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InterContinental opening a resort in Crete next year

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An interesting new holiday option for 2023 has appeared, with IHG announcing the new InterContinental Resort Crete.

It sounds impressive, with all 205 rooms having private verandas and half of them having a private jacuzzi.

I don’t know Crete too well, but the hotel promises ‘idyllic views over Mirabello Bay’ and that it will be the only hotel in Agios Nikolaos to offer direct access to the seafront promenade. Heraklion will be the nearest airport, albeit about an hour away.

This is the only image released so far, of the lobby. There is no website yet.

InterContinental Crete

To quote IHG:

“The interior of InterContinental Resort Crete is inspired by elements of the sea, air and rock, and enriched with local history, materials and craft, offering guests the ultimate combination of peace and relaxation. The entrance lobby, lounge and reception will feature an exposed rock face lit from above by a water-filled skylight, drawing from the island’s scenic coastal character.

When it comes to relaxing, the hotel will offer something for every guest with four restaurants, three bars and a range of facilities including a pool terrace, indoor spa, infinity pool deck and rooftop pool. There will also be a wellness and fitness leisure centre, while those looking to work can visit the extensive, fully equipped range of meeting spaces.

Crete is one of Greece’s leading destinations with more than six million visitors thanks to its picturesque beaches, pristine natural beauty, exquisite cuisine and thousands of years of culture and history, including Minoan Era sites such as the Knossos Palace.”

The hotel could be a good opportunity for IHG One Rewards members to test out the new elite benefits, including free breakfast and the ability to guarantee a suite upgrade at the time of booking. There is no mention of a lounge in the publicity material.

The current top branded option in Crete is probably Marriott’s Domes of Elounda, which has been a favourite of HfP readers. I didn’t review my stay a couple of years ago – I preferred to cover BA’s odd link to the area – but a 14-year old reader wrote a review of Domes of Elounda here during our ‘My Favourite Hotels’ feature during covid.

We will update you with news of an opening date as 2023 approaches.

IHG One Rewards update – March 2023:

Get bonus points: Click here for our article on IHG’s ‘2k Every 2 Nights’ promotion, which runs from 9th February 2023 to 14th April 2023. You can register here.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here.

You will receive an 80%-100% bonus when you buy IHG points by 21st March 2023.

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

Comments (37)

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  • Phillip says:

    My last stay at Domes of Elounda in September was very disappointing with very poor service standards, so I’d welcome any worthy new addition. Domes Noruz is the group’s shining star where service is concerned!

    • Chas says:

      I’m off to Domes Noruz for the first this summer, so really pleased to read the positivity of your comment!

      • King says:

        We stayed in Domes Noruz a few weeks ago and the service was incredible. However we did have some issues with our room allocation, specifically the sublime loft sea view. They have two iterations of the room, one with a plunge pool which is on the terrace with a sea view and one with a plunge pool hidden away. They also advertise the pools are heated, they are most definitely not.

        • Chas says:

          Thanks – we had read some review that mentioned that the plunge pools were very “refreshing”, so our expectations were set accordingly. We also read some reviews from repeat customers who preferred the slightly cheaper Upbeat rooms to the Lofts, so have gone for a sea-view one of those. My wife and I are both curious about just how private / visible the terrace of these rooms is though, especially given that is where the bath is! Time will tell I guess… Any other hints / tips?

          • chelseafifi says:

            Currently in Domes of Corfu, HL and hotel room very different to Miramare and Elounda (as I expected with price comparison) only first day but first impression very good, Italian Frourio restaurant excellent last night and Topas looks lovely for later this evening.

          • King says:

            I think they were semi private(vertical slatted wooden panels) we didn’t see many people in their room pools given the sunlight drenched the pool areas perfectly.

            The HLS upgrade isn’t really worth it imo, given the club lounge is a converted business center in the basement.

            They have an indoor pool (in the spa area) which was free to use provided you booked in advance.

            The Golden Bay Bar restaurant next door is perfect for drinks and dinner.

            Taxis in to Chania town each way were meant to be between €7-12 but were always €10. Pallas was a nice gastro bar. (reminder to bring Cash too)

            We booked thru Welcome Pickups return transfers for c.€50. Although the hotel offer something very similar.

            Orthodox Church St Apostoli is on a little hill and has beautiful views of the surrounding areas.

