Daios Cove, Crete
based on 7 nights
* Pricing is a guideline only and excludes special offers. Travel over peak periods (e.g. Christmas, New Year and other public vacations) can affect prices considerably, as can exchange rates, flight class and room type.
per person for 7 nights based on a family of 2 adults and 2 children sharing a One Bedroom suite on Resident's Club with private transfers.
Best price guaranteed
As one of our key partner hotels and home to one of our Explorers kids clubs, we can ensure our guests get the best possible rate for this hotel.
At a Glance
Exclusive Scott Dunn services from May - October
Scott Dunn Explorers kids club from 4 months - 11 years
On-site Scott Dunn Guest Relations Manager
Private sandy cove with crystal clear waters and beautiful views
Large heated infinity pool and baby pool
Suite and villa guests can enjoy a Premium All-Inclusive service, either complimentary or for an additional charge.
Two funiculars and chauffeured golf buggies to help get around
Beautiful spa with indoor pool and gym
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The climate in Crete is warm and sunny for the majority of the year with the risk of the odd shower of rain and some cooler periods over the winter. From April/May onwards the weather settles but it can sometimes be cool in the evenings. By mid/end of May, the weather generally settles in a pattern of long hot sunny days and balmy evenings especially in July and August when it can be very hot. Rain is unlikely but it can happen from time to time. May and October are particularly pleasurable months.
Take a look at other properties with a Scott Dunn Explorers kids club or start planning your vacation to Daios Cove
Daios Cove is a 5* hotel boasting a spectacular setting on a private sandy bay in Crete. Luxury contemporary villas and suites with private pools, great facilities and an exclusive Scott Dunn Explorers kids club, it's a perfect family destination.
On arrival you’ll be immediately impressed by the spectacular views enjoyed from the spacious reception areas with their huge floor to ceiling windows. On either side of the bay, all the luxurious Daios Cove villas and suites enjoy these views of the sea and the pretty cove below. Every room type has been cleverly designed incorporating glass with local stone to compliment the surrounding natural environment of rock, sea and space.
If guests are not relaxing by their own private pool, there is an outdoor infinity pool and children’s pool, which is now heated to 28°C all season. For sports enthusiasts there are also two tennis courts, a fitness center and Spa with an indoor pool. Access to the hotel areas and guest rooms is by the regular club car shuttle service or the funicular followed by meandering pathways and steps for access to the hotel's private sandy beach.
Daios Cove has four restaurants, all of which have a children’s menu. To experience the true taste of Crete, the Greek Taverna serves local specialties and fresh fish and is open from midday to midnight. For Mediterranean cuisine, with a fun fresh fusion, the Ocean restaurant is a popular choice. Pangea serves a variety of international cuisine with theme nights. For a more laid back 'hippy chich' option, the Beach House offering a choice of Mediterranean and Asian influenced dishes is worth booking for. Suite and villa guests can also choose the Premium All-Inclusive service, which offers a host of additional benefits to make your stay more memorable.
The traditional Cretan fishing village of Plaka, opposite the island of Spinalonga, with its authentic tavernas and local artisan shops is well worth a visit. Slightly closer are the bustling shops, bars and restaurants around the marina of Agios Nikolaos.
Daios Cove is a firm favorite for families wanting a relaxing vacation, versatile accommodation and excellent childcare. Our Scott Dunn Explorers kids club looks after children from as young as four months and up to 11 years. It's run by our highly experienced childcare team who organize fun filled days with a huge variety of exciting activities and games to ensure your children have an amazing vacation whatever their age.
Daios Cove offers a choice of one to three bedroom villas which are excellent for families, these have the option of a pool. For smaller families or couples wanting less space, there are some lovely deluxe rooms or junior suites which also have the option of a pool. All private pools (excluding the Deluxe Sea View room pool) are heated to a maximum of 25 degrees. Complimentary pool fencing can be requested for all room types with a pool, up to 6 weeks before travel to be guaranteed which gives you extra peace of mind whilst staying with younger children. All rooms feature air-conditioning, satellite TV and WiFi. In addition to the standard hotel facilities, Scott Dunn guests can also request a number of baby essentials to be delivered to their room on arrival, this includes bottle warmers, baby monitors and stair gates if required. Please ask your consultant for more details.
