I recently enjoyed a lovely holiday on the Greek island of Crete. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas
- Review: Abaton Island Resort & Spa
- Review: Daios Cove Luxury Hotel & Villas (today)
Today (October 21, 2020): Review of Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas (Crete, Greece)
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Located in a spectacular private bay on Crete’s east coast, Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas evokes the intimate charm of the traditional villages found throughout the Greek isles, expressed in an elegant, contemporary architecture. In this dramatic setting of breathtaking beauty, the property boasts spacious accommodation, all with the backdrop of stunning views. Facilities include an award-winning spa, direct access to a private beach, a magnificent infinity pool, and several gourmet dining options.
Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Crete.
Have you ever stayed at Daios Cove? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas is located on Crete, the largest island of Greece and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean. Also known as the cradle of Western Civilisation and overflown with history, tradition and culture, the beautiful island of Crete is a region blessed with abundant virtues and natural wonders. The center of the Minoan civilisation, Crete is well known for its lovely beaches, delicious Greek cuisine, authentic heritage, century-old fortresses, fertile valleys, spectacular gorges, jugged mountains, and folklore tradition with distinctive Mantinades poems and Pentozali dances. Crete is a small universe teeming with beauties and treasures that you will probably need a lifetime to uncover!
- Less than a one hour’s drive from Heraklion’s International Airport, the property is located on the northeast coast of Crete, near the picturesque and bustling town of Agios Nikolaos. The resort’s best selling point is its dazzling setting, as it is nestled on a steep hillside in a natural amphitheatre which encloses an incredibly beautfiful private bay. From every angle, the views are sublime: the calm turquoise sea in a quiet cove, spectacular rocky and verdant slopes, well maintained terraced gardens, a yellow crescent of private beach, and a wide expanse of azure sky. On arrival guests are immediately impressed by the spectacular views, to be enjoyed from the small arrival terrace and the spacious lobby with its huge floor-to-ceiling windows.
- Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas is the second most expensive resort ever built in Greece (after Costa Navarino), which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the property’s impressive layout and infrastructure. The massive complex’ main facilities descend in five levels from the arrival area to the private sandy beach, featuring from top to bottom: the lobby, the main restaurant, the spa, the pool, and the beach. The accommodations – ranging from modest rooms to multi-bedroom villas – are spread out over 8 levels and cut into the craggy cliffs on both sides of the resort’s center. All levels are linked by a maze of walkways, tunnels, stairs, and corridors, and in addition, several glass funiculars are available for guests to move around.
- While it opened its doors in 2010, the Daios Cove story actually began 30 years ago. Back then, a keen yachtsman was sailing off the coast of Crete when a storm broke. Needing to take refuge from the weather, he pointed his boat towards the first place which offered shelter and discovered a beautiful cove which acted as a natural haven against the elements. Having fallen in love with the location’s natural beauty, the man decided to buy some land in the cove for possible future development. In 2006, he was introduced to Asterios Daios, the founder and CEO of the family-owned Daios business who started development of Daios Cove. Since then, the property is a passion project of the Greek owner and businessman, Dimitris Daios.
- Elegant in its simplicity, the sophisticated architecture of Daios Cove discreetly blends in with the unspoilt natural surroundings with stunning views to the Aegean Sea. Rocks that were dynamited to make way for Daios Cove were reclaimed, traditionally handcarved, and subsequently used to build the resort’s stone clad pavilions. On the inside, the resort’s decor is minimalist, modern, chic and sumptuous with a carefully created style. The communal spaces feature an abundance of sunlight, accentuating the property’s elegant design and carefully curated artwork. Expert architectural firm 3SK Stylianidis has gone to great lengths to complement the natural surroundings, resulting in a triumph of aesthetics par excellence.
- Daios Cove offers a wide variety of accommodations: 230 rooms, 30 suites and 40 villas (most of them with views over the dazzling, clear waters of Vathi Bay). During my holiday, I stayed in a Deluxe Sea View Room, which is the property’s room entry category. The room featured a spacious bedroom with small sitting area in an open-plan style, and give way to a private shaded balcony. The room’s marble-lined bathroom was equipped with one sink, a bathtub, and shower & toilet cabins. All rooms are grouped in small complexes of five or six rooms, arranged amphiteatre-like because of the steep incline of the terrain. Note that the higher room categories offer private plunge pools, enhancing the guest experience.
- Daios Cove features a fabulous infinity pool on its third level, halfway between the lobby and the beach. The massive swimming pool is filled with heated sea water and offers insanely beautiful views views of the private cove. A small corner of the pool is reserved for children. The pool is lined by comfortable sun loungers with umbrellas, in addition to several stylish cabanas. Behind the main pool, on an elevated terrace, is a more intimate area with an adults only pool, fringed by palm trees. There are also two sea water indoor pools in the hotel’s state-of-the-art spa for those looking for the perfect way to wind down (more on that below), and of course, most accommodations here come with their own private plunge pool.
- One of the resort’s highlights is its exclusive sandy beach, which features gently sloping shallows and soft sand. Surrounded by the site’s magnificent natural amphitheater of rocky cliffs, the beach overlooks the bay’s turquoise, crystal clear waters. Dozens of sun beds and umbrellas are arranged in several rows along the waterline. High quality towels are provided and a beach bar is available so guests can enjoy a full day by the sea while tasting delicious cocktails and food (refreshments and snacks are brought to your lounger). A water sports center is tucked away in the beach’s corner, offering canoes, kayaks, water-bikes and stand-up paddle boards. Private yachts, motorboats and catamarans are available for rent and sail, too.
