checking in | amirandes, crete

With a modest 10 years under its belt the Grecotel resort Amirandes in Crete, is the kind of place that immediately puts you in the right mood for a good old holiday. As you step through the entrance into its gardens and palm-fringed lagoons, you can’t contain your excitement at how amazing the place looks.

The 212 luxurious guest rooms, bungalows, suites, villas and residences make up Amirandes, and with their many private pools, two sandy beaches, Olympic-sized seawater pool, indoor pool, nine restaurants, spa, three tennis courts, watersports area, volleyball court and golf facilities, there is pretty much zero chance of getting bored here.

Our room had a separate living area that housed two lounge sofas and lots of hanging out space that could be closed off from the bedroom, which itself boasted a huge bed and looked out over our own little swimming area complete with sun loungers. With marble bathrooms, a tub and super strong showers, the rooms are more than comfortable but let’s be honest, we don’t tend to spend hours sitting inside when there’s plenty to explore, and boy does Amirandes have plenty to explore.

We were there for sun and food, luckily both of which the resort has in abundance. Breakfast is served in Amirandes main restaurant laid out in a well-organised buffet. We do love a buffet and this one had everything, from fresh local fruit bursting with colour to pancakes drowned in syrup or eggs and bacon. You can even partake in a breakfast Prosecco if you so wish… you are on holiday after all (and yes we did).

Our evening meals took us to the Italian restaurant Minotaur (named after the mythical half-man half-bull), where we sat indoors in what is best described as an art gallery. It was bright and white with incredibly high ceilings and if sat next to the window, you look out to a shoulder height view of water. The homemade beef tortellini was the standout dish, a soft parcel of pasta filled with beef and covered in a rich sauce that was just super delish. The wine, red for our meal and Cretan of course, was easy drinking and zinging with flavour.

Their Xasteria restaurant, winner of the Golden Chef’s Hat Award for Best Greek Cuisine for the third consecutive year, is one Amirandes is proud of. We ate practically in the dark, though with a particularly good view of the moon and some very clever tree-climbing cats, so whilst it’s a little tricky to comment on the presentation, the food, made with ingredients from the island, was fresh and flavourful (and maybe heightened in taste from eating in the dark). Mains were heavy on the meat side with lots of lamb on the bone, showing off that soft juicy meat, and the seabass was also a quality dish accompanied with fresh salad, Greek style.

Amirandes offers plenty for all types of holidaymakers, from lazy days by the pool to catching the breeze on the beachfront to taking part in the activities and entertainment throughout each day, whether that’s yoga in the morning or water gymnastics…you can even venture out on a mountain bike tour to really get to grips with the landscape. For sun, sea and as much exercise or relaxation as you see fit, Amirandes has it covered.

Hotel Amirandes, Palea Ethniki Odos Irakliou Agiou Nikolaou, Gournes, Crete Region, Greece