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At a glance

  • You'll love

    Small private beach

    Adults-only spa and bar

    Top-tier dining

  • Kids will love

    Disney-decorated rooms

    Fun, free kids club

    Cool pool, watersports

  • Don’t expect

    Baby-listening

    Inexpensive dining

    Instant childcare; book

Overview

Crete’s Domes of Elounda offers family-friendly holidays loaded with luxury. Lounge poolside in manicured grounds, lap up the private patch of beach then savour tasting menus by moonlight. This boutique beach resort is cut-above Crete: couples' massages at the serious spa, caviar in your suite, a hint of Moorish decor… But it’s a rich playground for kids too, with tennis, watersports and monuments full of mythical Minotaurs.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Domes of Elounda with us:

A Thermae Experience for two in the spa; GoldSmith members staying seven nights can opt for the spa experience or choose a three-course dinner instead

Parent-approved

‘With free kids' club sessions, an Ofsted-registered crèche that takes babies from 4 months, and warm clear waters for family swimming fun, your holiday can actually be spent holidaying’

Smith & Family

Facilities

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Domes of Elounda – Crete – Greece

Need To Know

Rooms

120, including 80 family-friendly suites, plus 40 family-friendly villas.

Check–out

11.30am. Earliest check-in, 2.30pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from £167.71 (€194), including tax at 13.5 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include an American buffet breakfast. Children Kids stay in parents' rooms free, in cots (for under-3s) or extra beds (up to the age of 12). Family Suites come with a raft of extras, including a 20 per cent crèche discount.

Also

The hotel is built on a hillside but buggies are always available to chauffeur you and your mini entourage about, including between reception and the beach (a four-minute walk). Book an Ultraluxe Villa or Luxury Residence to get VIP Haute Living extras. An open bar on arrival, sunloungers booked in advance, a villa host and concierge services round the clock, daily aperitivo and a mobile hotline to the manager are a few of the treats you can expect.

 

Hotel closed

The hotel closes for winter at the beginning of November each year and re-opens 25 March.

At the hotel

Private beach, spa, two swimming pools, three restaurants, three bars, tennis courts, fitness room, crèche, kids club, playground, gardens, helipad, DVD library, free WiFi throughout.

In your room

Flatscreen TV, minibar, free bottled water on arrival, CD/DVD player (subject to availability), Xbox on request, free WiFi and wired internet, Coco-Mat mattresses, pillow menus, Korres toiletries, slippers and fluffy bathrobes.

Our favourite rooms

Most rooms are spacious enough for extra beds and cots; Open Plan Suites are essentially a large room with a small seating area – good value for a couple with a baby. Standard Family Suites sleep four in two interconnecting bedrooms and come with a raft of family-friendly extras, including a Kids Surprise Box in the mini-bar; colouring books and activity packs; No Tears bath products; and mini bathrobes and slippers. There’s a balcony or terrace with outdoor Jacuzzi for Mr & Mrs, plus a DVD player and stash of PG movies, and an Xbox (on request). Premium One-Bedroom Pool Suites can also sleep a family of four, if you'd rather preserve the sense of having a living room (there's a sofabed for the kids). Note that the hotel’s Brevi baby monitors don’t stretch beyond suites. If you upgrade to one of the lavish Private Residences or Ultraluxe Villas, you get a great deal more space, a private garden with a pool, and a fully equipped kitchen.

Poolside

There are two unheated saltwater pools, one outdoors, and one indoors within the spa (open to over-16s only); two freshwater pools, an 800sq m heated pool for families, and a second only heated in season; and a kids-only pool. The peerless main pool is just below reception, with sweeping views over to Spinalonga and the bay. It has a shallow end and adjoining kids paddling pool – it’s all unsupervised so you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on them. There’s a terrace with loungers for crashing out with a glossy or iPod. Both pools are open 7am–7pm.

Spa

The glittering Soma Spa is decked out with metallic mosaics and boasts five lavish treatment rooms (two suitable for couples), a glorious candlelit black-and-gold hammam and a black mosaic seawater pool surrounded by floor-to-ceiling tinted glass to bring the outside seascape in (whilst preserving your privacy). There’s also a sauna, Jacuzzi and hair salon, plus a laconium, steam room, frigidarium, sauna and tepidarium (so you can make like the Ancient Greeks and detox via a hot-room-and-cold-shower ritual). If eliminating toxins in a sauna then tightening your pores with ice shavings sounds too much like hard work, opt for a couples massage instead, or a luxurious tailored treatment at the hands of highly qualified therapists (try the caviar and pearls facial, aromatherapy salt glow or after-sun waterlily wrap). Therapists use organic Pevonia skincare products. The spa is open to over-16s 10am–6pm daily, or you can book a treatment in your suite if you prefer (and it’s easier with the kids). Guests can use the 100sq m fitness room too.

