Elounda Bay Palace

Elounda, Crete 720 53 Greece
5 star hotel


Ratings summary


Rating by feature

  • 2 room
  • 5 pool
  • 4 beach
  • 4 service
  • 3 value
  • 4 food
  • 4 cleanliness
  • 4 location

11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Paradise revisited!


"My husband and I have just returned from our 11th visit to the Elounda Bay Palace, and once again it has not disappointed! We first visited this little piece of heaven in 1998 and have been returning ever since. Why, you might ask? Like so many 'repeat guests' it is hard to answer this question, but from the moment we first glimpse Elounda from the top of the hill in the chauffeur driven limo, we feel we have come home. We are welcomed so warmly by the staff, who treat everyone as if they are special. Nothing is too much trouble, and any problem, no matter how trivial is dealt with quickly and efficiently. Okay, so the room we request is not 5 star, Leading Hotel of the World standard, but it is spotlessly clean with twice daily housekeeping, fruit and water replenished every other day, and the one huge plus, a view to die for over the beautiful Bay of Mirabello. If you are prepared to pay a lot more, the suites and bungalows are much more up to date. Facilities generally are superb with a choice of restaurants and bars on site, perhaps the finest being the Thalassa fish restaurant on the waters edge, just the most perfect place to dine on a beautiful moonlit evening. Yes, drinks are expensive, but isn't this the case in any 5 star hotel the world over? The walk down the road into Elounda is somewhat perilous (health and safety do not appear to exist in Elounda!!) but it is worth the risk! Our favourite restarant there is 'Leonidas' at the far side of the harbour, great food, service, and very reasonable. As for bars, 'Babel' is excellent and of course 'Friends' The best restaurant in nearby Aghios Nikolaos is undoubtedly 'Migomas'. Perched high above the bottomless lake, it will bring back fond memories of 'The Lotus Eaters' way back in the 70's. The pianist is brilliant, you could listen to him all night. All in all, yet another great holiday. Will we be back, even though the rooms are very tired? Yes, of course we will, the plusses vastly outweigh the negatives! This is paradise as far as we are concerned!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 27th of September 2007

Nice but expensive


"Before I startI wish to stress that I am not a cheepskate, this is a nice hotel but expensive. We booked it in part for the facilities but then had to pay extra to use them (gym, tennis etc)
We were 1 or 2 notches up from the basic room but this was far from luxurious and had a small bathroom with a shower in the small bath.
The seafood restuarant is very good although we paid 180 euros for a £20 bottle of champagne.
The island bar at the sister hotel (adjoining) is very nice but again expensive for drinks.
The service was excellent and overall we had a great time. The beach is fabulous as is the pool.
If staying in this part of crete ask the hospitality desk to book you into the restaurant that is in a nearby town (10 minutes away) up the cliff that overlooks the lake. (i cant remember the name but it began with M, mijalis or something) This is a quite spectacular setting with a great painist who plays anything and everything very well) this was one of the best meals I have had and was excellent value. It is a must do, trust me."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 16th of September 2007

It worked for us !


"Booked at the very last minute and likewise ..I too was questioning some of the previous negative comments even though the overall sentiment was that the hotel was good.
As much as it pains me ..we booked through Thompson travel agents ..upside was we had a private taxi waiting to take us from the airport to the hotel. ( journey about 45 mins )
Upon arrival everyone gets the full ''greeting service''...
I truly defy anyone to say that the staff weren't fantastic at this hotel ...but then I guess it also depends on how one treats them... a smile and an occasional tip always works in my books... not that we needed anything here.
We we shown all the rooms at the hotel apart from the HUGE PALACIAL VILLAS...(which were extremeley expensive). As we only needed a complete break for just 1 week we were happy with the bungalow. ..but even the basic rooms were more than adequate. It baffles me why people go on holiday and pick on things like the size of the fridge and its contents ..the amount of English TV channels available and whether or not there is a CD player in the room ...
One doesnt go on holiday to sit in a room?...or do they ?...and there is no need to at this hotel..there are plenty of quiet spots to find in sun or shade to relax in peace.

Let's get down to positives ...
Location ...surroundings ..gardens...views ...were all just great .....Beach - soft sand and very clean ,peaceful and we had no probs re sunbeds...plenty available so no rushing from breakfast ...Food - plentiful at the breakfast and evening meal buffets had a good choice-...Maid service was excellen ( twice daily )...beach towels left in room every day ... Room/hotel very clean ...

