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Just Back From Cayo Exclusive Resort, Crete

Adding to our broad catalogue of properties we’ve seen and experienced first hand, Matt Fisher explores stylish resort Cayo Exclusive on the island of Crete.

Real Holidays' First Hand Reviews

The lowdown

  • Who For:

    We think Cayo is great for families with older children and teens as the accommodation and resort is spacious and stylish and nearby Plaka is walkable for teenagers wanting some freedom.

  • When:

    Crete in spring is lovely and from May onwards swimming in the heated pool is absolutely possible. From July to August the weather is hot and the island is busy, but Cayo’s clever design means it keeps cool and breezy.

  • How to Get There:

    Flights leave several times a day from UK airports (journey time around 4 hours) and Cayo is just over an hour from Heraklion airport.

On a recent trip to Crete, Real Holidays’ Director Matt Fisher was impressed by architectural abode Cayo Exclusive on the Elounda Peninsula and its astounding views over the island of Spinalonga and into the deep blue.

Located near Plaka on a quiet corner of the Elounda Peninsula in Crete, Cayo Exclusive Resort has achieved with great success that hard-to-get-right combination of relaxed ambience but unwaveringly good service and great facilities. There is lots to see and do in the area and fantastic on-site restaurants but Cayo is also a champion of local foodie outposts. Enjoy Cayo, but explore Crete is the message, which suits the independent traveller and those in search of authenticity.

Although Cayo is not on the beach, it’s a five-minute walk away with a beach club and restaurant and there is also a shuttle. The resort, set into the hillside, is also perfectly positioned for sunrises, and sea views dominate most aspects of the hotel. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the hotel, with ribbons of sustainability running through it, for example the orientation of the hotel maximises light and air and Cayo is designed using largely natural materials such as wood, stone and rattan.

Cascading down the hillside are the rooms and suites, linked by a funicular and the higher the better the views, and the vast majority come with private pools. Like the rest of the hotel, the rooms are designed with contemporary, minimalist flair and are full of light. Duplexes and villas are a good choice for families, the former having a downstairs ‘den’ which is ideal for teens.

A great base to explore the local area including Plaka and the island of Spinalonga, Cayo also organise trips into Crete’s hinterland, foodie farm experiences and boat trips. Return to Cayo and enjoy your chic environment, sea views and striking architectural design.


Matt Fisher

Matt Fisher


I was very impressed with Cayo. Despite being a resort, it felt very relaxed, and I like how it tapped into the local community. I enjoyed wandering into the nearby town of Plaka for dinner and also inland for an amazing foodie immersion into the rustic culinary traditions of Crete.