Crete, Greece

Pnoé Breathing Life

Price per night from$545.72

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR501.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Take a breather

Setting

A hop from Heraklion

We want a hotel to take our breath away, but high-glam wellness retreat Pnoé Breathing Life, just outside Cretan capital Heraklion, is more of a giver. This adults-only stay entreats you to relax at every turn, whether your Greek-modernist suite has its own hammam or sauna (and all have private pools); you’re prone on the private beach’s loungers; or dry flotation, lavender wraps and waterfall spritzes in the sleek spa give you the O2 boost you’re craving (there’s a hyperbaric chamber and breathwork classes for a top up, too). And with heritage cuisine and excursions to lesser-known sites, you’ll get to know the real Crete – what a breath of fresh air.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A 15-minute Zerobody dry-flotation experience, bottle of wine and local treats. GoldSmiths get an additional 20-minute oxygen-therapy treatment, sparkling wine and seasonal fruit

Facilities

Photos Pnoé Breathing Life facilities

Need to know

Rooms

60, including five suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability and a charge (usually 50 per cent of the room rate till 6pm). Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £380.32 (€451), including tax at 13.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €10.00 per room per night on check-in.

More details

Rates include a generous breakfast buffet and dishes the chefs prepare to order at a live cooking station; a welcome lemonade or strawberry juice; and sunlounger and parasol hire at the private beach.

Also

Unfortunately the hotel isn’t suitable for guests with reduced mobility.

Hotel closed

The hotel opens annually from mid April to early November.

At the hotel

Private beach, fitness centre, boutiques, concierge, charged laundry and dry-cleaning service, currency exchange, free WiFi. In rooms: 50-inch LCD TV in the mirror; Bluetooth sound system; Nespresso coffee machine; app-controlled climate, lighting and curtains; tea-making kit; minibar; pillow menu, bathrobes and slippers; and Olivia Thinks bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Wellness doesn’t begin and end in the spa here. Each room is decorated in soothing Cretan style (lots of hush-hush taupe, cream and grey) and has a heated plunge (or fully swimmable) pool. But, the Breathe Suite gives you an extra boost with its chromotherapy shower, while the Signature Suites have either an additional sauna or hammam.

Poolside

The pool (open 8am to 10pm) is a curve of blue at the heart of the property, set between Aeri bar and Thymises restaurant. There are Roman steps to enter and sunloungers and woven-wicker parasols round the edges.

Spa

Spa spoiling has a futuristic feel at Pnoé Breathing Life – and not only due to the meandering corridors of reeded-glass screens, a glowing Himalayan-salt wall and bubbling hydromassage pool. Its treatments range from olive-oil massages and lavender-gel body wraps, to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, dry flotation with a brain-training soundtrack, clock-rewinding Sturm Glow facials, and detox rituals by Germaine de Cappuccini. After, refresh in the wet area’s waterfalls and spin through the hammam and sauna, before final zhuzhing in the beauty salon. Some of the (less high-tech) treatments can be taken in-room too. And the fitness centre has high-end equipment, daily Pilates and yoga classes, and personal training on request.

Packing tips

Bring anything that’ll help you to be your best blissed-out self: silken eye masks, fleecy PJs, lavender pillow mist… And if you need an extra sarong or swimsuit you can buy one on-site.

Also

Whether it’s the heritage blend of herbs infused into your cooling welcome towel, or the stone paths styled to make you slow your step, this stay prescribes total relaxation at every turn.

Children

It’s unlikely your little one will take much interest in tastings of grand-cru olive oil or spells in hyperbaric chambers, which is why Pnoé gives adults a little breathing room with an over-18s policy.

Sustainability efforts

The hotel is certified in meeting Travelife's sustainability standards, with one per cent of profits going towards new initiatives and tech. It uses solar panels, energy-saving CFL bulbs and motion-detecting lights; and water is managed using low-flow showerheads and toilets, tap aerators, and computerised landscape irrigation; plus wastewater is sent to a local treatment plant. Most of the restaurants’ ingredients are sourced from the Peskesi Organic Farm, and food waste is monitored and re-used for composting. And it supports the Karteros community, having helped to restore their church.

Food and Drink

Photos Pnoé Breathing Life food and drink

Top Table

The stars shine extra bright here, so make sure you get a table with a heavenly view.

Dress Code

Glamorous guru.

Hotel restaurant

Anása is a laidback space with a buffet of Mediterranean dishes (salads, tartares, risottos, breads and cheeses) and a live-cooking station that makes dining a more interactive experience. You can get a juicy cut from the beef haunches hanging in dry-ageing cabinets. Meals are more musical here too, with guest players on sax, violin or piano. Decorated in stone, wood and earthy tones, poolside eatery Thymises is set for light lunches during the day, and smartens up for fine Cretan dining by evening. The menu is a collab with Heraklion restaurant Peskesis, and shows how much staying power traditional cookery has here. It serves up shepherd’s salads and fishermen’s pastas, goat with yoghurt and mountain cheese, fried snails (just one of more than 100 island preparations for the gastropods), and things wrapped in vine leaves, smoked on olive sticks or peppered with heritage herb blends. 