Suite and villa guests can enhance their vacation even further and add Premium All-Inclusive to their stay. This is an enhanced benefits package; the details of which are listed in the services section below.
|Premium Seaview Suite||
This is the most spacious one bedroom suite in the resort. The indoor space is 84sqm and divided into 2 main rooms, a bedroom and bathroom (bath with separate shower) with a separate (via sliding doors) sitting room next door which has a clever folding bed system for when this room needs to be converted into a bedroom. The sitting room also has a dining area and a 2nd bathroom. There is also a good sized terrace/balcony overlooking the beautiful cove. This room is ideal for families as they can sleep 2 adults and 3 children.
|One bedroom suite with or without a pool||
This room type has a good sized double bedroom with doors onto the outside terrace. There is a separate sitting room which has a sofa bed and doors to the terrace. Alternatively roll away beds can be requested for children. The en suite bathroom is accessed from both the sitting room and bedroom and features a separate bath and shower. The outside terrace is a good size. The one bedroom suites have an option with or without a private pool. This room type is 65sqm.
|Deluxe rooms with or without a pool||
The deluxe rooms are 42sqm. The bathrooms have a separate bath and shower. There is an option to have this room type with or without a pool. Please note that these pools are not very private.
For guests requiring internal connecting rooms, Scott Dunn recommends the villas at Daios Cove.
|Villas with private pools||
There is a choice of 1, 2 or 3 bedroomed villas. This is the most spacious accommodation type at Daios Cove. Each villa has a good sized heated private saltwater pool (heated up to 25 degrees - see pool heating policy for further information) and large outdoor terracing, which all enjoy the sea views. The villas are split on 2 levels and in many instances have 2 separate entrances. Each villa has the same number of bedrooms to bathrooms and a good sized separate living room with a sofa bed. The 2 bedroomed wellness villa has the addition of a Finnish sauna, Technogym treadmill and oversized round bathtub.
Scott Dunn provides childcare for children aged from 4 months to 11 years in our exclusive Explorers kids club. A dedicated indoor and outdoor space and located in an easily accessible part of the resort, it’s full of toys and games for every age. It’s staffed by qualified nannies and rangers who organize fun and exciting activities for all ages, from archery and trips to a local olive farm for the older children, and treasure hunts and games on the beach for our younger guests. Each day has a different program of creative and sporting activities, guaranteeing your children have a fun-packed vacation.
Both parents and children love the Explorers kids club at Daios Cove, guaranteeing a fun and relaxed family vacation. More information about our childcare services in Daios Cove can be found here.
|Globetrotters (4mths - 2yrs)||
The Globetrotter area is a friendly and welcoming space designed with little ones in mind. From baby gyms to ride on trucks our youngest guests will always be entertained and having fun in the children’s club.
|Adventurers (3-4 yrs)||
Adventurers are kept busy with lots of fantastic activities. Children can get creative with fantastic art equipment, bake delicious cakes or take part in games in the garden organized by our amazing childcare team.
|Voyagers (5-7 yrs)||
Voyagers spend much of their time out and about making the most of the exciting activities the childcare team have on offer. When they do have some chill out time an area full of toys and games welcomes them where they can catch up with their fellow Voyagers.
|Pioneers (8-11 yrs)||
A chill out zone with beanbags and games console provides the perfect place for Pioneers to relax in between their busy program of activities organized by the Scott Dunn childcare team.
Babysitting is available in the evenings on a request basis and is chargeable per hour.
For guests wanting a change of scene from the beach or the pool, there are 2 tennis courts available and an impressive spa. The GOCO Spa has been newly revamped with eight treatment rooms, including two private spa suites and a dedicated Thai massage room, two indoor pools, a thermal spa suite with sauna and fitness studio. There are also new beach cabanas where you can enjoy your treatments by the water's edge.
Daios Cove offers all the standard hotel services you would expect from a 5* luxury hotel, including room service, concierge assistance, air-conditioning and complimentary Wifi throughout the resort. In addition, we have our Scott Dunn Guest Relations Manager in resort for the majority of the season and all suite and villa guests can benefit from Premium All-Inclusive as detailed below.
|Scott Dunn Guest Relations Manager||
There is a UK Scott Dunn Guest Relations Manager based at Daios Cove, when our Explorer Programme is in operation. Our Manager is there to meet and greet Scott Dunn guests on arrival in resort and is available to assist with the smooth running and enjoyment of guests vacation.
This enhanced benefit for suite and villa guests includes:
Lunch or dinner in all restaurants on a daily basis with one bottle of wine from a selected list, each lunch and dinner, 24-hour room service with branded spirits being replenished once a day, selected drinks and cocktails from any of the bars, or if you prefer something sweeter for the little ones, unlimited ice-creams, juices and smoothies.
