Daios Cove, Crete
Daios Cove is a 5* hotel boasting a spectacular setting on a private sandy bay in Crete. Luxury contemporary villas and suites with heated pools, great facilities and an exclusive Scott Dunn Explorers kids club, it's a perfect family destination.
At a Glance
Exclusive Scott Dunn services from May - October
Scott Dunn Explorers kids club from 4 months - 11 years
Private sandy cove with crystal clear waters and beautiful views
Large heated infinity pool and baby pool
Two tennis courts
Two funiculars and chauffeured golf buggies to help get around
Beautiful spa with indoor pool and gym
Book in for an evening at the fine dining restaurant, the food is unforgettableLily Cai
A small, but very pretty beach cove if you can manage to drag yourself away from the beautiful, contemporary suites and villas.Katherine Gotla
Why not splash out and make use of Daios Cove’s very own helipad. Whether it’s for your transfer on arrival, a quick trip around the local area or even a day trip to Santorini, it’s sure to be an experience you won’t forget.Hannah Fullagar
An amazing Scott Dunn children's club - tell your friends as the level of childcare is superb.Katherine Gotla
Don’t forget to have a look at the weekly activity program on arrival. From fitness classes to cookery lessons there’s something for everyone.Hannah Fullagar
Remember to book a table at your chosen restaurant, especially at busy times to ensure you get your preferred dining time.Kate Newman
Villa guests get their own private spot on the beach and fresh fruit delivered to their sunloungers.Lucy Hunt
The boat trip from the hotel to Spinalonga is well worth a trip out. As is the book 'The Island' by Victoria Hislop to accompany your trip!Kate Newman
Villa guests benefit from the Daios VIP service - a daily newspaper, VIP beach service and a chilled bottle of champagne on arrival.Jenny James
Lie in bed and press a button to open your curtains, revealing the incredible views of the Aegean.Claire Walker
The villas are just lovely, with a private pool on your own terrace, views from all bedrooms and the living room; this accommodation type is definitely worth the extra cost.Kate Newman
Book one of the many spa treatments on offer. The back and neck massage is incredible with the friendly masseuse sitting you down afterwards with ice cold water and nibbles of dried figs and dates to talk you through all your problem areas and making useful recommendations.Anna Crowther
Enjoy a pre-dinner drink at the Crystal Box bar with breath-taking views of the sea and watch the sun set on the horizon with astounding colors. The local Cretan wines are delicious.Anna Crowther
Staying in one of the luxurious villas means you can have breakfast exclusively in the Ocean Restaurant. A la carte options are cooked to order along with a buffet with a wonderful selection.Anna Crowther
Meet our specialists
Take a look at other properties with a Scott Dunn Explorers kids club or start planning your vacation to Daios Cove
O'Conner Family (Guest)
The Scott Dunn team were as ever, wonderful and looked after us beautifully, especially when I had an early vacation meltdown! They fixed everything, so thank you Sarah and her team. We have 100% confidence in Scott Dunn.
Lang Family May 2016 (Guest)
Very happy with the professionalism of the staff. Felt very comfortable leaving the kids, despite being days and trips. Layla thought she had the best day of her life during the aquarium visit.
Peasant Family May 2016 (Guest)
Wonderful Vacation, the staff at the kids club were amazing with our daughter, she settled in really well and it meant we could really relax. She's never settled in a kids's club before so this is a testament to the staff. We are very impressed with Scott Dunn and the whole experience and will be looking for a vacation with you in the future. The resort was brilliant, nothing is too much trouble, the pool and bar staff were excellent and very friendly. Thank you.
Hatcher Family May 2016 (Guest)
Absolutely incredible childcare at Scott Dunn! We were very sad to say goodbye - the kids have been running into the kids club every day and grinning when we pick them up. Always a fantastic welcome, watching the kids being so happy with the nannies, swimming at the pool, playing at the beach. We had a brilliant vacation, everything is easy to get to, lovely food, excellent rooms, beautiful views. Thank you so much.
Kamm Family September 2015 (Guest)
Super staff - thank you for making us feel so welcome!
Powner Family September 2015 (Guest)
So happy with the childcare - all the ladies were so friendly and kind, always doing exciting things with Maisy. She had a wonderful time. It was so great for us to have quiet time knowing she was happy. Thank you so much!
