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New Royal Senses Resort & Spa opens on Crete this summer

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Screenshot of main web page for The Royal Senses Resort & Spa Crete

An artistic rendering of one of the four communal swimming pools at The Royal Senses Resort & Spa, a brand-new Troulis Royal Collection luxury hotel near Rethymno on Crete. 

 

Hotel profile by mygreecetravelblog.com

 

Our flight to Greece this month was cancelled by Covid-19 travel restrictions, but that hasn’t stopped us from daydreaming about taking a trip later this summer to enjoy some desperately-needed holiday downtime. One spot we find particularly appealing is a new luxury resort on Crete, where we fantasize of pampering ourselves with elegant accommodations and amenities, superb food and scenic surroundings — the perfect tonic to relieve pent-up stress and worry from the extended period of pandemic lockdowns this spring.

That place is The Royal Senses Resort & Spa near Rethymno, where we see ourselves social distancing in style in one of the spacious double rooms or a  junior suite equipped with a private swimming pool. Or perhaps we would splurge on a chic elite suite or a roomy grand villa with a stunning private infinity pool.  For a change of scenery we would lounge by one of the four communal pools, explore the resort’s farm and gardens, recharge with a massage or an herbal spa treatment, and then savor a delicious meal at one of the three restaurants or some of the pop-up food bars in the hotel’s Market Place. And of course we would take day trips to explore the island’s amazing sites and attractions.  How sweet it would be to revel in such comfort and luxury — and discover spectacular Crete — while putting the world’s tumultuous troubles temporarily out of mind!

 

It’s unlikely we will personally be able to visit Crete in the near future, since spring was the only time we could go to Greece in 2020, but other travellers will get to experience that dreamy holiday bliss when The Royal Senses welcomes its first guests this summer.

The resort is situated on the northern coast of Crete close to Panormos,  a traditional seaside fishing village with charming cobblestone streets, a medieval church and picturesque coves with sandy beaches. Also in convenient close proximity are Crete’s three biggest cities — Rethymno, just 20 minutes away, and Chania and Heraklion, each about an hour’s drive. All boast fascinating historic sites and a tremendous variety of beautiful attractions for visitors to discover.

The Royal Senses occupies a hillside location overlooking the 100-acre seafront property of its older sister hotel, The Royal Blue, which recently underwent a major renovation. The two are showpieces of the Troulis Royal Collection, a locally-owned and operated brand of destination lifestyle resorts which aim to make guests “feel like they are part of the unique life force of Cretan culture.” 

“We share a vision for heartfelt hospitality. We are agents of the Cretan culture and community. We create places that give value to guests, employees and the island. We are fully committed to our responsibility to the island, its people and our cultural says,” says a mission statement on the Collection’s website.

Please click on the link below to continue reading and see more of The Royal Senses on page 2 of this post.

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Our quarantine reads Part 2: Greek hotels and restaurants on travel hot lists for 2020

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Rendering of the main swimming pool at Royal Senses resort on Crete

A rendering of the main swimming pool at The Royal Senses Resort & Spa, scheduled to open in late June on Crete.  The Royal Senses was included on The Telegraph‘s list of 10 amazing new Greek island hotels to book in 2020.

 

Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens website hotel photo

The Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens, a legendary hotel on the Athens Riviera that re-opened last year following extensive renovations. The hotel was profiled this spring by World Traveller magazine.

 

A short social media promotional clip for Kaliya, a much-anticipated new restaurant opening this summer in Fira, the capital of Santorini. Kaliya is among several sumptuous Santorini dining spots cited by World Travel magazine.

 

Where to stay, dine and drink: Each winter and spring, major newspapers and travel magazines publish articles describing new and noteworthy places to stay and visit in Greece, and this year they’ve done it again, even though the Covid-19 pandemic turned international travel planning upside down and left everyone wondering if there would even be a tourist season in 2020.  Would any of the hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars described in the travel media be able to open this year?

