Have you ever dreamed about staying in one of the beautiful, well-designed, and insta-worthy hotels you see on social media? Well, I for sure did. So let me introduce you to a hotel in Greece (Crete, to be exact) that had me live that dream for a few days: The Royal Senses Resort & Spa.
This stay wasn’t a cooperation (i wish… sigh), and every expense was covered by ourselves. This article is genuinely just an honest review of a hotel I’d recommend. I wasn’t asked nor paid to write this. However, there will be affiliate links on this page. These links will earn me a small commission whenever you purchase through them. Of course, your price stays the same, and all these links are marked with a *.
The Royal Senses Resort Crete review
travelers: 2 adults | half board | booked: grand deluxe sea view with a shared pool but stayed in king deluxe sea view with private pool | date traveled: 06.05.22-13.05.22
Let me start with the basics. The Royal Senses Resort* is relatively new and one of the hotels listed in the Curio Collection by Hilton. This might be especially interesting if you’re a Hilton Honors member and collect points during your travels.
It is located in northern Crete, around 1 hour from Heraklion airport or 1.5 hours from Chania airport.
A partnering hotel is next to the Royal Senses Resort, called “The Royal Blue Resort and Spa.” Why does this matter? Because you’ll not only share the private beach with this resort, but you can also participate in some of the events in this hotel. But more on that later.
Location, Arrival, and Check-In procedure
The hotel was easy to find, and the ride from Heraklion to the Royal Senses Resort offered some decent views. The property has private parking, which we could access through a gate, where the hotel’s security welcomed us.
Immediately after parking our car, the staff came to take our luggage and guided us into the lobby. I was stunned by the views of the resort already and couldn’t wait to see more.
We sat down in this well-designed lobby and got some fresh towels, sweets, and local juice while the receptionist prepared everything for us.
While I expected to wait at least another hour (we had already arrived at 1 pm), I was happy to hear that our room was ready. But hey, that wasn’t everything. With a smile on her face, the friendly receptionist said, “we’ve upgraded you to a room with a private pool. Enjoy your stay”.
My boyfriend and I looked each other in the eye and couldn’t realize our luck. But, seconds later, we found ourselves on a golf cart where another staff member brought us to our room. Let me tell you… I’ve never been more excited to get into a hotel room!
The open design and modern decor of the resort were also applied in the rooms. Our room, a deluxe room with a private pool, opened up to a huge window front with a view of the private infinity pool and the sea.
The bathroom is opened up to the room so you can watch the sunset while brushing your teeth – amazing! Undoubtedly, the room had all popular amenities like hygiene products, bath ropes, a hairdryer, and a fully stocked mini-bar.
The bed was incredibly comfortable and also offered a fantastic view of the outdoor area.
The outdoor space consisted of a private pool, two sunbeds, a lounge corner, an outdoor shower, and a wooden ladder to hang your towels in the most stylish way possible.
Of course, the room had free wifi, just like all over the property, and very high-tech air conditioning.
When we arrived, the seating area in our room also had a little surprise waiting on our table: a fresh fruit platter and a bottle of wine from Crete.
Absolutely nothing to complain about – we loved it!
Food & Restaurants
The Royal Senses Resort offers breakfast or half board which leaves you with a delicious breakfast and – if you choose half board – dinner in the main restaurant, called “Gea.”
All restaurants were (of course) well-designed and offered inside and outside seating.
We liked their concept of integrating regional dishes into every meal, and there was a lot to choose from at the buffet. Besides salads, desserts, and multiple warm dishes, there was also a cooking station where you could get the day’s specials.
You had a lot of components you’d find every day but also a lot of switching options. Everything was high quality, well presented, and – most importantly – incredibly tasty!
Another thing worth mentioning would be the coffee at breakfast. The restaurant staff prepared barista-quality cappuccinos and had a lot of dairy-free alternatives, e.g., soymilk.
Besides the main buffet restaurant, you could also choose one of their a la carte restaurants. We didn’t go for these; however, the design looked great, and I assume the quality will be at least as good as in the main restaurant.
The hotel has multiple pools. Inside the spa area, you will find a heated swimming pool. In addition to that, you have numerous outdoor pools. My favorite community pool was the outdoor pool in front of the SPA. It has a great view due to its elevation and is a little secluded, which makes it quiet and peaceful.
You’ll find the “regular” outdoor pool area in the lower area. The front one is an infinity pool, and there are tons of sunbeds to spend the day.
The pool bar offers service here, and you can order your Freddo cappuccino, a frozen Mojito, or a quick lunch directly to your sunbed.
Since we had our private pool, we usually spent our time there.
The Royal Senses doesn’t have direct access to the beach. Due to its elevated location, you’d need to walk down the road or use the hotel shuttle bus to get to the private beach.
This private beach is shared with the sister hotel “The Royal Blue,” which is in front of the Royal Senses Resort & Spa.
A fitness center and spa area are located quite centrally on the property. They offer dry and wet treatments, and you can relax in the sauna, hammam, or indoor pool.
