Rated 5 out of 5 by RedVespa Casual Elegance Relaxation Defined
Blue Palace Resort and Spa, Elounda
Well, let’s start by introducing myself and the trip. My wife and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We travel overseas about once a year with additional trips to a sun destination most winters. I also travel frequently for work. On average I do about 40 business trips a year that involve air travel. I consider us fairly well traveled having visited over 50 countries.
Past trips to this area of Europe have included Turkey, Greece and Italy. While we have been to a number of the Greek islands, we had not previously been to Crete.
The sole purpose of the trip was a vacation and time to relax. Our plan was to use the Blue Palace as a base. We spent 5 nights at the Blue Palace.
Drove to the Elounda where our hotel was. (Actually, the hotel is a short distance past Elounda near Plaka.) Greeted very promptly on arrival by the bellman and was given all the help we needed with our luggage. Valet parking was efficient and whenever we requested our care it was promptly brought to us. Walked to the front desk. Was immediately identified by the desk person as Starwood Platinum. The person checking us in excused herself and picked up the phone and called someone. The hotel director came out and personally welcomed us and wanted to ensure us that he and his staff were there to ensure our stay exceed expectations. Very efficient, warm and friendly check in process.
We booked the room on points for 5 nights. I never expect more than what I book. That way upgrades are a bonus. Being late June, I wasn’t expecting an upgrade (although privately hopeful for a room with a pool). We were walked to our room and had been upgraded to a suite on 1 level with a pool. Very lovely bedroom and living room. Separate shower and Jacuzzi tub. Appreciated. The room was spotless. There was a bottle of raki and a fruit plate to welcome us with a card form the hotel thanking us for choosing the property. The room was tastefully furnished and plain. (I mean this in a positive way.) I have read mixed comments on the private pools. Ours was not heated and could be seen clearly from the adjacent room. This being said, we thought it was a great addition to our stay. Very refreshing way to start and end the day. For us being unheated was fine. If paying, I recommend the pool, but that is a personal choice. It certainly added to our stay.
Each day we had breakfast on our deck overlooking Spinalonga Island. We enjoyed picking up some fruit and yogurt and had this on our deck that was for us. Ordered coffee which was promptly delivered with a choice of hot milk, milk to cream. We like lots of coffee, so day 2 and for the balance of the stay a larger thermos was provided. We never had breakfast in the hotel; however did check out the buffet. Looked like a good buffet; however we always prefer al a carte and would never chose a buffet. Plus, the room was a great place for breakfast. Did get up early one day, my wife slept in, the coffee bar wasn’t open yet. Went to the restaurant and asked for a coffee to go. Was given one and told it was no charge. Nice gesture.
One day our toilet backed up. Called for assistance. Someone arrived promptly and fixed the problem. So no concern.
There is an internet station by the front desk. As platinum, they gave me a code so it was complimentary. However for most there was a charge. Note, there is complimentary internet a short walk away in a secondary lobby that has a reading and sort of business area. So not sure why one would be free and the other be charged for!
Front desk staff were excellent and welcoming whenever we walked by. There to help without being over the top. Chatted a few times with the front desk manager. She was great help. Had the ability to combine a professional approach with being personable I took the time to drop off a note thanking her for the positive guest experience received before we left. She thanked us for taking the time to share our experience with a kind note and a local cook book. Seemed really interested in my thoughts on service etc.
The property never felt busy. I think this was by design. While upscale in service and quality, I would describe the experience as casual elegance rather than formal. Have stayed at a number of hotels that are fancier/more formal such as various The Danali in Venice and The St Regis in Rome. If you are looking for that type of experience, this place may disappoint. However each has its place. The Blue Palace is relaxed and casual in a warm and caring way. We love the St Regis in Rome and the St Regis in Florence; however this is a different type of experience and one we certainly enjoyed and will repeat.
We saw some young families enjoying the large common pool by the beach. The pool was never crowded and was warm. Not sure if it was heated or not though. For families, have to know what to expect. Was not really a busy family place, although the families we spoke to enjoyed the quiet setting. Never saw many teenagers.
