Located on the north coast of Crete, close to the small village of Panormo, the recently renovated Royal Blue Hotel exudes ‘kouzoulada’, a Greek word not easy to define, but which is used to characterize passion and spirit. of the island and its locals.
Founded by the late Georgios Troulis and run today by his sons and their families, the hotel is a member of the Royal Troulis Collection and it’s a family affair that emphasizes sharing the soul, beauty and dazzling culture of Greece’s largest island. The Royal Blue resort has its own private sandy bay and marina, numerous swimming pools, and a handful of restaurants. Naturally, guests may end up with very little need to leave, allowing for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Accommodation is spread over a winding 70-acre site that falls into the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea, with rooms a fusion of traditional Cretan elements and modern design, set in gleaming white low-rise buildings connected by Winding paths lined with colorful flowers and lush greenery. From Superior Rooms, some with communal pools, to luxury suites and villas, many with private plunge pools, to opulent royal luxury and presidential suites, guests will find the sophistication of a five-star resort paired with the good amount of local Cretan charm.
Visiting the resort in mid-September, we spent two nights in a deluxe sea view room and private pool. At 30 square meters, the room was a standard size, however, with its private garden easily twice the size, space was far from an issue. A Nespresso machine allowed us to have our morning coffee before heading out for breakfast, and an in-room refrigerator kept the fresh fruit and Cretan white wine chilled.
With spectacular views of the daily sunset from our garden, the evenings were spent grilling another day of relaxation, before dining at Elia, a rustic a la carte restaurant in the heart of the resort focused on meat and entrees traditional Cretan, or Asterias, located largely under the Cretan sky (indoor tables are available) and offering a selection of freshly caught seafood from the abundant Aegean Sea, accompanied by a superb selection of local wines, Greek and international. I have to stress at this point how extremely good these local wines are.
As luxurious as this resort is, a lot of the days are spent poolside, at the beach, or dining. beach and pool, and lets you order a snack or drink without having to move an inch. After a buffet breakfast at the main Symposium restaurant and a few hours in the sun, it’s surprising how quickly the time comes for a crisp and cold rosé under the remaining sun.
Likewise, at dusk the only place to compete with our private pool to catch the blood red sun falling over the Aegean horizon, is Thea Bar. Overlooking the bay and the marina, the sound of the waves lapping gently below, this spot is open all day but really comes alive in the evening. From sunset watching to after dinner dancing, and everything in between, the cocktails are loud, the vibrations light, the music diverse, and the views second to none.
For the jet set who likes to keep fit while traveling, the outdoor gym, soccer field and tennis court are at your disposal to keep you in shape. A swim from one side of the bay to the other, or a gentle stroll through the rolling terrain offers a quieter way to stay active.
Combining luxury and serenity with the right dose of local Greek charm, this Cretan resort is an idyllic getaway that cannot be recommended enough.