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Marriott’s best family redemption – Domes of Elounda, Crete – bookable again

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Domes of Elounda is a luxury ‘all suite’ hotel in Crete.  It is unbranded but is part of Marriott’s Autograph collection.  

Autograph is a group of independent hotels who use Marriott’s sales and marketing system, including their website, and in return agree to give and redeem Marriott Rewards points and respect elite benefits.

We featured Domes last year after a couple of readers flagged it up as probably the best value family redemption available in Europe using Marriott Rewards points.

Domes of Elounda 1

Unfortunately, Marriott Rewards agreed with us ….

Domes of Elounda was such outstanding value that Marriott is putting a stop to it.

Of all 6,500 hotels on the new combined Marriott / Starwood redemption chart, Domes of Elounda faces the biggest increase.  From 18th August, it will jump from 45,000 points per night to 60,000 points, and from January 2019 it will be 85,000 points!

The sensible thing to do, of course, was to lock in a booking now.  Except that the hotel had been refusing to load its reward availability for 2019 ……

2019 reward availability is now available at Domes of Elounda

We had assumed that the hotel was going to wait until 18th August to load its 2019 availability, given the huge increase in points required.

However, yesterday, rooms became available on

The standard redemption is a suite which sleeps four people (1 king bed, 2 x sofa beds) which is why this is great if you have kids.

As a Marriott Rewards redemption, Domes is currently 45,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.  In reality, Marriott offers five nights for the points of four on reward nights, so five nights would only be 180,000 points.

If this sounds steep, take a look at the cash prices.

It is currently sold out entirely for August, but a one bedroom suite to sleep four is around €700 (£617) per night.   Alternatively, you can use 45,000 Marriott Rewards points.  That works out at 1.37p per Marriott point, compared to my usual 0.5p value.  If you stay five nights and only pay for four, the value is even higher.

Outside school holidays it is a lot cheaper …. but of course it is a family resort and struggles a bit when the kids are in school.

Domes of Elounda 2

Domes of Elounda is even better value when you book a Marriott Travel Package.  I outlined how Marriott Travel Packages work in this article.  You can find details on the Marriott website here.

Domes of Elounda is a Category 9 Marriott property until 18th August.  As far as a travel package goes, it would cost:

320,000 points = 7 nights plus 50,000 Avios or other airline miles, or

340,000 points = 7 nights plus 70,000 Avios or other airline miles, or

370,000 points = 7 nights plus 100,000 Avios or other airline miles, or

390,000 points = 7 nights plus 120,000 Avios or other airline miles

Assuming you value an Avios point at 1p, the 390,000 point package would get you £1,200 of Avios points plus (£617 per night x 7 nights) £4,300 of Domes of Elounda stay at peak season.  That works out at £5,500 of value for 390,000 Marriott Rewards points, or 1.41p per Marriott point.

The value is even higher if you value an Avios at more than 1p, or if you take a different airline currency which you value at more than 1p.

Domes of Elounda 3

But is the hotel any good?

A few HFP readers contacted me after reading about Domes of Elounda on the site.  Amusingly, they had only read about it in the article comments because we hadn’t written about it at that point.

I want to stress that this is not such a good option for couples.  Readers report that 75%+ of guests have children.  There is, however, an adults-only pool and the restaurants rotate in having ‘adults only’ nights.

Reader 1 wrote:

Domes of Elounda was simply amazing. Obviously, very upmarket and the clientele generally reflects that but on top of that the service and location are also major plus points.

The accommodation and food was great with lots of kids options. On points the best room you can get officially is the 1 bed sea facing suite which is what we got. Breakfast was included as we are Marriott Gold and they had a 70 m long family pool. This was if you like the social hub but it never felt crowded and kids mixed and made friends easily. There is also a decent private beach which is not the most amazing beach in the world but they have made it into a good space with atmosphere.

All in all we had a great time and it was probably the best redemption we have done as it was a Marriott Travel Package booked during the ‘35% bonus Avios for transferring from a hotel scheme’ period.  My advice would be to go. You won’t regret it!

Reader 2 wrote:

Just wanted to mention that I recently stayed at Domes of Elounda using a Marriott Travel Package.  Was wonderful, and certainly the best family holiday I’ve ever had.  I booked a “family suite with sea view” using my points (which itself is a few rungs up) and was lucky enough to be upgraded (as Marriott Gold) to a 2-bed luxury residence.  Beautifully appointed 2 bed/2 bath suite with its own swimming pool (which was large enough to do laps in!).  

