In October we headed down to Domes of Elounda in Crete for a week. This hotel has been covered on HfP – most recently in this ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – and I don’t want to go over old ground by reviewing it again. We paid the standard rate so I have no obligation to the hotel.
To summarise quickly, Domes of Elounda is – as readers have reported in the past – one of the highest quality family hotels in Europe.
Note the ‘in Europe’ caveat, of course, as there isn’t a lot of competition for that prize. Whilst it can’t compare with the glitzy resorts of Asia or the Middle East, Domes is only a short haul flight away. You also get the pleasure of walking or taking a speedboat down the coast to visit the nearby towns and villages.
You can book Domes of Elounda on Marriott Bonvoy points and, despite steep points price rises, remains decent value in peak season, especially as you get 5 nights for the points of 4.
Where does British Airways comes into this?!
Domes overlooks the Bay of Elounda. A five minute speedboat ride from the hotel is the derelict island of Spinalonga, occupied for centuries but used most recently as a leper colony. To my great surprise, one of the old stores:
….. has been turned into a small British Airways exhibition.
Here is the story. Note that the images are photos of photos which accounts for the quality.
The bay of Elounda was, at one point, used as a supply base for Imperial Airways (one of the predecessors of British Airways) flying boats.
During the 1930’s, Imperial Airways had a base ship MV Imperia moored in the bay:
In August 1938, as an example, there were eight weekly flights from the UK to Egypt which landed in the bay to refuel. From Egypt, the flying boats would continue to Calcutta and then Sydney.
London to Sydney was a 10 day trip at a time when the equivalent boat journey would take 30 days.
The exhibition includes a card from the Lambert & Butlers ‘Imperial Air Routes’ cigarette card series. (Young readers should ask their grandparents about cigarette cards ….) It shows a flying boat called Scipio passing over the Acropolis. The notes on the back say:
“After having taken fuel aboard at Athens, the Scipio starts on the crossing of the Mediterranean, passing down the islands on the east coast of Greece via Crete, where the Imperial Airways motor yacht Imperia is stationed. She is used as a wireless station and refuelling point.”
On 22nd August 1936, an Imperial Airways flying boat crashed in Elounda Bay:
There were fatalities but no details are given.
The exhibition has a lot more photographs in it, although there is little more of the story behind Elounda. We are not told how long Imperial Airways operated from there, when it began or why and when it ended.
If you visit Domes of Elounda, take a trip over to Spinalonga and see for yourself. Some resort packages include, as ours did, a free speedboat trip and private guided tour.
The resort website is here if you want to know more.
Get extra bonuses when booking
If you are thinking of visiting Domes of Elounda, our hotel booking specialist Emyr Thomas can get you extra benefits as he is a member of Marriott’s Luminous programme for luxury travel agents.
All bookings via Emyr come with:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Complimentary breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
- Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary wi-fi
You would also receive Marriott Bonvoy points as usual. You can contact Emyr via this form.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.