Daios Cove, Crete
If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that we spent last week in Crete staying at Daios Cove otherwise known as heaven on earth. We love holidays and exploring but in our 10 years together we have never returned to the same hotel, we definitely hope to return to Daios Cove. We could not fault it in any way. Read on for more on the hotel and what we did with Bella's routine now she is pretty much two. Don't forget there is loads of info / tips on travelling with children in my travel section.
We booked this trip back in March when the weather was awful and Bella and I had pretty much been snowed in for a week. We decided on somewhere in Europe as in the summer months we don't see the point in flying long haul when we have the incredible Mediterranean on our doorstep. We felt this way prior to Bella and now we have her we are even more that way inclined. When she was smaller long haul didn't seem as daunting but at this age it definitely is. We really wanted to go to Greece as both of us had only been to the not so pretty party areas (Hello Malia and Kavos) in our hey days.
We decided on Daios cove as first and foremost it looked absolutely beautiful, secondly it has amazing kids facilities and finally it's quite a big resort. I've talked before how prior to Bella we would like small boutique hotels but at this stage in our lives with Bella we like a big hotel. Mainly because it means you're not annoying the same people every night at dinner if there are several restaurants to choose from. Also if it's family friendly it will have lots of facilities including play areas and a creche. Children can be unpredictable and even if you plan to get out and about it's nice to know you have everything you need right on your doorstep if you're having a shocker. Another selling point was that the resort has a beautiful private beach, we obviously had our eyes on Bella the whole time but she loves running about and there was only so far she could run.
I am always nervous when arriving at a hotel, will it be like the catalogue or the pictures online? I look up any hotel I am thinking of booking on instargram - not the official page but the hotel as a location and see the pictures people have tagged there. I feel like you get a proper representation of what a place is like.
We arrived really late in the evening (about 2am) and even then I could tell we were going to love the hotel. They had left some sandwiches and snacks for us in the room and told us to come first thing for a welcome talk - they got it, it was 2am we have a toddler, we want to go to bed as quickly as possible. The next morning we walked onto our terrace to see the most beautiful cove we were about to call home for a week and I have to admit I had a little cry. The colour of the sea and the bright blue clear sky was so picture perfect.
It was probably exhaustion but as it was just so stunning and I felt so lucky to be there with my little family.
The resort has a real range of rooms from a deluxe room, to suites with private pools, all the way up to 4 bed villas with pools. All rooms have a sea view. We had originally planned to stay in a room with a small private pool on the balcony. I have to admit I pushed for this, but the more I thought about it the more I thought we would not be able to relax at all in the room as we'd be watching Bella like a hawk incase she jumped in. In hindsight this was a good decision. We had a Deluxe room which was enormous inside and out.
Where do I start? There is so much to talk about. In the day we spent most of our time between the pool and the beach. My joke was that your only dilema at Daios cove is choosing whether to sit on the beautiful private beach or by the breath taking infinity pool.
I'm generally more of a beach girl but the ridiculous view from the pool made that equally as tempting. It's worth noting that we never had any problems getting sunbeds at either the beach or pool and any time of day: 11am, 2pm, 4pm. I know it wasn't yet full peak season but a lot of the rooms have their own pools and I think that's why there wasn't that mass exodus to the pool after breakfast everyday.
There is an amazing spa area, with indoor pools (ideal for keeping your kids occupied if you did have bad weather) and a gym. I did go to the gym once when I woke up super early and got bored of lying in the dark. In the lobby area there are some beautiful shops and also a little mini mart with essentials (be warned though I paid 30€ for a 6 razors and a pack of nappies).
There are tennis courts on site and water sports on the beach. From a leisurely snorkel to a bit of jet skiing there is something for everyone. I settled for paddle boarding, Bella was calling it 'Mama's boat' which was pretty adorable. You can also do boat trips and a land rover driving experience too. Also it's worth mentioning there are two funicular lifts to take you between all the levels, ideal for buggies and wheel chairs...and people on holiday who can't be bothered to climb lots of stairs like me! Oh and they have a helipad if you're coming in by chopper....!