And…

Standard Family Suites have kiddie rooms decorated with Disney characters to make them feel at home, plus welcome gifts of colouring-in packs and crayons. Kids get their own mini bathrobes and slippers (and child-friendly bath products), and if your room comes with its own pool or Jacuzzi, it’ll also come with a safety cover for it – good for child-proofing and peace of mind. Guests staying five nights or more also get a free children's lunch on the first day and an ice-cream happy hour in the kids' club each day.

Book ahead

Book activities and spa treatments at least two weeks ahead, more if you can during the summer. In-house childcare (especially the Kids Club) is extremely popular, and the hotel recommends booking one month in advance via its online booking system. Babysitters or nannies can usually be arranged with 24 hours' notice.

Food and drink

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Domes of Elounda – Crete – Greece

Dining

There are five eateries to pick from: Tholos, Topos 1910, Mesoylos and Anthos. Tholos is the buffet restaurant in the main dining room. Topos 1910 – set on a decked promontory leading right out to sea – serves award-winning Greek seafood under a twinkling sky. Yaosai offers Asian-inspired dishes, and Blend is an upmarket surf 'n' turf joint with lobster and steak. Mesoyios has Greek and Mediterranean fusion fare in buffet and à la carte form, made from whichever local produce is in season. A breakfast buffet is served here too. 

Family fare

A children’s menu is available (mini burgers, nuggets and M&M muffins), as are highchairs, booster seats, colouring-in pads and crayons. Staff are happy to heat milk for you. You’ll need to bring bibs, beakers and kiddie cutlery from home, though. Kids’ also have their own tea at 6.30pm in Tholos – after this, the restaurants’ outdoor spaces turn into ‘quiet zones’ so if you want to feed them later on, it’ll need to be indoors for a family dinner at Tholos. If staying in one of the Luxury Residences you can make use of your full kitchen to heat milk and baby food or whip up some child-friendly fare. You can stock up on essentials and some local produce at Ariadne Supermarket, a 20-minute drive away in Neapoli.

Hotel Bar

Choose from four bars: the Yaosai Pool Bar on the edge of the main pool and Mesoyios pool bar in Domes Plaza (both family-friendly). Little Smiths can choose from milkshakes and mocktails. Adults-only Spina close to the sands, are both for daytime drinking and open 10am–6pm. As the sun sets, the Grand Domes Bar comes alive, offering inventive cocktails on the terrace and views of the Island (open 10am until midnight). There’s live music (mainly chill-out or jazz) on selected nights, and it’s divided into family and adults-only zones for please-all drinking with or without your offspring.

Last orders

Grand Domes serves drinks until midnight; the bell rings for last orders at 7pm at the pool bar and Spina. Breakfast is served 7.30am–11am, lunch from 12 noon until 5pm, and dinner from 6.30pm onwards. Mesoylos' breakfast buffet runs from 8am–10.30am, and dinner from 7.15pm–9.15pm, and snacks are served throughout the day. Blend and Yaosai both run from 7.30pm–11.30pm.

Smith Insider

  • Top table

    As far out to sea as you can get at Topos 1910; up on the terrace rather than the beach at Anthos for the best breezes. Outdoor eating is kid-free in the evening so nab a babysitter and make the most of some two-of-you time.

  • Room service

    If you fancy feeding the kids (and each other) in the comfort of your own room, a menu including everything from club sandwiches to champagne and caviar is on offer 24 hours a day.

    Also

    Minibars are stocked with kids’ snacks to ward off mini munchies. If you’re into wine, you can book a spot on the weekly Cretan wine-tasting evenings (Sundays at 6pm, €22 a person; book 24 hours in advance). Throughout the summer months various foodie and cocktail festivals take place.

Childcare

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Domes of Elounda – Crete – Greece

Parent approved

‘With free kids' club sessions, an Ofsted-registered crèche that takes babies from 4 months, and warm clear waters for family swimming fun, your holiday can actually be spent holidaying’

Smith & Family

Crèche

The Ofsted-registered Domes Crèche cares for little ones aged four months to four years old. Sessions run daily 10am–1pm (a light fruit and snack lunch is included) and 3pm–6pm; the cost for under-2s is €45 a day for both sessions or €30 for one session (€35 and €22 respectively for ages 2–4). The bright and spacious room has plenty to keep little ones happy: soft toys, noisy toys, books and building blocks, finger puppets and fire engines. There are mats for indoor soft play; outside is a supervised, shaded and fenced-off playground. Childcare is extremely popular and the hotel recommends booking a month in advance via its online booking system.