Len Family September 2015 (Guest)
Childcare was excellent. In future we will be prioritising on Scott Dunn hotels and child care services. From the welcome, facilities, baby sitting and communication, our stay was both excellent and friendly. We are big fans. We have been impressed with all the girls; Lorna and Katie have been excellent and we are very grateful. Without these services we would not have had a relaxing vacation. We felt extremely comfortable knowing our girl was in safe hands - and having English staff was a big bonus.
Everest Family September 2015 (Guest)
Excellent vacation and hotel. It was great to see Lorna again, which Thomas appreciated! Terrific assistance with healthcare given a number of mishaps (burns, scrapes and sickness) - the help made a huge difference.
Thompson Family September 2015 (Guest)
Sarah, Katie and Millie were excellent - we could relax safe in the knowledge that our children were being cared for and having fun.
Brotherton Family August 2015 (Guest)
Scott Dunn deliver very good quality customer service and attention to detail, everything runs smoothly. Excellent hotel in a great location.
Mycielski August 2015 (Guest)
Sarah was excellent as was Millie in her team. Always available and helpful. The people at Daios Cove and the staff were simply exceptional. Warm, friendly, kind, genuine, a fantastic place with great food, views and accommodation.
Kutner Family August 2015 (Guest)
I thought that the whole team at Daios Cove were fantastic! The combination of a fantastic hotel with excellent childcare facilities through Scott Dunn are an unbeatable combination. We felt very looked after.
Creighton Family August 2015 (Guest)
I couldn't rate all the Scott Dunn staff at Daios Cove any higher. Superb, first class; the children loved them. Inspired activities, genuine happiness and color all around and they went out of their way for all of us, at all times. Sarah, Millie, Katie and Mandy were wonderful. It is no surprise the highlight of our kids vacation was the Kids Club.
Steed Family August 2015 (Guest)
The childcare staff and facilities were outstanding; this is simply the best family vacation that we have had since our children have been born. The staff were approachable, flexible, kind and thoughtful. Special thanks and gratitude to Millie P; who was our twins dedicated carer. Very relaxing resort with a beautiful setting, good food, variety and quality. We would highly recommend Scott Dunn and we look forward to future vacations with you.
Phillips Family August 2015 (Guest)
Brilliant! First time our 2 year old had been to a kids club and we had brought our Nanny, as we didn't think he would stay. He Loved it (as did our Nanny who had lots of free time). Completely sold on Scott Dunn!
Juxon Family August 2015 (Guest)
The childcare was exceptionally good. All the ladies were fantastic and made Tiber have a wonderful first experience of daycare. My son Tiber was desperate to come back to child care every day.
Mallett Family July 2015 (Guest)
Child care exceptional and resort stunning. Excellent program of activities and fantastic communication. All of the team were brilliant.
Weston Family July 2015 (Guest)
This is the most rested I've been since we last came to Daios Cove. The accommodation, food, service and childcare are all excellent. My kids loved the time they spent at the children's club which meant I could relax. Hearing screams of delight on the beach and knowing it was my son gives me great memorable moments!
Macara Family July 2015 (Guest)
The accommodation, service and childcare were all excellent. The SD team at the children's club made it a very comfortable experience for us. Their looking after Leo has been perfect - he is v young so this is our first experience leaving him in the care of others. Thank you.
Briant Family June 2015 (Guest)
The childcare is what made the vacation, they were so good we could relax knowing the children were so well looked after. Thank you.
Thom Family July 2015 (Guest)
Fabulous girls, best childcare I have found on a vacation- can I take them home
with me? A fabulous hotel with good food.
Solanki Family July 2015 (Guest)
This was our first kids club experience. The girls loved it! Milly especially was a hit with the kids.
Pillai Family July 2015 (Guest)
All of the staff were superb! Finn clearly loved it. The staff were friendly and attentive at all times.
Hall Family June 2015 (Guest)
This is our first vacation since having children that we have been able to relax. Knowing our children are in safe hands and well cared for has given us such peace of mind. Our little girl had to be dragged away everyday and even our baby who had never been left settled very well and got very attached to Katie and Millie.
Goodfellow Family June 2015 (Guest)
Excellent vacation. All staff superb. Cannot speak highly enough about the Scott Dunn team. Truly excellent service. Sarah, Millie, Millie and Katie are all fantastic at their jobs and made my daughter's vacation incredible fun; with great care and attention as well.
