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Dexter Eyes Tiger Woods’ Crown at Porto Elounda

Filed Under: Blog, Luxury Family Hotel Review

Posted on 06th May 2015

My son Dexter (aged 6) and I were delighted to escape from a rainy May bank holiday weekend to Porto Elounda & Elounda Peninsula Resort in Crete for a fun-filled few days of football, golf, swimming, pizza and movies (him) and spa treatments, gourmet dinners and lunch on board the hotel’s private yacht (me).

As we were only visiting for three days, the hotel arranged a jam-packed schedule for us and I must admit that I had initial reservations about leaving Dexter, a kids club virgin, for hours at a time while I swanned off to get my nails done. However, the welcome we received at the resort and the infectious enthusiasm of the other kids quickly allayed these fears. Some of the older children at the kids club immediately took Dexter under their wing and the staff were amazing, encouraging the younger kids and reassuring the parents. I waved him goodbye on the first afternoon and he barely  noticed, he was so busy perfecting his sandcastle for the afternoon’s competition.

We were reunited in time for dinner and, despite the 3am start we’d had that morning, Dexter was full of energy and tales about his afternoon spent on Porto Elounda’s sandy beach. He loved the shallow sea and the fact that he could run in-between the pool and beach in just a few steps. Overlooking the pool, kids pool and the beach there are plenty of sun-loungers and a beach bar so parents can feel quite comfortable watching their little ones play but still enjoy a relaxing sunbathe or drink. Taking advantage of our first ever kids club experience, I had a luxury manicure at the Six Senses Spa, which was a real treat.

We stayed in a Grand Villa at the Elounda Peninsula hotel, which neighbours Porto Elounda and has access to the same facilities. The Grand Villas have two bedrooms, a living room, three bathrooms, a private garden with pool and enough space to swing several cats. After a quick dip in our private pool we went for dinner at Nafsika, Porto Elounda’s buffet restaurant which is included in the hotel’s half board option. It has a large terrace overlooking the sea and is very family friendly; Dexter and his new friends from the kids club were able to play on the extended terrace after they’d eaten without disturbing the other guests. The food was served buffet style and included fresh Greek salads, local lamb and fish, traditional dishes such as Moussaka and plenty for vegetarians. For dessert, the ice cream bar went down a storm with the kids and for the adults there was a naughty but nice selection of chocolate confections and pastries.

The next day we had a full schedule; after breakfast of bacon, sausages, pancakes, more pastries and delicious hot chocolate Dexter was collected by Katerina and Rania from the kids club (our initial separation anxieties now forgotten) for a morning of water slide fun (the kids club has its own pool with slides) followed by football at the Arsenal football academy and a golf lesson on the hotel’s own private golf course. Dexter was very impressed with the golf lesson, led by retired professional golfer Antonis, who offered patient and fun instruction to a group of young first timers. By the end of the session, he was convinced he would be a professional golfer one day – my challenge now is to find a golf course in our part of East London! During the kids’ fun-filled day of sport I was lucky enough to take a trip on the hotel’s private yacht, circling the island of Spinalonga which is well worth a day trip and at the top of my list for my next visit.

That evening, Dexter and his new friends were treated to a movie night in the Elounda Peninsula’s own cinema. First a dinner of pizza, chips and popcorn followed by a screening of Frozen which, after a hard day on the golf course, was a perfect end to the evening. Whilst the group of now best friends sang along to Let It Go I enjoyed a gourmet French tasting menu in Calypso at Elounda Peninsula, which has has received multiple “Toque d’Or” awards as one of the finest restaurants in Greece.

All too soon we had to depart. The next morning, after a final dip in the sea and a final whoosh down the waterslide we left for the airport, tired but happy. Dexter full of tales about his new friends and experiences and me feeling relaxed having enjoyed the perfect balance of family and “me” time. Chatting to the owner about my initial apprehension at leaving my child alone in a kids club, he told me that some of the hotel’s regular guests only ever use a kids club when they stay with him and I can see why. The way the resort is laid out means that despite enjoying different activities, parents and kids are never far away. I was able to sunbathe while Dexter was in sight, playing with the lovely kids club staff and even enjoy an award-winning gourmet meal while he watched a movie just a few steps away. We both felt secure and confident despite being separate for parts of our holiday and Dexter had possibly the most fun he’s ever had on a weekend away.

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