For a short-haul family holiday with oodles of style, or a chic retreat for two, Inspiring Travel Company’s Sarah Garrod suggests a closer look at Crete’s Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas.
After a speedy 3 ½ hour flight, followed by an hour’s transfer to Agios Nikolaos, we (my partner, one-year-old daughter and I) viewed Daios Cove for the first time and felt a world away from home. The resort, accessed from the top of the hillside on which it sits, introduces guests to its showcase, ‘wow’ view via a glass-sided terrace, giving a panorama of the entire property sprawling around and down Vathi Cove all the way to the private beach below.
From the sleek reception with its infinity-edge windows we were transferred up the hill to our pool suite in a golf cart – much to our daughter’s utter glee – and greeted at the door by a breeze blowing through the rooms carrying the scent of jasmine which crawled up the side of the outdoor terrace.
Everything had been set up ready for us, with a pram, cot, high-chair and various toddler paraphernalia neatly displayed, while a bottle of red and honeyed sesame snacks sat next to the Nespresso machine waiting for us to tuck into while our little one snoozed. “Naanaas,” she shrieked, instantly clocking the bowl of fresh fruit on the coffee table and waddled over to examine it, choosing a pear to munch on while she explored our outdoor space with its own pool.
Thankfully the Concierge had arranged for a pool fence, ensuring instant peace of mind for parents of an intrepid tot. Less than ten minutes since checking in we were floating around in the water, working up an appetite for our first Daios Cove dining experience.
Our favourite of the four restaurants turned out to be Taverna, just a floor up from the private beach. The children’s menu here was the best I’ve seen anywhere, with homemade purees for babies, colourful creations for weaned pre-schoolers, and smaller plates for younger appetites. When we dined in early evening to fit with our tot’s routine the restaurant was nearly empty, so the staff indulged our daughter with lots of attention, taking her hand and pointing out the fish display and teaching her Greek words like ‘yasou’. It was this natural, friendly service which permeated every element of our stay and made it extra special. We gorged on Greek salad, local cheese with beetroot and hazelnuts, and authentic moussaka, before heading back up the hill to bed.
One afternoon our daughter spent a few hours in the crèche while we went to the spa for a massage and a refreshing pot of local mountain tea. We went back early to pick her up (we missed her) and she cried as she left her new friends and the toy shop’s-worth of stuff; testament to just how settled the staff had made her feel.
I first heard of Daios Cove five years ago when a friend chose it for her post-wedding minimoon. On that basis I wondered how well it would fare as a location for a family holiday, and feared we’d spend the entire stay attempting to restrain our one-year-old from unintentionally disrupting the peaceful vacations of couples and newlyweds.
We needn’t have worried. The balance has been perfectly struck at this Crete retreat to ensure every guest has their own space.
In the main restaurant, Pangea, adults are seated in a covered terrace solely for them, while parents are ushered to their own area where the atmosphere is relaxed and the dinnertime comradery abundant! On the children’s buffet were strawberries as big as our daughter’s hands and sweet potato mash (her favourite); while highlights for us included the cooked-to-order local fish and mini-crème brûlée. Pangea was also a relaxed breakfast choice, but for a more grown-up start to the day the resort’s Ocean Club boasts infinity pool views and fizz.
After-dinner evenings were spent at the kids’ club garden, where the staff put on a party each night for younger guests with music, toys, books, cookies and milk; ideal for burning off steam before bed. While we danced the ‘Hokey Cokey’, I could see child-free guests heading up on the funicular to the Crystal Box bar for bespoke cocktails and a cove view. And speaking of the funicular, this facility at Daios Cove makes travelling up and down the resort trouble-free despite the gradient. Ideal for pushchairs, mature travellers and guests with a penchant for high heels.
What I hadn’t considered before visiting Crete, but which made such a difference to our family break, was the fact that the island is two hours ahead of home. Keeping our daughter on her 7pm-7am sleep routine meant that she was up with us in the evenings, then ‘slept in’ every morning; so, her dad and I came home feeling rested for the first time since her arrival! Not an easy feat for parents of a toddler, but one which Daios Cove secured in every element of our stay.
To book your perfect Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas holiday, and to hear about the latest offers, call an Inspiring Travel Specialist today.
This article first appeared in the ITC Travel Group magazine Other Shores. To order your copy, please click through to our brochure request page.