Close friends invited my partner and I to their wedding in Crete in September 2018. As fellow Starwood Preferred Guests fans, they selected to get married at the beautiful Blue Palace in Elounda, which made not only for an easy choice in deciding where to stay, but a great excuse to review this great resort.
Research & booking
The Blue Palace is ranked #12 out of 35 hotels in Elounda on TripAdvisor, which is on the top half of the list.
A room in a Category 7 hotel can be booked for 60,000 points per night in ‘early 2019’, but due to the merger of SPG into Marriott Rewards, the Blue Palace has moved to a Category 8 property with the new Marriott Bonvoy program, which now requires 85,000 points per night. We booked four nights in the base 40sqm Superior Bungalow using points, receiving the fifth night free.
I decided to use five suite-night award certificates to try and guarantee a suite upgrade before arrival. Seven days before arriving, I received confirmation we were upgraded to a 70sqm Maisonette Suite, which we were of course happy with.
A pleasant surprise greeted us at check-in when we were upgraded again to a 72sqm Island Luxury Suite with a 20sqm private plunge pool which also included access to a private beach and daily al a carte breakfast. Worth €1,300 per night (AUD $2,000)!
Our Island Luxury Suite was phenomenal! All have unique names, ours was the Sifnos Suite.
As you enter, and turn left, you enter the living area with a 55” television. We never used this space as we preferred to sit outside by the pool. Along with a secondary bathroom with shower and toilet.
A Nespresso machine and tea making facility is in the living room.
The king-size bed with crisp Luxury Collection 320-thread-count cotton sateen sheets in front of a pebbled headboard.
A desk is available but seriously, you’re in Crete, if you need to work do so from the deck using the WiFi.
The highlight was the deck which overlooked the island of Spinalonga.
The only fault with the room was during the turndown service, the staff would set the mood lighting in the suite to make it look amazing when you got back to the suites yet there was no master light switch so you had to go around and turn off the 10 or so lights.
I’m so grateful for the double upgrade as the Maisonette Suites had questionable privacy from their small pools which joined each other. And especially those that were located right next to the resorts funicular which takes guests from the lobby down to the beach.
The impressive bathroom has an inviting bath in the center of the room, with a glass-enclosed two-person rain shower.
A double vanity with plenty of bench space with full-sized Apivita Greek toiletries.
The White Tea Aloe range of toiletries are provided.
The lobby itself wasn’t very impressive however the staircase in the center of the atrium is. It has also been featured in many movies & TV shows.
From above, the atrium is just as stunning as you look down through the layers of the hotel to the staircase.
Breakfast is served in the Olea Restaurant and is complimentary for SPG/Marriot Platinum guests.
Free flowing champagne for all guests.
Guests staying in an Island Luxury Suite or private villa also have access to the private breakfast section of the Olea Restaurant offering al a carte dining options as well as the standard buffet breakfast.
The service in the private area was noticeably slow, yet we weren’t in a rush so wasn’t an issue. The only issue I had was on the second day, my poached eggs came out quite rare on the inside.
Down by the beach is the Isola Beach Club which serve excellent tacos.
The Blue Door, also by the beach, is the resorts Greek Taverna.
There is also a steakhouse, Flame, where the wedding reception was held, Mediterranean Isola, Asian Deep Blue and Arsenali Lounge Bar near the lobby.
Guests staying in an Island Luxury Suite or private villas have exclusive access to the Haven, the private section of the beach.
The resort is actually quite large, with 251 rooms, you get the perspective of the size of the property when viewed from the boat across to Spinalonga. The WiFi coverage was fine around the entire resort.
We were really impressed by the hospitality from all staff we interacted with.
Arriving at breakfast on our first meeting, the door greeter asked for my surname to check her list, so I replied Stone. For the following four mornings she remembered and said, “welcome back Mr Stone.”
One evening we arrived quite late to a buffet dinner at Isola Beach Club and instead of paying full price, the maître d’ said we could dine for half price.
Flying into Heraklion airport you can expect a €80-100 one-way taxi fare to the resort.
Over a five-night stay you’ll likely spend your time at the resort. Yet it’s highly recommended to take the boat across to explore Spinalonga fortress.
The boat leaves from the town of Plaka which is walking distance from the resort and has a number of restaurants if you didn’t want to eat at the resort.
The town of Elounda is a short €8 taxi one-way from the resort and has more restaurants and bars. I can recommend Despina Taverna and Ferryman restaurants.
Other Marriott Bonvoy resort reviews
Overall, we absolutely loved our stay at the Blue Palace and it made for a beautiful wedding location. The resort was spectacular, we had a beautiful suite with lots of space and a great view, amazing Cretan service and a good selection of restaurants onsite serving delicious food. Highly recommended, just make sure you book before it becomes a Category 8 property!