One disappointment at the hotel was our meal at the Blue Door an onsite Greek Taverna. Awesome location and setting on the beach front. This is an old stone fisherman's house with lots of lanterns, white and blue tablecloths, and bright blue chairs. The food was excellent; however the service was rushed and while technically fine, it was not warm. My perspective, this should be a slow pace to eat. So if I was there again, I would order each course after one was completed. While our experience may not be representative of the norm, we would bypass this for local tavernas such as Ferryman's. Worth walking by to see the setting though as this was very good and full of possibilities! Price was higher than in town but not unlike what I would expect at the hotel. Some evenings we had a drink by the pool by the lobby. I think this is the Arsenali Bar, but not sure. Anyway, this was great relaxing setting that we enjoyed a couple of times before going out for dinner.
Never saw anyone swimming in this pool in the evening. Was used a bit during the day. Had sun beds, but as a pool to relax by or sun bath, recommend the beach. The hotel had a private pebble beach that was about 300 feet long. Lots of wooden walk ways to get around, so the pebbles weren’t a problem. We had planned to travel more of the island that we did; however time on the beach was relaxing and a great way to unwind for the beginning our 3 week vacation. Great service on the beach. Ordered wine and snacks on a number of occasions serve was friendly and fast. Also well priced for a hotel. Would strongly recommend time on the beach. Ski boats offered trips to Spinalongia however cheaper to make the shot walk to Plaka for the trip. Also could take diving lessons or water ski etc. from the beach. Swimming was good; however not the fish and marine life we often see in other parts of the Mediterranean, Caribbean or parts of Hawaii. There are sea urchins not far off shore, so watch for these and wear water shoes. Was a breeze most of the time on the beach. From our perspective, this was a plus. Could swim off a small floating dock that was not used by boats.
Overall, a wonderful experience. Would highly recommend this property for its ambience, setting, service and most of all for the people that work there. Casual, warm caring and focused on providing a positive experience that exceed expectations. Not a formal property. Know what you are going to and enjoy all it has to offer.
I guess a good way to end our review is to say, we are booked at the property for 10 days in July of 2012.
November 27, 2011
Rated 5 out of 5 by PAbuckeye Perfect Honeymoon
My favorite Starwood property! Went for my honeymoon. A bit of a challenge to drive from the airport, so make sure you have a map. Once there, all that stress melted away. Rooms are big. Was upgraded to a room with a private pool. Gorgeous view. Beach, pools and sauna/spa all excellent. Room service delicious and very well-priced! Easy to walk into Plaka for supplies, restaurants and a boat to Spinalonga. Beach can be very windy.
December 19, 2011
Rated 5 out of 5 by Marcweis This hotel is really excellent and with great features
I've stay with my wife and daughter during beginning of July 2011. The reception Staff have given us a very warm welcome during check-in. The same for check-out. Our stay was fantastic. Unfortunately the water of the private pool was very cold, so we couldn't enjoy it. The SPA was also excellent and a very prof and friendly Staff.
We will certainly go back.
January 16, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by June56 The most amazing Resort
Last May 2012 we got to finally stay at the Blue Palace. The unfortunate part was it was for one night, but a most memorable nite. They were under construction and we were given accommodations at another 5 star. We thought that resort was beautiful, but when we got to the Blue Palace there was no comparison. It was truly a Palace. The staff, the Room , the restaurant and the view was amazing. They treated us like royalty. We were tempted to cancel the rest of our trip and stay for a few more days, but could not due to flights and other circumstances. I am writing now as I still dream of the experience. My husband and I wanted to thank everyone for making it a worthwhile stay. We will certainly visit again.
