LM: What facilities does the Blue Palace provide to guests, and please tell us about its private beachfront location.
AS: Blue Palace is a sanctuary for all. Here luxury is also about space and about the boutique experience. Three outdoor swimming pools offer a choice of sea and fresh water. Our acclaimed Elounda Spa features three Thalassotherapy pools, 22 treatment rooms, two suites for couples, plus a 24/7 gym with views of the sea. Five restaurants and three bars are spread around so that each one of them feels as if it is not part of the resort.
There is a helipad and a private chapel by the sea as well as our own private traditional boat. There is no main building, but groups of bungalows spread around the cliff and 142 private infinity pools, which look as if they merge with the sea. This gives uninterrupted views of the beautiful cove and Spinalonga island, as well as a sense of privacy.
Blue Palace is about embracing the great outdoors and being mesmerised by the vistas. For families, we have a kids club, and for older kids, there is a choice of activities ranging from water sports, biking, tennis and games arcade by the beach and one of the main pools. Blue Palace’s private beach offers an unsurpassed experience. Our 200-metre beach allows for most guests to sit right by the water while maintaining a sense of serenity and privacy. It is bordered by a sprawling wooden deck and expansive grass areas that lead to individual decks furnished with umbrellas, luxurious sunbeds and plush beach towels. The Isola Beach Club offers excellent food and drinks on the beach, while a full range of water sports and diving are available. A separate area, aptly named The Haven, offers more privacy, gazebos and an upgraded service to guests of Island Suites and Villas. There is such a sense of space and of unspoilt natural beauty which makes you feel that this is the definition of summer luxury.
LM: What unique dining experiences does it offer?
AS: The Creative Consultant Chef, Athinagoras Kostakos, in collaboration with Blue Palace’s Executive Chef, Alexandros Lefkaditis, showcase their vision for quality food for one more season. With menus inspired by the unique characteristics of the surrounding area, they focus on purity, authenticity and freshness. Blue Door Taverna is a culinary treasure featuring well-kept family recipes with a contemporary twist by Chef Kostakos; right by the sea. It’s a labour of love! Flame features international dishes, with a focus on steaks cooked to perfection. Highlighting Cretan producers, the menu features steaks and seafood from the area, cheese from local farms and herbs and vegetables from the resort’s own gardens.
Isola Restaurant offers a seasonal feast of vibrant summery salads, fresh seafood and contemporary dishes bursting with flavour; all shared in long leisurely lunches or dinners with postcard views amidst refreshing sea breezes. Isola Beach Club grants a relaxed bohemian ambiance paired with light and refreshing beachside dishes, served also at the privacy of your sunbed. Asia Deep Blue provides delicious gyozas, bao buns and classic sushi favourites. Olea is the resort’s principal Mediterranean restaurant which features an impressive veranda with stunning views to the sea.
LM: How would you define luxury?
AS: Luxury is one of those overused words, and so I feel it needs a new definition. It means different things for different people. For me, luxury is found in the detail, in the unexpected little things that transform an experience to something that speaks to your heart. It could be the architecture and design of a place that speaks of its past heritage with a modern take. It can be about the discrete yet warm and personalised service. It can be about the freshest produce; the scent of the well-groomed local trees or about the discovering the best room amenities. If I had to choose, the greatest luxury is for me diving into crystal clear blue waters just a few meters away from a national monument, the island of Spinalonga with ruins from the Romans, the Arabs, the Venetians and the Ottomans. How often can one experience such a thing in life?
LM: What are your biggest luxuries in life?
AS: In my personal life, probably the biggest luxury is to travel with my family. Being able to share with my husband and our kids experiences that will form who they are. It is about what we see, what we eat at those places, the stories that we hear and the people that we meet. It is mostly about the quality time that we share with them and how all the things we experience in those travels ignite wonderful conversations within the family.
LM: What’s next for the Blue Palace?
AS: Myself and Costantza, my sister, an architect by training, and my co-CEO, are now planning our next season. We get our inspiration from all sorts of things when we travel or when we talk to people and to our own guests. But we remain passionate about our dedication to Crete: guests at Blue Palace should feel they have come to Crete and they should experience the best our island can offer. It comes down to that.
LM: Thank you for your time.