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Why Crete should be your last-minute September holiday destination

I visited the Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay - and here’s why it’s a perfect September and October getaway

Why Crete should be your last-minute September holiday destination
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
September 18, 2023
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Vacationing at the end of summer in Europe can be tricky. While you feel like you should be reassured that most destinations still have a little morsel of sunshine left to give, it’s hard to receive a guarantee that you will have a blazing summer holiday. As such, here’s why Crete - and a delightful resort called the Wyndham Grand - should be at the top of your list for a final summer outing…

A mere three-and-a-half-hour flight from the UK, with plenty of flights to shake a stick at, the summer season remains open until the end of October (where admittedly things get a little chilly). Going slightly further afield to Greece’s largest island, Crete, is a sound choice - and as a hugely popular tourist destination, there are dozens of options to choose from. 

The hotel has over 300 rooms
The hotel has over 300 rooms

During my visit, we stayed at the Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay,  around a 40-minute drive from Heraklion airport, making it - all in all - about a half day of travel before your holiday can begin in earnest. And what a gorgeous stay it was!

Fancy booking a stay in Crete?

For the Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay, lead-in rates on an all-inclusive basis for the Deluxe Sea View Room for two from £372/night, and the Deluxe Junior Suite with indoor jacuzzi and private pool for a family of four from £558/night.

With the hotel boasting of over 300 rooms, our two-story villa was located across the road in an area with fabulous connections to the hotel (with a little bridge from the villa area to the hotel making it less than a two-minute walk to the main area of the hotel). With our own little private pool and sun beds, it would have been tempting to never leave our heavenly suite, but unfortunately for us, the hotel itself was even more tempting. 

Chill by the pool© Maria CHATZ
Chill by the pool

With two pools, one located in the picturesque gardens of the villa while the other sat right by the ocean, the vibe was a blend of Mykonos and Santorini ‘cool’ and creature comforts with wide, king-sized sun beds, many with windbreakers or shades, keeping guests from what occasionally could be a strong island breeze. With a swim-up pool bar as well as a nearby snack bar and the restaurants at your fingertips, we lay back and enjoyed chilling out. You can also opt for an all-inclusive stay, with cocktail menus having a huge range of options for those in the package and paying guests alike. 

The resort has a private beach, where guests are mostly protected from windy weather with the beach nestled within high natural walls. As such, it was easy to remain by the beach or the pool until evening crept up on you around 7, or even 7.30 p.m. 

The beach is protected from the breeze
The beach is protected from the breeze

In case, during your stay, there is a bout of rain (it happened a couple of times during our stay, but was always fleeting), there is a covered gym area with spectacular views where you can spend your time getting some fitness in, or an indoor pool and jacuzzi (which was definitely a more preferable choice for myself)! There is also a plethora of treatments to choose from at the hotel’s modest spa, with a brilliant team of experts offering a relaxing experience. 

Lie back and relax at the spa© HEINZ TROLL
Lie back and relax at the spa

Where to eat

There are several options within the resort, with the buffet restaurant, Amaltheia, being the main pick for breakfast and lunchtimes, with an impressive array of options from full English breakfasts to traditional Greek cuisine to pastries, sweet treats, cereals and pancakes. 

There are also several bespoke restaurants, with the Bay Grill and Bar being our favourite lunchtime spot. With steaks, pizza and pasta on the menu as well as a plethora of Cretan options, it was the perfect blend of authentic grub with something a little different. We particularly loved the ribeye steak and the pesto linguine. The staff were also a complete delight, with the lovely Rena plying us with Prosecco every time she spotted us, and making us feel very welcome indeed. 

The Grill is an incredible lunch spot© Maria CHATZ
The Grill is an incredible lunch spot

For a traditional Cretan experience, I would suggest a visit to Kafenion, a tasting menu experience situated in the arches of the main building. From lamb meatballs to tomato and feta dishes, it is the perfect opportunity to try those things you also wondered about on the menu but never got around to ordering. 

The restaurant has a tasting menu
The restaurant has a tasting menu

For a romantic foray, Elia is the place to go. With gorgeous fish options including sea bass deboned at your table, pesto mussels and calamari and octopus starter options, it felt like a truly special evening out at the restaurant located right by the ocean. Word of warning though, the service was a little slow, so be prepared to take your time when visiting this one. 

Head for a spot of romance© Maria CHATZ
Head for a spot of romance

While the resort has everything that you could want within its walls, we also have the perfect recommendation if you want to venture out for a night on the town at Gioma Mezze. Located a short taxi ride away, the picturesque restaurant’s cuisine highlights included the rice and truffle croquettes, delightful sea bass ceviche and the frankly enormous profiteroles dessert. 

How to travel there 

The best airport destination for the Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay is Heraklion, where there are plenty of options for travel. British Airways and easyJet are among the airlines bussing holidaymakers to the stunning island, and travelling to and from Manchester, East Midlands Airport, Gatwick and many more. 

To book the Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay, visit here.

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