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!
Hannah Fullagar (Staff)
As soon as you walk through the doors at Daios Cove you are hit with the five star ambience that takes over the resort. You are welcomed by a team of smiling staff and views that no photograph could ever do justice. This introduction really set the tone for the rest of my stay at Daios Cove; it is the ideal setting for a luxury, relaxing vacation. The staff at Daios Cove are always on hand to help in any way they can; the club cars were always there to take us around the resort within a couple of minutes request, glasses of drink were kept topped up at dinner time, and any questions or requests were dealt with very efficiently.
Walking out of your door in the morning to a private pool with sunbeds and towels waiting for you is definitely something anyone could get used to, and definitely a great addition to a vacation, however if you do not have a private pool, or if you just fancy a change of scenery, the main swimming pool is very inviting. The infinity style pool looks out to sea, and despite the hotel being full while I was there, there was never a shortage of sunbeds. The sunbed set up on the beach itself, along with the amount of room options with private pools meant that the pool area, or the hotel in general for that matter, never felt busy at all.
If one things for certain, you will not go hungry at Daios Cove! The three restaurants all have mouth-watering menus, with a great range of dishes, and fantastic service. The only trouble is, its all so good, its quite a challenge to save room for dessert!
Of course the one final addition to really help make your vacation as relaxing as possible is the Scott Dunn Explorers kids club. Take some time out on the beach or even explore the local area for the day, knowing your children are in safe hands with the team. They work so well with age appropriate activities to keep everyone occupied, helping you to relax in the knowledge that your little ones are having as good a time as you are.
Lily Cai (Staff)
Daios Cove is an idyllic destination for families and although resort style, manages to attain the quiet and peaceful feeling of a much smaller hotel. The view of the cove is visible from a number of the rooms and the main parts of the hotel and it simply mesmerising with a white sand beach and crystal clear waters. With a great selection of water-sports available and a well established children's club, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained. The fine dining restaurant serves up some unforgettable dishes and the spa area is vast. You will return from a vacation to Daios Cove feeling utterly relaxed and refreshed.
Land Family June 2015 (Guest)
Daios offers everything you need for a family with the added bonus of a villa, private pool and the Scott Dunn kids club. It had everything rolled into one. The joy on the girls faces was the most memorable!
Darwin Family June 2015 (Guest)
Very impressed with the level of care given to all the children and the variety of activities, toys etc. The place has all the right ingredients for a fun but relaxing vacation whilst knowing that such lovely childcare staff have been looking after our girls.
Karir Family June 2015 (Guest)
The service has been fantastic and I have been very impressed with the childcare and kids club facilities. Hotel is beautiful and everyone has gone out of their way to make it a great vacation. Millie P and Katie were amazing with the kids!!!
Billingham Family June 2015 (Guest)
Sarah and her team in the kids club were excellent. The best childcare we have experienced while abroad. Lorna was very good both with the children in the club and also babysitting. Sarah went out of her way to let us know of specific activities the children might enjoy which was great.
Parson Family May 2015 (Guest)
Sarah and Katie - both were super helpful and fabulous with the kids. Sarah was especially amazing and going the extra mile to help when Matilda had chicken pox! Children were so happy!
Woollwy Family May 2015 (Guest)
Excellent, friendly staff and Charlotte had a great time. Nothing we asked was too much trouble. A very friendly welcome, putting us at ease. Babysitter brought toys and popcorn as an added extra. Everyone was very enthusiastic keeping the kids involved. Would be good to see more food choices for children.
Ward Family May 2015 (Guest)
Child care team at Scott Dunn were brilliant every day. Everything was made very easy for our entire stay thanks to the team at Scott Dunn kids club and all the hotel staff.
Turner Family May 2015 (Guest)
The team honestly couldn't have done anything more. A very friendly, knowledgeable group. It makes you feel very secure whilst you're away that there is the support and you feel very comfortable asking for any help or advice. Both our children had a great time. It was our first time using a children's club and the team couldn't have been better with the children, or us!
Morgan Family May 2015 (Guest)
I will absolutely recommend Scott Dunn to everyone. The service and kids club is second to none! Thank you everyone for a fantastic time. Amazing childcare with such lovely girls, I knew immediately that my child was in safe hands. A brilliant place for kids and a great way to enjoy some time off!