It looks like there might be part of a summer travel season after all, now that the Greek government has announced (on April 28) its plans for lifting lockdowns, gradually restarting the country’s economy, and possibly re-opening its tourism infrastructure and facilities as early as July. Although details about when — and which — foreign visitors will be allowed to enter Greece are still up in the air, it appears summer holiday travel to Greece will be a possibility for some people.

Given that hopeful prospect, we have compiled this post to highlight travel articles we have read over the past month during our own coronavirus home quarantine.   It’s a round-up of recommendations and travel reports for hotels, resorts, villas and restaurants in Greece that captured the attention of international travel media experts.

If you’re among the fortunate people who get to visit Greece this summer and experience any of the properties and establishments described in these publications, do drop us a line once you’re back home, to let us know how you enjoyed them.

 

 

The Times article about 30 best places to go in Greece

 

If you’re having trouble choosing where to go once Greece re-opens its borders to international tourists, The Times article 30 best places to stay might help you narrow your options. Then again, it could confuse you even more, since it describes so many outstanding accommodations to consider.

Whether it’s adults-only on Santorini, kid-friendly on Rhodes, eco-conscious on Crete, a rustic mountain retreat or a luxury hilltop villa, the newspaper’s top picks cover most travel lifestyles, though the list does lean mainly towards higher-end and design-forward hotels. 

Hotel, resort and villa recommendations on the newspaper’s list include the following Greek island regions:

♦ Crete

♦ Antiparos, Folegandros, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos and Syros in the Cyclades island chain

♦ Corfu, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Kythira, and Lefkada in the Ionian group of islands 

♦ Hydra and Spetses in the Saronic Gulf

♦ Skiathos and Skopelos in the Sporadic isles, and

♦ Kos and Rhodes in the Dodecanese archipelago

For mainland Greece and the Peloponnese, the article suggests stylish accommodations for:

♦ The Athens Riviera

♦ Halkidiki

♦ Monemvasia, Nafplio and The Mani in the Peloponnese;

♦ Parga, Perdika, Sivota and the Zagorochoria areas of northwestern Greece.

 

 

Santorini hotels, restaurants and wineries

World Travel Magazine February-March 2020 cover

Canaves Oia Epitome luxury hotel was the shooting location for the cover photo for World Travel Magazine’s February/March 2020 issue

 

When Nasos Kouzelis wrote What’s New Santorini?,  tourism-related businesses on the island were excitedly preparing for the launch of the 2020 travel season. “In just a few days’ time,” he said, restaurants would be setting their tables and wineries would be polishing their glasses to welcome their first guests of the year. His article was originally published in the February/March 2020 edition of World Travel magazine, so Kouzelis would have submitted it to the editors weeks before Greece went into lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those opening plans have since been put on ice, of course, and at this time no-one knows exactly when Santorini’s tourist season for international travellers will finally start.

But by the time that happens, there will be even more built-up anticipation for the opening of some eagerly-awaited new restaurants and hotels that Kouzelis describes, along with the return of some much-talked-about accommodations and dining spots that made their debuts in 2019.

Among the hot spots Kouzelis mentions:

♦ in Oia village: the Canaves Oia Epitome and its Elements restaurant, and the Andronis Arcadia Hotel and its Opson restaurant;

♦ in Imerovigli village: Cavo Tagoo Santorini hotel and its restaurant, OVAC, plus OMMA Santorini hotel and restaurant;

♦ in Fira, the island capital: Katikies Garden hotel, Panigiri Restaurant, and the brand-new Kaliya restaurant;

♦ at Monolithos beach: the Nikki Beach Santorini Resort & Spa;

♦ at Baxedes beach near Oia: the all-day lounge restaurant Laze;

Avantis Cellar Door winery and restaurant in Kontochori near Fira, and Mikra Thira winery on nearby Thirasia island.