In terms of kids there is a creche where they take children from 4 months. The childcare meets UK regulations and standards and we were blown away by their service. We got a little report after each session and they have a 10 minute rule whereby if your child is distressed for 10 minutes they call you to come and collect them which I found reassuring. They also have a kids party every evening which we would go along to before or after dinner depending where we ate.
Daios Cove has four restaurants: one buffet and 3 al a carte. We were half board so had breakfast at the buffet but for dinner we could either go back to the buffet or choose between the three al a carte restaurants where you get a pretty reasonable supplement towards you meal. We mixed it up between them all and I have to say the food in all four including the buffet was of an extremely high standard. Our absolute favourite was the Beach House for both food and atmosphere.
It might sound silly but to me it feels more special and unique to be sitting on a beach having dinner or a cocktail. On days we didn't eat there we would always head down for a night cap after dinner.
Both the pool and beach have service to your sunbed, my favourite thing to order was a vanilla milkshake that I would 'share' with Bella. The staff were so lovely in all restaurants and always really interacted with Bella, we never felt being there with Bella was a hindrance at any point.
Before going on this holiday and thinking about Bella's routine I thought we had two choices:
1) Keep her on her UK routine putting her to bed at 7pm. This would have meant taking her for an early dinner and then putting her to bed in the room while we sat on the balcony or paid for a baby sitter. Bella would then wake about 7 / 8 am. With a nap around 1pm.
2) Keep her up with us where she would go to bed about 10/11pm and wake up about 9/10am. Pushing her nap back to about 3/4pm.
We went with the latter, especially as Crete is 2 hours ahead so actually she was staying more on UK time and meant she went straight back to her normal routine at home. Also if we were having to put Bella to bed at 7 we would be going to dinner super early meaning we would miss out on my favourite time on the beach - golden hour. When she was 6 months and we went to Dubai we kept her on her UK routine but since then we have adapted her to ours on holiday. I guess you have to do what's right for you.
We left Bella in the creche a few mornings which she enjoyed and was a real treat for us. I have to say her behaviour was generally better than at home. Don't get me wrong on the whole she is a good girl at home but being a toddler she is of course prone to a tantrum or two but there was not one meltdown the whole week. I was really proud of how good she was, especially at meal times where she would sit at the table for well over an hour. I have to say there is something to be said for new surroundings and all the stimulation that comes with a holiday.
I should also mention that she was a bit of a nightmare the first few days after getting home, it seems toddlers suffer from holiday blues too. In all seriousness I've spoken to a few friends who have experienced the same with toddlers after holidays. When you think about it it does makes sense, she had the complete attention of the two of us for the week whereas she got home and it was just boring old me trying to get on with daily life like doing the food shop, or cooking dinner or hanging the washing out. No more milkshakes twice a day.
In terms of the flight, as she isn't quite two she didn't have her own seat. The flight out was a challenge as it was at 5pm and so she didn't sleep at all and when you have an infant on your lap your are not allowed an aisle seat so Phil and I were pinned in. Luckily the lady next to us was lovely and Bella was wriggling and quite demanding but not too bad. On the way back the gods were on our side and the flight was empty so she was able to sleep across two seats for most of the flight. We didn't take off until 12.30am but I actually think a flight a bit earlier at say 9pm might have been worse as she wouldn't have been tired enough to conk out. Who knows? I have some flights at different times over the summer so I'll keep you posted on those.
One last thing to say is that flights in the summer are never cheap but if you're flying out of season and the flights are super cheap I would definitely consider buying a seat for a toddler, you will have to put them on your lap for take off and landing but the rest of time the extra seat will be godsend.
So that's it, a family holiday that went extremely well. I think you already know I loved the resort and would definitely recommend. Don't forget you can see more over on Abercrombie and Kent's Instagram including my posts and also my stories in the 'highlights' section.
Until next time Daios Cove X