Daios Cove has up to four restaurants to choose from, Pangea, the buffet restaurant, a traditional Greek Taverna, The Beach House and Ocean, a Mediterranean fine dining option, all of which have a children’s menu. The Ocean also serves breakfast exclusively to Villa guests. Half board is standard which means guest enjoy dinner at Pangea, but can also benefit from an enhanced dine around program. In addition, villa and suite guests have the opportunity to take advantage of the premium all inclusive package.
After dinner guests can unwind on the Crystal Box Terrace. Styled as a cosy lounge it has a relaxed atmosphere with panoramic views over the bay and offers signature cocktails, downtempo music and live music events.
The pool bar serves food and drinks from 10am - 6pm and the beach bar, from 10am - 7pm.
Please note that the resort restaurants open according to season and hotel occupancy.
The Greek Taverna has delightful sea views and serves local specialties and fresh fish.
Ocean restaurant overlooks the infinity pool and the cove and offers a picturesque setting for à la carte dinner. Mediterranean cuisine with a twist!
Pangea is the newly renovated main buffet restaurant for breakfast and dinner serves a variety of international cuisine with theme nights. It now has two new spacious outdoor areas with spectacular views across the cove, also with sliding glass bi fold doors allowing for al-fresco dining throughout the season.
Situated in a glorious setting by the beach with a mix of tables and chill out areas, the Beach House offers guests the choice of dining with the Med/Asian fusion menu or sitting back with a cocktail or mocktail enjoying the views until late.
For guests wanting a change of scene from the beach or the pool, there are 2 tennis courts available and an impressive spa. The GOCO Spa has been newly revamped and redes carefully selected variety of spa treatments designed with prestigious products to balance, revitalize and energize your whole body.
The hotel has a fantastic range of watersports on offer at their beach including water skiing, wakeboarding, wave runners, sailing and scuba diving and windsurfing all day. Speedboats, boats (15HP), paddle boats (pedalo), canoes, inflatable water toys and water skiing equipment can be rented by the hour and lessons can be booked.
Further afield beyond the hotel, there are a number of recommended excursions to suit a variety of interests. Agios Nikolaos can be reached in 10 minutes, which has a number of interesting shops, bars and restaurants or the little village of Plaka is a great place for an authentic Greek lunch. Plaka can be combined with tour of Spinalonga, home to the infamous former leper colony and the inspiration for Victoria Hislops renowned best-seller 'The Island'. The speed boat to Spinalonga takes around three minutes. There are also a number of Land Rover tours which are great for exploring hidden Crete. For the ultimate day out, guests can hire a catamaran for a half or full day and take in the sights of both Plaka, Spinalonga and combine with a swim in a long-forgotten pirate cove. Daios Cove can arrange all of this for you beforehand or whilst in resort.
There are two tennis courts available at the top of the resort where guests can enjoy a game or have individual or group lessons with an instructor.
Exclusively for Scott Dunn guests, these courts are available until 1pm on a complimentary basis, which includes the use of racket and balls.
|Spa and Gym||
As well as a good variety of Spa treaments, there is an indoor infinity pool with breathtaking sea views.
Other services include a state-of-the-art fitness center equipped with Technogym, indoor and outdoor studios, Wet Area (Finnish sauna, soft sauna, Mediterraneo, Experience showers, Nimfea reaction Showers), Hairdresser, Manicure & Pedicure Studio.
Macdonald Family - July 2018 (Guest)
Amazing in every way. A proper team which really comes across and also clear that they are very well trained, both Meg and the childcare team led by Rebecca. Nothing was too much trouble and they were loved by the children and adults alike! A fantastic team and service.
Barley Family - September 2018 (Guest)
The childcare team have been absolutely brilliant. We have been so pleased with the facilities and the level of care. Scott Dunn should be incredibly proud of their team here!
Hayes Family - August 2018 (Guest)
The kids club with grace has been beyond expectations, Grace has been amazing and meant that everyone has had a fantastic vacation and I was able to leave my little ones without feeling any mum guilt! Meg has made sure weve had a lovely vacation, making sure everything we needed was provided.
We felt so looked after and that our little ones we totally happy and entertained meaning we could relax and then enjoy family time when we picked them up.
Williams Family - July 2018 (Guest)
The best vacation from start to finish, the hotel was stunning, kids club fantastic, Megan the Scott Dunn rep text us her contact for any questions and nothing was too much trouble.
