Greece holds a special place in my heart following several childhood holidays with my family and friends, discovering different islands, whilst continuously falling in love all over again with its unique beauty, scenery, food and atmosphere. My most memorable visit was our trip to Santorini, with the breathtaking drop, a rich blue ocean, idyllic cobbled streets and white washed walls. 12 years later I return to Greece, this time to the island of Crete – which Ive never had the pleasure of visiting or knowing much about – so the excitement was high, but without all the expectations (always the best way to travel).
The long-weekend holiday was an arranged trip to discover Daios Cove, a gorgeous luxury 5-star resort, with my new Olympus Pen to capture every moment together with fellow blogger Julia – both kitted out with summery outfits courtesy of Topshop, as part of their #PostcardsFromTopshop campaign. In other words – the perfect weekend get-away.
The Olympus Pen E-PL7
Fortunately I had Julia, one of the Olympus Brand Ambassadors, who helped set me up and ready to snap with my new toy! The camera was so straight forward and easy to work, taking less than a day to get to know properly, and by the end of the trip – we were joined by the hip (and still are). The best part of it (other than it taking awesome pics)? You can upload all your photos directly to your phone, making life so MUCH easier for a blogger!
After touchdown at Heraklion airport, we drove about an hour east along the coast until we arrived to the stunning resort. We were welcomed by a lovely team who took us straight to the top balcony of the hotel for the first (of many) breathtaking views.
After recovering from that view, we kickstarted our long-weekend off with some welcome drinks and local nibbles on their terrace. Perfect.
As soon as I am by the sea, my whole body instantly relaxes – which takes a lot for me to do. Growing up in Norway with such a close proximity to the ocean, it gives me a sense of calm and connection, wherever I am the world; something to do with the familiar salty smell, that clean air, the sand, the view… So after checking into probably one of the nicest hotel room views I have ever come across – with its own private infinity plunge pool with views to-die-for – I quickly threw together my beach bag and headed straight down to the ocean, where I comfortably settled into one of their sun loungers for the last few hours of rays.
The brief for the weekend? R&R. And it was exactly that from start to finish. Not only did the stunning rooms with your own pool and killer views do the trick – the whole atmosphere of the resort exuded calm throughout. Being totally honest, I normally prefer smaller and quirkier boutique hotels to large resorts. When that said, even though this was family, couple and a group-of-friends friendly – it has mastered creating something classy, relaxed, yet exciting – for just about everyone. We were told that the hotel was at full capacity, yet at times when we were walking around, one could feel completely alone (in a good way). Even the beach was never too crowded, busy or hectic. Hence why I pretty much stayed put on that sun lounger for the remains of the holiday. I even found myself settling in a bit too much – not even moving from the sun lounger to go eat! Oops.
Now lets talk about one of the main factors to me when it comes to the making of a successful holiday. Good food. Of course, I am all about the atmosphere, views and facilities – but if the food is rubbish, it can easily cloud out all the good things. Fortunately – from start to finish – the quality of food was exquisite. Every single meal I had, was full to the brim with flavour, using only the freshest ingredients and produce. Even my beach salad, was probably the best Tuna Niçoise I have come across (and thats saying a lot!).
From their delicious breakfast buffets – which is one of the most impressive and flavoursome I have come across – with fresh fruit platters, smoothies, juices, eggs of your choice, cured meats, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, homemade pastries, bread, greek yoghurt, local tea and honey… You name it. And any special special requirements was never an issue (which is always helpful, when you’re a massive foodie as I am, yet with a few dietary requirements).
The dinners were (dare I say it), even better than the breakfasts. The resort has three main restaurants you can choose from, which were all as good as the other. The first night we dined at the deluxe Ocean Restaurant, where we sat on the terrace tucking into freshly caught scallop ceviche, a creamy bean salad, monkfish and the most indulgent and delicious dessert…
Their Taverna was another highlight, serving up local Greek à la carte cuisine, overlooking the cove (which looked equally as magical all lit up at night). Here I was pretty much in food heaven, with every course involving a different catch of the day – from cod, prawns, octopus to scallops, served alongside local Greek white wine. Pangea is their third restaurant option, which is a buffet. Although the atmosphere could not compete with the breathtaking setting to the Ocean and Taverna restaurants – the food was yet again, exceptional. The only complaint? There was too much to choose from! We all ended up rolling out the restaurant, after feasting upon the best mussels I have ever had, Aubergine Parmigiana, Truffle Ravioli, Greek Salad, Seabass Ceviche and a rather large selection of dessert.
