Category: Luxury travel (page 1 of 3)

Crete clinches 4th place ranking on TripAdvisor list of the world’s top destinations for 2019

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Greece, Greek islands, Crete,Crete island, Crete Greece, Chania, Chania Crete, harbour, port,, Chania harbour,

Greece, Greek islands, Crete,Crete island, Crete Greece, Chania, Chania Crete, harbour, port, lighthouse, Chania lighthouse,

Views of the historic Venetian harbourfront and the iconic lighthouse at Chania, a perenially popular travel destination in northwestern Crete

 

Crete shines: Millions of travellers around the world have spoken, and their positive reviews, ratings and comments have landed Crete island in 4th place on the prestigious TripAdvisor listing of the Top 25 destinations in the world this year.

The 2019 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice awards were announced this week (on March 26), lauding London as the #1 destination in the world, followed by Paris, Rome, Crete, and Bali in Indonesia. Last year Crete placed fifth, behind Bali. 

TripAdvisor is the globe’s largest travel website, containing listings for more than 156,000 destinations. Each year it presents its Travelers’ Choice awards to top international destinations, honouring the places that are most popular with people who post reviews on the website.

A press release announcing this year’s winners quoted TripAdvisor’s VP of Global Communications, Desiree Fish, as saying: “The Travelers’ Choice awards for Destinations recognize major cities and islands that continue to deliver an outstanding experience and are beloved by our global community of travelers.”

The news release explained that award winners “were determined using an algorithm based on reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and experiences in destinations worldwide over a 12-month period. The methodology takes into account quality and volume of reviews to surface destinations that consistently deliver the best overall experience for travelers.”

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Loutro village in southwestern Crete

 

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Looking along the spectacular southwestern coast of Crete from one of the many beaches near the town of Paleochora

 

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A taverna courtyard in the heart of the historic old town area of Chania

 

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Sweet Water Beach in southwestern Crete, between the villages of Chora Sfakion and Loutro

 

Greece, Greek islands, Crete, southwest Crete, Agia Roumeli, village, coast, mountains, Samaria Gorge,

A view of Agia Roumeli village, situated at the foot of the world-famous Samaria Gorge. Extending for 16 kilometers, the gorge is the longest in Europe and is one of Crete’s top tourist attractions.

 

We spent more than two weeks on Crete in late fall of 2017, and could easily see why it has been ranked among the world’s Top 5 travel destinations two years in a row — it truly delivers outstanding travel experiences. Crete has something to suit every traveller’s taste, style and budget: fascinating cities, towns and villages; vibrant resorts; breathtaking landscapes, stunning scenery and gorgeous beaches;  superb food and wine; significant historical sites and attractions; a diverse range of outdoor activities for all ages and lifestyles; myriad hotel and lodging options, and much more. 

Crete also claimed two spots in the list of the world’s Top 25 Beaches: Balos ranked #15, while Elafonissi took 21st place. Though both are situated in western Crete, the region in which we focussed our 2017 holiday travels, we never made it to either beach, so they remain on our bucket list of places to see. The island is blessed with a bounty of beautiful beaches, however, so visitors still have countless strands to choose from if they can’t get to Balos or Elafonissi.  (We saw many impressive beaches along the island’s southwestern coast.)

Greece in general fared well on other top rankings, particularly for hotels, where it won top honours in two categories. It nabbed the number 1 and 2 spots in the Top 25 all-inclusive hotel ranking, and it claimed the number 1 and 3 position on the awards list for the world’s Top 25 Small Hotels. Greece also achieved Top 25 rankings for best hotels, luxury hotels, best service, romantic hotels, family hotels, and bargain hotels.

I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read that Greece received TripAdvisor recognition for the world’s top two all-inclusive hotels because, in TripAdvisor’s own travel forums, regular visitors to Greece routinely advise travellers to avoid all-inclusive properties, urging them to stay at hotel or self-catering accommodations instead. In essence, the forum commentators claim Greece simply doesn’t do all-inclusives very well, and visitors don’t experience Greece if they stay at an AI resort. With this year’s awards, however, it’s quite clear that all-inclusive resort guests disagree! 

