Elounda Gulf Villas

Elounda, Crete, Greece
Book from GBP Book from £195 per night

Elounda Gulf Villas

Elounda, Crete, Greece

A luxurious villa-hotel hybrid: secluded suites, villas with infinity pools, and views over the Med, all alongside very attentive service

A luxurious villa-hotel hybrid: secluded suites, villas with infinity pools, and views over the Med, all alongside very attentive service

The privacy of a deluxe villa and the services of a top hotel - it’s a wonderfully indulgent combination and a rare one. It does exist though, above the bit-too-big resorts overlooking Mirabello bay, in the exclusive enclave of Elounda Gulf Villas. Its low-profile policy and discreet staff make it popular with international dignitaries and celebrities searching to escape the limelight, at least for a few days. And it is family-run - designed by dad Dimitris, run by daughter Charitini and presided over with perfection by mother Anna.

The suites and villas are swish - the marble-lined bathrooms have trompe l'oeil ceilings, the sofas are covered with Italian fabrics, and there are scatterings of antiques about the parquet floors. All Villas and Massage Suites have private infinity pools with Jacuzzi, while some villas also have spa facilities. The Deluxe Suites are close to the seawater pool with Jacuzzi and a cascading waterfall. A butler will bring your morning juice to glass-fronted breakfast rooms with, needless to say, stunning views. There’s also a poolside bar-restaurant serving creative Mediterranean cuisine and late-night cocktails, massages and beauty treatments at the spa, so not much reason to leave Elounda Gulf Villas once you arrive.


  • A unique mix of 5-star hotel service (friendly, not corporate-resort) with the privacy of self-catering if you want it (well-equipped kitchens in the villas, and butlers standing by!)
  • Extremely family-friendly, with kids club, creche, kids pool and brilliant staff: Queen Rania of Jordan (and her children) are fans!
  • Secluded villas and their gardens offer total privacy - so you can swim naked and siesta under an olive tree
  • They have a private beach club (for hotel guests only) a short distance away, and will run you down in a buggy
  • We loved soaking in our hydro-massage tub below a hand-painted trompe d’oeil ceiling, then revitalising our skin with the luscious body creams provided


  • The villas are not separate dwellings with their own grounds, but a series of well-designed terraced houses separated by walls
  • The resort's beach is very small - but there are others nearby
  • Apart from the Seafront Villa, none of the suites or villas are right on the coast
  • Sea views are slightly marred by cables and the edges of neighbouring resorts
  • The main pool lies in front of the bar-restaurant, so you might feel a little exposed to diners

Best time to go

Elounda is open April - October. The best time to visit Crete is between May - September, though bear in mind that July-August can be hot and crowded. 3-4 days is enough for a quick break, a week allows you to really unwind. Elounda is popular with honeymooners, couples, small families, and British guests, partly because of its excellent, English-speaking ownership and staff.

Our top tips

Pick up a copy of Victoria Hislop’s ‘The Island’. Set on the island of Spinalonga (just down the road from Elounda Gulf Villas), this historical fiction novel won various awards when published in 2005. Bring mask and snorkel; smartish clothes for dinner.

Great for...

  • Boutique Resort
  • 15 suites + 19 villas for 2-8
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car recommended
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Beach club


There are 19 villas and 15 suites at the main hotel, and a Seafront Villa a short drive away; all of them light, sleek and spacious. You get lots of marble floors, a tasteful combination of antique furniture and modern designer pieces, oriental rugs, sumptuous Italian fabrics (in earthy neutral tones), freshly-cut flowers and, to avoid that cookie-cutter feel, some offbeat touches like a saxophone hanging from a ceiling, a leopard-skin chair, or a life-size mural in the marble bathroom.

