Back in June of this year I wrote the ultimate honeymoon guide to Greece; while compiling all the most amazing honeymoon hotels scattered over the Greek islands, one in particular caught my eye, and as I typed away at my desk in East London I couldn’t help but wish I was sunning myself at Amirandes in Crete instead.
After falling head over heels for the amazing infinity pools dotted about the property, I couldn’t believe my luck when I was invited on behalf of Confetti to review the hotel. I of course jumped at the chance, and booked to spend three nights in September at Amirandes.
Writing about all that the hotel had to offer had given me high expectations, and it certainly did not disappoint. From being chauffeur drive from the airport to welcome drinks upon arrival, everything exuded luxury and I couldn’t help but imagine how romantic it would be to be swanning about the grounds as newlyweds.
We were greeted in the impressive reception, which overlooked one of the sensational infinity pools, with chilled pineapple juice, before being shown to our villa – and what a villa it was. To say it was bigger than my flat in London would be an injustice – it was maybe five times the size of my flat, with two lounge areas, two bathrooms (complete with Guerlain toiletries), a bedroom, balcony and last but not least – a private pool.
Waiting in our room was a butler proffering glasses of champagne, as well as a platter of fresh fruit and an afternoon tea set up of Greek sweet treats, including the most delicious baklava I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Any notion of healthy eating on holiday went out the window the minute I laid eyes on them, and it wasn’t just the baklava that was mouth-watering.
The hotel holds host to a buffet restaurant and several a la carte restaurants, offering Italian, Greek and Asian cuisine, among others. We opted to eat in the buffet restaurant each of the three nights we were there; the choice was fabulous, with something to suit every palette, from fussy to adventurous, and the setting was incredible. The restaurant is set around a bright, twinkling blue pool, with seats set right into the edges of the pool and one night a harpist and guitarist played music throughout dinner.
As well as the help yourself buffet, there were also two outdoor grills with different food offered each night, from veal, to steaks to fresh fish – I frequented these.
For an extra romantic touch, the grill restaurant has a floating deck which extends into the pool, offering the most amazing views of the sea, with the horizon looking like it’s within touching distance. For anyone on their honeymoon, I can’t think of a more intimate dinner setting.
I mustn’t stop writing about the food until I’ve waxed lyrical about breakfast (my favourite meal of the day, FYI); every day I treated myself to pancakes, pineapple and prosecco. But there was also cooked breakfast, salmon, ham and cheese and everything in between, even, weirdly, pizza. I got rather keen on Greek iced coffees, called Frappes -not the same as the kind you get in Starbucks.
Enough about food though; the hotel has a fabulous wellness offering too. I treated myself to a head and shoulder massage in the spa (much needed after sleeping crookedly on the flight), and there was also sunrise yoga on offer, alongside pool aerobics, pilates, bike hire and more. Pool aerobics isn’t really my thing, but I suppose if you are going to splash around like a water-based Jane Fonda, it might as well be in an amazing pool complete with impressive pillars and sea views.
Speaking of sea views, I was very partial to spending my evenings in the sunset lounge, which offered unrivalled views of the sunsets Greece is so famous for.
When we weren’t swimming in the Olympic sized pool, we mostly relaxed in our villa and splashed about in our private plunge pool – having never had a private pool before, it was a novelty to me, and hard to tear myself away.
The hotel is set in a very private area, with a beach just for hotel residents. About a 10 minute walk along the coast is a small cluster of cliffside restaurants and shops if you want to venture out, while Heraklion town (about 20 minutes drive away) has a wealth of cultural activities including archaeological museums and the palace of Knossos, which is a must for history fans (which I am not).
Of an evening, the hotel put on fantastic entertainment – my favourite of which was a synchronised swimming group which wowed us with the most spectacular routine. If music is more your things, a band plays in the main bar most evenings.
The staff at Amirandes couldn’t do enough for us, from laying fresh flowers on our bed every night, to being available at the touch of a button anytime day or night; the villas even had their own private reception for a really intimate feel.
While the hotel is large, it never, ever felt crowded – I commented to the manager that it seemed ever so tranquil with almost nobody he around, and he explained that because so many of the rooms hold host to private pools, the communal areas stayed quiet and calm the majority of the time.
If you’re looking to honeymoon a little closer to home, I can’t recommend Amirandes highly enough; from luxury services, to incredible surroundings it has everything you need for a romantic Greek honeymoon.