Horner Family - June 2018 (Guest)
Ive been on several Scott Dunn summer vacations and this compares with the very best - excellent professional in resort staff, and our children had a fantastic time at kids club. The childcare is so much better than any other vacation care. Its amazing that our 3 year old got to try tennis and our 10 year old got to try scuba in the sea. No other company would do this.
Food, childcare, excellent accommodation = total relaxation
Homan-Russell Family - June 2018 (Guest)
The child care was exceptional and this is the main reason we have chosen Scott Dunn in the past and will do again in the future. Food, child care, location and beach all excellent.
Burgess Family - June 2018 (Guest)
Resort was excellent, very relaxing, the food was fantastic. The beach restaurant in particular was very good. The Scott Dunn kids club staff have been brilliant, very professional and accommodating and would really like to thank them for looking after our two children all week. Thanks
Holmes Family - May 2018 (Guest)
Everything has been absolutely excellent, all the friends hes made with the Scott Dunn staff and other kids have been fantastic, he will miss everyone terribly!
Absolutely fantastic....we now officially have a Scott Dunn addiction!
Kirsty Harper (Staff)
Daios Cove is built within a beautiful cove so you can enjoy a sense of seclusion whilst still having so much on offer and the beautiful ocean view throughout the resort is stunning. The service throughout the hotel is fantastic and the food is superb, with a great variety of restaurants including Ocean rated one of the best 20 restaurants. Daios Cove have created a lovely balance between relaxation whilst still being very family friendly. Book the children into the Scott Dunn Explorers kids club knowing they will be thoroughly entertained with a fantastic range of activities on offer throughout the week whilst you relax around the infinity pool, enjoy a treatment in the Goco Spa or sip on a cocktail in the new Beach House. Daios Cove is the perfect option if you are looking to get away and enjoy some relaxation, beautiful surroundings and delicious food!
Tristan Williams (Staff)
Peering down over its own secluded bay, Daios Cove is certainly a hotel with a view. Having arrived late at night the resorts lights give the appearance of a tranquil village nestling into the hillside. A short nightcap in the cool and contemporary Crystal Box (one of two bars at the hotel) we headed to our rooms. First impressions were very positive; the room was extremely well proportioned with a large and very inviting bed as well as a beautiful Villeroy and Boch bathroom. Tired and weary from our long day it was an extremely welcome surprise to find the hotel had provided a complimentary light meal and snacks including a smoke salmon wrap and mixed antipasti!
In the morning, I was greeted by the most amazing view over the cove beach. I was staying in a Deluxe Sea View Room (Daios Coves entry level room) however I was really surprised how much of a sea view I got as well the fantastic outdoor balcony area which was perfect for Sun Downers! There were many highlights on our first day, including a very relaxing massage, a wonderful but refreshing swim in the sea and a long afternoon in the pool bar but the biggest impression was left by the amazing food. I have never really been a fan of Greek food but following our evening in the Greek Taverna I was a convert. Do not confine yourself to the conventional three courses; make sure you get a selection of dishes and share, particularly your starters which were all amazing particularly the calfs tail.
Another highlight of our short trip came on the second day when we were treated to a private Catamaran trip. The boat leaves from Daios Cove beach giving you a fantastic alternative perspective of the hotel from the water. There is much to explore along Cretes coastline and I cannot think of a better way to see the beauty of the island than from the sea. The hotel can arrange a number of personalized trips but I can thoroughly recommend a short dip in Pirate Bay followed by a tour of the fascinating Spinalonga Island finished off with lunch in the amazing and incredibly authentic Giovanni's restaurant in Plaka. The hotel is 30 minutes by land transfer from Plaka, so if you dont feel like the Catamaran I would thoroughly recommend a visit none the less.
Anna Corben (Staff)
If I could go back and redo some of the family vacations weve had in other non-Scott Dunn resorts and instead take the kids to Daios Cove, I would! The hotel somehow manages to perfectly blend glamour, calm and spectacular views with being fabulous for children. The Scott Dunn kids club is second to none - you really do see what all the fuss is about when you go in and see the supremely qualified, calm and cheerful staff in their great and well structured set-up there.
The selection of rooms and villas are large, really well laid out and offer spectacular sea views. Kids will love taking the little funicular or a golf buggy to get around, helpful as the resort tumbles down to the sea so walking downhill may be more appealing than walking back up again! For me, one of the best aspects of this very luxurious but relaxed resort is that parents can enjoy the stylish Ibiza beach lounge style outside bar with incredible views, cocktails and wonderful staff and remember life before kids all this whilst the kids are either joining them in the bar or being looked after by the best childcare staff around.
