Nestled on an unspoilt hillside overlooking its very own secluded cove, Daios Cove offers breath-taking views of the Cretan Sea. It’s situated on the northeast coast of Crete and is an hour drive from the Heraklion airport.
Journey to the hotel
We hopped on a flight to Crete which was around 3 hours. Once we reached the airport, the journey to the hotel was one of the most luxurious ones I have ever had; we were transported in a VIP limo in style.
As soon as we arrived at Daios Cove, I was impressed. There is a terrace at the end of the open lobby, and you can see the entire resort from there. The views from the terrace as we looked out the crystal turquoise waters below was just stunning.
The friendly staff took our luggage and escorted us to the main reception area. We were then offered a cocktail of our choice while completing the check-in procedures.
Daios Cove is an elegant and stylish resort set in the privacy of its private cove. The setting of the hotel is stunning; it’s built across five levels carved out of a hillside rock and leads up to a private beach. The Cretan style has been beautifully incorporated into the architecture which also has a modern designer feel to it. The natural surroundings with lush landscaped gardens provide a beautiful scenery which makes you feel relaxed and joyful.
All the five levels of the resort are served by a funicular which takes you to pool, restaurants, spa and the beach. The most striking feature of the hotel is every room, suite and villa has a fantastic view over the beautiful Vathi Bay.
The vast lobby area also houses the chic Crystal Box Bar, opening out to a terrace area with views over the bay. This is the best place to enjoy their signature cocktails in the evening.
The hotel is blessed with several swimming pools, tennis courts, squash courts, well-equipped gym, large spa, beach club with water sports, so we were spoilt for choice. An essentials shop, along with several boutiques including a luxury jewellery store in the lobby gives you no particular urge to step outside the resort.
The rooms at Daios Cove are spread across the five levels to provide a fantastic view over the beautiful bay. The rooms have a contemporary décor and come with all amenities that you would possibly need.
Due to the scale of the resort, drivers are on hand with golf buggies to transport you to your accommodation. I was staying in the Deluxe Sea View Room with individual infinity pool. The deluxe room was a huge with an open plan bedroom, marble lined bathroom and lounge space leading up to a sun terrace and an infinity pool. The view from the terrace and pool was jaw dropping with the bay on one side and the beautiful hotel building on the other side.
I must add the super king-sized bed with Egyptian linen was so relaxing and cosy that I didn’t feel like getting out of the bed each morning.
The room included all amenities you would expect from a luxury resort like safe, hairdryer, toiletries, iron and ironing board on demand. The Bathrobes, flip flops and the beach bag came in handy. The thoughtful gift of travel size olive oil and complimentary red wine was lovely. I loved browsing through the Daios Cove book which helped me learn everything that the resort has on offer.
Talking about the hotel I must mention “The Mansion”; the three-bedroom villa for approximately £10,000 a night is a hot spot for football players, royalty and business people. This villa comes with an outdoor heated pool, indoor heated pool, in-house spa, staff quarters, and a lift inside the property. We were lucky enough to get a tour of the Mansion during our stay and it’s truly special.
Daios Cove has partnered with GOCO Hospitality and created a new state of the art GOCO SPA Daios Cove. The spa is large with two indoor pools, eight treatment rooms, Thai massage room, two private spa suites, and a thermal spa suite. The thermal suite includes a Finnish soft sauna, Mediterraneo and Nimfea showers.
There are also beach cabanas to enjoy spa treatments near the beautiful bay. The fitness studio is spacious enough with all the latest sports equipment you could wish for. There is also a resident yoga master who provides daily yoga and meditation sessions for guests.
The spa menu features a range of treatments from surgery inspired facial by Harley Street skin specialists 111Skin, luxury therapies by French skincare brand Anne Semonin, to traditional Cretan treatments incorporating herbal ingredients.
I opted for a full body massage and loved the fact that I could get a choice of pressure. The lovely therapist asked me where I would like her to focus on and started massaging my back, legs, hands and moved on to the shoulders. The gentle pressure that I chose was perfect for me, and she did a great job of eliminating the tension in my body, I felt refreshed entirely afterwards.
There are quite a few dining options at Daios Cove with 6 restaurants and bars to choose from, you can experience casual beachside dining at the Beach House, traditional Cretan and Greek cuisine at the Taverna, Mediterranean-influenced menu at the Ocean Restaurant and taste dishes from around the world at the Pangea restaurant, there’s something for everyone.
