ne of several new European holiday destinations launched by luxury family specialists, Scott Dunn, Jessica Way has been along to visit Daios Cove with her family in tow...
Fish! Fish, mummy look, fishes! Really mummy, look – there are fishes, hundreds of them, look, LOOK!”
My four-year old daughter's excitement left smiles across faces of other happily floating, swimming and like-minded snorkelling sea lovers, as she dipped back under the clear blue waters for another look at the hundreds of
beautiful fish swimming below us.
I smiled back at Daisy before continuing to float on my back, admiring the views of the impressive architecture spread over five levels on the hillside that overlooked these glistening crystalline waters.
The perfect blue sky and warm sun beaming down on us that first morning, made the quickly-paced, on-the-move, media world of editorial deadlines and everyday family pressures of yesterday, feel as though they were a lifetime ago.
On arrival at the resort that morning (following a very pleasant journey of just under an hour's drive from Heraklion airport) we had been completely enthralled by the spectacular views enjoyed from the rooftop terrace.
The dazzling sight displayed before us gave an impressive overview of Daios Cove resort, comprising 39 private villas and pools (set along the hillside) and a hotel with 261 luxury rooms and suites (many with private pools), 4 delightful restaurants, Pangea (for casual dining), Taverna (Cretan & Greek Cuisine), Ocean (Italian) and Verka (Greek tapas and oyster bar), several bars including the fabulous Crystal Box cocktail bar, a number of swimming pools, including one especially for children, plus a wellbeing Spa and health gymnasium, all set in a secluded bay with its own private beach masterfully blending into the surrounding landscape. The stylish contemporary-chic design was consistent throughout the resort, cleverly incorporating glass with local stone to complement the surrounding natural environment of rock, sea and open space.
Christina, our guide, who showed us around the resort was excellent with the girls. The next member of staff we met was the driver of the shuttle service club-car. Holly and Daisy adored this buggy ride, arriving at our villa, nestled in the hillside along 4th Street, with many excited giggles of delight.
We were told that we could call for a buggy anytime, “perfect for tired feet,” our smiley driver explained. My thoughts turned to the favourite high-heels I'd packed for the evenings - how convenient!
However, for our first walk down to the beachfront we chose the scenic meander on foot round the cliff, which was beautiful. So, after settling into our villa, with a private seawater swimming pool and beautiful terrace equipped with sun loungers, cushioned sofas and outdoor dining area, we were all very quickly 'swimmies at the ready'. Before setting off though we had to admire our villa's first-floor master bedroom with a sea-view window the height and length of pretty much the entire wall; simply exquisite. Complimentary WiFi was a huge bonus to us, while the girls adored their teddy and gifts from the children’s club, including a hand-written letter from Jodie and Suzy, who run the club, saying how much they were looking forward to seeing them tomorrow, along with details of the activities they had planned.
The beauty of looking out across the sea, coupled with the exclusiveness and privacy of our villa, made this a luxury holiday, and experience we will never forget.
If you want somewhere that (in the words of Holly, my 8 year old daughter) you can ‘TOTALLY CHILL’ then this is most certainly it!
Entirely worthy of its 5 star status, Daios Cove Resort offers a holiday full of extreme luxury, without any stuffiness or pretentiousness. Many honeymoon couples, young families, retired couples, families and mixed-aged groups were able comfortably to share this beautiful resort together.
Our favourite choice for dining in the evening was Pangea. The atmosphere is laid-back but with exquisite dining. The food was buffet-style so perfect for the children, offering spectacular specialities from all over the world.
I especially loved the seafood, including delightful langoustines and the puddings were 'to die for' - I had far too many baklavas... delicious!
Having a villa gave us the additional luxury for ultimate privacy, and so, on some evenings, we ordered from the 24-hour-room-service menu and enjoyed dining on our terrace, often followed by a family game of cards while enjoying the unforgettable evening view. It was lovely to have this option, especially valuable for those with a baby or younger child who needed their cot or bed.
Enjoying the Scott Dunn babysitting service, one evening we excitedly ventured outside of the cove and enjoyed pizza (with the best pizza base I have probably ever had) at nearby Sirrocco, a family-run local restaurant in the cosmopolitan tourist resort Agios Nikolaos.
Holly and Daisy’s time at Scott Dunn children’s club (exclusive to Scott Dunn guests) was full of fun-filled adventure and action, organised into four age groups, Holly was in Sharks and Daisy in Dolphins. Activities included a sports day, boat trips to Spinalonga (the most well-known island off Crete, approximately 25 minutes from the resort), days out to the local water parks, trips to the olive farm, treasure hunts and so much more.
How the girls still found the energy to have a dance-off against mum and dad on the Wii at the end of the day when we came to collect them I have no idea!
The club caters for children aged 4 months to 13 years, and is run by fantastic, qualified childcare staff, whose passion, energy and confidence was a huge contributing factor to how special and memorable this holiday was for us. Our girls utterly adored Suzy and Jodie, and thought they were wonderful.
When asked the question, “would you like to stay with us today, or go to the Children’s Club?” Holly and Daisy’s energised faces said it all really. So we stopped asking after the first day, as the choice was obvious.
Well, for us that simply meant another lazy day at the pool, a cocktail (or two!) and, well, you can’t visit a destination like this without a trip to the spa. I would highly recommend the 30 minute Thalasso Ritual, in a private spa suite, and The Cretan Full Body and Head massage left you feeling wonderful. There was always time for a late-afternoon swim with the girls before dinner, sometimes in the sea, or often at our villa as the sun was setting.
On our way home, as we shared our best moments from the holiday, I knew this had been the perfect family break we had all hoped for, and although sad to leave, overjoyed by so many special memories, there to stay forever.
Luxury family travel specialists, Scott Dunn (www.scottdunn.com, 020 8682 5040) offer seven nights at Daios Cove, Crete from £4,100 based on a family of four sharing a One Bedroom Villa with private pool on a half board basis including return transfers.
Flights to Heraklion from London Gatwick available with low cost carriers including Monarch Airlines and EasyJet (from £44.99 one-way inc taxes www.Easyjet.com).
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