Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Crete
13 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Contemporary style Hotel w/ fantastic sea view
"Reading some of the prior reviews I thought let's be fair this is a really nice 5* hotel in a very contemporary style. The view from the hill to the sea and to the small island Kalidon is simply amazing. Rooms are big (at least 42 sqm.) also contemporary style w/ big balconies all facing the sea. You can book rooms w/ small private infinity pools (not heated, so be careful at what time of the year you book it or just start training for iron man/woman) which are not really big enough for swimming but for cooling down at least.
The terrace of the hotel has some big rattan couches and you can just sit there all day enjoy the sun and the view because you are high up the hill. There are two big outdoor pools and one good sized indoor pool plus the Thalasso pool. By the way, this is a really fantastic spa and that's why conde nast traveler voted it one of the best spas in Europe. The hotel has four restaurants which had really good food and were all very nicely furnished. I can also recommend the service at all times. Everyone was (Oh... except the lady who did the waffles in the morning) were very nice and tried to please the customers. By the way, the hotel bar was highly frequented in the evening. AND YES PRICES are what you would expect; high 5* pricing for everything you order even though there are some fairly priced Greek wines which are also drinkable.
The hotel is a gated community w/ a private beach so there is basically no way for non-residents to get in. Furthermore, we also had a baby-girl w/ us and got to know many of the other parents; they were all staying in the hotel...
There are some down sides for some travelers: the "beach" is not sandy but stony, the hotel is difficult w/ little children because the hotel is build on a steep hill and you take a funicular to get to the beach area and definitely going back.
Here are some downsides for everyone:
- Some rooms are closely facing the street (which is dividing the hotel resort because it is far stretched on the hill) or the funicular and these rooms have less privacy (so avoid them when you make a reservation)
- Service at the lower pool/beach was hardly existing,
Other than that the hotel still is and looks extremely stylish and brand new (opened in 2003 for pre-season). I know exactly why it made the cover page on one of the Hideaways issues and by the way also on conde nast traveler."
- Travel date: Sun 6th of November 2005
The worst 5 Start Hotel i have ever stayed in
"Myself and my partner booked a Superior room with a pool and stayed for 1 week.
The pictures on the web site looked great and after all it was part of the Sheraton Luxury collection!!
Whne we go on holiday we always like to treat ourselfes and stay in the best hotels we can afford. Up until now i have never been disappointed.
The room was OK ( only OK), quite small, basically furnished, the ' private' pool was about as private as a public swimming baths.
The general attitude of the staff was terrible, they gave you the impression that you were just a pain ( all this for 750 Euro per night!). The bar man told us as we were going out to dinner to make sure that if we wanted a drink when we got back we better be back before 11pm as ' he was not waiting up for us!!'
The public pool area of the hotel although very nice was full of screaming children ( mostly non residents!) and when we asked for extra sun beds we were told NO ( because the guests dont like too many beds by the pool), so stand basically.
I would say to anyone about to book this hotell , DO NOT, there are far better hotels in this price range on the Island"
- Travel date: Tue 1st of November 2005
it wasn't what I thought
"We went to the Blue Palace in late may 2005/
It was for my 50th birthday and there were 9 adults in all.
It was a big deal to me and I thought I had researched the hotel very well.
I wanted to have a great time plus our friends were trusting me with there vacation as well. We had an OK time but it is not what I thought.
It is a big hotel, it is not special in anyway. The place where you eat breakfast is like eating in a cafeteria. The food is good but not special.
There are lots of kids and it takes forever to get to the pool or beach,
It's just a big resort with no charm. The Blue Door resturant is great and is
the only place with any charm. Walking into the little town was fun.
Bottom line if you want charm or character this is not it.
The rooms are just OK and we had a suite. We were very disapointed but we are not the big hotel types. We are more of a four seasons type.
When we got home the hotel was on the cover of our travel magazine and we keep seeing it pop up in other places. I dont know who is doing there PR but they must not have been to the hotel. I do have to say the pictures of the hotel are beautiful but it's not what its like. Oh, two of our friends used the spa the second day and said it was not worth it. I would not stay here because Greece is so magical and it is sad to waste your time in a place so average.
- Travel date: Sat 29th of October 2005
"We had a fast transfer from the airport (one hour), and after a delightful drive by the waters edge, we arrived at the hotel.
Initially our first view of the hotel was not inspiring. It's a low level resort spread over a hillside in rather uninspiring colours and a couple of unfinished shells of buildings on opposite hills. But if you're into hotels blending in with the environment, then in fact this was very sensitively done. This hotel is just over 2 years old so the planting and greenery is still very much in its early stages - once the plants grow, it will blend the hotel in even more. There was even planting on the odd roof or two.