Negatives - the only main one...and a big one - the horrendous price for drinks ! Be warned..If like us we didnt want to have to venture out but wanted to enjoy the surroundings...you will pay through the teeth for booze. Bottle of water 4 odd Euros...the cheapest local wine we found on all the restarant lists was 30 odd EUROS !!! ...If you go for an ordinary bottle of say Pouilly Fume..that will set you back 90 odd EUROS !....cocktails ..beers etc all very over priced...
Being a couple who like a drink...the bill at the end of the week was quite substantial!...
A la carte restaurants expensive again for what you get.. and DO NOT go to Dyonasis Rstuarant at the Elounda Beach..
Reputeldly the best A La Carte of the whole complex...French Chef..extensive wine list etc...food was fine however it was £350 for 2 of us with drink.. LA GAVROCHE it aint..sorry !..
Only other small negative... very little choice/selection for lunch...

Not suitable for young kids and teenagers if you ask me... if one has small babies then ok as they dont need to be constantly entertained...

The hotel is but a short walk to town...even though it's getting a bit 'British''..we only ate at one restaurant that was pure Cretan...in Plaka..(further 5 mins by cab.)..Giorgios..Best Fish place around...locals know it and eat there.. Starters ..lobster ..wine...coffees and a couiple of Metaxas thrown in ..Doubt you'll pay more than Eur 150

Yes I will definately go back...the most relaxing weeks break we've had in a long time ..but now I know the area a bit better I would tend to eat out at local ''good'' Cretian places and then return to the tranquility of the hotel for drinks than do it all 'in house' ..."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 11th of September 2007

Superb facility


"It is always a delight to visit this superb facility - with such friendly and helpful staff.

It is especially appreciated to see the continued investment, upgrade
and excellent maintenance of this lovely property in such a beautiful
natural location with such great sensitivity to the location.

A visit to be recommended."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 4th of September 2007

Loved the stunning sea and mountain views


"Had mixed expectations after reading the previous reviews of the hotel but needn't have worried because we had a fabulous week's holiday here.

We were greeted as soon as our car pulled up outside the hotel and we were shown to our room promptly. We had booked 2 connecting rooms for our family (mountain view) via thomson holidays web-site on half - board terms. Strangely this worked out cheaper than a B&B quote on the hotel web-site.

Certainly there was no wow-factor when we first saw our rooms but the furnishings were nice neutrals and blues and were spotlessly clean and very comfortable. We had fresh flowers and a welcome bottle of red wine in each room (for children?) and a plate of dried fruit. Needless to say the mini-bar got raided straight away as we were all hot after the journey and were in need of cold drinks. The beds were great - we all slept really well all week. Maid service was excellent - fresh fluffy bath towels twice a day and beach towels daily. Fluffy dressing gowns and slippers provided too.

The location of the hotel is superb - one of the best that we've stayed in. The mountainous bay provides a stunning view. Didn't really miss not having a sea-view room as we usually don't spend much time in our rooms and we had the sea view from the restaurant at breakfast and dinner, again at the bar for lunch and after dinner drinks and all day by the pool and on the beach. It may be worth paying the extra supplement if you like chilling out in your bedroom a lot. Certainly I would recommend the sea-view rooms with your own private pool for a honeymoon - but extremely expensive!

The hotel was full whilst we were there but there was never any problem getting a nice table at breakfast and dinner, or getting any sunloungers in the gardens. There was a lot of nonsense going on with people 'reserving' the best loungers on the beach and by the pool. I noticed all the prime sites had been blagged by 7.30am when I went for a walk in the grounds. The pool attendant always sorted us out with beds under the shade of the olive trees though - always with a lovely view of the sea.

Food was plentiful at the breakfast and evening meal buffets with a great choice- children well catered for too. Loved the sparkling wine that was offered each morning at breakfast! Our only complaint was that the hot food was only luke-warm but our guide book said that Greek people preferred it that way.

The Sail-in bar right by the sea edge was a great favourite with us - loved lounging on the oversized wicker sofas! The prices of the food and drink was astronomical though - be prepared for a large bill at the end of your stay. All the extras e.g. ice-creams, water-sports, use of the gym are very expensive.

Service in the hotel is excellent with mostly pleasant staff - certainly a lot friendlier than in Elounda town where we got the feeling that the locals were fed up with tourists cluttering the place up. We were lucky to get a thank-you let alone a smile in some of the shops. I think I'd be grumpy if I had to work in those high temperatures though.

