Lyrics by Graeme Culliford
I finally know what it’s like to be a flower. My body is lying on a mat, the sun is on my face. I can’t move or even open my eyes because I’m afraid I’ll get ticked off by our yoga instructor Manuel, who is leading this meditation by the beach.
The only noise I can hear is the rustling of early morning walkers and the soft breeze of the Aegean waves lapping on the sand. With nothing else to do, I focus on the myriad of warm colors forming inside my iris as my limbs relax and my pores absorb the nourishing rays.
It occurs to me that I am like a plant in summer, rooted in place and absorbing the sounds and feelings of the world around. It won’t be the last time I feel so connected to nature at Asterion Suites and Spa on the west coast of Crete.
This latest addition to the Greek island’s list of luxury hotels promises to provide a “sanctuary where you can reign in your inner realm and push the boundaries of your own universe.”
I’m not sure imagining myself as a flower is quite what they had in mind, but I certainly remembered how to relax during my four-day visit. Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect.
With 67 rooms and suites, the Asterion Suites and Spa is a good size for those who don’t want to walk miles to take advantage of the facilities. But it’s also big enough that you don’t have to have awkward meals in empty dining rooms as hotel staff look on.
The main restaurant is bright and chic with an alfresco dining area and overlooks a rectangular pool, which backs onto an outdoor bar. Next door is a promenade and a beach where morning yoga and meditation classes are held, so everything is very simple and compact.
The hotel is about to implement a no-kids policy, so children are unlikely to fight over the breakfast buffet in the morning. However, you may notice one of the half dozen cats and kittens that have taken up residence following you into your room. I woke up one morning to find one napping in the chair next to my private pool.
Although the hotel is pleasantly small, most rooms are huge. I arrived with the intention of catching up on some work, but soon found that lounging in one of the provided white dressing gowns was much more enjoyable. My one bedroom suite was advertised as a “pool room” as it had a decent sized plunge pool on the balcony which proved to be a great place to enjoy some quiet time (as long as that I didn’t disturb the moggy).
The soft, earthy colors of the interior were soothing and reflected the Cretan landscape while the sumptuous furnishings were of the highest quality. I also enjoyed having a fully functional kitchen where I could make an espresso in the morning and open a bottle of wine in the evening.
Food and drink
The buffet breakfast is a highlight and includes an array of options made with local ingredients. I quickly developed an addiction for thick Greek yogurt dipped over fresh fruit and topped with delicious honey scraped straight from the comb. I would also recommend putting a large portion of Greek salad next to the eggs which the chef will cook to order.
Most evening meals are “gram-friendly” (Instagram), like the chicken kebab that comes on a towering metal skewer. Prepare to finish your meal with a glass of raki and, if you like rosé wines, be sure to try the Greek options as they rival anything you can find in Provence.
Spa staff were generally welcoming but Manuel – I have to admit – was unhappy with my physical condition. Apparently, hunching over a desk all day isn’t good for your back muscles and mine were riddled with knots. Manuel fought valiantly to iron them during my massage, but in the end he seemed defeated. “I tried my best, but there’s a limit to what I can do,” he said. “You should go swimming more often.” It’s not so easy to go swimming when you live in London, and not on a Greek island, I wanted to clarify; but i was already in a dream state, so i decided to give up.
You’ll probably find it tempting to cocoon yourself in the hotel until it’s time to head home, but if you can pull yourself away from the lounge chair, there are some great options to explore. I was impressed by the abundance of nature you will find amid the picturesque villages of Crete and the amount of food produced here. The olive groves and vineyards stretch for miles and every tree you pass by the side of the road seems overloaded with fruit.
We went for a wine tasting at the Anoskeli winery and also had a fascinating tour of the nearby olive tree where the farmers take their freshly harvested produce. The hotel can book you a private yacht trip to the island, which is highly recommended. We also visited a family restaurant called Frosini’s, where the hearty Greek meals were outstanding.
In a word
This is a five-star boutique hotel where you can truly lose yourself in luxury and forget your first-world worries. Come relax; forget to do any work.
Address: PEO Kissamou Chanion, Platanias 730 14, Greece
Call: +30 2821 020945
easyJet and British Airways fly direct to Chania Airport in Crete from London Gatwick, Luton and Heathrow airports. The flight lasts four hours.
easyJet Holidays is offering seven nights at the five-star Asterion Suites and Spa in a One-Bedroom Ocean Suite with garden views, bed and breakfast for £1,219 pp, including 23kg of luggage per person, transfers and flights from London Luton on May 1, 2023.
easyJet Holidays is offering seven nights at the five-star Asterion Suites and Spa in a Cosmos Superior Double Room with Garden View, bed and breakfast for £784 pp, including 23kg of luggage per person, transfers and flights from London Luton on May 1, 2023.
easyJet Holidays is offering seven nights at the five-star Asterion Suites and Spa in a One-Bedroom Galaxy Suite with private pool, bed and breakfast for £1,234 pp, including 23kg of luggage per person, transfers and flights from London Luton on 5 May 2023.
Book a beach holiday or city break with easyJet Holidays (easyjet.com/en/holidays tel: 0330 365 5005)
For more information on visiting Crete, go to: amazingcrete.gr