Driving up to the main entrance was wonderful. Even though it was raining, it wasn't hard to be impressed by the reception area. Beautiful high ceilings, marble, natural wood, friendly porters and equally friendly receptionists. However we did notice the smell of tobacco smoke which lingered quite strongly, probably because the main bar area is very close to the reception area without a dividing door. But i'm sure this is just a teething problem which will be resolved.
The check-in was very quick and after a short walk, we entered our room on the 3rd level (we had followed the advice of fellow tripadvisor reviewers about higher level rooms and weren't disappointed). The room was large, plentiful wardrobe space, solid wooden removeable hangers, massive kingsize bed with very smooth cotton sheets, sofa, fresh fruit, television with satellite (although as usual, only 2 English speaking channels - BBC World News and CNN - do they really think that all we ever watch is the news?! However on one Greek channel there were english films with Greek subtitles so if you felt like a night in, then this was the one to watch)
The bathroom again was marble, beautifully designed, bath, separate walk-in shower, toilet, Molton Brown toiletries and a plentiful supply of fluffy white towels, blue beach towels, and slippers and gowns, and hairdryer.
When you leave the hotel, make sure you leave a tip for the chambermaids - they really do a fabulous job and are usually the forgotton workers!
The one thing we found about the room that was quite annoying was the sound of people walking above our room. The bedrooms all seem to have tiled floors and unfortunately your upstairs neighbours frequently forget to remove their high heels. If only hotels would put a courtesy note into the rooms asking guests to remove shoes, then all would be sweetness and light!
The room's terrace area was spacious with a table and chairs, and an infinity pool. Very few people were using these pools because they were so cold but we braved it and it was quite invigorating. No doubt if you go in August, then you'll more than welcome the icy cold water! The view from the pool and terrace was fantastic but by midday, the sun had vanished and you simply moved down to the beach.
If you didn't fancy going down to the beach, then you could always opt for the chairs lining the large upstairs terrace. Lots of beach chairs but also lots of very comfortable cushioned armchairs, and a large pool which was overlooked by the inside bar.
Getting to the beach wasn't really a problem but they do need more signs telling you which way to go. Our first two days were spent wandering corridors thinking that we could simply climb down some steps to the beach but no, they merely led to other hotel rooms. Eventually though we got the hang of it and stuck to the small road (only used by buggies not cars) and were down at the beach within minutes. Alternatively you can use the funicular but it can be quite slow.
With the beach directly ahead of you, you've got a small shop selling papers books etc on your left and the spa on your right. Directly in front is a large pool and children's pool area. Then over the small bridge down to the beach.
The beach is large, pebbly and occasionally windy. But the view across the water is spectacular and you're certainly not aware of being in a tourist resort. The large hotel pool was icy cold and in fact the sea was a lot warmer and very clear and clean. Two jetties let you walk across to the deeper water, missing out the hardship of walking on rather firm pebbles!
Chairs were plentiful, although maybe in the height of summer, it might be more of a fight to get one! Again some of the hotel landscape was a bit dull to look at but no doubt, once the plants start to grow it'll soon soften.
There's also a kids club and a small playground. A short walk along the beach, over a slightly tricky bit, brings you to the village of Plaka which is very pretty. Quite a few seaside restaurants with pretty good food and a small supermarket. You can catch a 5 min boatride from here to the island of Spinalonga (7 euros) which is worth doing - very atmospheric island.
If the sea's too cool for you, then you can opt for the large heated indoor pool at the spa which is literally a short walk from the beach. It's a very restful place with seats around the pool and supplies of lemon water, dried apricots, bananas and pineapple to munch on. All frightfully healthy. The receptionists here were very friendly and we were soon booked into treatments, which were excellent. Very good massages and an excellent facial - and the treatment rooms were very spacious. There's also a large gym which is free and a hamman and sauna. Once again, towelling robes are provided if you're having treatments.
The restaurants were good. We tried the far eastern restaurant which was excellent but the service was a bit slow. However, the food in most of the restaurants is pretty expensive and most of the time, we ate in Plaka. Unfortunately the hotel's 'taverna' restaurant was closed for the season - it would've been nice to get a feel of Greece somewhere within the hotel.
