Follow me to a brand new resort where Cretan traditions meet the modern philosophy of high-end hospitality. A perfect combination since both are offered in a balanced way. And it is really up to the visitor to make the most of The Royal Senses experience!
With this unique concept and as the first hotel in Crete belonging to Hilton group and more specifically to the Curio Collection (a global portfolio of more than 90 hotels and resorts that have been handpicked for their distinct character and personality), The Royal Senses opened at the beginning of the 2021 summer season on the north coast of Crete, next to Panormo village and just 15 minutes from Rethymno City.
Staying at The Royal Senses
There is always something special about being among the first to stay in a hotel room or enjoy the facilities of a much-anticipated resort. All hotel lovers also know the overwhelming feeling of the moment you enter a really jaw-dropping room that is going to be your home away from home for the next few days. Exactly the case with me and The Royal Senses a few days ago. The wow factor of our room ( no 1604, a Royal Senses Villa) consisted of a series of pleasant surprises. Talking about a two-storey suite where the first floor is immaculately designed and seamlessly united with the steps of the outdoor emerald green tiled private infinity pool, carved from the rock that surrounds the island. Apart from this, its spacious terrace by the pool boasts panoramic views of the Cretan Sea.
There is a living room and the cutest dining room, closets and a marble bathroom, all decorated with furniture created by skilled third-generation craftsmen of the region, in a soothingly neutral colour palette. Heading up to the second floor you find a surprisingly big bed facing a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the sea at a distance and then an open sky glass roof corridor that leads to the walk-in shower and the vanity room of the bathroom. Taking a shower under the glorious sunny sky of Crete? Check!
#Resortlife at The Royal Senses
When in a resort, I always look forward to exploring the facilities the outlets, the pools. Stepping out of the room there was the option of calling a baggie to take us to the reception but also what would become our favourite means of transport during the next days. A funicular! You see, the hotel is built on a hillside, the fact that guarantees an unobstructed view of the sea.
Arriving at the lower level, I found the majestic entrance with one of the most impressive hotel lobbies in Greece. I was so intrigued that I asked for more info about it. I found out that the interior design has been overseen by Constantina Tsoutsikou, Founder and Creative Director of London-based practice Studio Lost.
This lobby made me gasp! There is a large wood installation that greets guests and which references portals and old Cretan doors, a welcoming gesture as guests step into the hotel. The designer played with scale and proportions to achieve a grand and memorable visual statement.
In the lounging area of the lobby, there is a captivating combination of mid-century furniture with original works of art in a color palette that complements the decoration. As I discovered afterward this is actually an art exhibition taking place at the hotel with the name ‘Explore your Senses’, curated by a member of the Troulis family that owns the hotel, Georgia Trouli, an expert herself in the field. It is a brilliant idea that all these works of art, purposely created for the exhibition, are for sale as you can find the name and the contact details of each artist next to the paintings.
It is a brilliant idea that all these works of art, purposely created for the exhibition, are for sale as you can find the name and the contact details of each artist next to the paintings
Pools Vs Beach
Two parallel stripes of pools and sunbeds with palm trees alongside them evoke an exotic mood. Not to mention one of the most spectacular sunsets I ever witnessed. Or the thickest mattress I ever enjoyed on a sunbed, ideal to automatically unwind and surrender myself to a vacation state of mind. Nevertheless, there is also the option of visiting the private beach of the sister seaside hotel Royal Blue, 3 minutes drive away from The Royal Senses. Just ask for it at the reception and they will immediately take you down to la plage!
No kidding about kids
Since the Royal Senses hotel could also be characterized as a family hotel, one cannot help but wonder how a Zen feeling is maintained and remains unobstructed. This happens because the options for children are numerous and by no means negligible, considering there is even a whole aqua park in the resort.
Gastronomy at the Royal Senses
Gourmet moments are many in The Royal Senses. From the best treats at the “Platia” to the specially made cold brew coffee flavored with dashes of Tonka bean.
Exploring the breakfast buffet is another joy of every resort lover. The Royal Senses more than satisfies your expectations. We took our time wandering in the various corners of the huge area of the breakfast buffet, some serving sur measure eggs and omelets made on the spot and others local pastry, Cretan pies, cheese and rusks, all trademark products of the island.
The following morning, we had yet another pleasant surprise since we ordered a floating breakfast and enjoyed a truly insta-worthy meal in our private pool.
At the Mitato for traditional lamb
One meal never-to-be-forgotten is that at MITATO, a gourmet meat restaurant with a Cretan twist. The specialty that I tried is the ‘antikristo’ lamb, a traditional cooking method during which lamb is vertically grilled by rotating the pieces of meat around a fire in the middle for many hours. You can even observe the cooking process since the glass oven is strategically placed in the middle of the restaurant! Lamb is the traditional meat on the island and other Cretan dishes from the traditional round grill are also served, including lamb on a stick.
What is going on the “Platia”?
‘Platia’ is where everything is happening, much like the lively main square at a Cretan village. Plentiful small local fares and drinks allow you to take a culinary stroll across the island — all in one place: sandwiches, mezze, gyros, cheeses and Cretan drinks. For a caffeinated treat, stop by the small coffee shop.
Crete lies in the details
Cretan culture and artistry is celebrated in every aspect of the The Royal Senses life. I noticed that there is a handwoven detail on every uniform of the staff. This detail that refers to the traditional art of weaving was made by the Clotho brand a sustainable fashion brand of Crete that brings together the art of weaving with contemporary design. In one of the evenings, we enjoyed a Cretan music session by a band with traditional instruments, which was by no means far from jazz improvisation. Yet another combination of local and international elements.
More coming soon by The Royal Senses
- The hotel’s state-of-the-art spa is being prepared at the moment and as I was told it will boast three pools, one heated indoor pool and two more outdoor.
- In a few days, an instagrammable observatory suspended from a high level of the resort will be also ready for all social media fans
- An open-air marketplace, resembling the trading flea markets of Greece, dedicated to local producers and artisans will be held every now and then
- Always curious about everything in a hotel I also asked about a large piece of land adjacent to the resort that seemed to have been recently cultivated. I discovered that “farm to table” cuisine will soon be among the gastronomical experiences since this is actually a huge farm called Votan where a plethora of vegetables and herbs (some of which can only be found in CRETE) will be grown.
With an immaculately organised as well as genuinely kind personnel, The Royal Senses knows how to offer high-level services with a philosophy that celebrates the timelessness of Cretan hospitality in a contemporary way!
See more photos of The Royal Senses in Crete in the gallery below