The Blue Palace Resort and Spa on the island of Crete in Greece is a beautiful location. The resort is in the hills above a small fishing village, facing a bay in the Sea of Crete. The Blue Palace is part of the Luxury Collection under the Starwood umbrella. We planned a family vacation to Greece, and wanting to spend time on one of the islands, were pleased to find availability at this hotel. I booked this for 5 nights using SPG points, at a total cost of 80,000 points. This property is category 6 and is normally 20,000 SPG per night, but I utilized the 5th night free benefit, bringing the nightly total down to 16,000. It is a lot of SPG points, but I’m pleased with the value we got from our stay here.
There are several other room types available including villas. Our maisonette suite was a pretty solid upgrade from the base room I booked. Cash prices for base rooms are typically over €450/night, and more like €750 for suites. Those prices are likely lower than during peak season in July/August. There is also an €80/night surcharge for children. In our case, our daughter was not charged, apparently since she slept in a crib.
Upgrade at the Blue Palace using Suite Night Awards to a Maisonette Suite
From what I could tell, the property wasn’t full during our time, but it was close. SPG Platinums are eligible for free upgrades, but I have Suite Night Awards to use, so I applied for this in advance, and was happy to have them confirmed 5 days out. I could have chanced the upgrade, but using these on vacation seems like my best value. Our suite was a 2 level suite with a private infinity pool, 2 decks, and 1 1/2 bathrooms. The property opened in 2003, but the rooms are well maintained.
Our suite is on the upper areas of the property, a few floors above the reception area. Once entering, there is a small bathroom near the door, with a shower. In the living room, there is a desk, a large closet, and some couches, one of which has a bed.
There was a fruit basket waiting when we arrived, although it was not replaced during the course of our stay. Not really needed since there was plenty of fresh fruit at breakfast. Several bottles of water and a small bottle of Cretan honey liquor were also waiting for us. On the far wall, there are large windows and doors on the patio with a dining table, some lounge chairs and our pool.
Upstairs was our bedroom, the bathroom, and a large balcony with another dining table. The bathroom had a large bathtub with jets and a separate shower. There was only one since, but the vanity was large, and there are several drawers and shelves to store personal items. Upstairs, there is an even larger closet between the king sized bed and the bathroom
Blue Palace is a lovely property, but a few minor negatives
I’ve always had good experiences at properties under the Luxury Collection umbrella. This is no exception, but the property is large, and sometimes the tranquility of the rooms is overshadowed by the busy and sometimes noisy breakfast experience. Unlike most other Luxury Collection properties I’ve visited, this is a resort, with many more rooms, and a less intimate experience. There are a lot of package tours that use this facility, and while agents mentioned my SPG Platinum Status, recognition isn’t great here. Also, our private pool was a nice feature, but there is not heat, and other than the morning hours when it is in full sun, it is a bit too cold to enjoy for long. Maybe when the air temperature is warmer a brisk dip would be more refreshing.
In any case, the Blue Palace wins on views. Looking out from most anywhere on property, there are mountains, and beautiful blue sea.
For those looking for a white sand beach to enjoy, this is not the place for you, as there is no sand at all, rather the beach consists of large rounded stones. I’d call them river stones, but I’m sure a geologist could correct me. The pools are nice, and there are lots of sitting areas with large umbrellas around the pools and along the beach.
A few times I walked around the property, and although spread out, it is not that large or difficult to get around. One level up from our room are tennis courts. I’m not sure how often they were used, but I was alone when I stopped by. What a view!
The Unique Blue Palace Lobby
The lobby is pretty unique, taking on the form of an area where ships can be repaired. Lots of natural light, and the adjacent lobby bar called Arsenali (Italian for dockyard, not the North London football club, thank goodness).
This area is unsurprisingly the center of the property, and a short distance to most everywhere else. The lobby bar offers hookahs, but at €60, I only saw a few takers. I guess I’ve been to the Middle East too much lately where hookah bars are very common, and much cheaper. It’s much more affordable to buy hookahs and hookah tongs online then smoke privately at home.
The Elounda Spa and Thalassotherapy
The main pool and some of the restaurants are below the access road, and while walking is possible, there is a funicular which is an easier way to move around the property. The spa and fitness center are also located here. We took advantage of several deals on massages in the spa during our stay. Prices were pretty good for a higher-end resort in Europe, especially with the discounts offered. The spa is nice, and they have an elaborate thalassotherapy pool, with various jets. It was more fun than relaxing, but I enjoyed trying it out, and I had the pool to myself after a massage.
Venturing out from the Blue Palace
There is a small village that is maybe a 10 minute walk from the property that is very much tourist oriented, although restaurant prices are half or less than on property. We had dinner most evenings in Plaka. While touristy, the options were decent, and the prices are a better fit for my frugality. Besides restaurants, Plaka also has several small grocery stores and various shops. Some places have water views, but we had tasty meals with and without a sea view.
Just offshore from the hotel is the island Spinalonga. The island began as a fort by Venetians in the 16th Century and more recently as one of the last leper colonies in Europe. Apparently there is a popular novel about Spinalonga (Amazon link), which was later spun off into a Greek TV show. Both have driven the popularity of this place, and although there are frequent ferries to the island, we didn’t visit.
While Plaka is walking distance, we also visited both Elounda and Agios Nikalaos. Both are a short drive away from the Blue Palace. Neither are too exciting, but decent options for those wanting to get off property for a while. Both have an array of dining and shopping options.
Final Thoughts on The Blue Palace Resort and Spa, Crete
We really enjoyed our time here, and while it wasn’t perfect, it was a great place to spend part of our vacation. There are a lot of tourists from Germany, the UK, and we talked to several other Americans during our stay. Our early June visit found nice warm weather, perfectly comfortable for swimming, although the unheated private pool is more of a novelty. During peak season in July and August, I expect the property is more busy. This property has some remarkable views, and I think we got good value for our stay using Starwood points.
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