VIP treatment rules this sun-soaked island
It only takes around four hours in the air to reach this sought-after island paradise, and you can transfer to some resorts in as little as 20 minutes.
Dotted around the edge of dozens of spacious Blue Flag beaches are a host of the calm and scenic whitewashed towns and villages that Crete is known for. A popular destination for sunseekers opting for Greek island holidays, Crete is full to the brim with high-end restaurants, dazzling jewellery markets and serene stretches of clean white sand.
While resorts like Hersonissos and Malia are best known for their waterparks and booming bars, this island is well-equipped to cater to a more refined style of travel too, thanks to the array of 5* and Platinum-rated hotels that call it home.
Living the high life in Crete
From sleepy seaside villages like Gouves that centre around good food and tranquil private beaches, to vibrant destinations like Rethymnon, it isn’t hard to enjoy a luxury holiday in Crete. Rethymnon’s stunning Renaissance architecture gives the whole town a postcard-perfect feel, while the option to book private off-shore boat tours make the most of the incredible scenery.
Visit the dazzling resorts at Lyttos Beach to enjoy swim-up rooms within strolling distance of the sand, with a host of high-end dining and entertainment options on-site. Or, venture to neighbouring Analipsi where rooms with private pools are almost obligatory, and an evening of al fresco Cretan cocktails as the sun sets is unmissable.
Other popular holidays in Greece
If your limits of luxury aren’t confined to Crete, we’ve got you covered. Check out the likes of Halkidiki, Santorini and Kos for alternative spots to absorb the high life. That said, if a luxury holiday to Crete sounds like just the thing for you, take a look at our travel guide for more information on places to eat, drink and explore in the area. Here are a few of our favourite hotels for a luxury Crete holiday – all that’s left to do is decide which one appeals the most.
This contemporary 5* venue has been designed to capture its seaside setting, with glass-walled terrace bars framing incredible sunset views over a private beach. When you aren't sunbathing by the pool or enjoying the scenery from your balcony, a host of entertainment and activity options – from canoes or pedalos to delectable culinary offerings and a show at the Garden Theatre bar – keep you occupied. Waiter service means you won't need to leave the poolside to top up your drinks, and the open-air cinema allows you to catch classic silver screen flicks.
On the edge of a vast swathe of Blue Flag certified beach, this 5* venue has been styled in homage to traditional Greek villages – whitewashed restaurants and bars surround four outdoor swimming pools. An indoor pool, well-equipped gym, sauna, tennis courts and even Greek cookery lessons are also on offer. Nestled between the ocean and mountaintops , a choice of suites offer balconies and plush decor. You can arrange for beauty treatments within the comfort of your room, or step out and enjoy professional dance shows and live music three nights a week.
This 5* adults-only hotel is ideal for those wishing to spend their holidays in a state of utmost relaxation. Choose from swim-up suites with shared pools or rooms with their very own private pools – whatever you go for, this Platinum-status beachfront hotel in the village of Analipsi keeps you feeling like a VIP. Local bars and restaurants are within walking distance, but a choice of spa treatments, a la carte restaurant and cocktail bar should keep you feeling pampered if you stay in.
With stunning decor inspired by Minoan palaces, the 5* Amirandes – plus its private beach, Olympic-sized swimming pool, three tennis courts, and very own amphitheatre – is truly opulent. When you aren't in the open-air cinema enjoying a cocktail from the pool bar, pick from spa treatments, sports lessons and dance shows. Then, settle in at one of four a la carte restaurants or dine al fresco at the buffet restaurant or poolside brasserie. All rooms come with a balcony or terrace, but luxury rooms with sea views and private swimming pools are also available.
This sleek and stylish 5* offering sets the bar high. Room options include balconies, sea-views and swim-up suites. Only a five-minute drive from the action of Hersonissos, the resort boasts a choice of seven speciality restaurants alongside a top-notch array of entertainment. Choose from live music, comedy or West-End glitz by night, and spa treatments, or lounging near one of six on-site, lagoon-style swimming pools by day. With adults-only pools and whirlpool baths as well as family pools and a kids' splash zone, there's luxury for everyone at this glamorous resort.