They’ll also serve fresh Cretan mountain tea; sometimes, they even offer workshops for guests to make their natural beauty products.
You can use the kids club and the kid’s pool if you’re traveling with kids. This pool area is secluded from the other outdoor pools and offers a great spot to play.
Since we don’t have kids, we obviously can’t tell you anything about the quality of their services. However, we saw many couples with more minor children during our stay. The resort does seem a little “adults only” on the first glimpse, but the environment was very family friendly.
Down the road from the hotel, you can find a small supermarket with everything you need. They offer food, drinks, snorkeling gear, souvenirs, and more. Whatever you need, they got you covered!
You’ll find a small marketplace area between the main restaurant and the lobby. Here, you can get souvenirs or clothing in the boutique and other specialties from the popup shops.
Other facilities and services
The cable car
There was a cable car taking you up and down the hills. You can easily walk the way up or down to your room; however, it would be challenging for parents with strollers or those having difficulty walking.
While wifi in common areas and hotel rooms is essential for most travelers, The Royal senses resort is stepping up its game even more regarding digitalization.
You’ll be handed a unique access code to register yourself and your room on an app when checking in. Then, you can, e.g., request cleaning, room service, or book a spa treatment straight through your phone.
The Instagrammable Breakfast
We’ve all seen them on Instagram: the floating breakfast boards in private pools. This hotel will fulfill your dream by delivering a floating breakfast to your private pool room.
However, the price of 70€ is relatively high, and the water is still quite cold in the morning, so we chose not to spend our money on it. Is it worth it? Good question, It does look fabulous on the gram for sure.. but spending that much money for a picture-perfect breakfast? Not too sure about that.
Would you? Let me know in the comments!
Events and Offers
If you’re looking for something unique to do, you should talk to the guest relations and ask about upcoming events.
We went to the “Dinner and wine tasting event” in the Royal Blue Resort during our stay and loved it. They invited a local winemaker to present his wines and accompany the 4-course menu. The food and the wine were excellent!
So what do you need to pay for all of this? As always, it depends on the season and rooms you’d like to book. To give you a quick overview, I’ll list you some example prices I’ve found:
King Deluxe Room (the cheapest accommodation type):
Deluxe room w/ private pool (where we stayed)
If you’re unsure about the different types of rooms, the hotel website has a detailed list of accommodation options with explicit descriptions.
If you already have a date in mind, check on booking.com* if there’s a good offer.
What stood out the most (in our opinion)
My boyfriend and I stayed in a few 5-star hotels over the years, and all of them had us enjoy our stay. However, the Royal Senses Resort surprised us. The way they interpreted hospitality was different from what we were used to.
There are tons of excellent hotels on this earth, and most of these hotels train their staff to be extra friendly and fulfill every wish the guests might have. But how did this hotel make a difference?
They made us feel welcomed in a way that amazed me. Every single staff member was iconic. They were thoughtful, caring, and truly made the impression they loved what they did. This kind of hospitality was outstanding, from the manager to the cleaning staff.
No matter who you were and what kind of room you were staying in, they treated everyone with love and respect. It almost felt like talking to a friend when the restaurant staff guided us to our dinner table and asked about today’s trip. Good vibes only in this hotel!
What do other guest reviews say?
If you’re anything like me, you religiously research your potential hotels for your trip. That’s probably also why you’re here. We all know trolls on the internet that leave 1-star reviews because it was raining and they couldn’t use the pool. (we’re watching you, Karen!)
However, the “bad” reviews can also be a little unsettling, whether genuine or not.
So let me comment on some I found while I researched opinions on the Royal Senses Resort:
Good to know before booking a stay:
- If you booked half board, the drinks are excluded during dinner time. For a glass of house wine, we paid 7€, and a bottle of sparkling water was 4.80€
- The kid’s club and water park are on one side of the property. They have a splash-water bucket on top of the pool, which can get a little loud while emptying. Adding the noise of the children, you might want to request a room on the other side of the hotel if you’re sensitive to that.
- Some rooms with private pools on the block end are next to the resort’s walkways. These rooms don’t have as much privacy as the middle ones, so requesting a room away from walkways might be an option.
- If you plan to explore the island, I recommend renting a car. The location is quite secluded so getting around without a car is a little tricky.
- The Royal Senses Resort is quite active on Instagram and constantly shares stories of its guests. If you’d like to get an insight beforehand, check them out on Instagram.
Finishing thoughts – is it worth it?
Definitely yes. We’d absolutely come back to this hotel. We loved every single aspect – the food, the design, the room, and the staff. We’d go for the room with a private pool again since we enjoyed the privacy and luxury of these a lot.
The fact that all rooms offer sea view is also impressive, and all the facilities were amazing. The main restaurant already provides such good quality, and we especially enjoyed the warm mornings having breakfast sitting on the patio in the sun.
What do you think? Is this a hotel you’d choose? I hope this review was helpful, and I hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did!
As always, stay happy and healthy!
See you soon,