The article is illustrated with beautiful pictures by Christos Drazos, one of the most sought-after professional hotel and restaurant photographers in Greece.

 

Please click on the link below to read about more travel publication profiles of hotels and restaurants on Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, Ios and the Athens Riviera.

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First vegan hotel in Greece, Koukoumi, set to open on Mykonos this summer

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 This 2-minute promotional video explains the inspiration and philosophy for the new Koukoumi Hotel, and features beautiful views of famous Mykonos landmarks and island scenery 

 

Holistic lifestyle hotel: The first — and only — authentically vegan hotel in Greece is set to open its doors on Mykonos this summer, promising to bring both “a breath of fresh air” in hospitality and a “new life philosophy” to the Island of the Winds.

Situated on a hillside near Ano Mera, in close proximity to Kalafatis, Kalo Livadi and other top southern coast beaches, the 4-star Koukoumi Hotel is a project of the Kontiza family of Mykonos. The property has been designed in traditional Myconian architectural style and boasts 14 “boho chic” suites, a  restaurant featuring ethnic, Mediterranean and Greek-inspired vegan and raw cuisine, a swimming pool, spa and fitness center, and its own fruit and vegetable garden.

“Koudoumi” is a Myconian word which translates as “sheltered from the wind” and “a cozy place for snuggling.” To stay true to its name, the hotel has been conceived as “a peaceful sanctuary” where sophisticated travellers can “enjoy life without harming animals, the environment, or [them]selves,” the Koukoumi Hotel website explains.

 

Rooms include spacious standard, superior and executive suites that can accommodate up to 3 guests each, as well as deluxe and master suites that can sleep two persons each.

The hotel restaurant will offer a completely vegan menu, and pledges that its delicious recipes “will challenge you to reconsider everything you believed about food before!”

The Koukoumi Spa has been designed as a “haven of relaxation”  in which guests can detox, de-stress and rejuvenate “with soothing massages, healing treatments for face & body or by using the sauna.”

The hotel also has an indoor fitness center, staffed by a personal trainer and sports nutrition advisor who can tailor cross-functional training programs to help guests develop their own specific physical fitness programs and wellness goals.

Reservations can be made through the online booking page of the Koukoumi Hotel website, or through the hotel’s listings on booking.com, TripAdvisor and Expedia.

Below are several renderings of rooms and hotel facilities; additional images and information can be found on the Koukouimi website and on the Koukoumi Facebook page. A number of photos also can be viewed on the hotel’s Instagram.

 

A rendering showing an exterior view of Koukoumi Hotel on Mykonos

A rendering of the swimming pool at Koukoumi Hotel Mykkonos

Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos fitness room

A rendering of a suite at Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos

A rendering of a suite at Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos

A rendering of a suite at Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos

Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos 2020 opening announcement

 

New Kalesma Mykonos luxury hotel suites, villas & restaurant set to open in June

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Kalesma Mykonos hotel & villa complex sunset view

Kalesma Mykonos hotel & villa swimming pool

Kalesma Mykonos hotel suite terrace view of Ornos Bay

 Kalesma Mykonos, seen in renderings provided by the hotel, is comprised of 25 luxury suites, 2 villas and a signature restaurant showcasing Cycladic cuisine. A collection of whitewashed houses, the newly-built property occupies a hillside location overlooking Ornos Bay on Mykonos.  

 

Inviting newcomer: A unique collection of luxury suites and villas will make a distinctive mark on the Mykonos boutique hotel scene when it opens its doors this summer.

Kalesma Mykonos will bring chic designer digs, destination dining, “private experience concierges” and a traditional Mykonian village vibe to the Ornos area when it opens on June 1.

“Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionado’s dream,” according to a property description brochure provided to me by the hotel.

Aerial image of a private terrace and pool at Kalesma Mykonos Hotel

An aerial view of the pool and patio at one of the Kalesma Mykonos suites. Each of the hotel’s accommodations has its own private heated pool.