Our first lunch was at the Ocean Pool Bar which overlooks the infinity pool. The staff are amicable and knowledgeable and advise you on the drinks and wine that would go well with your food. Since we reached the resort late afternoon, we ordered from the Ocean Pool Bar menu which had a variety of options. I enjoyed our first meal at the restaurant it was so delicious that I was looking forward to coming back for dinner the next day.
The Ocean Restaurant also serves breakfast exclusively to suite and villa guests, and we had our breakfast here most days. On the second night, we came back to Ocean Restaurant for dinner and it had the most amazing ambience with low lighting, stone walls and earthy colours. There is even a secret garden tucked away at the back with trees to ensure its nice and shady if you wish to sit outdoors during the day.
The menu at Ocean had a range of lovely options, but the star of the show was the Pan-roasted scallops with onion butter miso, Sea Bass ceviche with fermented “Leche de Tigre” and fish Soup and Oysters.
On the last night, we had dinner at the Taverna. It is a traditional Greek a la carte restaurant overlooking the cove and has a spectacular ambience. With a focus on freshly-caught fish and classic Greek recipes, the menu comprises a variety of local specialities and has an extensive wine selection. The food was very fresh and delicious which included fish, seafood, slow-cooked meats, salad and wines. The standout dishes were the traditional Cretan platter, Smoked Sea Bass with sea urchin and lemon sauce. I was blown away by the profiterole with olive oil ice cream, tahini and spicy hot chocolate, it was unique and had a subtle flavour.
On the last day, we had breakfast at the Pangea restaurant which also hosts themed dinners in the evening. The Pangea serves dishes from all over the world and includes vegetarian/vegan options. The buffet breakfast included cooked stables, Cretan speciality Bougasta, healthy juices, waffles, crepes, fruits and variety of yoghurts to list a few.
The food at all the restaurants was very delicious as the focus is on offering best quality fresh local ingredients. My favourite restaurant/bar was The Beach House, so stay tuned for a separate feature that will go live soon.
The best place to party in the evening at the resort is the Crystal Box Bar. We had few cocktails on the rooftop while enjoying the panoramic view. The Bar also has a stylish and elegant inside space with floor to ceiling windows to make sure you don’t miss out the view while sitting indoors. This is a place to watch the sun go down while sipping some of your favourite cocktails. My favourite was the gold fashioned cocktail which added a new twist to a classic cocktail.
The resort has put a lot of thought to offer a complete experience to guests, so there are endless activity options at the resort ranging from canoeing, scuba diving, sailing, water skiing, fitness and yoga classes, volleyball wine tasting, Catamaran trips, tennis and tailor-made excursions of the island.
During my stay, I experienced the following activities.
We went off on a Catamaran that set off from the hotel cove. We were heading towards the Spinalonga island, a nearby island previously a leper colony. It was a great place to learn about Cretan history and how the inhabitants lived. On the way, back from Spinalonga island, the captain stopped the catamaran which lead few of us from the group to the jump into the sparklingly clean blue waters while I was just happy sun bathing on the deck.
After a quick dip, we were served delicious picnic style lunch that comprised of burgers, salad, cold meats, cheeses followed by a fruit platter.
We enjoyed wine tasting at the Ocean Restaurant. The Ocean Restaurant had the perfect ambience to enjoy wine tasting and learn about different types of traditional Cretan/Greek wine. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling well so couldn’t taste much but everyone in the group tasted each of the three wines and had rave reviews about the wines.
Half Day Trip to Kritsa Village
The hotel organised a half-day trip to nearby Kritsa village, which is a beautiful Cretan village on a hilltop. The village has managed to retain its old-world charm with winding cobbled streets, whitewashed houses with colourful doors, dozens of pretty little boutiques selling local woven blankets, pottery, olive products, souvenirs and jewellery.
In the centre of the village there is a town square surrounded by coffee shops and restaurants. After walking through the village and shopping some souvenirs, we stopped at the town square for a quick Frappe break before heading back to the resort.
Daios Cove is the ultimate luxury resort on the beautiful Greek island of Crete. What makes it so unique is that it’s an utterly tranquil haven with a lot of facilities. The genuine warmth of the hotel staff, the luxurious facilities and fine dining is worth experiencing if you are heading to Crete.
Nightly rates in a Deluxe Sea View Room start from €250 (£219*) on a half board basis. For further details and to book visit www.daioscove.com or call +44 20 3036 0257. *Prices in pound sterling (£) according to today’s exchange rate.
(I stayed in a Deluxe Seaview Room with Individual Pool, nightly rates start from €354 (£311* ) on half board basis)