- Daios Cove offers an array of gastronomical delights at its six dining venues and bars, each with a different character and style. The resort’s chefs select the freshest local produce with a focus on seasonality to create contemporary interpretations of the finest Greek and Cretan flavours:
- Pangea, located one level below the lobby, is the main restuarant, offering sumptuous breakfast and dinner buffets in a modern, light-filled decor.
- Overlooking the infnity pool and the cove, the Ocean Restaurant is the resort’s fine dining venue, offering a Mediterranean-infuenced menu. Dishes are tailored by the talented team at Ducasse Conseil drawing inspiration from the Greek sea and land whilst displaying artistic flair and passion for seasonal, sustainable ingredients.
- Taverna is an outdoor Greek à la carte venue overlooking the cove with a special ambience, particularly at night. Taverna serves a selection of Greek and international dishes. Fish is a must-taste dish here with a fresh catch arriving every day by kaiki boat.
- Reminiscent of a bohemian modesty, The Beach House is a casual eatery on the beach, offering a cuisine that fuses locally grown and sourced ingredients with the culture of the Mediterranean.
- Next to the Beach House is the trendy Ocean Bar, which offers a cocktail list and refreshing beverages created by mixology superstars The Clumsies.
- The Crystal Box is a bar with its own contemporary and comfortable outside lounge, located next to the reception area. Offering a spectacular panorama of the bay, it’s the perfect place to sit, sip a signature cocktail and unwind.
- Ceated exclusively for suite and villa guests, Daios Cove’s so called “Residents’ Club” elevates the all-inclusive formula to a new level. It includes the following gastronomic privileges:
- Meals (lunch and dinner) at all restaurants on a daily basis, including à la carte restaurants
- Free choice of dishes across all à la carte menus (three course menus consisting of an appetiser, a main course and dessert per guest)
- A selection of drinks and signature cocktails from the bars (including Champagne)
- One bottle of wine from our extensive wine list with every lunch and dinner
- Ice cream, soft drinks and fresh fruit juices for all children at the pool and beach bar
- Complimentary 24-hour room service (in-room breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- Mini bar with wine, prosecco and a range of soft drinks replenished once per day
- Daios Cove features a large spa facility – called Goco Spa Daios Cove – located one level above the main infinity pool. The spa offers a range of treatments using revitalising and purifying products from French spa specialist, Anne Semonin, and Spa /Clinic by 111Skin. The luxurious wellness center include two exclusive spa suites, a Finnish sauna, hydro-massage and a Thai massage studio, as well as two sea water indoor pools. Guests can choose from the purify or detoxify ranges and benefit from exfoliation, wrap, massage or facial treatments that craft the ultimate spa experience. The spa also features a Technogym with cardio-fitness equipment.
- Constantly striving to offer meaningful experiences and inspiration to guests, Daios Cove has teamed up with leading art gallery Saatchi Art to exhibit outstanding works by international artists. The art works chosen inspire a sense of joy and introduce guests to some of the most exciting emerging artists from around the world, delivering a new dimension to the overall guest experience. Saatchi Art provide art lovers with an unparalleled selection of paintings, photography, sculpture, and drawings, while giving artists a stunning and welcoming environment in which to exhibit and sell their work.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- Daios Cove Luxury Resort and Villas is located in a spectacular bay, but due to its northeast location, the bay topography and typical wind directions, it can get very windy on the beach and at the main pool. These seasonal winds – called meltemi winds – are strongest during July and August, but you may also come across them in June or September.
- While incredibly beautiful, the beach is crowded with tons of lounge chairs and umbrellas. It lacks sandy open spaces and is not suitable for a relaxing stroll. In addition, the beach faces the northeast, so it exposed to strong winds (cf above) and does not offer a view of the sunset (although sunrise views are mesmerizing).
- Because of its wide range of facilities and child-friendly character, the property is very popular among families, which can lead to crowding and noise, especially around the main pool area. Directly behind the main pool is a quiet area with smaller pool that is only accessible to adults, but you will still hear children splashing around in the main pool. Consequently, Daios Cove might not be the best property for a romantic getaway, especially during the school holidays.
- The property is located on a steep hill and the beach can only be accessed by a pair of stairs, which can be difficult for guests with mobility issues.
- Although the decor is beautiful and elegant, it lacks traditional design elements and has a corporate feel in certain areas, such as the contemporary lobby. Also, I was not impressed by the rather bland decor of my room; to avoid disappointment, I suggest to book one of the villas (which all come with their private pool).
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 8/10
- Pool: 9/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 8/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 8/10
- Service: 8/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall experience: very good 8,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a choice of $100 USD resort credit to be utilized during stay or one complimentary lunch or dinner for up to two people per room).
- Room tip: I recommend to book one of the villas, since they come with a private pool, better views (especially those located high on the hill), and the choice of an all-inclusive stay.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
With its typically temperate Mediterranean climate, Crete is lucky to enjoy year-round sunshine, mild weather and high temperatures. This – and its beautiful backdrop – makes it a popular holiday destination. The seasons can be roughly split into two: a dry and hot summer from May to October, which is perfect for sun-worshippers and mild heat-lovers; and a milder winter, from November to April, which can be rainy at times and cooler at night. Spring-time or early in the summer season is the best time to sightsee and enjoy the diversity of Crete’s fauna and flora.
HOW TO GET THERE
Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas is a 45 minute drive from Heraklion International Airport. Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Heraklion.