This is a hotel that seeps into your psyche and lures you back time and again. Set amidst scented gardens, overlooking the glinting bay of Mirabello, the Elounda Mare is quintessentially romantic.
The traditional whitewashed buildings are stylishly furnished with rugs, antiques, and comfortable furniture, and the overall sense is of space and privacy.
It’s one of Europe's best, and rare to find a Relais & Chateaux in Greece.
This year I travelled there on my own, but never once did I feel alone as the staff sweep you up with their warmth, and the dramatic views over the Bay of Mirabello infuse you with that Cretan magic.
For all the scare mongering about the Greek crisis the atmosphere couldn't have been more buoyant, with an overall air of tranquillity, sophistication and well-being pervading the hotel.
I swam for hours across the bay in the glinting sunshine, not a cloud in sight after months of drumming British rain. I water skied, sailed on Yanni's 40 foot yacht based at the Mare's water sports, ate in the excellent Relais Chateaux restaurants (Old Mill, Yacht Club and Calypso at the neighbouring Peninsula) and read copiously.
I also made some delightful new friends at the cool Karavia bar where charming mixologist, Demetris, can concoct whatever you desire and always with a smile. There is nowhere like this haven on the Med where you feel you are welcomed into a home from home of real class, and that you become part of its extended guest family.
The Mare’s private bungalows and secret bays are spread out amongst elegant gardens of bougainvillea, carob trees, pines, olives, eucalyptus, all with their alluring scents and textures.
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Voucher Code: SF EL
** Mare Manager is offering a Surprise for those who come via this site **