Greek island adventures at Santa Marina Beach Hotel
By KATIE ANN WISEMAN
Crete is the largest of all the Greek islands, located in the southern side of the Aegean Sea. It is easy to understand why it is one of the most popular destinations in the country, thanks to its distinctive beaches and ancient culture, which includes delightful towns, medieval castles and monasteries.
The Santa Marina Beach Hotel is located on the long sandy beach of Agia Marina village, just 8 kms from Chania and perfect for site seeing. The hotel is separated by the old national road and split into three structures, connected via an underground tunnel; the beach complex, the pool complex and the ‘Pearl Wing’ with a combined total of 212 accommodation units. Following an extensive renovation, the new ‘Pearl Wing’ is presents the luxury range of rooms. They offer space, privacy, incredible service and affordability.
Set apart from the main hotel, the Pearl Wing combines the very best of Mediterranean style with the stunning backdrop of the Cretan coastline. A fashionable retreat with a luxurious feel, the Pearl Wing comprises 24 superior rooms. The superior rooms have either a private balcony or terrace depending on the floor location with a view of either the garden, pool or sea. The décor is very simple yet striking with cool neutral tones and sharp white linen.
The exclusive Pearl Wing also offers a 500 sq.m. private swimming pool situated on the top of the hill, overlooking the resort of Aghia Marina and the Gulf of Chania with a smaller pool for children adjacent. This makes it suitable for families as well as couples. The restaurant offers breakfast and lunch, buffet-grill and fresh-baked pizza as an alternative to the beach-side restaurant if you cant prize yourself from the peace and tranquility the pearl wing offers.
Alongside the pearl wing, the hotel also has a main swimming pool and a white sandy beach with shallow water enabling you to wade out quite a distance. The beach is blue flag and the hotel provides sun beds and umbrellas, a lifeguard and waiter service. It is perfect for families with young children as they can play in the sand and swim safely in the shallow waters with no current or strong waves.
The main swimming pool (425 sqm) is located at the pool complex and is available for all guest use. It also offers a separate swimming pool for children and a pool bar offering refreshments and snacks during the day. The fitness room is also housed within the pool complex.
Santa Marina has a choice of restaurants and dining options available. With snacks served throughout the day, you certainly won’t go hungry. The Main Restaurant is located at the beach complex and this is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an endless choice of foods, delicacies, traditional Greek dishes as well as international dishes. The Sealine Tavern is also located on the outdoor terrace adjacent to the main restaurant. Its a wonderful lunch alternative if you fancy a la carte or fresh seafood lunch whilst enjoying the peaceful sounds of the lapping sea.
Alternatively, the Azzuro Restaurant requires pre-booking and offers a more private and romantic setting at the edge of the outdoor terrace by the sea with views to the magical Thodorou islet. Natural shade and scent is provided by the lush ever-green Tamarisk trees. The restaurant offers typical Cretan and international dishes in a fine dining environment with a lot of attention to detail and knowledgeable local wine pairing waiters.
Although the hotel doesn’t have an onsite spa they can arrange massages. If it is complex treatments you’re after, they will happily arrange transportation to their sister hotel, Cavo Spada Luxury Resort and Spa.
If you want a change of scenery, I would highly recommend the short taxi ride to the lovely old town of Chania. There is a multitude of boutique shops, restaurants and cafe’s to try. The Greeks not only have a delicious cuisine, they have incredible chic style, which can be found in the back street shops. After meandering though the harbour, we dined at Ta Neoria at the far side. It offers splendid views of sunset. The choice of seafood is vast and so fresh, I would recommend the seafood platter so as not to miss out on anything. Ta Neoria describes itself as a Traditional Greek Tavern. From the interior to the service, it has a wonderful intimate feel and is not at all touristy.
Every stay at Santa Marina Beach Resort is an immersion into the spectacular Cretan culture. With wine and olive oil tasting, cooking lessons and cultural concerts, each activity offered is designed to provide guests with an authentic insight into the storied and ancient traditions of the region.
Prices start from £115 for a Superior Double Room in the Pearl Wing. Find out more by visiting www.santamarinabeach.gr. Santa Marina Beach Hotel is part of the Giannoulis Hotels and Resorts boutique chain