The privacy of a deluxe villa and the services of a top hotel – it’s a wonderfully indulgent combination and a rare one. It does exist though, above the bit-too-big resorts overlooking Mirabello bay, in the exclusive enclave of Elounda Gulf Villas. Its low-profile policy and discreet staff make it popular with international dignitaries and celebrities searching to escape the limelight, at least for a few days. And it is family-run – designed by dad Dimitris, run by daughter Charitini and presided over with perfection by mother Anna.
The suites and villas are swish – the marble-lined bathrooms have jacuzzis and trompe l’oeil ceilings, the sofas are covered with Italian fabrics, there are scatterings of antiques about the parquet floors. All the villas have private pools (the best ones with infinity cliff-hangers); the suites share a seawater pool with Jacuzzi and a cascading waterfall. A butler will bring your morning juice to glass-fronted breakfast rooms with, needless to say, stunning views. There’s also a poolside bar-restaurant serving creative Mediterranean cuisine and late-night cocktails, massages and beauty treatments at the spa, so not much reason to leave Elounda Gulf Villas once you arrive.
There are 17 villas and 10 suites, all of them light, sleek and spacious, and all with sea views. You get lots of marble floors, a tasteful combination of antique furniture and modern designer pieces, oriental rugs, sumptuous Italian fabrics (in earthy neutral tones), freshly-cut flowers and, to avoid that cookie-cutter feel, some offbeat touches like a saxophone hanging from a ceiling, a leopard-skin chair, or a life-size mural in the marble bathroom.
Despite this, nothing is too ‘precious’ and one immediately feels at home amid the elegance. The rooms are also remarkably peaceful, with no road traffic hum and so little noise from your neighbours that you begin to wonder if they’re still there.
Choose between a suite for 2-4 (like a large hotel room with sitting area and shared pool), a villa for 4-6 (two storeys, with kitchen and private pool) or a spa villa (with kitchen and private infinity pool, sauna/gym).
Deluxe Senior Suite (sleeps 2): 1 master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, separate living room and either a balcony or terrace with sea or garden view. Close to the seasonally-heated main swimming pool with Jacuzzi and cascading waterfall, and children’s pool.
Deluxe Family Suite (sleeps 4): 2 ensuite bedrooms, one with a kingsize bed and one with twin beds. All have balconies with sea view.
All the villas are two-storey and have a fully-equipped, open-plan kitchen, and a private swimming pool (not heated) with Jacuzzi.
Elounda (sleeps 4): 2 bedrooms (one kingsize and one twin) with spacious ensuite marble bathrooms. Wooden loungers on the terrace.
Aegean (sleeps 6): 1 master bedroom with ensuite bathroom, and 2 other bedrooms with shared bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows capture panoramic views.
Mediterranean (sleeps 6): 3 bedrooms with en-suite marble bathrooms.
All the spa villas have a private seasonally-heated infinity pool with built-in Jacuzzi, plus sauna, steam bath and gym room.
Deluxe (sleeps 2-3): 1 master bedroom with ensuite bathroom. Added flexibility of turning the living room area into a bedroom with an extra bed and its own bathroom. Open-plan kitchen.
Executive (sleeps 4): 2 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, spacious living room with open-plan kitchen. Non-slip sun-terrace with wooden sun-beds, dining table and wicker sofa. Three storeys.
Presidential (sleeps 6): 3 spacious and airy ensuite bedrooms, ultra-modern kitchen and oversized living room. More secluded.
Royal Spa Pool Villa (sleeps 8): The flagship villa, the jewel in Elounda’s crown, which makes regular appearances in glossy mags and, unless you’re super-rich (or super-prolific in the family way) is more of a lure than a realistic consideration. Much bigger, with four bedrooms, oversized lounge and dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows, garden housing the private infinity pool.
– Dining: Excellent restaurant serving Cretan and modern Med fare; cocktail bar that stays open late
– Internet Access: Free WiFi internet access throughout the complex, plus internet corner (free) with computer near bar-restaurant
– Swimming Pool: Villas have private pools; suites share a large seasonally-heated seawater swimming pool with Jacuzzi and jet, plus a cascading waterfall
– Spa Treatments: The Elexir Spa Gallery has sauna, steam bath, massage room and gym, and offers massages, aromatherapy, reiki, reflexology, facials, manicure, pedicure and hairdresser services
– Recreational: Five star service without corporate feel; family-run with attentive staff
– Disabled Access: Not suitable
– Pets: Not accepted
– Languages Spoken: English, Greek
– Spacious villas and suites individually designed in Georgian style and outfitted with Italian fabrics
– Villas have private pool; suites share a large seawater swimming pool
– Deluxe marble bathrooms with playful water-colour ceilings and life-size Greek murals
– Five star service without corporate feel; family-run with attentive staff
– Excellent restaurant serving Cretan and modern Med fare; cocktail bar that stays open late