As we reach the halfway point of the year, some of us may be experiencing an imbalance in our holistic harmony, meaning it’s time to take a break and indulge in some R&R to get back on track.
Cue the five star, state-of-the-art, adults-only, wellness sanctuary, The Acro Suites; located in the much-loved Greek Island, Crete. Add it to your notes, save, bookmark, you’re going to want to remember this one.
Only a convenient 35 minutes from Heraklion Airport, The Acro Suites is built upon and architecturally crafted to complement the rocky cliffs and coastline of Mononaftis Bay. The term ‘Acro’ itself, originates from the ancient Greek word “akros/akron” meaning ‘at the edge, where a small hidden paradise is built overlooking the sea’; the perfect name for this almost-always-fully-booked literal haven.
Upon arrival on the island, we made the drive through the Cretan country roads when it suddenly occurred to me that I was, for the first time, prioritising a holiday to benefit my mental health. On all holidays I’ve previously booked, sun worship would usually dominate the itinerary. This time, in the slightly more unpredictable weather conditions of May, the sun is secondary and the priority of relaxation and rejuvenation is taking precedence.
As we pull into the steep driveway leading up to the Acro Suite’s reception, a sense of calm and escapism is already set in motion. Greeted by the charismatic General Manager of the hotel, we were encouraged to unwind with a cup of ginger and lemon ice tea and a cold towel to refresh. A welcomed touch after a 4 hour flight from Gatwick.
Stepping foot into the reception, we got our first glimpse of the manicured aesthetics and luxe-earthy interiors that I’ve been admiring on instagram for months. So well crafted, it was obvious that a lot of consideration had gone into the design process throughout the hotel. Being naturally curious and with an appreciation for interiors, we found out that the Orfanake sisters (owners of the Acro Suite and Hotel group, Omnicron Hotels) spent almost five years designing and developing the Acro Suites resort together with Athenian architecture office, Utopia Hotel Design and interior designer, Manos Kipritidis. This was definitely a family-run passion project
There is an obvious fluidity and seamlessness between the Acro suites’ coastal surroundings and the chosen idiosyncrasies of both the exterior and interiors. With a mixture of straight and domed cave-like buildings, curved walkways, a river-style main pool and a nestled garden as the hotels centre point, gives the illusion that the Acro Suites resort simply grew from the cliffs. Although the hotel still dominates the coastline it doesn’t look out of place. Moving into the hotel, Manos Kipritidis again, took inspiration from all the earth has to offer. Decorating the hotel with natural yet contemporary and modern materials such as stone tables, natural-tone linen cushions and wooden rattan accents littered throughout. Designed and positioned so well the experience of retreating in such a well curated location meant there were a lot of inspo pictures for me to take home.
The super chic bohemian interiors continue to flow through to the hotel and into the suites where we called home for three days. Tucked away into the cliffs, we felt like we had been welcomed into our own little luxury cave. A private oasis of complete opulence which was made to feel like it temporarily belonged to us. The soft lighting creating a cosy atmosphere, paired with a low level king-sized bed, crisp white linens and ultra fluffy pillows, allowed for what was possibly the best sleep I’ve had all year. It was, however, the private terrace which comes with its own infinity plunge pool, overlooking the Aegean sea that is the pièce de résistance. Equipped with plush loungers, it quickly became our escape where we relaxed, read books and simply basked in the tranquillity. In the evening it was the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and watch sunset paint the sky in hues of orange and pink.
In addition to the luxurious accommodation, The Acro Suites is also home to world-class wellness facilities. The resort boasts a state-of-the-art spa that offers an array of ancient Greek holistic treatments and therapies designed to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. Specifically named ‘The Bath House’ this spa has been inspired by the archaic notion of Hammams with their original concept being ‘a place of rejuvenation and cleanliness, where purifying the body goes hand-in-hand with purifying the soul’. Wanting to focus this holiday on resetting, we treated ourselves to the 80 minute ‘Acro Hammam experience’; a unique Byzantine Hammam treatment. The treatment began by stepping into a large marble room, a replication of an ancient Greek Bath house. With running taps of warm water and bowls to splash the body, the room very quickly becomes submerged with a dense cloud of steam. Beginning the treatment in this way opens the pores, preparing the skin for what’s next. Moving to another room within the Bath House, are two marble beds where the trained therapists perform a full body cleansing and exfoliation. To begin, the therapist used an exfoliation glove to remove dead skin cells, evoking a feeling of starting fresh. Next was a deep cleanse. The therapist used a pillow-like sheet to soak up the foams created from the soap substance before squeezing over the body, submerging you in a foam-like-blanket. Once completely covered the therapists started to perform a deep full body massage. Highly skilled, delicate and discrete the therapists created an environment that made us feel more intune with our bodies. This experience was a huge highlight of our trip and I would insist on anyone visiting to try it out for themselves.
To top off the experience, the hotel’s dining options are some of the best on the island and all located within the grounds of the Acro Suites. The ethos, led by the head chef and respected across the kitchens is to ‘respect the ingredients, minimising the food waste, focusing on flavour and never being afraid to experiment’. With such a passion and focus on providing guests with a culinary experience whilst staying at the Acro Suites, they team have designed two dining locations, with carefully considered menus.
Firstly, Cremmnos, the hotels main restaurant, takes inspiration from the traditional Greek lunching and dining by reinterpreting old time classic recipes with a new age twist. Using only handpicked, organic, fresh ingredients from small farms around the island, the Chef and his team base their menus on authentic Cretan cuisine and dietary habits that are well known around the world to be beneficial to our health. From the menu offered, I would highly recommend the Roasted beetroot Salad with mixed greens, orange, crunchy quinoa, grilled tofu and pumpkin seeds for your starter, the Sea Bass fillet with dual peas, beurre blank artichoke chips and lemon jam and the Chocolate and Carob with gavotte biscuits, chocolate mousse, caramelised macadamia and gianduja ice cream for dessert.
The second restaurant, Umi offers a harmonious synthesis between the culinary traditions of Peru and Japan. These flavour combinations bring together the best of the elegant and delicate cuisine of Japan with the freshness and spicy punch of Peru. Located only a buggy ride from the Acro Suites in the sister hotel ‘The Seaside Resort and Spa’, the experience felt like a real date night experience. Pair your food with the Gia cocktail and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Leaving the island, I feel I can go back to the real world with a calmer, clearer, and more balanced body and mind. I originally came on this trip with an intention to put my wellness first and thanks to the Acro suites, the experience has been more transformative than I originally expected. I have been reminded of the importance of self-care and nourishment, both physically and mentally. From the thoughtfully designed wellness programs to the nourishing organic cuisine, every aspect of my stay has provided me with the tools and inspiration to continue these self-care practices in my everyday life.
Prices start from £713 per night. Booking options can be found here.
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