Greece’s newest opening,CAYO Exclusive Resort and Spa,is taking Cretan gastronomy to a whole new level. The dream destination for discerning gourmands, the design-led hotel has opened with four restaurants, each with menus curated by Chef Lefteris Lazarou, the first Greek Chef to be awarded with one Michelin Star. Adopting a farm-to-fork ethos, dishes use the freshest ingredients and locally sourced produce from selected eco-friendly farms and the resort’s own organic garden.
Overlooking charming Elounda bay, CAYO sits in lesser-discovered Plaka, a quaint village of traditional tavernas, boutique shops, and a quiet, pebble beach. It’s this locale that inspired the menu at Kelari, with gourmet interpretations of timeless Greek classics. As the sun sets, dine on traditional fare on the romantic terrace with unrivalled views of the islet of Spinalonga, former leper colony and setting for Victoria Hislop’s The Island. From slow-cooked lamb to fresh-from-the-ocean seabass, the dishes found on Kelari’s sophisticated menu burst with flavours local to Elounda. Mediterranean eatery Sage & Thyme boasts an equally beautiful view of the islet and impresses with fresh flavours, vibrant colours, and heady aromas in zesty salads and hand-stretched pizzas.
Stone Beach House is the perfect daycation destination. Positioned on CAYO’s private spot of Plaka Beach – complete with sunbeds and parasols – vibrant cocktails accompany light mezze dishes, from octopus carpaccio to freshly-baked bruschetta. Back at the hotel, the sleek Enastron Bar provides an all-day coffee pitstop and refreshing beverages and cocktails which can be enjoyed on the spacious veranda, perched next to the resort’s glistening pools. With a menu inspired by cuisine from around the world, breakfast and dinner are also served in the Ambrosia Restaurant, where a carefully curated children’s menu tempts even the fussiest eater.
Chef Lefteris Lazarou inherited the secrets of international cuisine from his father, who worked as a ship-chef. After mastering international dishes, Lazarou perfected Greek cuisine and interpreted much-celebrated dishes in his own unique way. He opened the renowned Varoulko in Athens, a restaurant specializing in seafood dishes made entirely of ingredients handpicked from daily visits to the local markets – a tradition in place to this day. Having won multiple awards and a Michelin Star, Lazarou now injects his culinary flair into the menus at CAYO Exclusive Resort and Spa – set to be Crete’s most sought-after gourmet destination.
CAYO Exclusive Resort and Spa opened in August 2020 with a unique, terraced architecture inspired its historic locale. Each luxury room and villa boast private plunge pools and panoramic views over the ocean and Spinalonga islet – a UNESCO World Heritage List nominee. Guests can take advantage of world-class wellness in the Armonia Spa, explore hidden coves on boat trips or snorkel the bay of Mirabello in search of marine life.