Sarah Matthews (Staff)
We arrived at Daios Cove on a late evening flight and the resort was beautifully lit, with the bars DJ playing cool tunes adding to the sophisticated ambience. I headed straight to my lovely, bright and contemporary deluxe room and the delicious light supper laid out for me was just the thing, setting the tone for the hospitality and excellent quality Greek fayre that we would enjoy throughout our stay.
All restaurants serve great quality and choice, with an extensive kids menu. If your little VIPs are lucky enough to be going to the Scott Dunn Explorers kids club, they will eat food from a menu designed by Masterchef champion Ping Coombes! I didnt have my little angels with me on this trip but I was beyond impressed with what I saw in the Explorers club to echo a previous guest, it is just like an Ofsted Outstanding private UK nursery, but 10 times more exciting! Other little things about the resort my kids would have loved are the funiculars which take you up and down the resort and alternatively the golf buggies can whizz you around to save tired little legs.
Relaxing in the spa is a great way to spend adults-only time and my massage therapist was of a very good standard, as was the whole facility. Some people may be surprised to find they have both male and female therapists so make it clear if you have a preference. Later, in the cocktail bar I opted for my favorite Cosmopolitan, which were consistently perfect.
Debbie Rainsford (Staff)
There are not many hotels that offer exceptional service which is warm and friendly, delicious choice of cuisine from four great restaurants and a fantastic selection of luxury rooms and villas. From the moment you arrive at Daios, it feels like you've entered a home-away-from-home. Nothing is too much trouble and the idyllic setting, glorious sea views, peace and tranquillity are a constant reminder that you are hear to relax!
Every room and villa category have sea view rooms and even the deluxe rooms provide amply space for couples. However, my personal favorite other than the Mansion which is gorgeous, would be the one bedroom suites with private pool. These are perfect for couples and adults with one child or two small children and have fantastic views from a private pool, which can be heated on request. For larger families like ours with two older children, the two bedroom villas with private pools provide everything you could possibly need, including essential family items if requested. If you are into your fitness there is the option of the wellness villa, complete with a huge spa bath and treadmill. If the budget doesn't allow for a pool, the premium suites offer a great interconnecting family option of two rooms and some of the best sea views over the resort.
Claire Walker (Staff)
A truly luxurious resort, Daios Cove was better than anything I imagined, incredible views, excellent variety of room types, superb service and some of the best food I have eaten! Perfect for families with younger children, there is a safe beach, incredible Scott Dunn childcare facilities, a large heated pool with separate shallow end for the little ones. Adults can enjoy the most beautiful spa with views across the bay offering a range of treatments, relaxation area, indoor pool and also a state of the art gym. An array of classes run on a weekly rota, free of charge for all to enjoy including yoga and Pilates.
Lucy Hunt (Staff)
Daios Cove is an absolute paradise for both families and couples. From the moment you enter the resort you are completely taken by the spectacular views and serene atmosphere. Your vacation really does start from the word go, after receiving a refreshing wet flannel you are led to the to the check in area, an outdoor balcony seating arrangement where you can enjoy a welcome drink and enjoy the views.
The service at Daios Cove is impeccable, the staff are attentive and discrete, tending to your every need. The one bedroom suites are a great choice, offering spacious accommodation, a large terrace (with the option of a private pool) and all with a sea view. For a more luxurious option there are one, two and three bedroom villas. The resort is large and compact, however even at full capacity escapes the feeling of being over crowded. Daios Cove is designed with natural resources in mind and the resort nestles into the cove on which it is built beautifully.
The resort offers a vacation for both adults and children, there is a Scott Dunn Explorers kids club centrally located where our team of nannies and rangers provide an action packed, age appropriate activity program for the children. Activities include anything from baking or participating in Scott Dunns very own Ready, Steady, Cook to tennis lessons, water sports and the older children are even taken off site to the local water park or olive oil farm.
Every aspect from the design to the service, facilities and excellent childcare has been designed with the guest in mind.