One downer: They really do need to get their staff to smile more. We're not talking forced fixed smiles but the odd occasional one would do! After travelling around the island quite a bit, we came to realise that the people of Crete are naturally very serious-looking people and smiles don't really seem to come naturally. Older Cretians were very friendly but the younger ones looked a bit moody. On the whole, the hotel staff were very good and very efficient but the odd smile wouldn't have come amiss. Perhaps it's because it was the last week of the holiday season and they were desperate for a break - who knows - but it was the same at every other resort we visited. Or maybe they've come across too many drunken surly tourists to care!
We hired a car for a couple of days which was definitely worth doing. We drove for 3 hours to the town of Hania which was wonderful, very strong Venetian influence and amazing restaurants but obviously a long drive so be prepared. The countryside was absolutely fabulous and was a joy to behold.
All in all, a great holiday, fabulous weather and a lovely hotel. Well recommended."
- Travel date: Tue 25th of October 2005
A lovely holiday
"We stayed in a standard room in the hotel and found it to be very nice with a stunning view of the bay. The levels of design in the hotel are very well thought out and when you arrive you understand why it is called the Blue Palace. The concierge was very professional as were all the cleaning staff. The attention to detail is very much so of a 5* hotel.The Fish night was the highlight for us....well worth every penny if you are used to paying UK restaurant prices for fish....and boy oh boy did we eat fish, so much I had to leave my last half of lobster!!
People complain about the hotels prices and as we were half board we payed in advance and ate very well indeed in the Olea restaurant.A choice of two starters and three mains with a fantanstic buffet in between all wrapped up with a lovely dessert platter.
We never went to the Asia Blue nor the L'Orangerie so we couldnt comment.
The Isola Grill for lunch was excellent.
The Arsenali Lounge is the weak link in a very strong chain, the service is not quite 5* yet and is slow but dont be put off..!
The beach was windy whilst we were there but after half a day you got used to it. Just down the road in Elounda it was very warm indeed out of the wind. You choose for yourself..!
I would recommend this hotel."
- Travel date: Sat 15th of October 2005
It really was wonderful
"We have just returned from a 7 night stay. Had a Mediteranean Suite, on two levels with pool. Up at the back of the resort in the 500 block. The quality of accomodation and the attentiveness and friendliness of the staff was fantastic, exactly what you would expect from a 5 star resort. Overall food quality and value was excellent too. Found the Greek theme night a little overpriced at â¬83 per person plus drinks.. but the Blue Door, perched on the edge of the ocean is great value for money( not really any more expensive than tavernas in Plaka) and we ate at the Orangerie twice in succession we enjoyed it so much.
International wines are priced commensurate with other establishments worldwide, but we did think the Cretan wine was over marked up. If you do want to save a few cents, I would recommend wandering into Plaka to buy bottled water and wine or beer for your room.(Unlike many establishments they don't cause a fuss if you store it in the minibar fridge).
The Arsenali lounge cocktails are wonderful and certainly no more expensive than you would expect.
We had two half days in the Spa and the treatments were as good as any we've had at more expensive Spa Resorts.
Overall a fabulous experience, we will go back and would recommend it to our friends."
- Travel date: Sun 2nd of October 2005
Stunning location, question value for money
"We have just returned from a 7 night stay, in a bungalow with pool. Have to say that paying the additional money for a bungalow with pool is probably not worth it - the pool is FREEZING! The pools are not private at all - your neighbours can veiw you. After 11am, unless you have an exceptionally well located room, no sun reaches the terrace - the only option is to buy a lilo and float in your pool to get the sun.
I very much reccomend the hotel pool by the beach which is huge, and heated.
The rooms were ok - very clean, but I did expect a bit more for the money. Unlike some reveiws, I didn't think the staff were that friendly!
Make sure you ask for a room which is not overlooked - I felt sorry for the people who's room where overlooked by the panoramic lift, which is the main way of getting around the hotel.
I used the beach a couple of times - it is a pebble beach and can be very windy. I would reccomend the restaurant Asia Blue - the food was amazing, and although expensive well worth it.
Overall the hotel was nice - getting around the hotel was the most frustrating thing (advise going to reception and asking to be transported in a golf buggy - free.)
Not sure we would return, but had a nice week."
- Travel date: Wed 21st of September 2005
Worth a visit
"Have just returned from Blue Palace and have to say that this place is definitely worth a visit.
Very stylish,very chic and very comfortable.
It is worth doing some research on pricing before you go. We found the cheapest way to book was on line as a starwood preferred guest-gets you the best rate and cheaper than going through a brochure. You can book a cheap flight through Thomson to Heraklion and the hotel will arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the airport for 65 euros.