Despite this, nothing is too ‘precious’ and one immediately feels at home amid the elegance. The rooms are also remarkably peaceful, with no road traffic hum and so little noise from your neighbours that you begin to wonder if they’re still there. Choose between a suite for 2-4 (like a large hotel room with sitting area), a pool villa for 4-6 (2 storeys, with kitchen and private pool), a spa pool villa (with kitchen and private infinity pool, sauna/gym), or the villa set on the beach (2-storeys, with kitchen and private pool).

Suites come in 3 categories. The Deluxe Senior Suite has 1 ensuite bedroom, a living room and either a balcony or terrace with sea or garden view, while the Deluxe Family Suite has 2 ensuite bedrooms and balconies with sea views; these suites share a pool. We're yet to see the Superior and Junior Suites, each with a private pool and massage room, but they sound wonderfully luxurious.

All the pool villas are 2-storey and have a fully-equipped, open-plan kitchen, and a private swimming pool (not heated) with Jacuzzi. Elounda has 2 bedrooms with spacious ensuite marble bathrooms and inviting wooden loungers on the terrace, Aegean and Mediterranean have 3 large bedrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows that capture panoramic views.

The glamorous spa villas each come with a private, seasonally-heated infinity pool with built-in Jacuzzi, plus a sauna, a steam bath and gym room. The 1-bedroomed Deluxe Spa Pool Villas have the added flexibility of turning the living room into a bedroom with an extra single bed and its own bathroom. While the Executive Spa Pool Villas are set over 3 storeys and have 2 ensuite bedrooms and grand non-slip sun terraces with wooden sun-beds, a dining table and a wicker sofa. The Presidential Spa Pool Villa, with 3 spacious and airy ensuite bedrooms, is more secluded, and larger, but the flagship villa, the jewel in Elounda’s crown is the 4-bedroom Royal Spa Pool Villa. It makes regular appearances in glossy mags and, unless you're super-rich (or super-prolific in the family way) is more of a lure than a realistic consideration.

We’re yet to see the Seafront Villa, with 4 bedrooms, but as the name suggests, it’s located directly on the beach (next to the hotel’s beach club), just a 7-minute drive from the hotel. The villa’s highlight is its huge garden (1500 sq.m) that features a large pool, a shaded patio and a kids’ playground. Plus it opens directly onto the beach, and has access to all the hotel's amenities.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • In-room treatments available
  • Safe box
  • WiFi


If you’re staying in the suites, a buffet breakfast is included. If you are villa guests, you have the option of taking it privately or raiding the buffet, as you prefer. Those in the Seafront Villa get breakfast brought to them daily, and can eat on their terrace overlooking the waves. Being served an organic breakfast with locally sourced ingredients in a glass-walled dining room overlooking the sea is, well, wonderful. So much so, you might be tempted to ask the butler to return for the evening meal. Or at least to shop for it and stand by, while you attempt taramasalata in the gleaming kitchen. Easier still, you can hire a chef to sort that out for you. High on romance, they’ll even set up candlelight and throw fresh flowers in your pool if you ask - nothing is too much.

Alternatively, head to the hotel’s Argo Restaurant - the candlelit tables by the pool are atmospheric and the food, thought not cheap, is very good and a cut above the fare in the touristy Elounda town restaurants. Try the fish soup for starters and the loukoumades (sweet bread doughnuts) to finish, both traditional Cretan dishes served alongside more trendy Med offerings such as mushroom risotto with pine kernels and parmesan or pork fillet in honey and sweet wine from Samos. There’s a children’s menu and the occasional mezé evening.

Ask your waiter to recommend a bottle from the outstanding wine list, which includes several astronomically priced French vintages, and of course champagne (this is the sort of place you drink it for breakfast). Round off with a nightcap at the adjoining Argonauts bar and stroll home. It’s not far.

On Argo’s rooftop veranda, Daphni serves creative gourmet cuisine and affords stunning views over the bay. It is open alternate nights for dinner only, and can be reserved for private dining and celebrations.

