Centrally located in the mid-point of the Hersonissos region, which itself is approximately in the center of the north shore of Crete, vast, sprawling, 70-acre Star Beach Village & Water Park is built for fun. Fun for families, and fun for young adults.
About a half hour east of Iraklion’s Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport, Star Beach’s location gives you access to all kinds of interesting places in the area, such as the ancient Minoan Knossos Palace (30 min west.), the party town of Malia and its Minoan ruins(10 min. east), and quaint, interesting Agios Nikolaos (30 min. east).
Star Beach Village is a large, busy resort with 395 rooms, all of which were completely renovated in 2016-17, with an Annex building constructed during the off-season in 2019, about 150m directly across from the main building and accessed via a tunnel under a local road. The Annex, known as Star Beach City, has its own pool and snack bar. Much of the pathway and patio system is brick-paved, with interesting white cultured stone decorations throughout the property. Sometimes they’re used as planters, other times as support pillars, corners of buildings, fake grottos in some pools, and even a complete open air building right out of the Flintstones. Throughout the brick-paved walkways there are a lot of strategically-placed mature palm trees. There are also a lot of serpentine waterways throughout the grounds. The hotel’s main pool is 700 sq. meters, with an open air Jacuzzi and an adjacent kid’s pool and playground.
Directly adjacent to the hotel is an expansive water park divided into 2 main sections. On the one hand there is a family area, which is a bit calmer and quieter and ideal for small children, and on the other is an area specializes in water sports and more vigorous activities. Star Beach Village has 3 large restaurants, 2 bars, 2 snack bars, 2 ATMs, a fitness center, and tons of amenities.
Guests praise Star Beach for its family-friendliness (one rated it the best family resort they had stayed at so far in Europe), entertainment options, the quality of food and the wide selection of menu items, comfortable rooms and beds, and the friendly and helpful staff. Guests placed particular emphasis on the great facilities of the water park, which in many cases was the deciding factor in choosing Star Beach.
Rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. The colour scheme predominates in shades of crème and lighter earth tones. Some rooms have powder blue ceilings as well as a wall or two of powder blue. Rooms are open, airy, and comfortable. Most rooms are tiled in a pleasant shade of tan. There are a lot of lightly stained wood elements in the furnishings such as bed headboards, dressers, closets and desks. Large sliding doors to private balconies and terraces allows the indoor spaces to flow smoothly into the outdoor spaces. Some rooms which sleep up to 4 have space-saving bunk beds.
Room amenities include accessibility features, safe deposit box, free Wi-Fi, fridge, hairdryer, individually controlled air conditioning, choice of mountain, side sea, sea, and pool views, and lots more.
Double rooms come in four categories. Double rooms give you plenty of open space with wide sliding doors leading either to a furnished terrace or balcony, depending on the floor.
Double Economy Room
Double Economy Room, which can be found in the Star Beach City Annex Building (connected to the main resort via a tunnel under a local road). An interesting touch in the Double Economy Room is the vertical wood slats attached to the wall and serving as the double bed’s headboard. You can also choose 2 single beds if you prefer.
The Double Room Garden View and the Double Room Sea View offer a double bed and a single (or 3 singles), to sleep a total of 3 guests, which is perfect for small families. The only difference between these two spacious accommodations is that the Sea View gives you a very pleasant panorama of the hotel’s pools, with a wide vista of the sea in the distance. This wide-open vista both inspires and relaxes. The Double Room Garden View, on the other hand, offers a serene view of the resort’s meticulously cared-for grounds and it’s sub-tropical vegetation.
Standard Family Room Land View
Standard Family Room Land View is a large, comfortable roomy space suitable for the entire family. There is a separate children’s room with 2 beds, and a main sleeping room equipped with a double bed and up to 3 single beds. In addition, there is an extra W.C. for a total of 2. Land View offers a nice view of the manicured, well-watered lawn and various trees, shrubs, and footpaths from the shaded private terrace, or a view of the resort from the balcony on upper storey rooms.
Superior Family Room
Superior Family Room is pretty much the same as the Standard Family Room Land View (“…a large, comfortable roomy space suitable for the entire family. There is a separate children’s room with 2 beds, and a main sleeping room equipped with a double bed and up to 3 single beds. In addition, there is an extra W.C. for a total of 2.”) The main difference is that the Superior Family Room is larger, and up to 5 adults can stay instead of up to 4.
Star Suite Sea View
Star Suite Sea View is one of the newer rooms (2016). It’s among the closest rooms to the beach, with a magnificent view of the sea. It comes with a double bed and an additional single. The balcony sliding door opens to an unparalleled view of the Sea of Crete. Bathroom has textured white walls and a free-standing sink.
Food and Drink
Star Beach has, on-site, 3 restaurants, a beach bar, 2 pool-snack bars, and a lobby bar for your drinking and dining pleasure.