Kids Club

The Ofsted-registered Domes Kids Club keeps kids aged 5–12 occupied with a daily-changing programme of free organised activities, which, depending on your child’s age, might mean puppet shows and puzzles or team games and mini discos. Sessions run daily 10am–1pm (a light fruit and snack lunch is included) and 3pm–6pm. Childcare is extremely popular – make sure you book your places a month in advance via the hotel's online booking system.

Babysitting

Qualified, English-speaking babysitters are available for €15 an hour (the price varies depending on the number of children); book a day in advance.

Nannies

Local nannies can be drafted in for €15 an hour with a day’s notice.

Baby-listening

The hotel has Brevi monitors that you can borrow for free but they are really only for use in your rooms, and won’t stretch between suites and the bars, restaurants or pools.

Other Services

Book a Standard Family Suite and you get priority booking for the Kids Club, a 20 per cent discount at the crèche, and one child’s pass to Cretaquarium.

What's there already?

For babies

• Highchairs • Steriliser • Kettles • Travel cot • Cot bedlinen • Black-out blinds • Baby monitors • Changing mat • Baby bath • Pushchair • Soft toys • Crayons • Board books

For toddlers

• Highchairs • Booster seat • Cot beds • Cot bedlinen • Black-out blinds • Potties • Changing mat • Buggy • Stair gates • Toddler-proof toys • Crayons/pens • Picture books • U-rated DVDs • Children’s TV channels

For older children

• Mini bathrobes and slippers • Toys • Craft materials • DVD library • Hot-stream video games • XBox • Tennis lessons • Watersports

Activities

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Domes of Elounda – Crete – Greece

Things to do

Get ready to purr. Beach holidays at the Domes of Elounda offer glamour and luxury in (buckets and) spades, whilst ensuring kids of all ages have fun in the sun too. This is grown-up Greece, with a serious spa, pool and private beach. Book a spot at the Ofsted-registered crèche or kids club, or let them ace it with a tennis lesson before setting sail on a boat en famille for your own island adventure.

Sunny days

A lovely Blue-Flag strip of sand, flanked by plush olive groves, serviced by beach boys and surveying gently ebbing seas… Domes' private beach is made for crowd-free sun-seeking in designer swimwear. But it’s perfect for little ones, too: it’s sheltered, equipped with free towels, loungers and parasols, and the water is safe and shallow. Older kids (aged 4+) can try their hand at tennis (€50 an hour with a private tutor; book two weeks in advance) – for the same deal mum and dad can play, too.

Rainy days

If skies turn grey, there’s a gym within the spa (over-16s only) equipped with dumbbells, weight machines, treadmills and exercise bikes. Bottled water, towels and fresh fruit are complimentary. Youngsters can pick a DVD to watch from the library or crash out in the lobby or Grand Domes Bar and beat the top score on their Nintendo DS.

And there's more…

The hotel can organise sailing trips on a private boat around the Gulf of Mirabello or, for older kids, watersports from snorkelling to surfing.

Local Guide

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Domes of Elounda – Crete – Greece
Smith tip

Don’t join a tour to Spinalonga Island – you’ll have to stick to the tour guide’s pace and eat what, and when, everyone else does. Hop on the boat from Plaka, take your own snacks and bottled water, and you and the kids can explore together.

Don't miss…

With a postcard-perfect setting framing views of Spinalonga, family-run restaurant Giorgos in Plaka (www.giorgos-plaka.gr) has a proper passion for fish. The owners aren’t just content with market-fresh produce: they get up at dawn to cast their own nets.

Crete is a great place for kids of all ages – set sail on the water for your own seasidey adventure or journey back to a time of Greek myths and minotaurs at the Palace of Knossos. The Domes of Elounda hotel is a skip-and-a-hop across the water from Spinalonga Island, with its own sad history to tell, while back on dry land, Crete’s endless sands are a natural playground for youngsters to make up their own stories. Fancy escaping the punishing midday sun? Find Greek Nemo at Cretaquarium and do your bit for marine conservation.