For more choice, it's a short drive into Elounda, which has a huge choice of restaurants and bars. Favourites include The Ferryman on the waterside (try their slow cooked lamb and the stuffed vine leaves) and Lotus Eaters for seafood (the grilled prawns, steamed sea bass with soy and ginger and peppered steak all come recommended). A good budget option is Vacchus, which serves simple homely fare like gigantes (butter beans) and pork chops at unbeatable prices.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Chef on request
  • In-house cook
  • Kids' meals
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian options


  • Elounda Gulf Villas makes a good base for exploring the east coast of Crete; day trips as far as Sitia and Zakros can be arranged, as well as Knossos and Malia to view the Minoan palaces
  • Relax at the hotel's private beach club a 10-minute walk away, alternatively, the hotel can run you down in a buggy
  • Check out Agios Nikolaos town, with its sea-lake and nightlife
  • Drive down to Elounda's fishing harbour, and try your luck
  • Take a boat trip to Spinalonga island, an ex-leper colony
  • Explore the traditional Cretan villages of Kritza and Mochlos
  • Or the Areti monastery
  • The palm beach at Vai is lovely; there are quite a few local beaches but they're definitely not the best on the island
  • Hersonissos has an 18-hole golf course
  • Families may be interested in the Aqua Splash water park
  • Book a massage at the on-site Elexir Spa Gallery
  • The hotel can also arrange diving/swimming lessons in the pool

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Nightlife
  • Paragliding
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing


Children are welcome, but must be supervised at all times. There's a fab Cool Kids Club and Cool Creche (open three sessions daily 6 days/wk April-June, Sept-Oct, and 7 days/wk July-Aug; free of charge in the club, for a cost per session in the creche, and if staying for lunch, all ages are charged). Kids up to 12 years are free of charge in the suites. Wonderful staff will go out of their way to entertain the kids and learn their names, kids toiletries can be supplied.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All villas are family friendly and have plenty of both indoor and outdoor space; the Seafront Villa offers a little more privacy, and has a kids' playground in its garden.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms


Available on request

Baby listening:

Available on request

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Infant bathtubs
  • Highchairs
  • Play pens
  • Bottle sterilisers
  • Nappies
  • Baby food

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Creche/Kid's Club:

  • Cool Creche for babies 4 months to 3 years supervised by professionally trained staff
  • Cool Kids Club for 3-12yo (pre-booking required)

Children's meals:

Children's menu in the restaurant, baby food and high chairs all available – and very thoughtful staff. Room service is also available in all room categories if mealtimes don't suit your children's schedule, plus those in villas can hire a chef to prepare meals for them

Kids Activities on site:

  • Private pools and main swimming pool, kids pool - can be fenced on request
  • Private beach club 10 minutes' drive away by shuttle
  • Children's DVDs available
  • Swimming in rocky lagoon
  • Watersports
  • Private swimming and tennis lessons on request
  • Toys

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Sandy beaches a short drive away

Families Should Know:

Villas can have a special transparent child-proof fence erected around the pool - ask when booking. Some pools are heatable out of season at an extra cost. Most villas are on 2 floors so do ask about the layout if you have small children. Stairgates are not provided


  • Airport: 45 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:


The exclusive enclave of Elounda Gulf Villas lies 2.5km from Elounda, on the popular eastern side of the island of Crete, high above the bay of Mirabello, just north of Agios Nikolaos.

By Air:
It’s easiest to fly into Heraklion (also called Iraklion), Crete’s capital. Alternatively, there are year-round scheduled flights via Athens.

From the Airport
You can catch a taxi from Heraklion, best booked in advance through the hotel (see rates). Elounda is a 1.5-hour (100km) drive via Agios Nikolaos.

By Car:
Hiring a car will allow you to explore the area better - see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will follow when you confirm a booking through our site.

More on getting to Greece and getting around.


  • Heraklion, Nikos Kazantzakis 100.0 km HER


  • Beach 2.5 km
  • Shops 2.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.0 km

Rates for Elounda Gulf Villas

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