Luxury stay in Crete: Marriott Luxury Collection Blue Palace

The Blue Palace, a Marriott Luxury Collection resort, is located on the north side of the island of Crete, Greece, at Elounda, about one hour’s drive from the Heraklion airport. This side of the island is without doubt the more touristy side, but for good reason: its beaches are beautiful, the small towns hugging the coastline are inviting and welcoming, and the Blue Palace shines like a collection of polished stones overlooking the Mediterranean.

Comprised of bungalows, suites and villas, every room seems to have a stunning ocean view at the Blue Palace, thanks to its unique design, with rooms stacked in several floors tucked into the hillside, almost as though they have burrowed cozily into the earth. Because of this configuration, the main lobby area is at level three, with a large outdoor pool, patio space, and dining on that level. Additional dining is on level four (this is the place for your morning breakfast buffet), with more options throughout the resort, right down to the beach level. There are no fewer than seven restaurants and bars, in total. I recommend The Blue Door, which replicates a traditional Greek taverna, located right near the beach, with indoor and outdoor seating. Order an assortment of shared plates, like we did, with wine for the table, or opt for seafood dishes here.

Upstairs, the Arsenali Lounge Bar is another good place to gather in the evenings, with tables overlooking the pools and ocean as well as inviting indoor bungalow nooks with couches and lantern light.

My ‘standard’ king villa was anything but, with a large patio overlooking the sea (with comfortable furniture) and spacious main room. The en-suite bathroom had both a tub and a shower, with a frosted glass door that slid to offer privacy in the toilet area as well. Instant coffee and tea service was available, which surprised me, really…what about a Nespresso machine, perhaps? There is a stocked mini-bar, as well as an extensive room service menu with generous hours. Any time day or night, you can find food here.

On the grounds, there are tennis courts, a private beach, indoor and outdoor pools, a kids’ club, a game area with outdoor ping-pong and the like, and a full fitness center with ongoing group classes, yoga sessions and private training offered. The full spa is located nearby, with 23 treatment rooms, each featuring soothing water sounds and diffused calming lighting. The Blue Palace spa utilizes therapeutic Thalassotherapy with their spa services.

When to go to the Blue Palace:

The off-season is more affordable than one might think for such luxury, with some rooms for as little as approximately 250 EU per night. Go in early fall, while the ocean water is still warm and the air temperatures remain around 70-80 degrees F. If you go in peak summer, you can expect to pay more and to endure hotter weather, but without doubt, you’ll be comfortable at the Blue Palace. The full breakfast buffet (valued at around 40 EU per person) does come included in some room rates, so be sure to ask about this possibility when booking.

What not to miss on Crete:

Be sure to schedule at least two full days simply to enjoy this resort, perhaps checking out the spa and kids’ club or just enjoying the beach and pools. Then, take a day to explore the archeological antiquities of Knossos, about an hour away, and the small towns along the northern coastline.