Kid-friendly features include large kids' club, children's meals, and babysitting
Outdoor saltwater infinity pool plus two indoor pools
Elegant spa with variety of treatments and facilities
High-end gym with modern cardio equipment plus free weights
Business center and multiple event spaces
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Fee to heat private pools
Beach is crowded with lounge chairs and lacks sandy open spaces
Lots of families with children can lead to crowding and noise
Hilly property can be difficult for guests with mobility issues
Complaints of faulty funicular and inadequate shuttle service around property
Isolated location means a car is necessary
Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas is one of the most luxurious properties not only in the Agios Nikolaos area but on the whole island of Crete. There are 300 rooms, including Suites and Villas, many with gorgeous sea views and/or private saltwater plunge pools. Features, from the Greek fine-dining restaurant to the comprehensive kids' club to the elegant spa with two indoor pools, are notably modern and sleek. Add to that a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the sea, and a bustling private beach where drinks and snacks are delivered to guests' loungers, and there's little left to desire here. However, there are some potential pitfalls: a rather isolated location, hilly grounds, and lots of energetic children. Couples looking for a quieter atmosphere and easier access to local activity could also consider the Minos Beach Art Hotel closer to town.
Luxury family-friendly resort spread over a seaside hill
Though Daios Cove gets a fairly wide range of vacationing families, couples, and the occasional conference guest, they all share a taste for the finer things and the funds to procure as much. In other words, the resort is expensive and opulent, from the magnificent views down to the personalized essential oils scenting some of the villas. The resort is spread over a hillside that slopes down to the beach below, with rooms and Villas housed in long, tan-colored structures that face the sea and blend in naturally to the sandy surroundings. Common areas have a similar neutral color scheme, with Scandinavian-style modern furniture and large windows that let in lots of natural light, both in the lobby and restaurants. There are also a few outdoor seating areas shaded by palm trees, and funicular-style elevators -- complete with glass walls -- to transport guests down to the beach and lower sections of the hillside. However, some guests have noted that transportation around the property lacks proper maintenance.
While it's got a quieter, more isolated location than some of the properties closer to the Agios city center, Daios Cove is still fairly vibrant in its common areas. It's even too vibrant at times for some guests, due to the many energetic children who tend to crowd pools and restaurants during the busy season. Romance-seeking couples who want total peace and quiet might want to look elsewhere. Still, in terms of luxury, this is the top option in the Agios Nikolaos area, along with the Minos Beach Art Hotel and St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas. It's also one of the top options on all of Crete; those also interested in the Elounda area will find a comparable level of luxury at the Domes of Elounda Boutique Beach Resort.
Hilltop location facing out over the sea, a short drive from Agios Nikolaos
The Daios is located on a hilltop overlooking the sea, just off the main road that runs through Agios Nikolaos, a coastal city with approximately 10,000 residents. The center of Agios Nikolaos is about 15 minutes away by car, as is the Archaeological Museum. The popular Faedra Beach is a six-minute drive away. Chania is about two and a half to three hours away by car, while getting to Rethymno takes about two hours. The property is about an hour away from the port at Heraklion, the ruins of ancient Knossos, and the airport. It can be very difficult to access bus service from this isolated property, so guests should plan on renting a car -- or paying for taxis.
Variety of rooms and villas, many with multiple bedrooms and private pools
Daios Cove offers a range of rooms, Suites, and Villas, many with private plunge pools and all with sea-facing balconies. Villas range from one-bedroom units clear up to an opulent Mansion with three bedrooms and a staff quarters. All Villas have private pools and some of the larger units have private gardens as well. Guests should note that the resort charges extra for pool heating and requires a minimum 24-hour advanced notice for the service.
Decor is consistent throughout room types and includes lots of light-wood furniture, light-wood floors, contemporary glass coffee tables, and low seats and sofas upholstered with blue or brown velvet. Even the entry-level Deluxe Sea View Rooms are pretty snazzy, with king-size beds topped with memory-foam pillows and luxe Egyptian linen bedding. Standard in-room tech is likewise luxurious, including LCD media hubs with flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, and iPod alarm clocks. Each room has a minibar and coffee/tea facilities, as well as 24-hour room service. Bathrooms are particularly attractive, with beige marble tile. Each has a large glassed-in rainfall shower, separate soaking tub, and marble-top vanity with makeup mirror. Ironing facilities, hairdryers, and high-end toiletries are provided. Wi-Fi is free.
Kids' club, spa and fitness facilities, private beach, indoor/outdoor pools, multiple restaurants and bars, and event space
Daios Cove has the sort of opulent features one would expect of a five-pearl resort. For starters, there are plenty of on-site shops selling everything from jewelry to high-end fashion items, plus a mini-market selling books, snacks, and sundries. Families are particularly well cared for here. There's a kids' club with activities for children ages four months to 12 years, though weekly frequency changes seasonally. Babysitting services are also available, and special supervised lunches and dinners are held daily.
For parents who need to unwind, the elegant spa is one of the resort's major highlights, with features such as a Finnish sauna, a Thai massage studio, and hydro-spa facilities.There's also a large fitness center with high-end Technogym-brand cardio equipment and free weights. Yoga and Pilates classes take place regularly during the summer.
The cove-facing beach is one of the hotel's most attractive features, with plenty of lounge chairs and shade-granting parasols to go around, but not much in the way of sand. The resort also has its own water-sports center with water-skiing, pedal boats, canoeing, and scuba diving. There's also a seawater infinity pool with views of the cove and two additional indoor pools in the spa. Villa guests also get access to the Cove Club, which includes special parking, a dedicated concierge, gifts for children, and an exclusive saltwater pool.
Restaurants include Taverna, a Greek a la carte eatery specializing in fresh catch-of-the-day seafood and wines from around the world. Ocean Restaurant also offers a la carte Mediterranean items at dinner and hosts the daily breakfast service for those staying in Villas. For guests in rooms and suites, free buffet breakfast is served at Pangea, which has international buffets and occasional theme nights. (Some guests note the buffet food isn't always hot enough.) Bars include the poolside Ocean Bar, the beachfront Beach Bar, and a cocktail bar, Crystal Box, with floor-to-ceiling windows and views out on the Bay.
Daios Cove also offers a business center and free property-wide Wi-Fi. For weddings and business retreats, there are six meeting rooms, plus two ballrooms, an exhibition space, and an outdoor events area.
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