Eating out in Elounda harbour? Walk past all the other restaurants on the seafront to Melissos (+30 (0)2841 041888), perched at the end of the strip on a jetty skimming the water’s edge – it’s the best, frequented by locals as well as holidaymakers. Family-run, it’s the perfect spot for a glass of chilled Cretan white and a platter of meze to share. Be warned: the portions of moussaka and roast lamb are vast enough to feed the whole village. Children are very welcome – try them on simple chicken souvlaki kebabs then watch as they look for fish in the sea while you knock back the raki chaser that your waiter will inevitably bring out at the meal’s end.

Boats depart daily from Plaka (five minutes away by car) to the uninhabited island of Spinalonga (10 minutes across the water). Charged with atmosphere, Spinalonga has its own ancient crumbling fort, and haunting history as a former leper colony. The setting for Victoria Hislop’s novel The Island, it is now one of Crete’s most popular daytrips. Take in the fortress then stroll through narrow cobbled streets to one of the isle’s little pebble beaches – you’ll save money and avoid being herded round like cattle if you visit under your own steam and rather than as a tour through one of many operators starting out from Aghios Nikolaos. Just hop on one of the frequent boats (every half hour or so) that depart from Plaka: it’s about €8 to skim the water and €2 to access the fort.

Crete’s largest and most important Bronze Age archaeological site, the vast Palace of Knossos is wondrous to behold. This epic Minoan labyrinth of living and working quarters, store rooms, sanctuaries and squares is considered Europe’s oldest city. Opinion is split regarding the wisdom of painting and restoring portions of the remains to their formal glory: some feel it brings the ancient pillars and pottery, murals and mosaics back to life, others think the crumbling ruins should have been left to decay in dignity. Either way, Knossos is Greece’s second most-visited landmark after the Parthenon. It’s 5km outside of Heraklion (over an hour’s drive there and another back to the hotel before you’ve even started telling them about Theseus and Icarus), so possibly a daytrip best suited to older children, not tots. Bring bottled water, hats and don’t skimp on suncream – the ruins are pretty exposed and the Cretan sun unforgiving.

If it’s too hot for little ones on the actual seafront, the indoor Cretaquarium (50 minutes by car) provides the next best seasidey adventure. The aquarium is part of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research Walk and a visit here supports conservation work with all manner of Mediterranean sealife. The various ocean displays are educational but they haven’t forgotten the fun, either – you’ll find everyone here from Nemo and Jaws to seahorses and shoals of eye-poppingly colourful fish.

For a change of scenery without the kids in tow, try the alfresco Blue Door restaurant (+30 (0)28410 65500) at the nearby Blue Palace resort. A modern take on the traditional Greek taverna, its decked out in cheerful bright-blue painted furniture to match the rich blues of the sea and sky. Under a little awning, on a paved promontory staring out at Spinalonga Island, it makes a cracking spot for a grown-up and intimate lunch for two. Chink Champagne flutes over dolmades and tzatziki then choose fish from a platter, grilled to order over hot coals. Spanking fresh seafood, beautifully sweet tomatoes, plump olives, crumbly feta cheese: the cooking here’s all about simplicity, leaving the beautiful scenery to speak for itself.

+ Enlarge
Domes of Elounda
Elounda, Crete, Greece, Crete, Greece, 72053
Hotel setting

Peaceful Mirabello Bay

Getting There

Perched on its own patch of sand, the hotel overlooks the beautiful Mirabello Bay of Elounda, in north-eastern Crete. Flanked by olive groves and craggy rocks, it surveys the sea and Spinalonga Island beyond. The village of Plaka is a few minutes away.

Planes

The island’s main airport, Heraklion (www.heraklion-airport.info) is the second-largest in Greece, and one hour away by car. Monarch and easyJet both fly direct from London Gatwick. There's a taxi rank outside the passenger terminal, or the hotel can arrange transfers in a Mercedes E Class (€99 each way, for up to four passengers), or in a Mercedes Minibus (€180 each way, for up to 16 passengers).

Automobiles

The nearest big town is Agios Nikolaos, a 15-minute drive from the hotel. From Heraklion, follow the National Road to Aghios Nikolaos (approximately 65km from the airport). As you come into Aghios Nikolaos, there’s a crossroads with traffic lights - turn left here, then right at the next set of lights, following the signs to Elounda village. After about another 1.5km, you’ll see a sign for Elounda on the left-hand side. As you reach Elounda, you’ll hit the village’s port, from here follow the signs to Plaka. Almost immediately before Plaka, see a sign pointing to the Domes of Elounda. There’s free parking when you arrive.

Other

Boat and helicopter are other, more dramatic arrival options.