Alice Peal (Staff)
Daios Cove is a beautifully set resort camouflaged into the hillside on which it is built offering sea views from all rooms! The service is fantastic from the personal and friendly Anna, the guest relations manager, to the creative and qualified Nannies in the Scott Dunn Explorers kids club as well as the waiters and waitresses giving impeccable table service. From the moment you arrive, you are offered a cool towel, a welcome drink and the chance to relax before you are escorted to your room where your luggage awaits you. The resort is relatively spread out so they provide Golf Carts to chauffeur you wherever you wish to go, but this also means that it feels extremely quiet even at near full capacity.
The private beach is lovely with shelving water making it perfect for paddling in the clear waters, whilst at the bottom of the resorts hill the funicular means you dont have a long walk down. There are also watersports available on the beach for the more active families - I would really recommend a thrill ride on the inflatable tube, alternatively, Stand Up Paddling Boarding for a more tranquil option!
The main Pangea restaurants offers an expansive buffet for breakfast and supper, but without the food feeling mass produced. Ocean is a beautiful fine dining restaurant and has a truly stunning menu Id certainly give the Black Cod main course a try! Taverna still offers an impressive menu, but with a slightly more relaxed and makes a perfect location for lunch or dinner.
All rooms are well-sized and have lovely views, but as always you get what you pay for and as you step up the levels, there is a noticeable upscale in terms of space and what is on offer. The villas are absolutely perfectly set up for families with a private pool meaning you can escape to your own place should you wish, but the facilities and atmosphere in the hotel are still nearby.
The spa is extremely impressive, Id recommend booking a treatment, possibly a couples massage, giving you the chance to use their impressive wet area with varying saunas, steam rooms and with refreshments including an ice machine available. There is a daily program of activities from yoga and pilates to a diving taster session in the main pool as well as evening music and entertainment, this is certainly worth checking out if you struggle to sit still by the pool for too long!
"So shall we drop him off at the kids club?
It was a question asked more in hope than expectation. My wife arched a solitary eyebrow and cast me a look that was somewhere between disbelief and despair. Her answer was a perfectly weighted: Are you joking?
Was I joking? It was day one of our first family vacation and we had opted for the considerable charms of Daios Cove resort on the north-east coast of Crete. The last nine months had been a blur of doe-eyed doting on our newborn son, juggling full-time jobs, broken sleep, midnight bottle feeds and the rest. I could think of nothing better than sun, sand, sea and silence. There was no shame in that, so I held her gaze, stiffened my resolve and told her exactly how it was: Er, yes, of course, I was joking.
One thing you quickly learn as a new father is that your vacation time is not your own it is goodbye to a week of novels, siestas, sundowners and lie-ins, and hello to a week of being entertainer, lifeguard, porter, waiter, feeder, carer and cleaner.
Of course, I had little to complain about. Yes, I had heard all the horror stories about flying with babies Mumsnet seemed to be a recipe for a nervous breakdown for the first-time traveling parent from stories of babies being on the terrorist watchlist and burst ear drums, to husbands being force-fed breast milk at security.
But the journey had proved remarkably easy. It helps that the Scott Dunn version of family travel is not reality. It may not come cheap, but I was sold on its merits before we even left south London. We had been emailed in advance by one of their representatives with our requirements nappies, cots, rash vests, sun hats, milk monitors, pures, sterilisers, strollers, wipes, toys, books, bibs all would be ready and waiting in our room on arrival. As a result my wife's luggage went from oversized to (almost) normal-sized. With the promise of child care on tap and a kids club for all ages, things were looking up.
Just 10 minutes from the town of Agios Nikolaos, the resort was the idea of a German businessman in the Seventies. The story goes that he was sailing his yacht along the coast and was forced to seek shelter from a storm in the nearest bay. The clouds lifted to reveal a horseshoe bay of sand and crystal-clear water, flanked by rocky cliffs, and he was smitten. It is not hard to see why.
But, alas, he was unable to complete his labour of love, selling the plot in 2007 to the Daios family. They finished what he started in 2010. It has been quite a feat of construction. Clinging to the hillside like an amphitheater, the resort is built in the style of a Cretan village, with 300-plus villas and apartments lining eight streets, cascading down to the private beach below.
The architects seemed to have an understanding of the things that matter most to families: space, privacy and anonymity. The 42 sq m apartments rival any resort for size and each has a private pool. The views are the real bonus the bay flanked by parched hills on one side and the endless Aegean on the other. Only the small island of Spinalonga, the former leper colony made famous by Victoria Hislops novel The Island, interrupts the vista.