Would recommend this hotel as it is so comfortable, the food is good and the pools and beach great and the views STUNNING.!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 19th of August 2007

5 star?


"We booked through last minute for 10 days half board. It cost 330 pounds per night for a sea view room. Flights were booked through BA and were extra. At this price, one would expect a certain standard of accomodation. We arrived and were shown the most basic room, my husband described it as a greek travelodge! The next day we were moved to a slightly better room, this one did not have a concrete bed that you could only get into on one side! There was no CD player and the 50 channels included 5 in English. Essentially, the rooms they show on the website are NOT what you get unless you pay 1000 pounds per night for a bungalow. This hotel does not represent value for money or luxury.

The only good thing was the service, all the staff are great."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 13th of August 2007

Very Good, expensive drinks


"We have just returned from a week at this hotel and it was a very good experience overall. We were located in one of the bungalows with private shared pool; we had lots of space and a lovely garden with sea view…… I would however be careful if you are paying extra for these bungalow type rooms as they are not all so nice, view etc, the standard of furniture is a little bit old and you can’t walk all round the bed (small!). Some of the pools are also quite small (ours was fine) but some are plunge pools only.
The maid service was brilliant twice a day and very good fresh towels etc.
The staff were all friendly and extremely helpful and the service overall was excellent, the location superb and the bars are super (good snacks with your drinks!)

We were B & B and breakfast was quite good, we did eat in the restaurants and the food was very good (the best we ate while on holiday!) but I have to say it is expensive, and the drinks/wine were very very expensive, our meal for 2 in the Thalassa restaurant with 2 bottles of (average) wine about £290, so be prepared to pay! Lunch was about £15 for a burger and fries or a salad, but you do get a big fruit plate included and enough bread to feed a family!. It’s more expensive for drinks than any other leading hotel we have stayed in (and we have stayed in quite a few!) by quite a long way.

The hotel is close to the town though and you can eat there very cheaply. Although some are not so good! We liked pizza at the Zorbas pizzeria (huge pizza for £5) and it was really very good. Also lotus eater’s restaurant for a nice evening meal it’s in a beautiful location on the sea front, the owner can also sort you out a good bottle of wine!

As long as you accept the drink prices etc you shouldn’t be disappointed. We would go back but when the weather is a little cooler!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 31st of July 2007

A Jewel; but not cheap!


"This was our first visit to Crete and we were not disappointed with the island. We are fairly regular visitors to the Greek islands and Crete rates amongst the best. The hotel is a jewel. Facilities and accommodation are first class as expected. The grounds are lovely and peaceful and we never felt as if the hotel was crowded or if people were on top of each other. Bedrooms were first class and a room with a sea view is recommended. Nothing nicer than sitting on the balcony at night looking out over the sea. Domestic service could not be faulted. The maids attended to bedrooms twice daily and sheets were changed every two days; a lovely feeling to have clean sheets so frequently.
The food was as expected; first class, delicious, varied and beautifully presented. This was matched by the expertise, skill, friendliness and affability of the staff at table. Superb. It was an occasion when it seemed like meeting old friends at every meal time. Nothing was too much for them. Indeed, this accolade is attributed to all hotel staff.
The one criticism has to be the cost of drinks. The wine list is restricted to Greek wines. No problem there except for the costs. Never in my life have I paid £35 for a bottle of fairly average white or rose wine. It left me with a nasty taste that I was being cheated. Indeed, the same applied to all drinks and I have never experienced the same exorbitant prices in other hotels of similar standing.
Having read some adverse comments from previous guests, I cannot understand where they stayed. It could not have been at this hotel. I would go again; once I had saved !!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 6th of July 2007

Delightful experience


"My elderly mother and I had a vonderful visit to the Elounda Bay Paklace hotel. we loved the quiet elegance and the wonderful service. The pools and provision for sea swimmijng were very good. The dining staff were esecally helpful. All staff were welcoming and efficient. We espeically liked the coffee lounge and the gentle live music accompaniment. The grounds are well kept and attractive. A very pleasant stay."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 20th of June 2007



"After reading the last review about 'rude and snobby staff' and 'noisy construction work', we were quite concerned about our already booked holiday and set off with more than a little trepidation, particularly as this isn't the cheapest hotel in Crete and our annual holiday is very important to us.

On arrival however our fears were quickly allayed. The hotel and grounds are even better in reality than on the website, the staff are very friendly, knowledgable, attentive and courteous. Whilst there is some building work at the end of one headland, it is covered, very unobtrusive and didn't disturb us at all. The resort is absolutely ideal for a relaxing and peaceful holiday.