It is definitely worth doing some research on the rooms before you go and requesting a particular room number. The hotel will email you a plan of the site and you can take it from there. We stayed in a room without a pool (381) and it was perfect. You do not want a room near the funicular or the road so keep to levels 300, 400 or 500. The rooms are beautiful and the view is amazing. We had no noise problems at all.
The restaurants are good but pricey. Some evenings we took a taxi into Elounda and eat at Taverna Marilena which we wholly recommend.
Do try and get into Heraklion and Knossos-really interesting- and take the hotel boat trip to Spinalonga which runs 3 times a week.
The staff are friendly and efficient and we found them to be charming. The breakfasts are fantastic-do stay at this hotel-you will love it!"
- Travel date: Tue 13th of September 2005
Blowing up a storm
"My husband and I have just returned from this hotel. I do think that the glossy brochures lead you to believe that the hotel would be slightly more serene and have a bit more of a boutique feel to it, which it doesn't. The hotel is quite rambling and like others, we found that having to depend on the funicular to travel to and from the beach/breakfast etc was tiresome and VERY slow.
I would agree with most of the criticisims particularly with regards wine prices. Yes I know that this comes under the umbrella of a 5* hotel, but the mark up on the wine menu is unbelievable.
Nonetheless, it certainly has a 5* view over to Spinalonga and our room was top notch, fabulous bathroom and impeccable. We ate in all of their restaurants and found the food and service to be very good. And reception staff were very efficient. However, I would question the value for money aspect.
ps - as per the previous reviewer we too found that the gales during the day were amazingly strong. We spent most of the time putting stones on our towels, shorts and anything else that could move for fear that it would go flying. Not sure I would revisit."
- Travel date: Fri 9th of September 2005
Had a very good time...
"Being the spoiled traveler I am - i was started to get worried since I booked the hotel before reading others peoples experiences on this site...not all that positve....so I called our travel agend that we really wanted a quiet room and that appreciate privacy during our holidays.
They requested a room for us on a good part of the hotel. No kids, no noise! Try to get room 322 or 323 e.g.
Food was good (specially asian and bleu door), Orangerie was good but not very special; prices to us were very normal, not overpriced at all. Ofcourse, the food in Plaka was much cheaper but far from special. Service at the restaurants in the hotel were as to be expected of a 5 star hotel: good.
Just make sure you don't get the rooms close to the elevator since you don't have any privacy there - and don't expect to have full privacy in your plunge pool - people can see you sitting at your terrace when they are in their pool - which is a mistake in the construction if you ask me - just build bigger walls inbetween - but okay. Since most guests don't swim in their pools its no problem (we never saw our neighbours). We thought it was refreshing to start the day with a plunge and have breakfast on the terrace.
Don't expect sunsets as they are on the other part of the island ...
Spa is great: big and clean and very kind and most of the staff is professional.
- Travel date: Fri 9th of September 2005
"My wife and I went to the Blue Palace for our honeymoon and we could not have picked a better hotel. Decor is tasteful, yet luxurious. Our room was fantastic. Large room with pure Egyptian cotton sheets on the bed. The bathroom was amazing with a mirror window which you could open to see Spinalonga whilst in the shower. i went elounda through http://eloundaisland.gr
- Travel date: Wed 1st of April 2009
My husband and I went to the Blue Palace...
"My husband and I went to the Blue Palace for our honeymoon and we could not have picked a better hotel. Decor is tasteful, yet luxurious. Our room was fantastic. Large room with pure Egyptian cotton sheets on the bed. The bathroom was amazing with a mirror window which you could open to see Spinalonga whilst in the shower.
We opted for a private pool which I would definitely recommend. The pool was larger than I expected for a private pool and was an infinity pool overlooking Spinalonga. You also have private sunloungers on your balcony as well as table and chairs for total relaxation.
Towels and bed linen can be replaced up to twice daily. However, you can collect pool/beach towels on said locations, as well as being given to you in your rooms.
The food was lovely and I would definitely recommend the Lobster night at L'Orangerie, for any crustacean fan! Seven courses were served, and were all delicious; a very romantic and intimate evening.
I would also suggest a trip to Spinalonga. This fascinating island was a leper colony until 1953 and holds centuries of history.
I could not complain about the hotel. One day we had a powercut (a common event in Crete) the hotel ensured people could travel around the resort by providing golf buggy rides and gave every client a free bottle of wine for any inconvenience caused.
I would agree that the panoramic life is too slow, but it is impossible to become aggravated in such a beautiful hotel!"
- Travel date: Mon 14th of July 2008