Parent travel tip

If you’re hiring a car, don’t forget to get baby or booster seats and car blinds for the backseats. Either get air-con, too, or consider a windscreen sun protector so that your steering wheel doesn’t melt in the Greek sun while you’re parked up. No-one likes returning to a roasting car with an overheated toddler.

Reviews

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Domes of Elounda – Crete – Greece

Smith & Family  Parent Panel reviews

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Domes of Elounda – has been selected and approved by parents.

The Domes of Elounda – an indulgent Greek retreat where beachside luxury gets rolled out on a grand scale. We’re talking an impossibly decadent spa (pearl facials, frigidariums), a manicured sweep of private sand, two swimming pools, three top-tier dining rooms, champagne cocktails in one of three sun-soaked bars, space and seclusion in your suite. Not many luxuries are left to chance here (there’s even a mooring for speedboats or helipad, should you opt to arrive via private chopper). But what’s extra-refreshing are the riches laid on for kids: welcoming details like their own mini bathrobes and slippers, Mickey Mouse and pals on the walls by their bed, and M&M cookies in their lunchtime rider, plus big draws like tennis tuition, sailboats and snorkels. With free kids' club sessions and an Ofsted-registered crèche for toddlers and babies from 4 months, plus warm clear waters for family beach fun, your holiday can actually be spent holidaying. As the sun slides into the aquamarine sea, slip on your glad rags, toast your babysitter and join the island’s trendsetters in a multi-course degustation menu under the stars.

Smith & Family

The Guestbook  Smith member reviews

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith & Family hotel, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what real-life family guests had to say about Domes of Elounda in the Guestbook below.

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Childcare, pools (especially private villa pools) incredible level of service from all staff, concierges George and Joanna, location, weather. Kanali restaurant is an absolute must - to be honest we didn't leave the hotel for anything else! Three children (7,3,1) loved the Kids' Club and assorted activities, including the wonderful beach and family pool complex

Don’t expect

Romantic couples' break! This is all about families, and brilliantly done.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The extremely helpful and charming staff, the wonderful service, the beautiful surroundings, the excellent facilities for children. We travelled with a three-year-old and 14-month-old. The nearby town of Plaka is really picturesque with lovely waterfront restaurants, and within walking distance of the hotel, even for a three-year-old. 10/10

Don’t expect

A quiet child-free breakfast, unless you have it delivered to your room. We were with our children so we didn't mind!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Service from staff.

Don’t expect

To pay for restocking coffee in room.

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The private beach studded with olive trees, good food at the beach restaurant.

Don’t expect

In my opinion, good food (except at the beach restaurant), or the personal touch. I didn't think the prices for meals/extras were reasonable.

Rating: 3/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I really enjoyed my stay at Domes of Elounda - the staff were extremely helpful and the luxury suite was a perfect home from home. The suite worked perfectly for us as two couples but would also be the perfect set up for a family - it was also immaculately maintained with room service coming twice a day and the pool being serviced everyday. Made use of the tennis court too (most spectacular view of the resort) where balls and rackets were provided, the spa (massage was fabulous) and the beach area (with very reasonable waterspout activities including paddle boarding, donating, private hire boats etc.). I would also strongly recommend the steak house and Topos 1910 was good too.

Don’t expect

I didn't think the buffet dinner (included) was very good – I didn't think the food was well cooked and personally found it far too salty. We only ate one night, but on that night we were not impressed at all.

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

A few things stand out, firstly the spa, which is fantastic. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable and very skilled and the treatments that we had were beneficial as well as relaxing. Secondly, the staff at the resort, without exception, are friendly and accommodating. And thirdly, the quality of the resort itself, which is very high. The resort may not be as glitzy as some but the five star rating is well deserved. We look forward to a future visit. We loved the Smith Extra!

Don’t expect

The fish restaurant, Topos is very nice but the dinner menus is the same as the lunch menu, which I found disappointing.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff were amazing, the setting of the hotel like a little village, the family pool area, the breakfast.

Don’t expect

Lots of Greek food.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Customer Service, choice of pool and beach, private pool, food, setting.

Don’t expect

Raucous night life.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The view, the beach and the staff.

Don’t expect

Much privacy in the rooms.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Big resort but never felt crowded anywhere. Friendly helpful staff.

Don’t expect

The food is ok but not great.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Villa with pool. Restaurant by the beach

Don’t expect

5-star service. The service is good but not quite that great.

Rating: 8/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on We were with our two year old

We loved

The beach - shallow enough for kids to play in without fear and really shady for those afternoon snoozes. I didn't expect the posh slippers for little people - very kiddy friendly.

Rating: 7/10 stars