Elounda Mare Hotel
Elounda, Schisma Elountas 720 53, Greece
Photo courtesy of Elounda Mare Hotel
Elounda Mare HotelThe five-star Elounda Mare Hotel, resting amid verdant gardens overlooking Mirabello Bay on the eastern side of Crete, opened in 1982, the first of what would eventually become three adjacent properties designed and built (and still run) by the Kokotos family. Five years later it became part of the esteemed Relais & Chateau collection, and has since entertained everyone from Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio to Kathleen Turner and Lady Gaga. Designed in the manner of Cretan mansion, the 92-unit property makes generous use of stone and timber on the exteriors and shades of whites and deep reds inside, all with either balconies or terraces and full-length windows that look out the sapphire Aegean; bungalows and suites all include private pools and fireplaces. While the hotel itself has three restaurants on site, guests can make use of all eight restaurants and four bars spread among the three sister properties, which are separated by olive groves but accessible by golf-cart shuttles. The hotel has its own private sandy beach and very generously sized salt-water pool, but guests can also arrange to use shared facilities, like the spa and nine-hole golf course.