A restorative retreat on the cliffs of Crete, Acro Suites is a secluded series of private standalone pads, each with its own pool (some in a literal cave), Aegean-admiring terrace and super-slick design. The spa has a hammam and heated marble beds, there are daily yoga classes in the unlikely event you weren’t feeling peaceful enough, the restaurant aims to nurture guests with food from local farms and even the cocktails are medicinal. If you like your sunsets Santorini style (ie: an unfalteringly dazzling nightly show), you’ll love this self-styled ‘Santorini of Crete’, which does all of that but without the bus loads.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £327.03 (€377), including tax at 13 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast.
In keeping with the theme of reasons to never leave, Acro Suites has a handy weekly programme to keep guests entertained during their self-imposed captivity: saxophone nights on Monday and Wednesday, wine-tasting Tuesdays, DJ-improved Thursdays and live bands every Sunday.
The hotel opens annually from the middle of April until the end of October.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, yoga pavilion, gym with a view. In rooms: Marshall speaker, TV, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle and organic tea, minibar with Cretan treats, beach towels and Olive Era bath products made with olive oil from the island.
Our favourite rooms
Each sea-facing, pool-enhanced suite has reasons to shout from the clifftops about – but for cavernous cubbyholes that would put other Greek islands to shame (we’re looking at you, Santorini), it has to be the glamorous grottoes that are the Cave Suites, with a rocky roof over the pool so you can take subterranean swimming seriously.
Each suite has its own saltwater pool and there’s a communal one with even better views and a bar, too (open from 10am to 7pm).
The Bath House has a traditional hammam for soapy scrubs, heated marble beds, rain showers and a plunge pool, and hosts daily yoga classes.
Grecian-goddess-worthy floaty dresses (in a doomed attempt to outdo the staff), sensible shoes for navigating the craggy cliffs and books about minotaurs.
The rocky resort is not easily accessible for wheelchair users.
Grown-up Smiths only – the cliff-edge setting makes this hotel precarious for prams and small children.
The pools are all filled with chemical-free saltwater, doors have special traps to shut down air-conditioning as soon as you leave your room, the thick walls ensure that the buildings stay nice and cool, and the bath products use sugar-cane packaging and homegrown olive oil. The hotel is entirely powered by solar energy, with panels that blend in seamlessly with the rest of the sleek modern resort – even the hot water is heated by them, rather than electricity. It’s mostly paperless, too – with menus made from recycled paper for when a QR code won’t do. Plastic straws are banished, and all the fabrics and materials used in the construction are sustainable and locally sourced.
There’s no bad seat, especially if you’ve sequestered one of the sets of sunloungers on the circular cliff-edge decks.
Clash of the Titans.
With a name fit for a Titan, Cremnos, the main restaurant, has a champion chef, more scene-stealing views and classic Cretan food, with ingredients sourced from farms all over the island and a common aim of sharing the healthy diet that keeps Crete’s residents living so long. The menu includes superfood-packed salads, salmon ceviche and a pick ’n’ mix surf and/or turf selection. There’s also Circle for laid-back light bites by the main pool.
The bar staff are masters in mixing in botanical ingredients, with garnishes picked from the garden and juices made from strictly local produce only. There’s live music on certain nights of the week, including swing, jazz and DJs.
Breakfast is served at Cremnos between 7.30am and 11am; lunch service is from 1pm to 5pm; and dinner is from 7.30pm to 10pm. The bar serves drinks until 2am, with snacks and light bites available between noon and 6pm.
Meals and snacks can be served in-room between 7.30am and 11pm.
Crete is not to be confused with Greece’s thousands of smaller islands: it’s the fifth largest island in the Med and its homeland’s biggest floating area. Acro Suites is on its northern coast, in Agia Pelagia’s Mononaftis Bay.
The hotel is a 25-minute drive east of Heraklion’s airport. Transfers can be arranged on request.
A car will come in handy for exploring Crete’s many corners, especially if you plan on spending some time in its capital Chania, just under two hours away by car. There’s free parking at the hotel.
Naturally for a country with this many islands, ferries link up all of Greece’s scattered lands – including ones from Piraeus in Athens to Heraklion.
Worth getting out of bed for
Mononaftis Beach is within walking distance of the resort, with elevator access – it’s one of the island’s best diving spots. Psaromoura is another pebbly shore a couple of kilometres away, but for the most beachfront bustle, go for Agia Pelagia, which has lots of restaurants and cafés (and sand). Beaches you can reach by boat include Fylakes. The Palace of Knossos is a few kilometres south of Heraklion and a must for all minotaur fans – the Minoan settlement has its own labyrinth. More classical culture awaits at the archaeological site at Eleutherna, an hour’s drive from the resort. The hotel can arrange scuba-diving and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as a private yacht or helicopter to whisk you over to Santorini for a few hours. Scale Mount Ida, the highest peak on Crete, and home to the slopes on which an infant Zeus was raised by a she-goat. There are hiking trails closer to the hotel that span paths through villages and battlefields. Other day trips on the island include Chania, two hours west; the monastery and beach of Preveli, a 90-minute drive south; and the island of Spinalonga, once a leper colony (but don’t let that put you off).
In Agia Pelagia, Almyra is the shore-side spot for sundowners and seafood. For Cretan cuisine in Heraklion, don’t miss Peskesi, where even the drinks are mixed with local ingredients; family-run Athali and its open fire for slow-cooking meat; and classic steakhouse (with requisite red-leather banquettes) Kouzeineri.
The Garden in Heraklion makes regular appearances on ‘the best bar in Greece’ lists, most likely for its lantern-lit courtyard, sushi menu and Pacific influences. At TheBitters Bar, also in Heraklion, medicinal herbs and spices are put to good use in its artistic (and remedial) cocktails. More courtyard cocktails await nearby atXalavro and Toucan.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this cliff-edge hotel in Greece and unpacked their olives and olive oil, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Acro Suites in Crete…
So close to the sea it’s basically clinging to wave-lapped rocks, Acro Suites is the latest hotel from a hospitable Cretan clan who are well versed in their homeland’s famous art of philoxenia (that’s love of the foreign, or strangers). This time, it’s the family’s pair of stylish sisters running the show, with their shiny series of coastal casas, each with its own pool, amazing Aegean views and unashamedly slicker-than-your-average decor – and they secured the last spot on the island this near the sea that can be built on. It’s so close to the cliffs that the builders were hanging in harnesses during construction (‘acro’ does mean ‘edge’ in Greek, after all).
The restaurant Cremnos likes to refer to itself as ‘The Nurture House’, with feel-good favourites on the menu for the virtuous (along with a whole sub-section dedicated to surf and turf for everyone else) – and the herb-graced cocktails are definitely nourishing. Wellness continues at the spa, which has a traditional hammam, daily yoga and rituals to ensure inner peace. The sleepy setting (there’s no main road nearby) means more meditative silence – and when you do want to try out Greece’s heavenly holiday nightlife, Heraklion is half an hour away. You’ll be thanking the guardians of Greek planning permission.