 

With its Cycladic-style whitewashed houses that spill down a slope of the Aleomandra peninsula on the southwest side of Ornos Bay, Kalesma has been built to resemble a traditional island village.  Suites, villa and common area interiors will feature sleek minimalist design details, fashioned with locally-sourced materials. Each accommodation will boast its own private heated pool — a rarity on Mykonos.

The 25 suites are 680 square feet in size and can sleep either two adults and two children, or three adults. Each unit boasts a 970-square-foot terrace, furnished with poolside lounge chairs, and offers impressive, unobstructed sea views. “All accommodation features original artwork and expansive bathrooms with freestanding bathtubs and an outdoor shower on a private patio,” the hotel’s publicity brochure notes.

“Kalesma is also home to two spectacular, earth coloured private villas, one with two bedrooms and one with three. Ideal for entertaining or family holidays, both feature an open plan living room with cosy sofas, dining area and a fully equipped kitchen with pre-stocked food and wine fridges. A personal chef is available to villa guests if they wish to organise an intimate gathering or romantic meal on their terrace. Villas also come with their own fitness rooms complete with Technogym equipment. A stay in one of these private villas combines self-contained serviced residences, with access to exceptional hotel facilities and each will have a dedicated Villa Manager on call to coordinate guests stays,” the brochure adds.

When they’re not admiring and relaxing in the beautifully-designed private and public spaces, Kalesma guests will enjoy fabulous scenic views including beautiful Ornos Bay, the Aegean Sea, and both the sunrise and sunset.

 

Kalesma is a Greek word for “inviting,” and the hotel complex and its services have been meticulously planned to foster an inviting, welcoming ambiance and provide outstanding hospitality. “The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by weekly intimate dinners,” the hotel description says.

Kalesma Mykonos hotel PERE UBU restaurant

Kalesma Mykonos hotel sunset lounge fireplace

Top: The al fresco patio for PERE UBU restaurant (there’s an indoor dining room as well); bottom: the outdoor fireplace at the Aloni lounge.

 

Kalesma’s centerpiece will be its restaurant and “social hub,” PERE UBU, whose menu will spotlight Cycladic cuisine incorporating seasonal local products.  Created by the owners of the acclaimed Pere and Ubu and Sea Spice restaurants in the glam Glyfada district of Athens, Kalesma’s PERE UBU will offer “a laid-back atmosphere during the day with chilled summer music, delicious small plates and light lunches. By night, it transforms into a sophisticated eatery, serving simple, elegant dishes showcasing the local produce alongside innovative cocktails keeping guests fuelled into the early hours.”

Open to the public, PERE UBU has been conceived as a destination restaurant whose inspiring cuisine and comfortable atmosphere  will entice visitors from across the island. However, the restaurant also will host intimate weekly dinners exclusively for Kalesma’s own guests. 

 

With an open fireplace, the Aloni Sunset Lounge is another common space that is expected to become a popular gathering spot for sunset viewing over cocktails or late evening conversation and nightcaps.

Additional amenities include a private on-site chapel for wedding ceremonies, and a boutique shop offering luxury brands, accessories and local products.

Aerial view of Kalesma Mykonos hotel

Aerial view of the Kalesma Mykonos hotel property

These aerial images show how Kalesma’s hotel, villa and common-area buildings have been designed in the distinctive white architectural style of the Cyclades islands, and positioned to resemble a traditional Mykonian village 

 

As part of the Kalesma hospitality team, private experience concierges will be “on hand to help guests discover the islands hidden gems including local eateries, exclusive boutiques and picture-perfect tiny churches. They can also arrange trips to some the island’s 25 beaches – from the hottest beach clubs to wide stretches of golden sand and secluded swimming caves, known only to the hotel’s private tenders. Private yacht charters and helicopter transfers are also available upon request for those who wish to truly push the boat out and experience the island from a different perspective.”

Please click on the link below to continue reading and see more images of Kalesma Mykonos on page 2.

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