Anywhere they give you a welcome fifteen-minute complimentary lay-down-in-a-proper-spa-and-everything back massage as well as a welcome drink when you arrive really is going the extra mile. That’s Numo Ierapetra for you. Going the extra mile.
Even the layout has been carefully considered: no rows of identical rooms but a traditional Greek village feel with a real chapel at its centre and never mind that this place is brand spanking new. A taxi driver once told us that the reason there are so many of these little chapels dotted around in Greece is that you get a tax break if you have a religious building on your land. Double clever in that case.
Having checked in on a huge white sofa in an open-to-the-elements space that works as a bar, a reception, a reading room and a business centre, we walk down towards the sea and start to pick up on that village vibe. Over there are some seats set out facing a huge white concrete screen: an open-air cinema – traditional in Greece – where every night a different film is shown with the mountains as a backdrop. To the other side, a curated boutique of things that you really don’t need but probably quite want: hats, bags, swimwear, pieces of material that you could probably use for lots of things. Oh and a tennis court.
Then, just past the open-air cinema, a large and always-busy gym that spills out onto the grass with TRX and circuits and yoga and outside weights. Actually, we don’t think we’ve ever seen a hotel gym this packed, which is testament to not only the facilities, the PTs that looked they just stepped out of SAS: Who Dares Wins, and the general lush-ness of actual said gym – light, bright, floor-to-ceiling windows, views of olive groves, you get our pretty gist – but the people that Numo attracts. Health conscious, planet conscious, boho-adjacent, smart, sophisticated, which is always a good look. And, dear reader, this is an adults-only resort, for which we thank them.
Beyond that the main restaurant, for breakfast by the sea or a romantic dinner under the stars. And it’s right next to the main pool, so when you are lazing around on one of the huge beds, you can just call over the waitress and she doesn’t have far to come with your falafel burger or healthy salmon salad bowl and draught beer. Oh, and the beach is part of the ‘village’. Private beaches are apparently not allowed in Greece – quite right too! – but you’d never know this wasn’t for your arse only.
Facing that huge amorphous pool is a modern, slatted wooden structure, which is your main bar with contemporary furniture nested just beyond, so you can have your cocktail while looking at the hotel’s signature arches with trees just beyond and beyond those trees the sea. This is where, come sundown, the tunes pipe up a little; but we’re not talking Ayia Napa mashups. We refer you to our ‘sophisticated’ comment a moment ago.
When it comes to rooms, they obviously come in different sizes and prices – prices by the way are pretty damn good bearing in mind the incredible design spec – but all have the same neutral-toned, rope-and-timber beach flavour. Some have little plunge pools and terraces with sofas, others just balconies and rope-strung chairs. But the pool and the bar are just there – it’s not one of those places you need a golf buggy to get around – so you never need to feel cooped up. If you want to splurge the pennies, go for the Evergreen Absolute Suite with its huge outdoor living area (pool included!) Well, we say splurge, but… we refer you to our ‘prices by the way are pretty damn good’ comment a moment ago.
This being the southern side of Crete, the more undiscovered part of the island – even if there have been people here since time immemorial, obviously. Well, it is Greece – there’s not really a town to go out into though you can scuba and ride horses nearby should the fancy take you. And you’ll have the sea pretty much to yourself, especially if you go late season (it stays hot until way into October). That means it’s mainly about staying in the ‘village’, not too tricky a task bearing in mind there’s a smattering of LGBTQs – lesbians frolicking in the pool, some gay couples tanning, us reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (by the way if you haven’t, please do) – and an entirely easy, breezy, grown-up atmosphere. We’re putting in a call to A Place in the Sun as we type.