Trip Report: A Long Weekend in Crete

The Royal Blue, Crete
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Greece is one of our favourite ever holiday destinations, and Crete has been on our list of places we wanted to see for quite some time. I have a thing about pretty old towns, and I really wanted to visit the medieval town of Rethymno along the north coast. With Jet2 offering flights to Crete from Manchester, we were able to jet away for a 4 night stay over the recent bank holiday weekend. It was our first time visiting this beautiful popular island, and thanks to our absolutely stunning hotel, we had a gorgeous relaxing (and much needed) break in the sunshine.

The Royal Blue Resort & Spa

We stayed at The Royal Blue with Jet2holidays, which is part of Jet2’s Luxe Collection of Crete Hotels, and we knew as soon as we walked into the lobby that it was absolutely luxurious! On arrival we received a welcome drink, a traditional local sweet treat and ice-cold towels to freshen up – much needed after our flights and transfer. At check-in we also received a welcome letter from the Hotel Manager, welcoming us to our “Home away from Home”, which it certainly was.

We stayed in a garden view room, which was stylish and modern and had nice a little balcony which caught the sun in the afternoon. Our bathroom was lovely, with a gorgeous, tiled rain shower and two sinks(!) plus plenty of complimentary toiletries. We found our room spacious and comfortable – a lovely place to cool down after a day in the sun. And a really comfortable and huge bed!

The Royal Blue Garden View Room
The Royal Blue Garden View Bathroom

The Royal Blue has a stunning main pool area, which never seems to get too busy. And right alongside it, the pool bar and Mediterranean lunchtime grill restaurant. In case it ever does get busy, there is also a second, quieter, adults only pool, which is overlooked by the main buffet restaurant.

The Royal Blue, Crete, Pool
The Royal Blue, Crete, Adults Only Pool

The best part about the Royal Blue is that it’s right on the coast and overlooks the Aegean Sea, so whether you’re enjoying a drink in the bar, dinner in a restaurant, or lounging by the pool, the views are beautiful!

We chose to dine in the hotel’s buffet restaurant every night as this was included in our Half Board package, and we were not disappointed. There was just so much choice, with the menu changing daily, and everything we tried was delicious (especially the desserts!) There was also a great selection of local wines by the bottle and glass. In addition to the buffet restaurant there were also 3 other ala carte restaurants on site, which would be great to try on a longer stay. But with the buffet being one of the nicest we’ve seen; we didn’t get bored of the food there during our stay.

Our favourite of the hotel’s four bars was Elixir, the Lobby Bar which was one of the highest points in the hotel and had fantastic views over the sea. There we enjoyed gin and tonics and live local music acts whilst watching the sun set in the evening. There was actually live music or entertainment every night at one or more of the bars and restaurants, including a beach party every Friday, and we kept track of all of this through the hotel’s app.

The Royal Blue Hotel, Crete, Sunset Lobby Bar
The Royal Blue Hotel, Crete, Lobby Bar
The Royal Blue Hotel, Crete

Lazy Beach Days

A shorter trip like ours meant lots of lounging on the beach and swimming in the sea. The Royal Blue has its own private man-made beach, which feels really safe for swimming – more like a deep saltwater pool than the open sea. Not only are there plenty of sun loungers and canopied day beds which are complimentary for hotel guests, there is also beach bar, from which we could order drinks and bar food to be delivered to our loungers via the hotel app. One day we even ordered a pizza on the beach!

Crete is great for watersports in general, and it was great that we could also try jet skiing and more without leaving the hotel, thanks to a water sports station on the beach!

The Royal Blue, Crete, Beach
The Royal Blue Hotel Beach, Crete
The Royal Blue Hotel, Crete, Sandy Beach

A Day in Rethymno

We chose to stay in this part of Crete with a visit to Rethymno in mind, and I was really looking forward to our day exploring the city. It was about 25 minutes away from our hotel by taxi, which was something we were happy to invest in on our shorter break.

The Venetian influences on Rethymno make this a visually and historically interesting town to visit. We started out by taking in the Old Venetian Harbour and Lighthouse, before walking up the coastal road to the Fortezza (Venetian Fortress) at the top of the hill. For 4 Euros each we bought tickets to enter the Fortezza and explored its interesting remains and took in the stunning views across the city and sea.

Then we strolled back into the old town through the pretty winding cobbled streets filled with bougainvillea, tiny cafes, craft shops and Cretan restaurants, spotting the classical Rimondi Fountain en route. Whilst there are plenty of tourist friendly gift shops everywhere, we also spotted larger fashion stores and luxury jewellers too, so it’s nice place to spend a few hours shopping.

Rethymno Venetian Harbour, Crete
Rethymno Lighthouse
Rethymno Street, Crete
Rethymno Fountain, Crete
Rethymno Fortezza View, Crete
Rethymno Fortezza, Crete

Crete, we’ll be back

So, we had the loveliest 4 night break away in the sun. Rethymno is a lovely town to explore at leisure, and we’d love to see more of it, as well as some of the other local towns and sites. And we have only the most positive things to say about our beautiful hotel. The Luxe Collection really does mean luxury holidays with Jet2holidays!

It’s great that we have such a wide choice in holidays from Manchester Airport, and the fact that we can jet away so easily for a long relaxing weekend means we may just have to do it again!

Cat Cafe Crete
It’s the little things that really make a trip special.

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