We've just spent 10 days at the fabulous Sensatori Resort in Crete and we're bubbling over with enthusiasm to share it with you.
Sensatori is not just a hotel complex, but a whole holiday experience. From the swim up rooms, 5 different restaurants, spa treatments, kids' sporting activities and the high quality entertainment for adults and children alike, it really it is impossible to say a bad word about this fantastic place.
The hotel's architecture breaks with traditional hotel design: every block was different and looked as though they had been built at different times, rather than the more usual regimented linear 'stacked box' design that is the norm in resort hotels. The end result resembled a village, built around several swimming pools, with the added advantage that that many of the balconies and terraces offered a private space, as no one balcony seems to overlook the other.
Inside: Our room and bathroom were 5 star luxury which is not something you'd expect from a family resort. As a family with two small(ish) children, we had a two-room swim up suite. Each bedroom opened onto the decking terrace with its sun loungers and table and chairs. Both our children can swim, but there were cleverly designed safety gates that were an integral part of both doors.
Foodwise: We were spoilt for choice with 5 restuarants, all serving good quality food, from the main resturant buffet, to the excellent Thai, the Stonegrill and the A La Carte. We ate in every restaurant, and they were all very impressive, as was the service in all of them.
During the day, the kids could spend hours by the splash pool - with its slides, sprays and ever-filling buckets. Other activities included children's clubs, Reebok football, Razzamatazz drama as well as pool-based sea scooters and SCUBA trials.
Some evenings we'd go to what's called "The Boardwalk", which is an open air theatre where the Sensatori Show Cast would entertain the grown-ups. Other evenings were spent with the kids watching Playhouse Live - featuring Danny & Becky, the co-hosts, in a hilarious and frenetic kids show, that all the children watched and joined in.
Now, we couldn't talk about Sensatori without mentioning the spa, as mum and dad need a little pampering while they are away too. So we also took advantage of that, going for a massage and sauna, which left us both very relaxed. Julia's feet are still glowing from her pedicure!
If all of the above seems a bit full on, what's really incredible about Sensatori is you wouldn't know that it is going on around you. You can be as busy and involved or as laid back as you like - there are no pushy staff trying to get you involved in activities and no annoying announcements. And talking of the staff, everyone we had dealings with were warm, delightful and professional.
But that's enough about the holiday, what this blog is really for is to talk about is creative stuff and brand experience etc... which why we are talking about Sensatori. Thomson Holidays and Atlantica Hotels launched Sensatori in Crete about 18 months ago. We understand the huge undertaking of launching and sustaining a task of this size. The work and the effort that goes into creating a new 'brand' experience from scratch is phenomenal. Considering it was only launched in May 2008, to have established and perfected this 'brand' experience in under 18 months is an incredible achievement. The attention to details in every aspect of this place is brilliant. From the front entrance with its waterfall windows, to the decor of the hallways, the landscaping between the pools, the splash pools, the swim-up rooms, the comfortable furniture throughout, the excellent spa, the overall cleanliness of the resort and the clearly well trained and prepared staff. This is clearly a well oiled machine.
Finally a word on the logo. Mike thinks he read on the wall in the spa, next to an "arty" artwork print of the logo, that the artwork was either inspired by the logo or the inspiration for the logo - but he's not quite sure. However he can confidently state that the Sensatori logo is based on the stones used in a spa.