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Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa

Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa, Crete

Guide price from £1,340 pp


Short description

A stylish resort, which has sweeping views over the brilliant curve of Elounda’s Mirabello Bay to the island of Spinalonga.


Recommended for:
Beach | History & culture | Honeymoon | Relaxation

The resort stands on a steep hill near a small pebble beach. It’s a short walk, past pebble-strewn coves and small restaurants, to Elounda’s colourful fishing port where boats leave for the 20-minute trip to Spinalonga, the leper island of Victoria Hislop’s best-selling novel The Island.

Backed by jagged cliffs where gryphon vultures soar and set back from the coast, there’s a remote feel to this local stone-built resort, reached by a steep path from a single-lane mountain road. Milanese designer Gian Paolo Venier’s décor is as distinctive as the surroundings: large clay pithoi from Crete’s famed Thrapsano potters village adorn shrub-lined alleys and stand guard over gazebos, even featuring in a striking statement wall. Verandas are made from peeled belian wood (shipped from Indonesia); bathrooms and living areas either gleam with Brazilian white marble or smoulder with black volcanic pebbles from Sumatra. 

Most rooms have pools so the resort’s two large infinity pools, surrounded by well-upholstered sunbeds, the spa has three cosy candle-lit treatment rooms. There’s a small spa menu, including anti-ageing and after-sun treatments and half a dozen massages. Therapist Sofia has a deft, strong touch and the organic Bioaroma products – made down the road in Agios Nikolaos – are luscious. There’s also a small, well-equipped gym. A complimentary shuttle takes guests to Plaka’s peaceful pebble cove (where there are sunbeds, parasols and towels). There are also two electric vehicle charging stations and a shop selling Greek designer goods. 

There are 74 rooms, suites and villas - most with their own pools - scattered over a steep slope, and reached via two small funiculars that children will adore. Villas on the top level have the best views of Spinalonga, but rooms on all levels have extensive sea views. Décor in rooms and suites is sleek and airy: walls in cinnamon, mint or volcanic grey rise from blond-wood floors to frame forged iron tables, chunky stone washbasins and marble-tiled walls. Villas have similar décor, but with retro touches: Seventies-inspired furnishings, egg-shaped mirrors and grainy prints of bathing belles on the walls. Open-plan Superior rooms are spacious with chunky Coco-Mat beds and room-sized terraces. Larger Executive rooms and suites also have large plunge pools, while three-floor villas with private pools are huge.

Ambrosia is the main restaurant. Served on the breezy sea-view terrace, breakfast – eggs, bacon, salads, a few cold cuts and pastries, with fresh juice and strong coffee – is freshly prepared and tasty. Dinner, however is lacklustre: a few starters – including aubergine salad from a tin and Greek salad made with tasteless generic feta – and five or six mains, such as chicken drumsticks in a stodgy celery sauce.

Kelari, the à la carte restaurant, is a much better option – executive chef Lefteris Lazarou was awarded Greece’s first Michelin Star. From the creamy gazpacho with diced peppers and crunchy pomegranate, to the herb-infused slow-cooked chicken, Lazarou’s tasting menu dazzles with different savours. The Sage & Thyme Mediterranean restaurant serves pizza, pasta and snacks. The Stone Beach House on Plaka beach is the best place for sunset views of Spinalonga while sipping a hand-crafted cocktail, or supping meze snacks. 


Any element of this accommodation can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Deluxe

Guide price from £1,340 pp

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