Even the cocktails where a highlight! Although I am not usually a fan of coloured cocktails – these were just too pretty not to drink. When that said, I personally preferred their local Rosé wine, which I happily settled in with every night at Crystal Box, their sea view terraced bar, overlooking the ocean.
The temperature when we were there in the beginning of June, was just right, ranging from 24-28 degrees during the day, cooling down to around 18-20 degrees in the evenings. Upon arrival, we were told it was more windy than usual, however I never found it cold, and it was only a welcoming delight when we were baking in the sun during the day! Although I personally didn’t mind, it was windier down by the beach – hence why the impressive infinity pool and buzzy area at the top, was extremely popular amongst the guests. But I have this thing with the ocean, remember…
The Holiday Wardrobe
The one thing I hate about holidays? The packing. Considering how much I travel, I would expect it to become easier for every time, but sadly not. I am rubbish at planning outfits for each occasion; I always dress spontaneously and depending on how I feel in that moment. Luckily, Topshop had kitted me out with some super cute outfits, making that gruesome packing process that bit easier.
1. The Denim Smock Dress
It was love at first sight with this dress! The shape, colour and details… Perfection. Its such an easy style to dress up with some tanned block heels or keeping it casual with sandals.
Capturing a few shameless selfies with my Olympus Pen….
2. The Boho Top & Must-Have Denim Skirt
I am sucker for a pretty white blouse (and own far too many than I would like to admit). This one is so pretty, with its crochet details and peasant shape. Teamed with my new favourite a-line denim skirt – this is the perfect casual day-time holiday outfit, and ideal for exploring in!
3. The Boho LBD
This pretty cotton dress is the perfect beach cover-up, casual evening dress or even worn over denim shorts or skinny jeans. I adore the high neck and embroidered detailing, and albeit its pretty short – I am keeping the look chic teaming it up with my go-to evening sandals.
4. Denim, Denim, Denim
From cut-off bleached or dark denim shorts, dresses or skirt – one things for sure – denim is a must-have essentials for a beach holiday!
5. The Statement Skirt & Bardot Top
This was my favourite look from the holiday. I love the chic embroidered skirt together with the feminine Bardot top. The outfit looked great with both black leather mules and my trusted sandals (more on this look coming in a few days).
The Spa & Gym Facilities
If you aren’t already relaxed after a few days here, the hotels spa facilities were pretty tempting. With a state of the art indoor heated pool, a fully equipped gym, outdoor Yoga and Pilates classes on the terrace (my idea of heaven), a gorgeous spa area and impressive treatment menu, only using products from lovely French brand Anne Semonin – this is a place of pure tranquil. I had the Deep Tissue Massage, which was exactly what I needed to loosen up those last few knots before entering total relaxation – finishing off in their Finish Sauna.
At this point, I was seriously considering missing my return flight and staying on indefinitely.
Although this is definetetly a destination for relaxation, the resort also has a supply of sporting activities, such as water-skiing, canoeing, scuba, diving and tennis. They also offer tailor-made excursions such as private sailing adventures, trips to nearby local villages and wine tasting sessions.
We enjoyed a magical all-day sail trip day on the ocean… It was that special, so I will be dedicating a whole post to it in a few days. Stay tuned!
The morning after the sail trip, we headed to the local village of Kritsa, which was a magical experience, bringing back all those childhood memories from when I first discovered, and fell in love with Greece.
Sandals galore… Which ones to choose?
We spent the last few days soaking up those views and the atmosphere…
The hotel souvenir shop was by far the most beautiful and classy souvenir shop I have ever come across, with all locally designed creations – from beautiful silver jewellery, stationary and the finest olive oil. I ended up buying the entire trio set below (!), justifying it by now having them on display in my kitchen, and planning on using them to re-fill with regular oil when they’re finished (good enough excuse, right?).
After all that food we were eating, I tried to compensate with a few morning workout sessions using my resistance band and my New Balance. I don’t think I have (or ever will) work out to a better view than this…
On the final morning (sob!) I ordered room service for breakfast. Or rather, (non-intentionally) over-ordered! My feast (to say the least) could have fed a whole family! Beautifully set up and presented, with all my favourite foods from the holiday – I couldn’t ask for a better send-off.
Although I was sad to leave, I know its not the last time I will be visiting this place. I cant wait to come back and experience it all over again…
My Greek love story continues.