Planning a trip to the Greek islands? Look no further than the Asterion Suites & Spa in Crete for a Mamma Mia worthy getaway.
You know you’ve entered luxury when the second you enter your room, you’re already dreading leaving. From the warm welcome at reception to the private rooms with calm plunge pools, the start of our stay at Asterion Suites & Spa felt like one giant exhale, beginning the perfect relaxation retreat.
The second you arrive, you're greeted with ultra luxury
When thinking of refurbished luxury hotels, it’s easy to imagine something shiny and soulless, but Asterion certainly kept its charm in the decor.
The bedrooms were calm and unfussy
Each suite made it easy to relax in soft earthy colours, but with undeniable elements of high-end luxury: Frederick Malle in the bathroom, Guy Laroche towels, and elegant private plunge pools. My mum and I comfortably shared a Cosmos superior double, where the staff helpfully pulled out the spare bed, so it could easily fit a couple with a child.
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The ground floor rooms got a good amount of shade so were perfect for a late afternoon outdoor snooze if the Cretan sun by the main pool got too much (or, let’s face it, after an afternoon rose…).
All rooms feature a balcony or terrace with sweeping views of the sea, pool or gardens and for those seeking more privacy, the hotel has swim-up suites, suites with private pools and the Universe Panorama Suite with a rooftop private pool.
Private pools are a perfect place to cool off
Buffet breakfasts can be hit and miss, even in the most elegant of hotels, but Asterian kept things simple and delicious. We tucked into vegetable omelettes and Greek pastries (with a raw honey rack for added decadence!) as staff kept us topped up with freshly squeezed orange juice to start our day.
Start your day with a buffet
For lunch, it was hard to tear ourselves away from the pool so we ordered bowls of salad and club sandwiches, and for dinner we found ourselves in the tricky situation of enjoying things so much, we had to stop ourselves from ordering the following evening.
There's something for everyone on the menu
Nevertheless, we started most evenings with Dakos (rusks, chopped tomatoes, and feta) and baked feta, then made our way through the menu of seafood spaghetti, chicken souvlaki, and grilled octopus (my personal favourite). The wine list was also excellent but we found ourselves ordering the crisp Vera Rosa rose every evening, which was from a local winery in Crete and paired brilliantly with everything.
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When we didn’t want the night to end, it was time for a cocktail at the Naked Star Pool Bar overlooking the beach. From breakfast to sunset - we certainly ate and drank well!
Slurp your way through the cocktail selection
Although pulling ourselves away from all-inclusive luxury was tricky, the concierge service at Asterion offered us a number of excursions: boat trips, dancing, tours, and a cookery course.
It's hard to tear yourself away from the idllyic hotel!
We found it hard to pick but after a few days of Cretan cuisine, we opted for the cookery school to learn more about traditional Greek cooking. The kind hosts explained the fundamentals of Greek cooking as they showed us ingredients and wood fires, and took us through a number of dishes.
We stirred ouzo into tzatziki, (a tip I’ve brought back to Blighty!), we prepared Boureki, a dish that originates from Chania, made of courgette, potato, feta, mint, and olive oil, and we learnt how crumbled puff pastry with orange creates the most delicious sweet and decadent orange cake (which we then ordered the moment we got back to Asterion!).
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If you fancy something a little different and love a slice of local culture, it’s an absolute must to book - if only to peek into the host’s beautiful home and garden.
We were there to relax, and while laying by the pool and ordering smoothies ticked most boxes, no luxury relaxation retreat is complete without a visit to the spa. My massage in the chic spa eased away any aches from flying, and my mum enjoyed what she said was ‘the best facial of [her] life’!
Great food, a gorgeous pool, and Greek sun - what's not to love?
The endless five-star TripAdvisor reviews speak for themselves, and I would easily go back year after year. Although I went with my mum (think Amanda Seyfried and Meryl Streep living their best Greek Island life…), it would still be perfect for a honeymoon or chilled time away with friends.
Booking and infomation: asterionsuitesandspa.com/