Building a hotel into the face of dramatic sea cliffs lends an immediate advantage: the location alone is enough to set Daios Cove apart from its Cretan neighbours. A treasured addition to the Agios Nikolaos region, this is about as secluded a postcode as you’ll find, despite sitting on one of Greece’s more popular islands. Don’t bother packing a watch; days here roll by in an easy quietude where minutes seamlessly slip into hours.
Trying to capture the wholeness of this place – it’s hamlet-style size, sociable atmosphere and the few hundred sleek suites and villas cascading down the hillside in amphitheatre-like fashion – is tricky. Inspired by the elements of earth and water and sitting tall above a secluded cove in Vathi, the crescent of private beach lures even the most adventure-seeking guests to its shaded loungers.
…downtime on your terms. Sure, you can hike surrounding trails getting lost in the history of Greek mythology’s most prolific legends, but there’s also no pressure to leave the comfort of the private beach. Sure you can cast off to secluded coves aboard a RIB speedboat, but also no need to feel guilty finding yourself again in a personalised spa ritual. Sure you can explore an unspoilt side to Crete off the beaten track in a Land Rover Evoque, but there’s also freedom to take a soothing tea master class with specialists Lalani & Co.
In a place designed for recharging, The Mansion is unmatched. Combine the stand out figures: three floors of open-plan living, a trio of bedrooms, two pools, a spa and in-room treatments, one private chef and a fitness trainer on call – with smaller, personalised quirks: a lengthy pillow menu and choice of fragrances to diffuse through the air con – and you’ve got the island’s most coveted spot for comfort.
Most easily accessed by the resort’s funicular, the bars, restaurants and infinity pool here all sit on different levels of the bay’s rocky flanks; trundle between your room and the GOCO spa while taking in the panoramic views. Although, for the best, head to Migimois Piano restaurant for sunset vistas from its vantage point atop the cliffs, before meandering back down to soak up the chilled mood at Daios’ live music nights.
Choosing to stay here should come with certain expectations: a hushed atmosphere and refined elegance. But that isn’t to say smaller travellers aren’t welcome too. Unsurprisingly for a hotel of this calibre, there’s childcare and entertainers, a games room and pool. But also an impeccable commitment to the smaller details – we’re talking baby amenities and strollers in family villas, bucket and spades on the beach, and giant muffins delivered to rooms to keep younger tummies satisfied.
If ever there were a place to put you and your goals first, it’s here. With a villa dedicated to wellness (it even comes equipped with a private Finnish sauna and treadmill), interweaving a well-being retreat into a stay here makes for a transformative experience for both mind and body. Expect a meditative morning to flow into an afternoon steeped in tradition at a tea tasting, before ending with a healthful spread by nutritionist and Chef Sarah Safarian.
Greece is blessed with a Mediterranean climate. From mid May to mid June and mid September to October the climate is pleasant and sunshine is plentiful. July and August are hot with temperatures reaching 37°C. Winters tend to be mild in the south but much cooler in the north with an increased chance of rain.
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