But with all this height and space came compromise. The novelty of the funicular rides up and down the floors of this multilayered property wears a little thin when you realise you have left your sun hat behind (wife), mistaken the sun cream for the aftersun (husband twice) or forgotten the nappies (husband never again) and face a 15-minute round trip to recover them. However, the pain is alleviated somewhat by the chauffeur-driven buggies at resort level that whizz you back to your rooms at all times of the day.
The drinking options were impressive the rooftop cocktail bar, swim-up bar and a beach bar were music to the ears of new parents. Meanwhile, eating choices included the Greek-style Taverna, fine dining at the Ocean restaurant, and family-friendly meals at Pangaea. If the food was a little underwhelming (the lobster evening at the Taverna excepted), the staff were the opposite they could not have been more helpful.
Family mealtimes were a military operation in which the staff played a key role moving sharp implements out of reach, catching glass objects, and blocking anything ejected. As parents we wore Stepford Wives-style grins and offered profuse apologies in that very British way. We may be new parents but we are in complete control, thank you very much.
And when the waitress on the third day offered to whisk our son around the room for a few precious minutes while we sat back and sipped our coffee, we looked on her like a saint. Peace at last.
There are kids clubs. And there are kids clubs. The resort's own kids club seemed to be everything I imagined it would be screaming kids tearing around like they were on a permanent sugar high. The beleaguered staff were doing a sterling job but they had their hands full. By contrast, the Scott Dunn Explorers club next door was the picture of serenity the highly qualified English staff seemed almost to be on a one-to-one basis with the children, there was every toy imaginable, quiet rooms for babies, bespoke kitchens and a whole range of activities on offer.
On the first morning, we peered through the window two or three times only to see him merrily playing. Then it was just a telephone call as we slipped into a rhythm: breakfast followed by kids club, followed parent time (beach, walk, lunch), then a post-lunch pickup and an afternoon of water-filled fun as a family after which our son was ready to collapse. We even enjoyed a sundowner or two and evening out, courtesy of those Scott Dunn babysitters. Selfish? Perhaps. Self-sustaining? Absolutely.
Parents are given ample opportunity to escape and unwind at the Daios Cove, which nestles on a hillside overlooking its private bay, as the resort comes fully equipped with childrens clubs for babies to teens.
Under the close supervision of highly qualified, multi-lingual nursery staff, younger family members are free to enjoy the child-friendly beach, outdoor pool and playground, while the grown-ups indulge in pampering sessions at the spa.
The beachfront location and year-round sunshine of the island ensures a host of watersports are also available, while tennis enthusiasts and sailing pros are also well catered for. Nearby attractions include Knossos Palace, the remnants of the great Minoan kingdom.
Returning home from Crete last month I peered over my shoulder at three sleepy heads in the back of the car, and asked my children so what was the best bit?
The apple pie flavored villa! came one reply.
Making a movie at Scott Dunn Explorers! came another.
The friends we made! was the final vote.
Quite frankly Im not sure anybody could better the family vacation weve just had with Scott Dunn.
As many of you know, earlier this year I was asked to design a new childrens menu for Scott Dunn Explorers, the exclusive childrens clubs available at four stunning resorts in the Med. And over the June half-term I was invited to actually experience a family vacation, the Scott Dunn way you know, just to see what all the fuss is about.
The stunningly glamorous Daios Cove is positioned on the fashionable east coast of Crete with a number of villas, ecologically built into the rock face that encircles this resorts pice de rsistance: an extremely pretty cove. And here basks a sandy beach that has something for everyone: romance for couples (try lunch at The Taverna, overlooking the sea); pampering for stress-heads (prompt beach-side service ensures you can quite literally lose yourself in a book if not, the spa); kicks for adrenalin junkies (with regular scuba dive and boat trips); and quite simply good old fashioned seaside fun for kids. The sea is not only dotted with gorgeous pockets of warmth but the tides are gentle and the waters meander slowly to their depths, creating a distinct shallow end for children. And somehow all of us - families, couples, execs and even a well-behaved hen party - co-existed quite happily alongside each other. No mean feat.
We stayed in a two bedroomed villa, overlooking the sea. Plaudits first for a generously sized and beyond comfortable bed. Ive always maintained that a hotel room can be as beautiful as the interiors team fancy (and ours was indeed very luxe) but if youre not getting a good nights sleep then no amount of scatter cushions can undo this. Matt and I slept like babies.
Having said that, if the interior of the villa scored points, it was the outside space that we were really impressed with. Our private pool was (unexpectedly) big enough to swim lengths in and was temperature controlled. This was a wonderful plus point for those mornings that we simply fancied a bit of privacy.
