‘Bargain family resort in Crete doesn’t compromise on luxury or beauty’

By Staff


Megan Archer-Fox discovered the perfect hotel for a relaxing holiday – the first with her family of four – to the Fodele Beach & Water Park Resort on the Greek island of Crete

There’s usually a compromise to be made when it comes to family resorts abroad. Maybe it’s lacking in luxury, the food’s bland, or the location feels like it could be anywhere.

But not at the Fodele Beach & Water Park Resort on the Greek island of Crete – this place excels on all levels.

It’s the position of this all-inclusive, five-star paradise which first pulls you in. Carved into a hillside overlooking a perfect arc of private sandy beach, the Aegean glittering and mountains framing the scene, these views dazzle with their brochure-perfect Greekness.

And they’re everywhere. Rising up over several levels, you’ll get to take in those vistas from the restaurants, the pools, the balconies and terrace bars, even from its very own water park set right at the top of the resort.

Fodele Beach Resort was our first holiday abroad as a family of four, with our two sons, aged three and ten months, and the bar has now been set rather high. The accommodation is key when travelling with children – space being top priority.

Stacked like sugar cubes on the side of the hill, our apartment was right at the top, which had me panicking at first – there were so many steps to get there. However, a fun and convenient solution is at hand, in the form of a brightly coloured train that trundles between the various levels all around the resort.

The kids loved it and so did we as it meant we could have a quick sit down and another opportunity to gaze out at those wonderful views. And if you don’t feel like waiting for the train, you can just call reception and they’ll send a buggy to give you a lift, which added to the fun.

Our apartment was brightly decorated and well proportioned with a living room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, all with those sea views. It was a welcoming space to return to after a busy morning on the beach or in the pool. Afternoon naps became restful downtime for us, before getting ready for dinner, drinks and dancing at the mini disco.

Food on family holidays is another make-or-break area. How do you balance the needs of kids who want to eat their favourite dinners at regimented times with your desire to be let loose on the local specialities? Dining at Fodele offers a feast of options round the clock. Breakfast is a banquet you could graze over for hours, and we took lazy lunches at the poolside restaurant, enjoying burgers, pizza, chips and pasta.

For dinner we loved the main buffet restaurant Basilikos, where the options differed every evening with themed nights featuring Greek, Spanish, Mexican and Asian cuisine, as well as crowd-pleasers such as lasagne and rice dishes.

At the kids’ buffet, little ones can help themselves to familiar dinners such as spaghetti Bolognese, then do a pick-and-mix of desserts such as fruit and ice cream.

There’s elegant fine-dining in Ambrosia Italian, but a highlight for us was our visit to the resort’s Greek a la carte restaurant, Elia. With sweeping views from floor-to-ceiling windows, this dining experience is really special, featuring Greek mezes, kebabs and fresh salads with paired wines.

But if you want to just pick up a snack when you please, restaurant F is open from 10am to 6pm, for local delicacies, fruit, wraps, salads and artisan coffees on the large terrace overlooking the sea, gardens and pool.

The bars here are beautiful too. We enjoyed trying cocktails in the main Breeze bar overlooking the bay. You can also enjoy chilled drinks and views from Starlight bar, or if you fancy a mojito on the shore, head to Frankie Beach Club where there are Balinese beds and furnished gazebos.

For families, Fodele’s enormous appeal has to be its very own water park, just for hotel guests. Its seven slides vary in speed and thrills, with a raft slide, freefall slide, racing slides and a black hole slide – and the queues are non-existent.

There’s also a little kids’ pool with a central octopus and tentacle slides gently curving into the water. The Windmill snack bar is right next door if you want to take a breather. My partner and I took turns babysitting by the kids’ pool while the other ran away to try every slide. My favourite was the incredibly fast Kamikaze.

But just floating around in the three gorgeous pools and gazing out at the views was heavenly. If you’re after activities, there’s a kids’ club and plenty of sports such as tennis, basketball, mini golf, water gym classes, plus a games room. Pay a little extra to try waterskiing, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing, SUP, canoeing and diving.

In the wellness centre there are beauty treatments, massages, manicures and a Cretan Signature Treatment Collection. Evenings are filled with entertainment options. We loved the live bands and Greek evenings with traditional music and dancing.

Plus there is every extra you can think of to make your stay all the more enjoyable, such as bike rental, babysitting and laundry service. Heraklion, home to the Palace of Knossos, Agios Minas Cathedral, and its fascinating Old Town full of archeological treasures is just 25km away and there’s a bus that departs every day from the resort.

Bali village with its beach, bars and tavernas, is another lovely local day trip. So if you’re looking for a luxurious, hassle-free holiday for the family, Fodele is a fabulous treat.

Book the holiday

  • Travel Republic offers a five-night stay on all-inclusive at the Fodele Beach & Water Park Resort in Crete from £378pp. Based on a family of four sharing and flying from Gatwick or Luton in May. travelrepublic.co.uk
  • More info at visitgreece.gr

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