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Last updated: 5 August 2022

This mother-daughter run collection of luxury villas on a Greek island more than lives up to its Mamma Mia! story line, from the cinematic scenery to the heartfelt hospitality of Anna Kadianakis, her daughters Anthi and Charitini, and the entire Elounda Gulf Villas family who each play a part in welcoming guests into this Cretan home-from-home.

Expect less singing and dancing (although the privacy of the villas at this exclusive resort would allow for some ABBA-inspired activities) and more relaxing – either by taking a dip in the private infinity pool which come with each and every one of the 18 villas overlooking the Aegean Sea and the Gulf of Mirabello, or while savouring a selection of Cretan wine and a platter of cheese sourced from local farms. An array of authentic Greek experiences awaits all guests of the Kadianakis family, one of whom is always on-site as a personal host for every stay.

What does being ‘Independently Minded’ as hotel owners mean to you?

Being independently minded and really ‘hands on’ as hotel owners of the Elounda Gulf Villas gives us the freedom of avoiding lengthy corporate structures. Instead we offer unique, really personalised and authentic experiences to our guests. There is real passion in everything we do that comes from private ownership and management – personal touch, attention to detail and authenticity in the hospitality we offer are our true passions!

What was the inspiration behind the hotel, and where do you continue to find sources of inspiration?

[Anna]: On the storied island of Crete, a place of myths and marvels, I founded Elounda Gulf Villas with my husband Dimitris back in the late 1990s. The exceptional location overlooking the Gulf of Mirabello and the stunningly-designed villas, along with our true passion for heartfelt authentic Cretan hospitality, made the boutique villa-hotel stand out from the very beginning.

Continuing the family tradition, my daughters Anthi and Charitini now run the hotel with me, dedicated to offer one-of-a-kind holiday experiences and make guests feel instantly at home. From the outstanding luxury accommodation and the impeccable personalised services, to the vibrant activities and delectable cuisine, everything reflects our personal touch and is supported with the expertise of an experienced team. My family maintains a warm and kind relationship with each of their guests, starting with a friendly welcome from the moment they arrive.

How do you think your hotel stands apart from other boutique hotels?

There is always at least one member of the Kadianakis Family at the hotel to greet the guests, to meet with them during their stay, welcome them to the “EGV family” and offer the unique authentic Greek hospitality, the Cretan hospitality! The atmosphere at the hotel is uniquely relaxing, truly homely with exceptionally friendly service.

If you only had 24 hours to get a taste for your hotel experience, what would you recommend a guest must do?

Start your day by waking up to a breathtaking sunrise from your own pool terrace – the colors of the sky and the sun are so special. Enjoy a breakfast feast served in the privacy of your pool terrace while taking in views of the Mediterranean Sea – make sure you taste all the ‘Greek Breakfast’ specials offered on the menu!

After breakfast, spend a few hours in your villa, swim in your pool and enjoy the Greek sun. For lunch, head to the EGV Private Beach Club for a ‘Cretan Meze’ by the sea. Take a traditional wooden caique, a Greek fishing boat, on a private excursion to explore the unique island of Spinalonga, followed by a picnic and swim in secluded coves for an unforgettable afternoon.

Back at your villa, experience a relaxing and soothing massage using Cretan Olive Oil and herbs which will encourage tranquility and promote deep relaxation during your day. For a golden hour stroll, walk down to the fishing village of Elounda or the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos before dining at Argo Restaurant.

Do you have a vision for the future of the hotel?

Sustainability and considerate travel have always been important for us, still are and will continue to be. Additionally, during these challenging times, trust is top of the list together with a renewed focus on health and safety. The future of hospitality has to be greener and environmental issues are indeed a major concern for us. Developing more of all the above aspects is part of our vision while at the same time offering an ultra-personalised service to our elite and honoured clientele.