Greece, Greek islands, Crete, Crete island, beach, Greek beach, Elafonissi beach Crete, Elafonisi beach Crete,

Famous for its brilliant turquoise waters and pink-hued sand, Elafonissi beach is seen in an image from the Elafonissi page on the Cretico Blog.  Elafonissi ranked #21 on the TripAdvisor list of the Top 25 beaches in the world.

 

Balos Crete photo 02 by Antoine Nikolopoulos

Lagoons and sandy beach strips at Balos are seen in this photo shot by Antoine Nikolopoulos of Odyssey Art Photography. Balos ranked #15 on this year’s list of the world’s top beaches.

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2, where I have posted photos and rankings for the Greek hotels that placed in the world’s Top 25.

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Greece guides featured in June travel mags from UK & USA

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Sunday Times Travel magazine

A scenic view from Santorini appears on the cover of the June Sunday Times Travel Magazine, which includes a 24-page “Total Guide” to Greece

 

Travel tips: Spring is the time when international lifestyle magazines and travel publications typically turn their attention to Greece, and that has been the case again this year. 

When I browsed newsstands while we were in Greece from late May until mid-June, and here at home after returning from our holidays, I noticed numerous magazines that featured cover stories or major articles focussed on travel to Greece.

The two periodicals that appeared the most interesting and informative were the June edition of The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, which I purchased at Athens International Airport prior to our return flight, and the June/July issue of National Geographic Traveler, which I bought at my favourite local bookstore a few days ago.

A photo from Santorini island appears on the eye-catching turquoise and white cover of the Sunday Times magazine, where the main cover line proclaims: “We’ve found the tiny, timeless idylls you’re dreaming of” — all revealed in a 24-page Total Guide inside.

The guide includes:

♦ tips on island hopping by ferry in the Cyclades, Dodecanese and Argo-Saronic archipelagos;

♦ short profiles of “heavenly” 5-star hotels on Naxos, Crete, Santorini, Sifnos, and Mykonos islands, as well as in Halikidi, the Peloponnese and the Athens Riviera;

♦ an article about the Arcadia region of the eastern Peloponnese;

 ♦ highlights of three places, away from the “holiday hotspots,” where visitors can “find solitude in a Greece untouched by time: lost in nature, rich in ancient, spiritual sites”;

 ♦ advice for low-cost weekend getaways to Athens, Thessaloniki and Kefalonia; and

♦  recommendations for exclusive rental villas and luxurious all-inclusive resorts.

 

 

National Geographic Traveler Magazine

In the feature article “New Greek Odyssey,” Christopher Vourlias relates what he learned about “home, heroes and Hellenic heritage” during a trip to his father’s ancestral village in Central Greece.

 

The theme of the National Geographic Traveler issue is “Trips to Change Your Life,” and includes two features on Greece:

♦ the intriguing article “New Greek Odyssey,” in which writer Christopher Vourlias describes the personally insightful trip he took with his father to the latter’s home village in Agrafa, a mountain region of Central Greece; and

 ♦ An “insider’s guide to the best of Greece” — short profiles of specific recommended places to visit for food & drink, history & artifacts, islands & beaches, and culture &  people.

And as you would expect, the articles in both magazines are illustrated with tantalizing photos of Greek destinations,  monuments,  and scenery that will make you feel wistful for a trip to Greece — even if, as was the case with me, you may have just had a holiday there.

 

 

The sweet sounds and looks of luxury at Canaves Oia hotel on Santorini

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This 2-minute film is the official 2018 promotional video for Canaves Oia on Santorini. The hotel looks amazing, and its outstanding scenic views show why Santorini is one of the world’s most famous islands.

 

Dreamy destination: Yesterday (February 23) was a terribly dreary day here in Toronto. The morning temperature was only 1 degree Celsius, a light drizzle was falling, and fog had enshrouded most of the downtown skyscrapers that usually crowd the skyline view from my windows. The dull light made me feel tired, and I kept wanting to crawl into bed. I desperately needed sunshine, but since there wasn’t any in the forecast, I started surfing the web to watch some videos of sunny places in Greece. That always perks me up on gloomy days.