            Happy to answer any questions 🙂

  • TimM says:

    There are thousands of hotels in Crete why such interest in a new chain hotel? Chain hotels were invented to make travel-shy Americans feel they are still in the US when they have to travel abroad. Why not travel to Crete when in Crete?I don’t know why some bother leisure-travelling at all if it is only to stay in a chain hotel.

    Agios Nikolaos was made famous in the 1970’s as the setting of the BBC series ‘Who Pays the Ferryman?’ and is now the most touristy part of the island. Anything nearer Heraklion rather than the other airport, Chania is very touristy. To escape the masses on Crete, you need the Western part of the South coast, i.e. the opposite diagonal to Ag. Nik.

    • Dubious says:

      Does Charon accept Apple Pay these days?

    • Peter K says:

      Why the interest in a chain hotel?
      1. It’s head for points, you can use points there for your stay?!
      2. I’ve stayed at some very uninspiring local hotels when abroad, chain hotels provide some idea in advance of what you are getting.
      3. Saving money on a hotel by using points leaves you more money to spend on visiting the local area.
      4. If you have food allergies/intolerances then big chain hotels are usually much more clued up on this and you don’t lose some holiday either being ill or having to source alternative breakfasts etc when it turns out the place you’re staying at doesn’t even understand the concept of cross contamination, though you checked in advance before booking to stay.

    • SammyJ says:

      Because we generally can’t get free nights in local hotels using reward points?!

      The clue is in the name – if you’re more interested in cash stays at local hotels you might be better on a Lonely Planet forum rather than Head for Points!

    • Frustrated HfPer says:

      Why stay in a chain hotel? People that’s what people want – who are you to judge?

      • jj says:

        You can get free nights plus Avios in local hotels with which has a more generous loyalty programme than most chains.

        For me, my past year’s hotel stays have been 5 big chain, 2 medium chain and 3 owner-managed boutique. And that’s the order they ranked, from worst to best.

        There was one noble exception, the Beekman in NY by Hyatt, that was a good large chain hotel. But it wasn’t bas good as the boutiques.

        • JDB says:

          Sometimes one has to accept that forgoing Avios/points leads to a better outcome. Booking through OTAs etc. means you lose control. I will always check the online prices including but find that by contacting the hotel directly I can invariable secure a better price, get immediate upgrades, better payment terms, specific room allocation etc. and extras that I value, all of which are worth far more than any points. Even chain hotels cooperate with this, although we tend to avoid them where possible.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            I completely agree when it comes to longer, higher-end leisure stays where extras are important. However for more pedestrian stays where they are not (e.g. two nights in Wigan/Slough for work), definitely has a useful role.

          • jj says:

            I broadly agree with what you say, @JDB. In my experience, a polite phone call to an independent hotel will often result in a 10% discount compared with the OTA price. Sometimes, though, the OTA deal is so generous that it’s not worth bothering with direct contact.

          • JDB says:

            @jj I don’t understand the logic of that. Unless the cheap OTA price is an error price (that might not be honoured), the hotel should always be able to undercut it instead of paying commission. I’d also be looking at considerably more than 10% off.

            We were in South Africa earlier this month and left a hotel that we had booked for a week after the first night (for a full refund) and split the rest of the stay between two hotels and also cancelled our hotel for three nights in Cape Town as it was under the same ownership. My wife kindly took it upon herself to sort all this out (while I negotiated the exit/refunds) and at two hotels got 15%+ off the best online price (no upgrade as best rooms anyway) and 20% off the third with a double upgrade to a huge suite. All independent or tiny chain.

            In Argentina I’ve just rebooked the hotel we stayed at in February at 30% off cheapest rate, no prepayment and in Mexico we rebooked for Nov/Dec with a 35% discount, annoyingly less than the 40% we had last year. Both single independents, both fabulous. These people hate OTAs!

          • jj says:

            @JDB interesting data points. From time to time, I do contact hotels directly to seek a better rate, but I have never managed more than 10% discount so I set that as my benchmark. Your experience means that I’ll certainly negotiate harder next time rather than take the first offer. I would certainly always take a 15% discount over hotel points or Avios.

  • Nick says:

    Not sure I can trust IHG… have got a reward booking for the Regent Berlin in September- got an email this morning about a diamond room upgrade… only to find a cash booking for 3 nights from tonight has also appeared on my account.

