Nestled among scented citrus and olive gardens on the north-eastern coastline of Crete, St Nicolas Bay Hotel & Villas offers luxurious seclusion in a spectacular waterfront location.
The private Blue Flag beach overlooks Mirabello Bay, while a luxurious spa, fine dining, watersports and sprawling accommodation ensures you've got everything you need in one place. A tiny chapel, Kafeneion (a traditional café) and art gallery featuring local pieces make the resort feel more like a small Cretan village than a modern hotel. There's even a small Cretan Museum at the heart of the property, with a selection of colourful rugs, pottery and old-style handcrafts.
These extensive facilities, combined with attentive service and easy access to the beautiful fishing village of Agios Nicolaos, make this hotel a great choice for your luxury Crete holiday.
Our Copywriting Executive spent a week at St Nicolas Bay over May half term and gives us her first-hand review…
One of the Best Small & Friendly Hotels in Crete
The enchanting St Nicolas Bay is just an hour’s drive east of Heraklion airport, and an ideal base from which to explore Greece's largest island. Considered one of Crete's best boutique hotels, the property is a well-deserved member of SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World), renowned for its state-of-the-art design and lashings of Cretan hospitality. From the Elemis and Balmain toiletries to the spontaneous gifts that kept appearing in our room, the spoiling service went above and beyond.
Private Beachfront Rooms, Suites and Villas
The accommodation at St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas is spacious and quintessentially Cretan. A maze of paths link the 125 rooms, suites and villas, in which you'll discover a notable amount of effort to make your stay extra comfortable — from a lengthy pillow menu to a king-sized bed and jacuzzi bath.
It was a real treat to be upgraded to a full sea-view Club Suite, which with four separate rooms felt like an apartment! The attention to detail was evident throughout, from the bleached-wood framed paintings by local artists to cool marble floors and plush bathrooms. The suite also featured a separate dressing room and living room leading to a terrace, with panoramic views of the deep-blue sea. For the ultimate indulgence, I recommend booking a room with a private infinity pool overlooking the glittering Mirabello Gulf.
The outdoor saltwater swimming pool is the hub of the resort, surrounded by lavish sunloungers and sunken pool beds. If you fancy a break from sunbathing here or at the private beach, take a cooling dip in the Mediterranean. Swim and snorkel from the shallow sand or descend one of the jetty ladders into into the mirror-clear waters below – a nice touch as you never feel far from the shore. One of my favourite spots was the lounging area built into the cliff, where you'll be lulled to sleep by the murmur of waves hitting the sea urchin-spotted rocks below.
If you fancy getting out on the rippling ocean, an array of water sports are available, including water skiing, canoeing, paddle boarding and jet skiing.
For deeper relaxation treat yourself at Poseidon Spa, boasting an extensive list of Elemis and Cinq Mondes treatments. For one and a half hours of bliss, I highly recommend a hot stone massage incorporating a full body massage (including head and scalp) and a facial.
Food and Drink highlights
A range of innovative cuisine can be enjoyed across five restaurants. At the Club House, indulge in bountiful alfresco breakfasts on the tree-shaded pool terrace, with a buffet and à la carte menu. Make time for a leisurely lunch at The Blue Bay all-day beach restaurant, serving “Kritharoto” Greek pasta with juicy prawns, grilled lobster and a melt-in-your-mouth sashimi. For fine dining, The Minotaur next to the lagoon pool is an ideal spot for an intimate candlelit dinner under the stars.
I especially enjoyed Cretan cuisine at The Greek Kafenion, where outdoor taverna tables are set up next to the chapel. Greek music and dancing created a wonderful atmosphere and I'm still dreaming about the “Dolmades” vine leaves stuffed with rice and Cretan herbs. Down by the shoreline, The Bonatsa Jetty beach bar is perfect for sundowners with wonderful views overlooking the illuminated jetty.
Is St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas family friendly?
With a protected sandy cove, interconnecting rooms and a seawater paddling pool, St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas is an ideal getaway for a luxurious family holiday.
We stayed during May half term, which attracted families with children of all ages, from babies to toddlers to teens. A complimentary kids' programme is available for children aged 4 to 11 supervised by fully certified staff. For an additional charge, take advantage of the babysitting service if you fancy a romantic dinner or spend time together in the Galaxy Games Room, with table tennis, pool and PlayStations.
If getting out and about is on your agenda, you're ideally located to explore the island. The concierge can arrange many cultural excursions, including a private boat ride to Spinalonga Island to explore the ancient history of one of the last active leper colonies in Europe. Before you go, it's well worth reading Victoria Hislop’s bestselling novel The Island which is set on Spinalonga (copies are sold all over the island). Meanwhile, foodies will love an exclusive day trip to the world of quality Cretan wines in Skalani village on the outskirts of Heraklion. Travel by private chauffeur from St. Nicolas Bay to Boutari winery and enjoy a tasting of select labels.
Things to Do in Agios Nikolaos
You’d be forgiven for not going far but when you are ready to venture out, the lively lakeside town of Agios Nikolaos is a kilometre away. Pick up sweet-scented olive wood from the endless souvenir shops and lunch in a Venetian-style café by the harbour to enjoy the balmy Cretan climate. At the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos, browse beautiful antiquities from the Minoan Civilisation. Pay a visit to the neighbouring Cretan Olive Oil Farm to tour an ancient oil mill, try a pottery workshop and taste plenty of local honey and home-pressed oil.
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