Given the cash price of around €800 per night, the travel package was a true bargain – I can’t imagine there would be a better use for the package (for a family at least) in Europe, and breakfast is included to boot. Highly recommended and have already booked up for another week next year.

Reader 3 wrote:

What a spot Domes and Elounda itself was, treated very well as a Gold with some pre-arrival email back and forth. Upgrade to a villa with Haute Lounge access, which they are starting to limit now as they don’t have to give it being a resort.

These are all long-term HfP readers who I know.  For clarity, I haven’t been to Domes of Elounda myself but if you have a family it does seem to be working well as an excellent use of Marriott Rewards points.

If are tempted to go, make sure you book for 2019 before 18th August.  The price jumps from 45,000 points per night to 60,000 points per night, and then 85,000 points per night from early 2019.

The hotel website is here if you want to find out more.

Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (July 2021)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year. Until 31st August 2021, the bonus is doubled to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

40,000 points sign-up bonus and Gold Elite status Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (76)

  • Louise says:

    So I have a cat 1-5 package, when would I need to get the points to upgrade this to the cat 9 by?

    • Roger says:

      Until there is availability and definitely before 18th August to avoid higher prices!

  • Phillip says:

    I was there in April and I have to say I was surprised by how reasonable the cash rates were – €200 per night for a one bedroom suite with a whirlpool including breakfast. Even outside holiday season there was a large number of young British families at the hotel.

    Very little Gold status recognition but every single member of staff was outstanding! The hotel owners, I am told, are well loved by the staff and they visit often.

  • Tim says:

    Excellent! All I need to do now is find myself a cost centre and a couple of mini cost centres 🙂

  • Nick M says:

    I assume the costs for breakfast/drinks etc and in keeping with a €700/night hotel?

    • JJG says:

      From previous reader comments, it seems Breakfast is included. Can anyone confirm if it’s the case when booking with Marriott Rewards points?
      What about the evening buffet, any idea of the price per person?

      • Genghis says:

        Breakfast currently for Golds (easy to obtain). Plat from Aug.

      • Mr dee says:

        Breakfast was included being gold but I suspect that it would have been included for none gold members but need someone else to confirm as they didn’t same to value the gold status much, used points.

      • Jonny says:

        Breakfast is included as part of the room for everyone (if you click on the room description it is listed there).
        Evening buffet is €40 though if you get in touch with the hotel beforehand you can get it somewhat cheaper. It’s reasonably good for a buffet IMO.

      • JJG says:

        Thanks all! I should hit Plat before year-end hopefully and good advice regarding the evening buffet.

    • Mr dee says:

      Yes it is, you can email them for the current restaurant prices. I would go out as the menus don’t look that appealing anyway.

  • Graeme says:

    Rob, nice to see some information on family points bookings, I sometimes struggle to find them via IHG, Marriott and Hilton without going through individually. Thanks.

  • Richard says:

    For those that have stayed there, is there much nearby? Mainly interested in if there are restaurants within walking distance as we like a bit of variety if staying somewhere for a week or longer.

  • Mr dee says:

    Worth mentioning the whole place is on a large hill and you have to wait for the electric carts to take you anywhere. The kids area and main pool is on the other side of the hill to the reception and half of the suites, so if you are on the first half you need to get a lift to the other side with the carts. I mention this because it isn’t clear and might be a surprise for people as the electric buggy’s can sometimes take 20 minuted to arrive (off season). The hill is very steep and not a good experience to walk which would take a long time as well, ended up not using the main pool that much because of this. I also wouldn’t bother with the haute lounge too much as the offerings are poor.

    It’s also worth noting it’s 1 hour drive from the airport, or about 80 euros each way. Best idea is to hire a car which would be cheaper even if you leave it in their car park all week, but a very good idea in case you want to go to local restaurants as taxis are 8-10euros a time from the hotel to Elounda which mounts up.

    Yes the restaurants and resort is inline with a 5 star resort but you have many choices at the nearby fishing village (15 min walk) or larger town (8 min drive) which are a lot cheaper with traditional Greek food.

  • Boi says:

    How much in points or cash will it be to upgrade a cat 1-5 package?

    Also, what other marriotts are good family redemptions?

    • Rob says:

      There is a Dubai one which sleeps 5 (Dubai Harbour?) plus the 2 Ritz Carlton resorts in Ras – all 3 covered on here in the past.

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