I found the usual assortment of home-made travel clips and aerial videos shot by camera-mounted drones, all of which boosted my spirits a bit. However, the film that gave me the biggest lift was a marketing promo for one of the most exclusive — and expensive — luxury resorts on Santorini.

Entitled Luxury Never Sounded So Good, it’s the official 2018 video for Canaves Oia,  a stunning 5-star boutique hotel perched atop the caldera cliffs in Oia village. The resort is just as gorgeous as its incredible views and surrounding scenery, and it regularly wins awards and accolades from top travel magazines and websites, including TripAdvisor. It also has been profiled extensively on social media and in dozens of leading lifestyle, fashion, design and travel publications around the world.

 

 

With all that good press, Canaves Oia probably doesn’t need to advertise anymore. But I’m glad they do, since their videos are professionally produced, enticing to watch and — best of all — they make me feel, for a few minutes at least, that I’m back in Greece on vacation.

What I particularly like about this year’s promo film is that members of the Canaves staff and management team play starring roles, while the hotel and the exquisite Santorini scenery fill supporting background positions.

The video runs for just over two minutes, and is bound to put you into a luxuriously dreamy Santorini state of mind — especially if the weather sucks wherever you might be while you watch it. If you won’t be able to stay at the Canaves or visit Oia this year, watching the clip and daydreaming about being there is the next best thing. 

By the way, just in case you’re wondering: No, the hotel didn’t ask me to post the video on my blog. Nor did it offer to pay me or give me free accommodation if I did.  (I don’t have that kind of good luck, unfortunately).  I found the video while clicking around the web, and liked it so much I decided to feature it in a blog post. Santorini was one of the first Greek islands we got to visit, and it’s one of the reasons we fell in love with Greece and keep going back. I simply hope that sharing the film might inspire other dreamers and travel buffs to visit Greece some day, if they haven’t been there yet. 

And if you’re a fan of minimalist design and crisp white interior decor, click on the link below to see the sweet looks of luxury — a selection of tantalizing images I’ve collected from various galleries on the Canaves Oia website. There’s a few photos of the breathtaking views from the accommodations, restaurants, bars and swimming pools, too.

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New luxury hotels opening on Mykonos for summer 2017

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Branco Mykonos Hotel

An artistic illustration of the luxurious loungers and sunbeds that the new 5-star Branco Mykonos Hotel will offer its guests on Platis Gialos beach

 

More luxury: Visitors will have more choices of upscale accommodations for their Mykonos holidays as several brand-new luxury properties prepare to open for the 2017 tourist season.

But the arrival of some of the high-end hotels means fewer options for budget travellers, since at least two of the properties previously were mid-range hotels that have been thoroughly renovated and converted into first-class accommodations.

Gone are the Golden Star Hotel in Mykonos Town, which has been replaced by Absolut Mykonos Suites & More, and the Hotel Lady Anna at Platis Gialos beach, which has been upgraded and  rebranded as the 5-star Branco Mykonos Hotel.

 

 

The Mykonos Bay Hotel at Megali Ammos beach also has rebranded and is now named Mykonos Bay Resort & Villas. Its social media pages recently referred to “art design” and “new premises,” and its online booking page mentions the hotel was renovated in December, but no further details of changes since last season are available yet.

Meanwhile, a noteworthy newcomer is Adel Private Suites, which will welcome guests to a quiet hilltop location with panoramic views of Mykonos Town, the New Port and beyond.

 

Absolut Mykonos Suites & More hotel

A promotional image showing the logo for Absolut Mykonos Suites & More

 

You can expect to see additional upscale hotels launching on Mykonos in the foreseeable future.

The Mitsis Hotels group, which operates the Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel, is planning a 100-bed complex of apartments and suites, for instance, while other premier chains like Four Seasons and W Hotels apparently have been eyeing and acquiring locations at some of the island’s major south coast beach resorts.

 

Adel Private Suites Mykonos

An Adel Private Suites promotional image showing the jacuzzi-equipped seaview terrace of one of its Cozy Suites

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading and see more of the new hotels making their debut this year.

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