There is no rush for sunbeds as there are plenty and the private Blue Flag beaches are a delightful place for swimming, snorkelling and water sports. Safety is paramount, and the water sports are carefully monitored by friendly and well-trained staff. Drinks are available on the beach served by well trained and friendly staff. The communal toilet areas and facilities are of a superior standard.

Security is evident but discreet on entrance to the resort. As two women travelling alone, this was very reassuring to us.

Prices of drinks are dearer than in the town (only a 10 minute walk away) but hey, you get what you pay for, in this case, comfortable sofas in the Sail Bar overlooking the private bay with the sea underlit in the evenings. Actually the drinks are about the same price as our local pub and I know where I would prefer to be!

Food is excellent - freshly prepared, beautifully presented with plenty of choice. We were half board and you can opt to use that for lunch or dinner, whichever fits best around what you have planned for the day.

Their accreditation as one of the Leading Hotels of the World is definitely deserved. Everyone works really hard to achieve their mission, which is to make your holiday stress-free and enjoyable, whilst courteously attending to requests for anything else you may require.

Efharisto Elounda Bay Palace - can't wait to go back!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 15th of June 2007

Nice hotel.....but you need to know how to play the games


"Here's the Elounda Bay Palace Hotel Games list for this year....

To start, players have to know that it has a mainly has a Russian clientele.
And Russians like to 'tip'....

Game 1... Finding the Room you Booked

Handicap: Arriving in the evening.

If players arrive after 9pm, the previous guests will seemingly have bagged all the best rooms- including theirs.

The travel-tired players may well arrive grasping a booking which says: 'Sea View with Balcony'. They may find themselves shown to a room on the ground floor with no balcony and sea in sight. It may not have a working lock, a bedside light...but have a dodgy Tv and a sink which doesn't drain.

The receptionist may assume that, late at night, crestfallen players won't notice the room is nothing like the one they booked. Desperate for food and rest, Players may be assured that the lock will be fixed while they eat ...and then return to find no change. They must wait around, cases packed, until a man arrives, looks at the lock..and goes away.

Even at 11pm, if the weary players accept the inferior room - they lose.

The game continues as the players ask if they can pay for an upgrade..for a room with a fabulous working lock and a sea view. Young 'T' from reception may curtly inform players that they must stay in this appalling set up, and use the patio doors to go out.

Players may riposte: 'Are we expected to go to breakfast via the unlocking patio doors - leaving our room open?'...And add: 'Find us our booked room,' in now cross, but plaintive tones' .

'T' might firmly state triumphantly that every room in the hotel is occupied.

Players must counter: 'Fine ..We'll just sleep in reception until one becomes vacant.

'It will give us time to write this up on:

.........................................................'TRIP ADVISOR'

With this magic incantation , 'T's ' memory will be jogged and he will stamp forward to their room with a lock , balcony, working TV and a sea view, (and bedside lamp) immediately.

'See , it was there all the time, ' the players may loudly point out in unison.

Sulky 'T' will stalk off down the corridor, with his ears back, like a cat.

- The players will then find out that there is no lock on the old fashioned key- lock safe, which, in any case, doesn't hold I-pads.

Bungalow bumping: . Although their pay-though-the-nose on-line booking may say Room 7, with a fine sea-view, late arriving players might be offered room 2, after rejecting the musty stench in Bungalow 3 (see other reviews).

For €400 a night, Bungalow 2 has a fine view of a wall. If they accept out of sheer desperation, players may have to wait two days for a sea-view checking their booking, shaking their fist at the wall and fuming.

Game 2 : Reception Russian Room Roulette
This game is to keep a straight face while listening to the plain talking Russians at reception, stating they have paid €500 a night for rooms and they are 'rubbish'.
To maintain cordial diplomatic relations, realise that for some unaccountable reason they lost game 1, sympathise and maintain a dignified silence.

Game 3: Beach Bed Swap.
A very nice beach, right by the hotel, patrolled by bed men. Beds are in rows.
Party (1) bags a bed by the sea, by arriving early.
Party (2) arrives at 9.30 and covets the beds. With a quick word to the bed man and the passing of some kind if note ( presumably from the management) the bed man places the note in his waist bag and removes party 1's towels, giving the beds to party 2.

