Stay the night: Atlantica Sensatori, Crete

The living's easy at this full-board-plus resort in the Greek islands, but you'll need a will of iron to avoid an expanding waistline
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The Independent Travel

The great return to school has left the coast clear for some quality adult pampering while there's still sunshine to be had. Crete is ideal for autumn getaways, with temperatures nudging 30C (86F) well into October, while a breeze off the Aegean takes the sting out of the heat.

If you've been running on empty and need a week of nothing to do, and all day to do it, then Thomson's Sensatori resort, near Hersonissos, will oblige with all-inclusive stays at its five-star hotel on Lyttos beach, near the north-coast village of Analipsi. The food is excellent, the beds superb, there's a fully equipped gym, and it has one of the best spa centres on the island, with 18 treatment rooms and hot and cold pools.

Sensatori Crete opened in May 2008 and Thomson has added a second, in Mexico, this summer while a third, in Tenerife, opens in May 2010. It will follow the same template: a haven for couples that is also family friendly but without letting the kids dictate. There is, for example, an adult-only breakfast and sun-bathing area and, betwixt the Abba and Beatles tribute shows, there are stand-up comics with performers flown in from the Jongleurs clubs to entertain the over-18s.

The rooms

There are six types of room, from twins or doubles and family rooms, to suites with swim-up pools or private dip pools on your own large balcony. The decor is super-modern with Hellenic touches. Simple white marble tiled floors; glittered, gritted wallpaper, alternating with fern patterns; large vases; white snake-skin patterned leather-look sofas and chaises-longues alongside flat-screen TVs, efficient air-con and electrics controlled from a central push-button pad. Classical opulence meets modern plumbing in the bathrooms. The dappled-black marble sink surrounds and large gold-framed mirrors hit you first. Then the brown and white marbled tiles with ornate reflective gold borders catch the eye. Greek-made homeopathic smellies, from Korres Natural Products, are topped up daily. There's also a Jacuzzi-style bath, but the power shower's the star – with fixed and adjustable heads, a tap for sandy feet and legs, plus six horizontal jets for an invigorating body blast.

The food and drink

The inclusive package covers three meals a day with wine, beer and soft drinks free at mealtimes. The quality is universally high. There are six restaurants: the Red Safron taverna offers traditional Greek food and has a groaning buffet and barbecue; the Tex Mex cantina has a three-course menu for lunch and dinner, from nachos and buffalo wings to fajitas, quesiladas, burritos, tacos – the whole enchilada, in fact; the Five Flavours Thai restaurant, gives a welcome change of gear; while the main restaurant has a staggering selection from its buffet that's guaranteed to fill your plate; there's also a Stone Grill eatery and the Al Dente à la carte restaurant, which focuses on haute cuisine. The last two fall outside the inclusive package, although €15 (£13) per adult is deducted from your bill if you eat there.

Beware breakfast. The cooked options are so tempting ... I put on a pound a day. For day trips, packed lunches can be provided – so there's no need to worry about missing out if you take one of the planned excursions including Heraklion, Knossos or the gorge of Samaria.

The extras

The service at Sensatori is top notch. There are robes, slippers, fresh roses, a twice-daily visit from the chocolate (or cake) fairy, and a daily selection of fresh, sliced fruit brought to your room all help to make you feel pretty special.

The access

One area of the resort is totally accessed by a combination of ramps and lifts, while more specific needs can be provided for if notice is given.

The bill

Thomson (0871 231 5595; thomson.co.uk) offers seven nights at Sensatori Crete, part of its Premier Collection, on a full-board-plus basis from £716 per person based on two sharing, departing 20 October from Gatwick. Price includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and all taxes and charges.

The address

Atlantica Caldera Palace, Analipsi Hersonissou, 70014 Heraklion (00 30 28970 26500; sensatori@atlanticahotels.com).

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