Our villa also had two extremely spacious bathrooms to match its two bedrooms, replete with Greek-made (paraban free) ethical toiletries - nice touch.
Add in the impressively stocked mini bar, Sky TV, air con, and wifi well quite frankly we could have vacationed in our villa and still not felt short changed. But theres a lot to awaken the senses here not least the food.
At Daois Cove the food choices are varied. There are three main restaurants. The waterside Taverna serves traditional Greek dishes with a twist (do also try the local wine its really good). The Ocean restaurant does gourmet Italian and while we didnt try it, I heard high praise from other guests. And the Pangea serves a variety of international cuisine with various theme nights, on a sort of posh all-you-can-eat basis. The kids were in their own little food nirvana. Im not a dessert person but oh boy the dessert choice at Pangea is quite simply phenomenal. They do a wonderful Rebani (a traditional, fragrant semolina-based cake) that my younger daughter and I kept going back to.
And if you overdo it on either the rebani or the raki theres the option to work it off either in the (very beautiful) infinity pool or at one of the gym classes in the spa. I did a yoga class outside, under the just-getting-going early morning sun. These are the things memories are made of. It was blissful.
Saving the best until last though and what really made this vacation so special was the time our kids spent at Scott Dunn Explorers. They had an absolute blast so much so that by the penultimate day I almost had to drag them out in order to spend at least another day at the beach with mummy and daddy.
At Scott Dunn Explorers they take entertainment very seriously the itinerary was just incredible. On directors day they made a gorgeous mini film (later given to parents on a USB stick how cool?!); on splash day they went to the local water park; they even undertook a cookery class. With me! Take a look
And of course they made new friends. Lots of them. That in itself was a big pull (as by the way were the two funiculars that got us up and down from beach to resort. What a cool idea).
My best memory? Making new friends ourselves actually - with the lovely parents of our kids new friends! We all took to meeting at the gorgeous cocktail bar, which overlooks the entire resort (this is also the place where youll be taken to on arrival with complimentary cold drinks all round and cookies and milk for the kids). Here, while the kids played (waaay past bedtime), the dads watched some of Euro 2012 on big screens set up especially (hey, Greece were playing after all), and the gals giggled and chatted over seriously - the single best mojitos I have ever tasted.
The thing is, its sometimes the small touches that make a family vacation. Arriving with young kids and seeing that your villa has already been baby-proofed (God bless the stair guard). Or having somebody from the childrens club meet your children in advance because they know that no matter how excited kids may be to meet new friends or have new adventures, its always a bit scary going to new places.
Basically the kids had fun, Matt and I had a rest and in-between times we had great food, plenty of sunshine, and quality time with the children on a stunning beach. Now thats how to do a family vacation.
Highly Commended Best Family Hotel 2012 - Daios Cove, Crete
Fabulous location, amazing amenities, delicious food and lots of brilliant stuff for families: this fine overseas hotel has it all.
A Grecian idyll of calm and relaxation for the grown-ups at least. The children may prefer the lively activities on offer at Daios Cove's first-class childrens club, with trips to the beach, treasure hunts and games, while parents enjoy the spa or fabulous eateries. Combine the best of the best by using winner of our Best Family Tour Operator Award, Scott Dunn, to book your vacation at Daios Cove.
Complimentary family extras for Scott Dunn guests staying at Daios CoveBook a vacation to Daios Cove through Scott Dunn and a number of family items will be provided on a complimentary basis
|Book from||05 December 2018 to 03 November 2019|
05 April 2019 to 03 November 2019
Free pool fencing for Scott Dunn guestsBook a suite or villa with pool through Scott Dunn and receive complimentary pool fencing throughout your stay.
|Book from||05 April 2019 to 03 November 2019|
05 April 2019 to 03 November 2019
Complimentary passes to the wet area of the spa at Daios CoveScott Dunn guests (adults only) will receive 2 complimentary passes to the wet area of the spa for stays of 7 nights or more.
|Book from||05 April 2019 to 03 November 2019|
05 April 2019 to 03 November 2019
Location & directions
Daios Cove is located 10 minutes south of Agios Nikolaos. The hotel is situated around its own cove with the rooms on the hillside overlooking the cove.
How to get there
The flying time from the UK to Heraklion is approximately 4 hours. British Airways flys direct from London Gatwick, as do a number of low cost charter airlines, such as Easyjet and Thomson. The transfer time to Daios Cove resort is 60 minutes.