When Party 1 arrives back.. if they are gentle, puzzled French people they move muttering. Or , if Russian, an entertaining, vocal squabble will arise between the opposing players. More interested parties might join in.
If Party 1 stands their ground and calls the management, Party 1 wins the beds back.
To avoid rough play, choose beds at the back.

Game 4 : The Sea - Dodge the Plastic
For the first two days the hotel bay may have lots of discharged macerated bits if plastic floating about in it. The game here is to swim far enough out, to dodge the bits.

Game 5: Pool
On the first day, they lovely hotel swimming pool may be empty. The reason given - 'an accident'. A player loses if they expect a hotel to have a pool - and dive in where it should be. Thus the rotary game continues with another 'accident'.

Game 6: Climbing Bed Game
The hard beds in the rooms are based on concrete blocks, with one side joined to the wall.
Guests can enjoy the morning game, where one participant had to climb over the other - without waking them. Extra points for not hitting knees on the bed's hard corner. Swearing loudly and hopping disqualifies the climber.

NB: A 'Mystery Mat' is placed by the beds every night.
This is for the convenience of contestants - to pray hard, for a better bed.

Game 7: Hair dryer huffffff
These are the feeble cream ones, popular in the seventies.
The theory is that they are driven by the people running in the gym downstairs.
The game here is to shout:'Faster people, I need to go out tonight.'

Game 8 :Greek Night Shuffle in the Elounda Beach Hotel
This is a very expensive game as to have to pay stakes of an extra £55, making it €100 a head.
When players arrive and state they are from the Elounda Bay Hotel, they might be given the worst table in the restaurant, where the meat barbecue wafts great spirals of thick smoke over their entire party - eliciting coughing- and smokey evening finery.

They may complain to the under Maitre D, who gives the traditional shrug and says: 'It is a problem', and walks off in the customary nonchalant manner.

At this point players may call him back and issue their trump card: 'TRIP ADVISOR' Players will be moved to fresh air table. To maintain dignity, the under Maitre D will turn and say: 'It's nothing to do with 'TRIP ADVISOR'.

Players may not speak to one another as the music is very loud and it is no use them wishing that they were at a quieter Deep Purple concert instead. Players may decide to leave before any plate smashing, as they have seen piles of greasy plates, available pre- buffet.

The departing group are not allowed to say: 'Total Rip Off', more than the required three times, after sampling the food, which, surprisingly - considering the prices - is much better, ....as is the atmosphere and most other things (especially the staff-'T') in the Elounda Bay.

Game 9: Beat the lunch prices.
The price for a thin bread sandwich with processed cheese and maybe some ham ( not sure on this point), a few chips and a curled lettuce leaf is €11.

For three players, it is cheaper to take a taxi to Elounda (€5) and eat at the All in One cafe on the front, by the harbour and the taxi rank. Nicer sandwiches are around €5-6. Drinks are half price. Free wi-fi. Game includes return taxi - €5

Game 10:Thomson Torture!-1
If players book this Platinum hotel, Thomson offers a choice of seat. Players may pay £90 for extra for legroom ..and be offered Row 12 seats , to which they agree. Players may check this with the Thomson travel agent twice....once on the phone and once when they go to collect the tickets.

When players get to the airport, they might find that they are bumped out of Row 12 and put in Row 32, with a partial -view ...and scent ...of an open toilet.
The Thomson rep may inform players that even though they have a screen shot of the contract, it means nothing - and laugh. The return flight-desk attendant at the airport may inform players that the people in Row 12 booked the seats before they did - and that Thomson had sold the same seats twice.

Thomson Torture!-2
Quest: To make the Thomson rep, James, show some sympathy after your room experience and being bumped off your nice booked seats at the front (supposedly 'chosen by you' as the brochure states).
Warning: This may take up your entire holiday. Not to be played by non-masochists as implacable James will imply its all your fault for being so inept for booking with Thomson, and then foolishly expecting any help from him. He may grudgingly state that he will look into the matter.

Players may arrive at the airport ...to find that he did no such thing.Heated argument ensues, as queue waiting to go home snakes round the hall.. This game cannot be won by players ...as the mighty Thomson doesn't give a hoot.

Players might say: 'We are off to EasyJet next year, as at least the booking is honoured .....and we can avoid the £90 open door toilet view'.


Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 18th of August 2013

Rating breakdown

  • 4 Location
  • 4 Beach
  • 2 Room
  • 5 Pool
  • 4 Service
  • 3 Value
  • 4 Food
  • 4 Cleanliness
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