Set on a gorgeous beach on the northern coast of Crete, the 245-room Ikaros Beach Resort & Spa is a luxury property with an all-inclusive package. Ikaros' 245 rooms aren't as modern and sophisticated as the ones at Daios Cove, but all have balconies or terraces, mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, and air-conditioning (sea-view rooms are worth the upgrade). The hotel has several restaurants, bars, and pools, as well as a sandy beach area with ample sun loungers and umbrellas. The Aura Spa has an indoor pool, sauna, and relaxation room, and an open-air stage hosts live performances.
Overlooking the Aegean Sea and Spinalonga Island, the contemporary Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is a seafront resort with bright and breezy Cretan style. Many of its 251 rooms, suites, and villas have private pools and balconies with sea views, and all have flat-screen satellite TVs, air-conditioning, plush beds, and twice-daily housekeeping with nightly turndown service. Around the resort are three outdoor pools, an indoor pool, a full-service Thalassotherapy spa, and several bars and restaurants (but unlike Ikaros, there is no free breakfast). The vibe throughout is elegant and relaxed, though travelers should keep in mind that the beach here is rocky (true for Ikaros, as well).
Along a narrow lane at the heart of Chania’s old town, the chic Casa Delfino boutique hotel occupies a 17th-century palace that once belonged to an Italian knight. The charming hotel is stylish without being snobby; its rooms and common areas blend both modern and historic styles against the restored architecture. A mosaicked, cobbled courtyard is at the heart of the hotel, decorated with lush foliages and cushioned wrought-iron tables and chairs from the hotel's restaurant and bar. Stairs lead up to the rooftop terrace (where free breakfast is served), a sunny deck where the seating areas, small hot tub, bar, and panoramic views are popular with guests at all hours. The candlelit underground spa is especially atmospheric, evoking the feeling of ancient baths thanks to the marble columns and steam room. However, travelers looking for beachfront accommodations might prefer one of our first three picks.
Vacationers looking for a luxury boutique hotel experience with understated Cretan style should love Rimondi Boutique Hotel (similar in vibe to Casa Delfino, but minus the free breakfast). The property is comprised of two complexes: the Estate Collection and the Palazzo Collection, each with its own pool. The Estate Collection has rooms and maisonettes, while the Palazzo Collection houses such suites, some with outdoor gardens and whirlpools. Prices vary widely, but all guests can enjoy the classical surroundings, with elegant touches like wrought-iron gates and marble stairs. The hotel is situated on a pedestrian-only street with several shops and restaurants nearby. It's about a 15-minute walk to Rethymno Beach and a five-minute walk to the Venetian Harbor.
La Maison Ottomane is an upscale, boutique bed-and-breakfast with just three rooms, ideally located for exploring the historic Venetian Harbor of Chania. Spectacular rooms are richly decorated, each in their own design, reflecting the style of the Ottoman Empire. Modern conveniences are present, such as espresso machines and flat-screen TVs, but don't detract from the historic feel. The owners add generous and personalized hospitality, and provide a free superb breakfast. Additional amenities, such as spa services, a full restaurant, or a pool are not available, however. This is easily one of the best options in the area, but travelers may prefer the boutique Casa Delfino nearby, which offers spa facilities and a lovely rooftop terrace.
Housed in a building originally built in 1920, GDM Megaron Hotel is one of the few luxury hotels in Heraklion. It has a central location overlooking the Old Harbor and close to several restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, and tourist attractions. Optimizing the hotel's lovely views of the Aegean Sea, a rooftop deck features a pool and bar serving drinks and Mediterranean cuisine. The main restaurant is open throughout the day and serves a free American buffet breakfast each morning. In the 58 rooms, there are flat-screen TVs, minibars, bathrobes and slippers, Korres toiletries, and free Wi-Fi.
Avra Imperial Hotel is a beautiful, sprawling resort designed in the style of ancient Minoan palaces. It has an impressive array of on-site features, including a pleasant (but pebbly beach), a striking infinity-edge main pool (plus two less-crowded pools), and an expansive spa with a wide range of services. The hotel's two buffets with free breakfast and two a la carte restaurants are all well-reviewed by guests. The 328 large and elegant guest rooms have minibars, flat-screen TVs, and furnished balconies or terraces; about a third of the rooms have private or shared pools.
This upscale Minoa Palace Resort & Spa is a beachfront resort in Patanias, near a few restaurants and shops but farther from popular tourist sites. Rooms in the main building are a bit generic, while the beach wing options have more modern decor. All 254 rooms are comfortably appointed with sitting areas, minibars, and free Wi-Fi. Extensive on-site features include four pretty pools, a spa with a decent gym and free group fitness classes. (Be aware that there is a fee to use the spa's sauna and whirlpool -- both of which are free to access at Avra.) Kids are well-catered to with a kids' club, kiddy pools, and a tennis court. Five restaurants and two bars include a main buffet eatery and a seaside spot for adults only.
Whitewashed and filled with artwork, Minos Beach Art hotel is an eye-catching upscale property on Mirabello Bay, a 15-minute walk from Agios Nikolaos. Dozens of works by Greek and international artists decorate the interiors and outdoor pathways, and the 129 guest rooms feature a bright shabby-chic look and balconies with sea or garden views. Bungalows and Villas with private pools, some right on the seafront, are also available. There are four restaurants and three bars, a small private beach, a large outdoor pool, and a spa offering various treatments, such as mud masks. All-inclusive and half-board options are available. One con here is that only some Bungalows get reserved lounge chairs and umbrellas (by comparison, Minoa Palace's beach is lined with free loungers and umbrellas).
The four-pearl Royal Marmin Bay Boutique & Art Hotel is all about eco-conscious and upscale touches. It incorporates the sustainability focus in solar panels, organic ingredients, and natural linens and bathrobes, but there's no sacrificing comfort: All of its 88 breezy rooms come with king-size beds and furnished balconies overlooking the water. Three excellent restaurants and three bars, plus a great spa and private beach, offer enough activity in a secluded setting for guests to decompress. However, it should be noted that food and drinks are extremely pricey (even for the pearl rating) and Marmin's hillside location can be difficult to traverse (Minos Beach Art hotel may be a better pick for guests with mobility challenges).