    Shame I can’t use it as it’s a great deal with the suite upgrade- but slightly more worried how it’s happened – last 4 digits of the card it shows used to book aren’t mine either- so I’m guessing it’s a system mix-up, maybe thanks to being a “Smith” rather than anyone hacking my account or anything… how odd!

    • Whiskerxx says:

      Re IHG
      I also had a cash booking appear in my account for an hotel in Dubai.
      I have a reward booking for December, but this paid stay was yesterday.
      Seemingly booked
      Is there something strange going on?

      • Nick says:

        Interesting it’s not just me. I reckon it’s either a) innocent system upgrade issues linked to the new rewards programme OR
        b) with the new approach to upgrades, some kind of scam trying to leverage free upgrades (or the hotels getting out of upgrading by offering them to fake bookings which never show???)

        Was tempted to leave it and see if the points credit – but that’s presumably a breach of scheme rules and I have a lot of points that I wouldn’t want taken away from me. Slightly reluctant to just cancel the booking though in case it’s a genuine mistake and some poor sod turns up to find they don’t have a room… best give them a call I guess.
        (As an aside, for all the talk about a dedicated diamond helpline, I’m finding it hard to be directed anywhere other than the chatbot…)

      • Rob says:

        Has happened to me before where a hotel typed in the rewards number wrong. I got the points too!

        • Nick says:

          Thanks Rob… was toying with just letting it go- but didn’t want to be accused of lending-out my account for someone else to get an upgrade and risk getting the account cancelled down the line…
          I’ve contacted them now, they were useless, took at least 20 minutes before they even understood the problem. But given I’ve notified them, I guess I can’t be held as at fault now.
          Someone else has got a blooming nice upgrade out of it at the Berlin Regent too!!!

  • jeff77 says:

    Does Crete attract many Brit abroad types or is it easy enough to avoid those scumbags?

    • Michael says:

      Won’t you be a Brit (assuming you’re originally from these sunny shores) abroad if you go on holiday to Greece?

      • jeff77 says:

        There’s a difference between a British person abroad and a Brit abroad.

        A Brit abroad is the type of oik who sings silly songs about the war in town squares and thinks they’re funny

    • Char Char says:

      I would expect if you avoid Chania, Heraklion, Stalis and Malia you would be ok!

    • Richie says:

      There are islands with short runway domestic only flights. There are also islands with no airports at all.

    • BP says:

      Crete is an amazing island. There’s something for everyone from Brits abroad in Malia to 5* luxury. It’s a great place to have a car and explore a little.

      • NorthernLass says:

        Agreed – Knossos is a must-do and there are plenty of other archeological sites which you can often have to yourself. The history of the resistance in WW2 is also very interesting, as is the story of the Spinalonga leper colony which only closed in 1957.

        • jeff77 says:

          Sounds good. I prefer to go on holiday to places with history and character and this sounds right up my street!

        • Ruralite says:

          You might be interested in a book called The Cretan Runner by George Psychoundakis who was a Cretan shepherd boy when the Nazi’s invaded in 1941 and immediately joined the resistance as a runner amongst other things due to his knowledge of the island and mountains. He was later awarded the BEM for his service in the war.

          • Chas says:

            The book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall is similarly great.

    • Dubious says:

      I once visited Chania during January – it was very peaceful, but I could imagine it being busy in the summer.

      There was snow on the mountains and was quite chilly once up high fat from the town. There were also men on the street with shot guns – I assume ready to go hunting for feather animals, but still seemed a bit ominous so I didn’t hang around!

  • Lyn says:

    +1 for The Cretan Runner. Also for hiring a car and exploring the other lesser-known classical archeological sites on Crete. The whole island oozes history, from many different periods. Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books on Greece are also interesting.

  • Michael says:

    We take six trips abroad each year. Two are return trips to the Elounda Beach Hotel. Four are to worldwide places we have never been before. And we hire a car from our friend Maria for 12 of the 14 days in Crete. I cannot recommend the Elounda Beach Hotel highly enough – the Elounda Bay Palace is next door, cheaper and may fit some budgets.

  • Mike says:

    PS. Don’t holiday in Crete in July and August. Busy and hot – impossibly hot on the south coast.

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