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Island Life

From Mamma Mia to Greek salads, there’s a renewed love for Greece and her islands so I was delighted to dive in to one of the hottest new openings this year – the Nana Princess in Crete.

Debrah Dhugga

Luxe columnist


Nana Princess opened its doors in June this year and proved the perfect spot for a long weekend in the sunshine. Located on the north side of the island and set on a stunning beachfront, it’s just a 20-minute drive from the airport, which is exactly what you need on a short break.

The hotel consists of 112 luxury suites and villas, all with stunning views of the Cretan Sea, and most boasting their own heated private pool or whirlpool. Some even have the addition of their own private gym, SoulSteam room or SoulSauna, created by the award-winning Starpool.

If some R&R, good food, and vitamin D is what you’re after, then you’ve found your happy place.

My long chillout weekend was spent soaking up the glorious Greek sunshine, either by my own private pool or around one of the hotel’s two outdoor seawater pools – or by the beach (in colder months there are also indoor pools).

Afternoons were spent pampering myself in the Nana Princess Health Club and Spa which offers a total luxe wellness experience. For me, part of any holiday is enjoying new food and wine, and tasting new flavours. In this hotel there’s so much choice with its three stylish bars and restaurants with menus exclusively created by Greek Michelin star chef, Lefteris Lazarou.


During my trip, I stayed in the hotel’s Harmony Suite, which had stunning waterfront views of the beautiful blue sea to wake up to. It had a heated outdoor whirlpool and private gym with a view too – because I like to make sure I stay active on holiday to counter being a bit more indulgent with what I’m eating!

Other accommodation options include Superior Rooms, which sleep three with king-size bed and sofa bed, spacious balcony, rain shower and sea views; a Deluxe Junior Suite has a private heated pool, sun loungers, deck chairs and dining table; and the Premium Energy Suites, which are designed to rejuvenate and relax, come with their own private swimming pools and the choice between a gym or a SoulSauna.

Sports fanatics, on the other hand will love the fitness suite, with its 34m2 outdoor pool, contemporary gym equipment and luxurious finishes including iPads and Nespresso machines.


Spa-time lured me to the world-class spa in the form of the Royal Wellness Club, a haven for spa junkies. With luxurious facilities, a superb choice of targeted therapies and treatments and an extensive wet area, this is set to become a destination spa for Greece.

Aside from the Spa System, Nana Princess offers a selection of signature luxury treatments lasting anywhere between 50-160 minutes. Whilst I was there, I tried the Minoan carob body scrub and a Sea Gold body wrap which left me feeling revived and ready for action!

Out & About

Crete is Greece’s largest island, and is known for its varied landscape which ranges from fine-sand beaches to the White Mountains. History buffs and shopaholics will enjoy a trip to the capital, Heraklion, home to the renowned Heraklion Archaeological Museum and boutique shops.

A trip to the island of Spinalonga is also recommended, a former leper colony and subject of Victoria Hislop’s best-selling novel, The Island (which makes for a great holiday read whilst you’re there).

If you’re keen to stay active, there’s an abundance of activities including mountain biking, horse riding and sightseeing excursions. Crete Golf Club is just a short drive away, and the kids can enjoy mini football, beach volleyball, art classes, scuba diving and children’s shows.


Carpe Diem is the heart and soul of the resort. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so the lavish buffet breakfast spread of fresh fruits, cooked selection and fresh pastries was really welcome.

In the evening few things compare to dining with a view of the Mediterranean. Feast on delicious dishes of fresh, local ingredients skilfully prepared for an explosion of flavours.

Meat-In point offers a convivial spot for lunch or dinner beside the pool. In the evening, the à la carte menu showcases mouth-watering meat cuts and a variety of fresh pasta, inspired by local cooking techniques, as well as showcasing aromatic Mediterranean flavours and innovative international food trends.

Seafood lovers will adore the Eternal Blue restaurant which sits at the waterfront, next to the lapping waves of the private beach. The exclusive eatery offers an abundance of fresh fish and seafood as well as a daily sushi selection. A very special location overlooking the picturesque bay.

Evenings are rounded off with cocktails at Artemis Lounge & Lobby Bar, a sophisticated venue with live piano music, saxophone or jazz.

The Facts

I travelled with BA to Heraklion airport in Crete, which is about four hours from London Gatwick – you can also get direct flights from Newcastle. Private airport transfers can be arranged by the hotel and take about 20 minutes door to door.