Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection: A few missteps despite a fantastic stay

After two interesting flights and picking up our rental car, we head for the hotel.

Itinerary reminder :

#TypeReview
1LoungePlaza Premium Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal 2
2FlightAir France Business, London LHR to Paris CDG, Airbus A320
3LoungeAir France Lounge, Paris CDG 2F
4FlightAir France Business, Paris CDG to Heraklion HER, Airbus A319
5HotelDomes of Elounda, Autograph Collection
6FlightAir France Business, Heraklion to Paris CDG, Airbus A320
7HotelMoxy Paris Charles-de-Gaulle
8LoungeAir France Lounge, Paris CDG 2E-K
9FlightAir France Business, Paris CDG to London LHR, Airbus A318
Today’s itinerary

Booking

We made this booking at Domes Of Elounda almost 3 months before our stay. For our four rooms, I used the Marriott Friends and Family rate, obtained thanks to a friend of mine who works there. We were offered the hotel for around half the best public price, which was already low at the very start of the season and in the face of great uncertainty due to very precarious entry and transit conditions.

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The superb view that awaited me every morning

I tell my Marriott Ambassador the names and Bonvoy numbers of my friends, which will be taken into account.

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Rooms are accessed via a tangle of staircases. Fortunately, buggies are available for families and disabled persons.

At the time of booking, I didn’t realize that a pre-payment was expected… And so I found myself with all 4 stays debited directly from my card. Not a big deal, but unexpected for my finances!

Arrival

About a week before our arrival, I noticed that each of our reservations had been upgraded to a Family Suite with Jacuzzi and sea view.

During the week before my arrival, I contact the hotel about the possibility of doing some tests in the area for the return trip. The answers are vague, but I understand that we’ll be able to book it when we arrive at the hotel.

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The entrance to the hotel lobby

We arrive at the hotel in the middle of the afternoon in our rental car. The valet takes care of the car and our luggage.

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An overview of the lobby and adjoining bar
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The hanging above the bar is impressive

We are then escorted into the lobby by the friendly receptionist, who seats us outside facing the sea, with a welcome drink.

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The rooms are located on a mountainside

The formalities are thus completed, not really quickly, but at least in a very relaxed environment.

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Pleasant surroundings while arrival formalities are carried out

Welcome letters are given to everyone, and card imprints made for each of us to cover extras.

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A non-alcoholic welcome drink is offered

With each welcome letter, coupons for the spa are distributed to Elite members, and for me as an Ambassador member, buffet dinners are offered (excluding drinks).

Once these formalities have been completed, our receptionist accompanies us to our suites.

Room

It should be noted that, contrary to what was indicated in the Marriott Bonvoy application, not all rooms received the same upgrade.

The rooms were assigned by Bonvoy level, from the most beautiful view to the least beautiful. So I inherited the suite with the best view, and I must say the most pleasant because it’s so bright.

All our suites, numbered 2**, were adjacent or almost adjacent.

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The characteristic domes of the hotel suites

Access to the suite is via RFID cards from the outside. My friends’, a priori, were often deprogrammed, but mine worked like a charm for the whole stay.

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Bright, airy entrance to the suite

The door gives immediate access to the spacious lounge area, with a large sofa (convertible into a bed), a coffee table, a few solid wood stools and a shelf that doubles as a desk. A large TV and plenty of storage space are available, as well as an espresso machine well-stocked with capsules.

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The lounge area is a good size, with well-maintained, quality furnishings.

A mini-fridge is available, stocked with at least 15 bottles of ice-cold water.

A welcome amenity consisting of a fruit platter and a bottle of Cretan red wine was laid on for me (the latter will be similar for all suites).

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Nice welcome package, but the same for all Marriott Bonvoy statuses

This lounge opens onto a very large terrace with a large outdoor sofa, an armchair, a table and two chairs, and the famous external Jacuzzi, which had to be put into service when I arrived (it’s clear that the hotel is still in soft opening at the beginning of the season).

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The magnificent view from the terrace (I can’t get enough of it)
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The table and a few chairs that my friends and I will put to good use
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A sofa completes the terrace layout
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The other part of the terrace, close to the suite’s sleeping area
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The view from the Jacuzzi in the early morning

Secondly, the room is rather classic, but has plenty of storage space and a safe, and the lighting is just right. Access to the terrace is possible.

