Can’t decide between a beach, fitness or wellness escape? At Daios Cove in Crete you can have it all, discovers Mary Comber…

daios cove crete review

Aeriel Yoga class at Daios Cove, Crete

I’m floating above the Aegean Sea, free as a bird. Far below, a speedboat cuts through the azure water and holidaymakers laze on golden sand. It’s so peaceful, my mind drifts happily away until a voice interrupts my daydream…

‘OK everyone, time to come up. Use your arms to pull yourself upright’. It’s my third day at Crete’s luxury beach resort, Daios Cove, and I’m hanging upside down in my first-ever aerial yoga class. Our glass-walled, cliffside studio offers breathtaking views over the sea. This adds an extra thrill as we swing, dive (and wobble) our way through the session. It’s fun, a little nerve wracking and totally liberating.

I haul myself into the hammock (arms protesting after an early morning HIIT class), then unfold the silky fabric around me to create a luxurious cocoon for our final relaxation. Bliss. Normally, the gym is the last place you’d find me on holiday. Why be indoors when Mother Nature’s playground is outside? But then, Daios Cove is no ordinary resort…

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Visiting Daios Cove in Crete

Carved into a hillside overlooking a secluded bay on Crete’s northeast coast, this five-star, family-friendly retreat blends so seamlessly with nature, you’re immersed in elemental beauty from dusk till dawn – even in the gym.

Tiers of guest rooms and villas tumble down the hill to a stunning, sandy beach and there are dazzling views at every turn. Watch the sun rise over the shimmering sea as you wallow in your private infinity pool, admire the show-stopping Ocean Bar pool as you stroll down the resort’s zig-zagging, blossom-laden paths, soak up sunset as you sip sundowners on the sand at The Beach House bar and restaurant.

Fitness and spa at Daios Cove

I hop on Daios Cove’s cute funicular railway (which whisks you from villa to beach) and jump out at the resort’s sparkling new jewel in the crown – state-of-the-art wellness centre, Kepos by Goco.

Inside this stunning 2,500m2 spa heaven, you can heal and hone your body and mind with cutting-edge diagnostics, regenerative therapies (from cryotherapy to vitamin infusions), luxury pampering treatments, sound baths, yoga and – excitingly – BXR Fitness training. The high-end London gym has created three, awesome workout spaces, including a hilltop outdoor BXR Arena for classes and week-long BXR retreats.

Related: Whole body cryotherapy: health, fitness & weight loss benefits

Discover your health goals at Daios Cove

daios cove crete review

Sunset at Daios Cove, Crete

Stepping into Kepos’s ethereal lobby, all creamy marble and floor-to-ceiling sea views, I’m bathed in soothing serenity. I float past a jaw-droppingly beautiful lap pool and thermal-bathing suite, and check in with spa doctor George, for a Wellness Lifestyle Consultation and diagnostic tests.

After discussing my goals (to gain lean body mass), I step onto a revolving Styku 3D Body scanner. This will provide a forensic report on my external and – eek – internal body composition. Next, George straps me into a breathing mask and heart-rate monitor for a Pnoe biometric test to reveal my metabolic rate, lung/heart health, cellular function, and risk of chronic disease.

Among the fascinating results, my lung fitness gets top grade (thank you, yoga), my fat-burning powers could do better. ‘To meet your goals, you need to eat 300 extra calories a day and do resistance training,’ adds George. I leave clutching a schedule of treatments and workouts. Then, I head to dinner to make a start on those calories at Taverna restaurant, where we feast on divine Greek dishes created with local ingredients.

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Intense workouts tailored to you

The following morning, I rise at dawn, excited for my first BXR Cardio class at the super-cool BXR Outdoor Functional Area. I’ve had an introductory session with BXR London coach Daniel who took me through key conditioning moves, skillfully improving my form and offering gems of training wisdom. Now, the beats start pumping and our high-energy session begins…

‘Girl on the ropes, let’s do this!’ cries a BXR coach. Ignoring my body’s cries for breakfast, I dig deep and whip the battle ropes frenziedly until the HIIT burst is up and I stagger to the next workout station. ‘Let me hear that fan!’ yells the trainer as I jump on an air bike and pedal so furiously, I’m sure my legs will ignite.

As the music pumps louder and our ripped coaches urge us on, I grit my teeth through a fast-and-furious circuit of box jumps, deadlifts, sled pushes, tyre flips, until our last heart-racing round is complete and I collapse in a sweaty heap, laughing in relief. I sink into Kepos’s heated vitality pool and let the massage jets pummel away any incoming DOMS.

Relaxing in Crete

For the rest of our holiday, we fall into a happy rhythm. When not in the gym and spa, we chill by the pool or beach, take a catamaran trip along the rocky coastline to swim in crystalline waters, sample the resort’s bounty of activities (from watersports to tennis) and dine
at its six equally delicious restaurants.

On our final evening, an amazing 111Skin massage eases my muscles after a challenging Pilates class. And, following sessions in the space-pod-like hyperbaric oxygen chamber (good for cellular repair) and cryotherapy chamber (-87oC!), I feel sparklingly revitalised, ready to take on the world again.

Rooms at Daios Cove cost from €412 per night, based on two sharing a Deluxe Sea View Room on half-board basis. Find out more at

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Words: Mary Comber