Wittering travel counsellor discusses a recent trip to Crete
We all need to get away from it all sometimes, and for me, my recent visit to Crete really helped me unwind and switch off, writes travel counsellor Emma Savage. So, where does a travel agent go when they need some R and R? Well, there’s a hotel on the beautiful island of Crete, which specialises in just this and I was lucky enough to spend a week there in May. The Aldemar Royal Mare is a five star luxury hotel, aimed at adults. It is set on the beach with beautiful views and is renowned for its superbly equipped Thalasso Spa – some visitors come here purely to follow a five or seven day Thalasso programme.
The resort is designed in the style of a Mediterranean village; cleverly landscaped, it tumbles down towards the sea with pretty flowers, hedges and trees at every turn. As I was shown around by the friendly guest relations manager, Anna, I learned that the staff is the hotel's biggest asset, some of whom have been with the hotel over 20 years. The repeat ratio at the hotel runs at 40 per cent, and Anna puts this down to the staff, who guests come back to see every year. I experienced this personal service myself, and got to know several of the staff during my stay. Over at the pool bar, I chatted to Maria while she poured the drinks, and we discovered we have sons who are a similar age. Maria told me she’s part of the furniture she’s been here so long. “What makes you love working here?” I asked. “We are like a family,” she told me.
Our room had a pool which was shared amongst a few other units, but as the hotel was not running at full occupancy it was pretty much a private pool for most of our stay. There are in fact 29 pools on the complex and there was never a problem finding a sun bed. There are several restaurants to choose from including a wonderful Asian a la carte and a Mediterranean restaurant too. Nightlife is deliberately low key; a little live music over post dinner drinks at the open air bar is as lively as it gets; but this suited the audience, perfectly.
As someone who loves a massage, I booked some time in the spa and was impressed by the facilities and overall experience. A plethora of options from tailormade Thalasso programmes to Hammam experiences and beauty treatments are all available.
If you are a couple looking for a high-quality hotel where you can relax and enjoy delicious food, excellent service and wonderful views, this is a great choice. To find out more about the Aldemar Royal Mare, do get in touch.