Crete is the largest of the Greek islands lying in the South East Mediterranean and is the legendary birthplace of the Greek God Zeus. For a relaxing holiday,with the option to explore Crete’s fascinating history, a 5 star luxury stay at Aldemar Hotels’ Royal Village , and the adjacent award winning Thalasso and Spa Centre, ticks all the right boxes…

Introduction
The history of Crete stretches back thousands of years. It was home to Europe ’s first civilisation, the Minoans, from around 3000 years B.C. to 1100 years B.C., during which time they built extravagant palaces. The remains of these buildings are now major tourist attractions with the Palace of Knossos being Crete ’s biggest crowd puller. Other highlights on a holiday to Crete include the Gorge of Samaria, a natural wonder that is a must for nature lovers and walkers, and for beach lovers there’s the famous Vai beach with palm trees, the uncrowded Xerokambos beach or the Matala beach with its artificial caves.

With its long hot summers the island of Crete is bathed in sunshine from May to late October with hardly any rainfall during the peak months of June, July and August. If you are looking for a relaxing break with the option to explore Crete ’s fascinating history then Aldemar Hotels offer exclusive holidays that cater for your every need.

Getting There
Aldemar have two luxury, 5 star hotels situated in Hersonissos approximately 25 km east along the coast from the capital Heraklion. Just over 4 hours flying time from the U.K. , there are a number of airlines offering daily direct flights. EasyJet provide a straightforward service from Gatwick with good time slots and even with the Speedy Boarding option (first through the gate, seats are not allocated) this was the cheapest on the day.

Hotel Facilities
The Royal Mare Village and The Knossos Royal Village are situated very close to one another. My week’s stay was at the Royal Village. This is a stunning and stylish hotel with the whole complex laid out to sweep to the sandy beach with breathtaking views out over the turquoise-blue waters of the Cretan Sea. From the hotel reception and main restaurant the hotel grounds are beautifully designed as a mix of two storey villas between exotic, well kept gardens. As you would expect from a hotel of this calibre, there’s an excellent choice of restaurants and bars and the standard of service was impeccable. I had a number of wonderfully prepared meals at the Artemis and Fontana Amorosa restaurants.

This hotel has 346 rooms consisting of double rooms and family rooms suitable for two to four persons, so this is an all round hotel equally at home for couples and families; with children being particularly wellcatered for. There are two central outdoor pools, one with a 45 metre waterslide, great fun for the young and not so young! In addition there are two private pools for the exclusive use of guests staying in rooms near the sea. There were plenty of comfortable beds and shade – a perfect setting for relaxing days in the sun. All guest rooms are furnished to an outstandingly high standard and the facilities for children are excellent. Children have the option of eating in their own restaurant with specially tailored menus, there are children’s playgrounds, mini-clubs and a super early evening disco near the main bar where the kids were having a great time every evening before heading off to bed tired and happy.

Sport & Activities
In addition to the usual sports facilities such as table-tennis, mini golf, keep fit, etc, there is a dedicated water sports centre near the private beach offering a range of water sports such as canoeing, diving, windsurfing, water skiing, and banana rides. The famous Tennis Academy is situated in the grounds of the adjacent Royal Mare Village Hotel and has seven international standard clay courts and a practice court with training wall. Bookings are easily made at reception or even on-line before you go! Entertainment is laid on both during the day and the evening arranged by the lively and hard working animation team, either in the hotel complex or in the open air amphitheatre.

Thalasso and Spa Resort
The Royal Mare award winning Thalasso is listed among the 10 best Thalasso Centres in the world and I could easily see why. An extensive range of treatments for men and women dedicated entirely to well-being were on offer, including wellness, new energy, body shape, anti-cellulite, slimming, vein tone and harmonia. The Royal Massage was an experience which totally relaxed and unstressed my body. The Thalasso Centre is a luxurious 4000 square metre environment with first class treatment rooms, swimming pools, beauty and fitness facilities and knowledgeable, helpful staff. The building just oozes luxury and relaxation.
Conclusion:
I went looking for a super hotel, at a great price with excellent facilities, access to a world class spa and wonderful dining options. I wasn’t disappointed, I found all this and more at the Royal Village in Crete . For more information have a look at the fact box below. David Powell – travel journalist
FACT BOX
• For more details, special offers and to book online visit:
• www.aldemarhotels.com • www.aldemarholidays.com
• for bookings and more info you can also telephone 0844 209 4099

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