We are off to Crete. No sooner had the hotel confirmation email pinged into my inbox than the Googling began…
- Crete: the largest and most populous of the Greek Islands.
- The weather? Polý zestó. (Very hot.)
- Oh hi Eros. I love a bit of Greek Mythology… And our destination, Paradise Island Villas, is made up of 12 individually designed villas each named after a Greek god or goddess.
Another email arrives: we have been upgraded free of charge.
Goodbye executive villa, hello paradise villa, Poseidon. I love this place already!The Googling frenzy continues…
- Poseidon: God of the sea. Cue slo-mo image of Mr and Mrs Smith skipping hand in hand through the waves.
- Poseidon: also known as ‘Earth Shaker’, since he’s said to cause earthquakes.
Yikes: enough Googling for one night; then Mr Smith gives me a wink at the mention of the earth moving – easy tiger.
We arrive at our boutique bolthole, and have barely had a chance to admire the sea to one side, and the mountains and olive groves to the other, when we are greeted by our hosts: effervescent Eleni, and her trusty second-in-command, Pol (pronounced Paul). Our bags are whisked away and traded for a glass of chilled wine. A short walk from the cool, sleek hotel reception through well-tended gardens with vibrant magenta bougainvillea blooms draped over each villa like feather boas around the necks of dancing girls, and we are at our new home.
As Pol opens the door to our villa, Little Miss Smith bursts inside and shrieks at the sight of a kiddie corner: an Etch-a-Sketch, some building blocks and inflatables… she is in her element. I am just as delighted when I opened the fridge door to find it stocked with a few necessities – OK, I’ll be mother… Who wants a cuppa?
Striking the perfect balance between comfort, luxury and style and a unique combination of rustic and ethnic elements, the neutral tones are peppered with a fancy jewel-coloured glass chandelier and an oriental sideboard declares elegance.
Sat at a table next to the glistening pool under a gazebo, lanterns hanging from olive trees giving off a subtle glow, our first meal feels like a special celebration. Mediterranean and Greek dishes made with fresh local produce mean that we have that most pleasant of difficult decisions. The Ambrosia restaurant, our waiter Mike explained, was named after the food and drink of the Greek gods or demigods, often depicted as conferring ageless immortality upon whoever consumed it. The promise of eternal youth was tempting – but unnecessary as my catch of the day tasted divine as did Mr Smith’s meatballs bathed in wine and herby tomato sauce. Little Miss Smith was chuffed with her mini meatballs, which were served up as though she were at a kid’s party. For us, dessert washed down with copious amounts of local wine seemed our professional duty when it came to putting the eternal youth theory to the test. All for research purposes, you understand.
Throughout our stay it became clear that nothing was too much trouble for our hosts. On our first morning Mr Smith, a true Brit abroad, was told that the kitchen unfortunately didn’t stock brown sauce to accompany his breakfast; the following morning his full English arrived along with a big pot of HP Sauce for Mr Creature of Habit. Now that’s exceptional service.
Our days were spent relaxing on a huge daybed next to one of the communal pools or hanging in our secluded garden scantily clad like Aphrodite and Adonis and taking the occasional dip in our very own pool with our little cherub. Late afternoons we would retreat for a soak in the jacuzzi bath which Mr and Mrs Smith both fitted into perfectly. All that was missing was suitable music to set the mood. The theme tune of Dora The Explorer wasn’t quite what we had in mind. That’ll be the surround-sound speakers blasting from downstairs for a certain Miss Smith sprawled on the sofa.
Despite Miss Smith being adamant we were going to live in our luxury villa forever the inevitable came and we reluctantly had to say goodbye to Eleni and Pol, our perfect hosts and new friends. Needless to say we’ll be in ‘paradise’ again – quicker than you can say polý zestó.
Presenting, producing and writing – Sam likes to keep busy. She manages to fit in being a mum to daughter April who came along in 2010. Throwing herself into motherhood and loving every minute of it (well, almost) Sam was keen to find a place where like-minded mums or mums-to-be could hangout during cracker snacks, nappy changes or during night feeds for a mixture of fun, facts and friendship through her website, Mumazine.