This year, there’s a new hotel option on the north-east tip of Crete in the form of the Royal Marmin Bay Hotel, a mere 40-minute drive from Heraklion airport. It used to be called simply Marmin Bay, but has claimed its royal status after a £16 million investment that has transformed the place into a deluxe contemporary resort, with a private beach, five-star service, panoramic views of the island of Kalydon and the Spinalonga peninsula — and watersports galore. There are 88 rooms, many with their own pools or hot tubs. The vibe is slinky luxury. Relaxation is the rule.
On our first evening, we planned to eat in the main restaurant, Poseidon, but, while being escorted to our room in a golf buggy, we were told that men must wear trousers — and I didn’t have any. So we headed to nearby Elounda for supper and a takeaway pair of linen togs bought from a boutique near the main square. It turned out that my shorts were perfectly acceptable after all in Poseidon, where one night we attended the traditional Greek jamboree.
After a few confidence-inspiring shots of ouzo, we accepted the invitation to dance, after which I was branded ‘unteachable’ by the waitress-cum-dancer. Praise was heaped on my girlfriend, however. It was back to the ouzo for me. The hotel is well positioned, equidistant from the coastal towns of Plaka and Elounda, both a short, £4.50 taxi ride away. Plaka is known for its seafood and is a lovely setting for dinner.
Finishing touches are still being made to the hotel, but it’s already a fabulous place in which to prolong the summer.