Last week my husband and I had a short four night break away to Crete. It was kind of a last minute thing and I didn't even buy a bunch of new clothes for it as is my usual habit, but little did I know this would turn out to be one of the loveliest and most relaxing holidays I've ever been on! That really was the aim of the game with this escape, just to kick back and relax and hopefully get myself back together again after being so ill with my appendix last month. 

We knew we wanted all inclusive so we didn't have to worry about money while we were there and we knew we wanted a nice space where we could chill out with just the two of us, so I did my usual thing and went searching online. It always takes me ages to find holidays because in all honesty me and Pete are kind of fussy, mainly about having good food but also about hotel design and the feel of a place. We aren't kids people so we try and go for more upmarket resorts where there are likely to be less children and more adults who are on our wave length so to speak. This time we were also kind of limited as to where we could go that would be sunny and warm as its the very start of the season and most of Europe is still pretty cold, so after some research we narrowed it down to either Morocco, the Canary Islands or Southern Spain or Greece. 

After about a week searching around I narrowed it down to two hotels both on the island of Crete, the southernmost of the Greek Islands and after some Trip Advisor snooping to get better info on the quality of the food we decided to stay at the Blue Marine Resort and Spa which is in Agios Nikolaos on the left hand side of the island. Another big draw for this hotel was the fact that we could get a suite with its own private balcony and jacuzzi and to me that just sounded like heaven! The hotel is just over an hour's drive from Heraklion airport and when we arrived at about 2pm on Sunday we were just blown away by the scale, airiness and hospitality of the place! 

Blue Marine is definitely one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in, not just because it was spacious and bright and calm, but also because it is no doubt the cleanest place I've ever holidayed. Honestly it put most of the London hotels I've stayed in completely to shame, it was spotless and smelled fresh and inviting everywhere. To top it off all of the staff were so so lovely and kind and seemed to genuinely care if you were having a great stay or not, were happy to help with anything you needed and were just great! 

We checked in and were brought two lovely fruity welcome cocktails as we checked in to our suite, which already had ready for us a chilled bottle of wine and a basket of fruit. I couldn't believe the size of the room, it was huge and smelled really fresh and floral and lovely, decorated in typical Greek resort style with white and cream walls and blue detailing. I was impressed by all of the notes about the hotel's eco policies and liked that you were given the option to have your bedding and towels changed less than daily in order to save water and energy. As well as a tv, little fridge and hot drink making facilities there were some extra fab touches like a Nespresso machine and a router in the room, so wifi access was a breeze! 

We were shown out on to our balcony and my heart just soared - the view was breathtaking and it was such a great size, not cramped at all despite there being a full size jacuzzi out there too under its own little awning and despite having other balconies on either side the wood panelling made it feel really private and comfortable. It was exactly what we'd wanted, a lovely calm little hideaway of our own where we could read and soak in the tub and have some drinkies. Perfect!

We spent most mornings down by the pool reading on sun loungers and sipping on cocktails and ice coffees and then after lunch we would head back to our room to relax in the jacuzzi which was just dreamy! On our last day we also booked in at the spa for massages, a first for both of us. Pete went for a deep tissue massage over his back, neck and shoulders and I chose the aromatherapy massage with rose oil that did my back, neck, shoulders, legs and arms. The spa was gorgeous and serene and while Pete was having his massage I spent a lovely half hour in the steam room before heading in for mine. We both loved it and would definitely go back for another.

Now on to food and drink! If you are a foodie person you definitely need to put extra research in when going on all inclusive breaks as I hear that more often than not that is the area that lets people down. We always read reviews to see what other people think of the quality and selection of food and what kind of thing you'll be getting as we like to try local food as opposed to getting pizza and chips every day. One thing that I loved was that all the olive oil used was from that island which was a great touch.

The food here was predominantly really good with a nice selection at each sitting that included some traditional Greek dishes as well as international foods. We particularly liked the rice dishes and there were always some nicely cooked meats, seafood and roasted veggies which I am particularly fond of - I feel like I ate half my body weight in courgette and aubergine while we were there and have no regrets! There was always a great array of super fresh salads with olives and stuffed vine leaves and a freshly cooked counter at the back where something different was prepared then and there for you each time - our favourite of the trip was perfectly cooked belly pork slices with a soy honey glaze that was just divine! We also had a particularly tasty paella-esque dish with perfectly cooked chunks of squid that was a stand out and a lemony courgette pilaf. Desserts were ice cream plus the usual selection of pre-prepared gateaux and jellies plus fresh fruit so nothing to really shout about.

The only let down was the breakfasts really, but I always find that all over the world - it's just a tough job to mass prepare a good buffet breakfast. There was a wide selection of hot and cold foods with cereals and fruits and yoghurt and some nice breads and pastries so it was ok, but it just wasn't great.

There are three different a la carte restaurants at the complex, a Greek, an Italian and a lunchtime grill and very generously we also got to eat at all three of them during our stay for no additional cost. The Italian and Greek were both five course dinners and the lunch was three courses starting off with a fresh salad bar. All these meals were lovely but the best was definitely at The Olive Tree which is the Greek restaurant on the fifth floor. We were seated at a table right at the edge of the terrace and so had the most stunning view while we ate. I'm not going to do a full review style thing here and just let you look at the photos below, but believe me it was a brilliant meal!

Fried halloumi cheese with tzatziki dip

Shredded lettuce salad with feta, sun dried tomatoes and Cretan olive oil

Chilled salad of smoked aubergine with olives, peppers and feta cheese

Grilled prawn spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

Kleftiko - slow cooked lamb with vegetables

Grilled swordfish steak with warm bulgar wheat salad

We really did have a fabulous time at Blue Marine, it was just so relaxed and friendly and we were so impressed by the cleanliness and quality while we were there. In fact, we loved it so much that we may well be heading back at the start of October for my birthday - I can already hear that hot tub calling my name!

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