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The room is a nice size and soberly decorated.
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The night space is also very (too) bright

Finally, the bathroom is a good size (much smaller than some of my friends’), and the water pressure is perfect.

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The basin is very original
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Toiletries, sourced locally, are excellent and limited, but supplied in too small quantities.
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The shower/tub combo is impractical, but the water pressure is excellent.
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Even in the shower, there’s a dome!
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The bathroom is not separate from the toilet

To finish, a video tour:

Hotel facilities

Like all resorts, and despite its small number of rooms, the property boasts a comprehensive range of facilities.

Outdoor swimming pool

Just below reception is the hotel swimming pool, very elegant and with a superb view over Elounda bay.

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The beautiful outdoor swimming pool, located below the reception area

Unfortunately, due to the health crisis, the main pool was closed during our stay.

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The outdoor pool, unfortunately closed during our stay.

Beach

The hotel’s private beach is easily accessible without leaving the resort, as a tunnel under the road has been built for this purpose.

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Access to the beach is via the restaurant terrace.

It’s worth noting, however, that this means you have to walk along the restaurant’s terrace, which isn’t very convenient.

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But then, the path is quite pleasant and totally secured.
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The area around the beach is also very pleasant.
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The sea is also very clean
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The beach has also been awarded Europe’s Blue Flag.
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The toilets are rather bucolic
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The outdoor shower is pleasant, but cool

Fitness area

I don’t know if this has anything to do with the COVID crisis, but the hotel’s fitness area is located outside, right next to the pool, obviously making it much more pleasant to work out, especially for the rowers located in a median above the pool.

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The view of the sea from the fitness area is exceptional
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The fitness equipment is arranged around the outdoor swimming pool.
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Rowing machines have been installed on platforms overlooking the pool.
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Nevertheless, it’s a little hot to exercise.
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However, the equipment is too limited to fill the deserted terrace.
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A mini-refrigerator offers fresh bottled water

Food options

The hotel boasts a number of restaurants, offering a variety of pleasures for those seeking an immersive experience. This won’t be our case, but we have nevertheless tested most of the restoration points.

Restaurant Tholos (buffet)

On our first evening in the hotel, given our late arrival, we chose to dine at the Tholos restaurant, which serves a local buffet-style meal.

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The entrance to the Tholos restaurant
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The indoor tables offer a superb view of Elounda Bay
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The dining room is elegantly decorated

As an Ambassador member, this is included in the price of my stay, but not for my 3 other companions. The buffet is of high quality but lacks variety. We’ll eat well, but the local cuisine has so much more to offer.

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The outdoor terrace is also pleasant, but more lively.

The restaurant also serves a buffet in the morning.

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It’s appetizing in the morning
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At breakfast, the buffet is quite varied, especially on the hot side.
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Cold elements are of average quality
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The dishes change every morning
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The pancakes are slightly undercooked
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At the end of the buffet, there’s not much left…
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On the other hand, there’s less sweetness
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Cereals are very basic
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A large German clientele will appreciate our yoghurts and bircher mueslis.

Surprisingly, we only pay for bottled water.

Restaurant Topos (beach)

On one of the lunch days of our stay, after enjoying the beach and the sea (a little cool at the start of the season), we’ll have lunch at the beach restaurant, which specializes in fresh fish.

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The seafront entrance to the Topos restaurant
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A table is even set up at the very end of the pontoon.

Everything was very good, but the service was really disjointed, forcing us to wait almost 25 minutes for the bill. Unbelievable!

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Everything was very good and very fresh

Beach service

The beach service is excellent. In addition to the natural warmth of the staff, who make you feel right at home, service is fast and the food (snacking) excellent.

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Waiting for dinner in our deckchairs!
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Simple but good: prawn tempura on fresh guacamole

Departure

Departure formalities will be fast, and we won’t need a Late Check-out. However, as my friends will find out, it’s allocated very sparingly, even for Platinum members!

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The hotel lobby, seen at night after one of our gastronomic escapades

Bottom line

An excellent stay with superb value for money, but with a few service problems that we’ll blame on a slow start to the season.

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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