Hotel bar

Anása has a top selection of local and international wines, and tastings can be arranged on request; while Thymises packs a punch with ouzos, small-batch raki, distilled wines, Grecian gins, and locally crafted beers. Aeri is where you can kick back under a rattan parasol poolside while sipping a classic or barkeep-concocted cocktail with light eats, while rooftop Uranos is the sundowner spot, with greenery, fire pits, cigars and shishas, and drinks maestro Aris Antonakakis presiding over spritzes, martinis with mastiha and more fruity sippers at the bar.

Last orders

At Anása breakfast runs from 7.30am to 11am, lunch from 12.30pm to 4pm, and dinner from 6.30pm to 9.30pm; and dinner at Thymises is from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Aeri bar closes at 6pm and Uranos keeps going till 1am.

Room service

Lazily dine in your room on feta in filo, ouzo-sozzled shrimps, champagne-splashed salmon (and burgers, sandwiches and more) from 7am to 11pm (a €10 tray charge applies).

Location

Photos Pnoé Breathing Life location
Address
Pnoé Breathing Life
Karteros Beach
Heraklion
71500
Greece

Pnoé Breathing Life is a 15-minute drive from Heraklion on the north coast of Crete, within easy walking distance of a sandy private beach.

Planes

Heraklion’s Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport is the closest, just five minutes’ drive from the hotel; transfers can be booked for €25 one-way.

Automobiles

Crete may be the larger of the Aegean islands, but you needn’t hire a car here; the hotel can arrange luxury transportation around the island as required and excursions include pick-ups. But, if you do get some wheels, there’s a free car park on-site, valet parking and electric-vehicle charging stations.

Other

The ferry journey from mainland port Piraeus to Heraklion takes seven to nine hours.

Worth getting out of bed for

Pnoé Breathing Life has a private sandy beach just 400 metres from the main building, where sunloungers and parasols are set out, and drinks service is from 10am to 6pm. Try some breathwork in the spa, or spend a day getting to grips with the earth on Peskesis farm (ask staff to book this in advance). But during the rest of your stay you may need a second wind for the get-up-and-go-go-go activities the hotel offers. Luxury ‘safaris’ will show you Zeus’s birth and burial places, fossil-studded caves, gorges and plateaus, Mount Giouhtas (considered sacred because it looks like a face), 2,000-year-old olive trees, and Minoan archaeological sites. Weave in lunches in picturesque villages, olive oil and wine tasting, and dips in the Libyan Sea. Head from Agiofarago to Matala and you’ll see both the laidback and upbeat hippie sides of the island and have two beaches to pause on. Or try trekking through ​​gorges, or by the river in Sarakinas, from Dorian settlement Eleftherna to pottery village Margarites, and up into the mountains. Tackle Asterousia mountain’s via ferrata, climb scenic sections of the rocky interior, and go canyoning in Tsoutsouras Canyon. By sea, you can sail out to Dia or Santorini, cruise out at sunset or even try your hand at sailing. Dig into the culture with trips to the El Greco Museum and Knossos Palace’s Bronze Age ruins. Then breathe easy on Elafonisi beach’s pink sands or by Balos’s neon-hued waters.

Local restaurants

Close by in Karteros, Cicada Seascape Experience is another sleek beach club with eateries serving sushi, steaks, and Aegean seafood. And in Heraklion, you could try the OG Peskesi restaurant, housed in the historic mansion of Captain Polyxinglis. Dishes here are just as delicious and just as much of an education in authentic Cretan cuisine as they are at the hotel. The Greek salad with toasted buckwheat is a favourite. Close by, Alla ki Alla is loved for its jovial atmosphere, with traditional music, simple local dishes, wine in jugs and an eye-crossing amount of raki.

Reviews

Photos Pnoé Breathing Life reviews

Anonymous review

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 gasp-inducing wellness retreat just outside Heraklion and unpacked their small-batch raki and potions for at-home beautifying, a full account of their oxygen-boosting break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Pnoé Breathing Life on Crete…

If your day to day is starting to make you hyperventilate cool Cretan wellness retreat Pnoé Breathing Life is your chance to exhale. Being at one with nature, seeking inner peace, and revitalising your energy levels are all part of the philosophy here, and they’re achieved at a spa with serious wellness offerings, from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, to breathwork sessions, dry flotation, hydromassage kneading and locally sourced botanicals. This spills over into your alone time, with slickly styled suites in soothing earthy tones that all have a private pool; some have a chromotherapy shower or their own hammam or sauna, too. Laze in areas designed to bring the landscape in, or secure a lounger on the private beach, then get to know centuries-old Cretan cuisine, courtesy of a collaboration with super-cool Heraklion restaurant Peskesis, after raki sundowners. You can also see some of the island’s lesser-sung charms – Crete’s only via ferrata, mountainous beauty spots, and hippie hangouts – on excursions that might leave you a little winded, but even so, you’ve an excellent spot to come back to for a breather.

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Price per night from $491.26