Davis Family May 2015 (Guest)
Kids club facility was excellent and the staff were all super enthusiastic and friendly. Our 2 year old daughter was in every day and loved it. Would not hesitate to use Scott Dunn kids clubs again!
Jamieson Family May 2015 (Guest)
Everything to do with the hotel and service here has been amazing - the best of any of our vacation. Childcare has just been beyond our expectations we had a positive first experience in Croatia last year, and this year it's the same again. The team have been fantastic with our daughter, the actual space they have here is amazing, and the activities so well thought out. She has loved
her time in the club which has meant we have been able to have a real relaxing vacation together.
The hotel staff here along with the SD team have all been amazing - the best service we've had anywhere. Everyone has been so kind and friendly, and with a beautiful location it ticked every box for us.
Jenny James (Staff)
You will never want to leave the spectacular Daios Cove. The private cove has a beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear water. If you are not relaxing by your own private pool the infinity pool offers stunning views over the cove. The extensive spa is a real retreat offering fantastic personalized treatments.
Despite being a relatively compact resort the hotels feels spacious and serene. Many of the accommodation types offers private terrace, each with sea view. The One Bedroom Suites with private pool are a perfect family option with a separated living room for one or two children, a master king size double bedroom with en suite and access to the terrace off both the bedroom and living rooms. They offer privacy and functionality. For a more a luxurious option a Two Bedroom villa with private pool offers split level accommodation and as a villa guest you have the VIP service. This includes fresh fruit and snacks delivered to you on the beach, a chilled bottle of sparkling wine in your villa on arrival and the option of a la carte breakfast in the Ocean Restaurant.
The Scott Dunn Explorers Club in Daios Cove is conveniently located in the center of the hotel. On arrival you are greeted by the friendly faces of the childcare team and an array of toys and games for every imagination.
Every aspect of Daios Cove has been cleverly designed, the service and attention to detail was flawless and unforgettable.
Katherine Gotla (Staff)
Whether you arrive by day or night, Daios Cove is equally as impressive. Built four years ago using only local materials it blends seamlessly into the rock face of the cove and has views to die for. The rooms, suites and villas are situated in rows enabling them all to take advantage of the breathtaking vista before them. At dusk the lights begin to flicker on the hillside with the small jetty and ground lit winding pathways up from the sea reminiscent of scenes from Mama Mia. Relaxing is the aim of the game here - soaking up the rays from the beach, your private pool or the main pool - all are salt water - and perhaps paying a visit to the spa. Between meals you can enjoy fresh fruit platters served to your sunbed on the beach - free of charge if you are staying in a villa - or sample a 'basil smash' cocktail at the Crystal Bar. This is a local gin and basil drink equally delicious and refreshing which became a firm favorite. I can also recommend the local Greek fizz as a refreshing tipple for any time of the day! They serve it for breakfast at the Ocean Restaurant!
"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, 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.
Anna Crowther (Staff)
From the minute you arrive at Daios Cove you're immersed in the spectacular views. The brochure photos really don't do it justice.
The service, the food there are some brand new chefs this year are outstanding. The staff cannot do enough for you and always have a smile on their face. They anticipate your needs and seem to know exactly what you are thinking even before you do!
The One Bedroom suites are the perfect option for a family. A separate sleeping area for the children, an entrance to the terrace via the parents room so no tiptoeing around after the children are in bed and a wonderfully sized terrace with your own private pool, such a luxury!
For something really special opt for a villa, situated on the far side of the resort which is a little more quiet and private. You have your own private area of the beach with an endless supply of complimentary water, fruit and nibbles.
The addition of our fabulous Scott Dunn Childrens Club is the cherry on top. Our phenomenal nannies keep your children engaged and stimulated for hours. With a vast amount of toys, a wonderful shaded outside area and a brilliant location opposite the Pangea restaurant. If the children are happy you will enjoy your vacation just that little bit more, and trust me, the children will not want to leave by the end of the week.
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.
Kate Newman (Staff)
The Scott Dunn children's club is the best children's club that I have seen anywhere in Europe to date. The open plan space is perfect for children of all ages especially the little ones. I loved the new Explorer design and program. If only I could be a child again!