February 15, 2013
Rated 1 out of 5 by Honza Don't stay here if you are a Platinum member
Arrived 10pm. Still took 15 minutes to check-in. Four employees present, only two empowered to do check-ins. Heard two other guests talk about being upgraded, neither were Platinum members. I asked to be upgraded (I had not used any points for my booking) and was told flat out no. I asked if they would check again the next day and was told she had to check with the 'invisible' manager. Was finally 'offered' an upgrade to a worse room that I had paid for so I declined.
At check-in and on two later occassions I asked for a late check-out and was told they would get back to me, which they didn't before I again reminded them. The reply was flat out no.
Besides the lack of both professionalism and customer respect, the property itself is below par. Walls are paper thin, if your neighboars enjoy watching TV, as mine did, you can hear the program through the wall. The Wi-Fi is crap for lack of better word, completely unreliable.
Location is great as is cleanliness, but those two reasons aren't sufficient to choose this hotel. Stay somewhere else if you are a Platinum member or book this hotel through a touring company as that obviously secures you better service.
July 22, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by mpol Perfect get-away
This has to be one of the nicest hotel settings in the world. Stayed as a Platinum member and was upgraded to a heated pool suite. Careful. Some pools are not heated. Great to have a private pool. The breakfast is nice. Great place for families or couples. Beware, not a sand beach. Now for the bad, the Internet is basically non existent. Don't even think about getting work done. No signal anywhere. None. And the concierge? Worthless. But that's why you have Google. I asked concierge for driving directions somewhere and she said- "I don't know. I don't drive or have a car."
July 30, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by Andreas a place to relax
great start into our vacation. The villa with the private pool and the amazing view was great. Good offering at the resort - my favourite place was Restaurant Blue Door.
July 28, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by alexma management problem!
My wife and I travel for several years at many places in the world and are only in 5 * and higher categories go. This time we are in Greece, Crete, driven.
We stayed here with our in-laws in Hotel Blue Palace and have a Luxury Suite booked Iceland. The rooms are nice and equipped in order and with a heated pool. If you book a room with a pool, then this should be heated, or he is so cold that it can be hardly used. Some rooms have very little privacy can be viewed from the beach elevator up to the room. Very beautiful view. The plant is also beautiful. The problem with the beach is solved in our opinion well. Some guests find the problematic, however. The pool at the beach unfortunately with salt water and very cold. Was used by a little.
However, the biggest problem of the hotel seems to be the management. We had some comments or complaints that were only annotated with the sentence "So far we have not had any complaints." The complaints from other portals were apparently just disappears.
Here it was mainly the restaurant Olea, here is breakfast and dinner is served, and these conditions are terrible. The morning coffee is an outrage, the orange juice was already fermented. Pancakes are not fresh zubereitett front of the guest but prefabricated be warmed up. Likewise, the fried eggs. That canned fruit is offered, it should be mentioned only in passing. In the evening there is no fresh salads, but the offer sought resist despite different nightly themes. Everything seems to be not of good quality and not fresh. Not a five-star standard. For dinner, several dishes were offered that met our expectations in any way. No freshly prepared dishes such as fresh fish, etc. . Everything is kept only in warming boxes, not freshly made. Moreover, the restaurant Olea is really ugly. Fluorescent and station atmosphere with erhötem noise. From a five-star ambience far away.
Furthermore, the service of the staff did not meet even a 5 * standard.
Here is an example, because of our baby, we wanted to enjoy a pizza next to the beach pool and restaurant. Here we were informed personally by the "manager" that only we had in the (dark and cold) Italian "restaurant" to eat our pizza or order one at the Standbar something else. This is not a five-star standard. Actually not a big deal to offer this "service" of a family with a baby.
But what is now again take us, has caused us to write this report.
We asked for an appointment with the "manager" of all food areas and informed him of our concerns and comments with, but he denied everything and said there would be no complaints so far. He has then leave it. Unfortunately, not even a little "peace offering" such as oä a glass of wine.
The hotel we can not recommend simple. Who still goes here will find a basically nice hotel, but significant compromises in food and service must make. Basically, it is not recommended here half board or book even more. Breakfast is annoying enough. In the surroundings you can fine dine.
October 25, 2014