We flew into Crete from London, arriving quite late at the quirky little Heraklion airport. We’d arranged a transfer as part of the booking, and we were pleased to find it was a very comfortable, well air conditioned, leather seated Mercedes Minibus – these things are important to me!
The transfer was only 25km and we arrived at what we knew to be a private peninsular – indeed the gates were firmly shut!
The peninsular is adjacent to the town of Agia Pelagia. We were soon let in, and we were then shuttled from the gate in golf carts, with our luggage. There are several hotels and some very expensive private villas on the peninsular, which is still owned by the Capsis family who built it. It was early season, and we had elected to stay in the 5 star adults only, newly refurbished boutique suite hotel (how’s that for a mouthful!) called Crystal Energy. It was dark, but first impressions were good and the peninsular is traffic free (apart from the golf buggies) and beautifully landscaped with the scent of wafting herbs all around.
The reception area wasn’t remarkable, but they were well organised, and had a buffet set up for late arrivals, which was very welcome.
We loved our suite! Unusually, it had two bathrooms, one with a walk in shower, and the other with shower over a bath, so we were never fighting for shower space! We had a large lounge area, a seperate bedroom and patio doors from both the bedroom and lounge which opened onto a private terrace, from which we could hear the Aegean lapping quietly. There were televisions in the lounge and the bedroom, a well stocked mini bar, and excellent WIFI throughout the hotel. The bed was large and comfortable and there was a decent desk area, and coffee table and chairs in the lounge.
The hotel had just opened after a major refurbishment, so as you can imagine, everything was new, very clean and it all worked well.
In the morning, we awoke to see that we had a stunning sea view, with access to a private beach across some gardens with a water feature and running stream. It was a 2 minute walk to the beach for a refreshing pre breakfast swim, without having to traipse through reception. Do opt for the sea view rooms if you decide to stay here.
The hotel has one of the biggest and best spas we’ve seen, and although we didn’t use it, we did have a look around, and were impressed at the facilities there. We also loved the pool area, which was large, sunny and served by an excellent pool bar. You can walk a fair way exploring the peninsular, visiting the other hotels and enjoying the gardens. There is also access through some gates, which are locked at night (and annoyingly someone has to be summoned from reception to open them) which has access to the town and the public town beach. There should be a key code pad on these gates.
Food and Drink
We opted for premium all inclusive, so all our meals and drinks were included in the price. Breakfast and dinner were served in a restaurant in another part of the peninsular, so it was a 5 minute trek away. Breakfast was the usual style of buffet, with hot food cooked to order, but the dinners were very good, with a choice from the menu and cooked beautifully. We met Mrs Capsis, who is very proud of the fact that almost all the produce used by the hotel is grown in their own gardens, overseen by none other than Mr Capsis himself!
For lunch we visited Sea Salt and Rosemary, a small restaurant down by the public beach, but part of the hotel complex. It’s a traditional taverna style place, and we loved the many mezé dished served for starters, although we had eaten too much before we moved on to some sumptuous barbecued meat and fish!
We spent the evenings in the hotel bar, above the swimming pool. where entertainment was laid on. We particularly enjoyed the belly dancing show, although I did suffer the indignity of being dragged up to perform with the lovely ladies, something that always seems to happen to me!
We did venture into the town on one evening, only because I wanted to try an authentic Ouzo, and none of the bars in the hotel stocked it! We had great service there too, and plan to spend more time in town next time we visit. We also noticed boats with skis for hire, but sadly we only spotted them on the last night.
The staff were very good, although it was obvious many were new to the place, and they were manfully learning the pre season ropes. One member of the team who was exceptional was a young lady called Elina, from Eastern Europe. She seemed to be everywhere – serving in the restaurant and behind every bar, and she was working hard to bring everyone else up to speed. We joked several times that she must have several identical sisters serving around the hotel!
This is an excellent hotel – it feels sophisticated and classy, and the service is discreet and effective. The suites really are exceptional, and if you want to relax in peace, enjoy the fabulous sunshine and eat and drink well, we’d highly recommend it. The short transfer and the fact that you have everything on your doorstep means you don’t need a car.
Travel and the area
We didn’t do much exploring on this trip – it was about relaxing and we also had business meetings to attend in the area, but we plan to go back again to find out much more about Crete and we’ll be sure to let you know what we think.
We flew to Crete with Easyjet from London Gatwick.
If you want to stay at Crystal Energy, we’d love to arrange it for you. Just contact us and we’ll get to work on finding you a great deal.