After sharing my 50+1 birthday adventure in charismatic Crete, several clients and associates have been interested in hearing more about the wonderful hotel where I stayed and particularly the magnificent culinary experience that I enjoyed.
I am more than happy to oblige …
Understated elegance and truly exceptional service, the St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas is a luxury 5-star hotel situated on a small private cove in Mirabello Bay.
On arrival, I was warmly greeted and offered a cold drink. Covid-19 protocols were in place in all communal areas, staff wore masks with guests only required to do so when indoors within public spaces.
After a seamless check-in and within 20 minutes of arriving, I was settled on the private terrace of my suite, taking in the beautiful view.
The room’s main living area was huge with unobstructed views of the sea, window-facing beds, a sofa, desk, large wardrobe and storage drawers.
An additional lounge area housed a single sofa bed, mini bar and Nespresso machine and the private terrace came with tables, chairs and loungers.
Sunrise was a favourite for me, simply listening to the lapping waves and the serenity of the resort was the perfect start to each day.
The entire resort faces Mirabello Bay, so all the individually designed rooms have a type of sea view, on which I can offer advice, whether you seek a cosy double for two or have different generations with unique needs. All offer a high level of comfort plus suites with private pools and villas are also available.
Around the resort
The infinity pool area was spotlessly clean and although in the resort's centre, is still very chilled. The beach is a small cove that can be accessed from here with spread out beds, including several pleasantly shaded.
The hotel’s art gallery exhibits well known Greek artists and sculptors and the island’s rich history can be soaked up at the Cretan Museum featuring traditional Cretan artefacts. A small traditional church is also on site.
The state-of-the-art fitness centre has everything to hand whilst working out and if that’s a little too active, then take advantage of a lovely treatment. The ‘Blue Room’ has its own private terrace overlooking the bay, including a treatment suite for two.
Want to be out in the sunshine? Then follow one of the jogging routes along the St Nicholas Bay coast or join a hiking tour to explore the island.
If you're more of a water baby, then you are well covered with the water sports centre providing water-skiing, windsurfing or Jetskis.
The boat trip to Aghios Nikolaos is charged by the journey, so the more passengers the better the value. What a fun experience and a very cool way to arrive at your destination. They drop off at the harbour and you are then free to explore the scenic fishing port.
And lest we forget our little cherubs. The hotel offers a complimentary mini club for ages 4- 11, managed by fully certified staff and your inner child can be embraced in the games room with foosball, PlayStations and table tennis.
A separate TV lounge featuring movies suitable for up to 12 year olds is available plus a seawater paddling pool for younger guests.
Cots can be provided free of charge and most of the restaurants offer children’s menus and highchairs, leading me perfectly to the gastronomy options.
The shaded terrace area for breakfast has my favourite view. The sea looks like it has diamonds dancing and in the early morning sunrise, its tranquillity is truly compelling.
A plethora of tasty options greets you at the Club House. Fresh fruit, yoghurts, fish, cheeses, nuts, pastries, breads and crepes or choose from the buffet or à la carte menu for something hot.
The attentive staff ensure the first meal of the day sets you up perfectly for either lazing in the sun or enjoying the wonders that Crete has to offer.
The all-day beach restaurant and bar, the Blue Bay, is perfectly situated for lunch. A comprehensive à la carte menu includes club sandwiches, Greek specials, grilled Lobster, salads and everyone’s favourite, burger!
It’s also possible to get waiter service on the beach/ pool area, although with a more limited menu.
Each of the three dinner venues serves delicious fresh local tasting fare. The half-board option includes breakfast at the Club House and an evening meal in the Labyrinthos Restaurant plus a supplementary credit in the à la carte restaurants.
You can select from the extensive options of starters and, refreshingly, buffet choices were different every night plus there was an everchanging à la carte menu of main courses.
Food is served beautifully, a veritable work of art and don’t skip dessert. The baklavas (local pastry made from nuts, honey and other delectable ingredients) melt in your mouth, scrumptious locally sourced ice cream accompanies the mini meringues and the walnut cake also kept finding its way onto my plate.
Joining Alex, the general manager of the hotel, and his family for Greek night was memorable. The Greek Kafenion serves authentic Cretan dishes using fresh local produce and seafood from the bay. The breeze and aroma of the flowers and cooking food set the tone beautifully.
Choosing between the succulent lamb chops cooked to perfection and served with seasonal veg or the catch of the day was a dilemma.
Whatever your choice, eating overlooking the bay, in the fresh Cretan air is simply bliss.
I was lucky to see the local dancers who perform here on some nights too and clinked glasses several times with my fantastic hosts. Ya mas! (Cheers).
My favourite restaurant was the Minotaure, with tables facing the mountains and such a relaxed ambience. The sunsets here are magnificent and watching the sky turn from day to night is magical.
The menu features Asian fused dishes cooked and presented beautifully. A trilogy of salmon - tarte, smoked and marinated, Soba noodle salads with seasonal veg, lobster risotto or linguini with black truffle.
For mains, the jumbo shrimps on the grill or a veal Yakisoba with ramen noodles and a lightly spiced sauce. Delectable.
The tempting desserts here include a Snickers Minotaure special (you will have to try them to find out what they are) and Crepe Suzette flambeed with orange liqueur and Grand Marnier.
Both the Astra and Bonatsa Jetty bars offer a relaxed atmosphere, whether you're after quality family time or an enjoyable evening of live entertainment, with the latter also hosting DJ's twice a week.
I cannot emphasise enough how fantastic the staff throughout the resort were.
When making recommendations, it is essential to me to ensure that my clients receive an equally high standard of service to that I offer. Without exception, everybody I spoke with agreed that the staff contributed to the enjoyment of their holiday. The hotel is currently TripAdvisor’s highest-rated in Aghios.
Contact me if you would like further details or to consider booking it.