Now chilling out at St. Nicolas Bay, Crete, was just the travel prescription we needed.
There are many top things to do in Crete – like hiking the famous Samaria Gorge (or smaller sage-scented Imbros Gorge) and getting lost in the Moorish-Venetian town of Chania.
And with more time, we would have loved to explore the island.
For us, though, rest and relaxation was what we were after on this visit to Crete.
We can’t comment on some of the other deluxe hotels in Crete.
But we can tell you that the St. Nicolas Bay Resort & Villas – which hugs the scalloped northeast shoreline of Crete – offers welcome peace and luxurious seclusion away from the island’s busier package holiday towns.
St. Nicolas Bay, Crete
With a boutique feel, the St. Nicolas Bay hotel blends in masterfully with the rocky landscape.
Multi-tiered terraces cut into amber and black rocks, with cushioned lounge chairs and umbrellas, provide blissful spots to sunbathe.
Want to swim? Climb down a ladder into the sparkling sea, or wade in from the small private beach.
Clustered in separate low-rise buildings, many of the 107 rooms and suites have private pools.
We arrived late at night after a long flight delay. And it was a treat to find that we’d been upgraded to a large Eros Suite!
Decorated all in white, it had cool marble floors, an expansive bathroom with a door opening from the glass shower to our private pool outside, king-size bed with organic Coco-Mat mattress and a separate living room with bleached-wood framed seaside pictures.
We also discovered plates of lox with asparagus, baklava and little honey cakes, sparkling Greek wine and a vase of fresh red roses, which had been sent to our suite, complimentary, as we were Club guests.
Dining at the hotel and in town
Rates include a delicious buffet breakfast (with a tantalizing array of sweet pastries, including gluten-free items), taken alfresco on a terrace overlooking the sea.
Many guests also opt for the dinner buffet on half-board rates.
We preferred the hotel’s a la carte restaurants, however, especially its pretty outdoor Cretan restaurant, Kafenion.
Dining under the trees, we felt like we were on a “Mama Mia!” set.
Other restaurants and cafes are found in nearby upscale Agios Nikolaos. We could walk to the town in about 30 minutes; there’s a public bus you can take too, or you can cab it.
Relax, reflect, rejuvenate
The real appeal to St. Nicolas Bay is that, by design, it’s adapted to the wild, rugged character of the area.
Long grasses blow in the wind and rocky nooks and crannies invite taking time out for reflection among nature.
You can’t help but feel rejuvenated when you leave this resort.
Read any good Greece travel guide, and you’ll see that it’s considered one of the best hotels in Crete.
St. Nicolas Bay Resort at a glance
A luxury hotel
St. Nicolas Bay Resort & Villas is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
The St. Nicolas Bay hotel has 107 rooms and suites; many have private pools.
In high season, expect to pay upward of $2,000 USD night for some suites and villas with private pools. Classic rooms cost considerably less, of course.
The long transfer from Heraklion international airport on Crete, about 3 hours by public shuttle bus, is a bit hard on the system. (But the resort is wonderful once you arrive!)
St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas: Check rates and availability
Photo credits: 7 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Other photos courtesy St. Nicolas Bay Resort & Villas
We stayed at St. Nicolas Bay Resort & Villas as media guests for review purposes. But if a place isn’t worth writing about it, we won’t recommend it; this place is definitely recommended!