The Minos Main Restaurant is in the resort’s main building. Its indoor seating is comfortable large and well-illuminated. It also has an expansive outdoor area. This buffet-style restaurant features show cooking stations where you can follow food prep in real time.
Operating in a glass-wall structure close to the beach, the Cretan Star Restaurant on the grounds of the Star Beach Water park. It specializes in local Cretan and Greek cuisine and heavy use of locally-sourced ingredients. There are a lot of seafood courses available, all of it fresh and locally caught. You just can’t beat a meal of seafood by the water.
The Asian Star Chinese and Japanese Restaurant is also pleasantly sited as an indoor-outdoor venue on the east side of the resort, near the family area of the water park. Lots of Cretan sunlight illuminates its interior seating. The restaurant offers daily sushi sessions, where you can see the secrets of sushi prep in real time. In addition, there is a full range of classic Chinese and Japanese menu items on offer.
A seaside venue on the east side of the water park Thalassa Beach Bar serves tasty, cooling deserts such as all kinds of flavours of ice cream, as well as refreshing beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. You can also order fresh fruit, waffles, crepes, and hot beverages.
Located in a spacious indoor-outdoor poolside building and terrace with a roof that cleverly mimics the waves of the sea, the Dionyssos Pool Snack Bar is built for sunlight and relaxation, and is the perfect place to take a break from your sunbathing or swimming routine during the hottest part of the day. Make new friends, enjoy the sunset at the end of the day, and order from the wide selection of menu items which include the whole gamut of liquid refreshment as well as all kinds of quickly prepared snacks.
The Helios Lobby Bar is a favourite meeting point in this large resort. Relax in the large upholstered furnishings or have a seat at the bar and enjoy the optical-illusionany bar back. Helios offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and is the resort’s main bar.
An open air building right at beachside, the Blue Star Pool-Snack Bar has mostly outdoor seating and offers all kinds of refreshments as well as a wide selection of snacks and sandwiches. You can find it on the west side of the water park by the sea. As a special treat, the Blue Star offers a wok bar, where all kinds of Asian fare can be whipped up at a moment’s notice by its experienced chef.
Activities: Water, Water Everywhere
Water is the keyword for recreation at Star Beach. There is the large main pool, an adjacent kiddie pool, there are several sandy beaches, some of them quite small and private, and there are the wonders of the water park, with its 8 swimming pools and countless ways to have fun, both family style in the family section, and a little more edgy in the park’s other section.
The hotel’s main pool is a whopping 700m2, and comes with a convenient outdoor Jacuzzi. In addition there are several kid’s pools, one of which has a really cool mockup of a pirate ship, and several of which have slides. Many of the pools are connected by a serpentine waterway. Another of the kid’s pools is a mini water park, with tube slides and mushroom umbrellas in the water, and smaller open slides for toddlers.
There are several small beaches, accessed by flights of stairs down to the sand, as the hotel is built on a slight elevation. The sand is fine and sugary. An additional treat is that there are a number of limestone formations between the beaches jutting out into the sea, which makes for excellent snorkeling as small sea creatures love to hide in the rocks’ nooks and crannies. The water is an exquisite, ultra-clear aquamarine. The hotel sprawls for several hundred meters along the seafront, almost like a promenade in a seaside village.
Arranged in a large area of 4 acres, the water park is popular with locals (entry fee at this writing is €8/day). It has very long, convoluted tube slides, open air slides 70m long, all kinds of water sports (at extra charge), and, as mentioned, a more laid-back, kid-friendly section. The park also has 2 lazy rivers, a baby pool, mini slides. There are also a number of bars and restaurants throughout the park.
In addition, there are a whole range of water sports on tap at the beach such as tube sailing, jet ski, etc.. There’s even a permanent crane on-site for some breathtaking bungee jumping over shallow water if you’re feeling brave.
In the Area
The Hersonissos region of Crete is one of the most popular, thanks to its central location, and the variety of places one can go for day trips. Beyond that, there are lots of places a hop, skip and jump away for day trips. For the sake of brevity, we’re going to concentrate on two areas of major interest close to Star Beach, Heraklion, and Hersonissos.
Let’s start with one of Crete’s favourite destinations and only a half hour west of Star Beach by bus, Heraklion. This ancient capital has tons of worthy things to do and places to go. There’s the scenic Venetian Harbour, guarded, at its entrance, by the massive, bevel-sided structure called by the Venetians the Rocca al Mare fortress (Sea Fortress). It's mostly known now by its Turkish name, Koules (Water Tower). It’s the emblem of Heraklion, just as the Parthenon is that of Athens. A huge, round bastion projects into the harbor from the southeast corner of the rectangular fort.
Heraklion has expanded greatly beyond its original city walls. Its old city is a much smaller, roughly circular area enclosed by the walls. Its diameter is just over a kilometer, which means its points of interest are all within walking distance.
The Basilica of St. Mark is one of the most important Venetian structures of Heraklion. It now houses the Municipal Art Gallery. It's open daily. This simple stone building with its arched front portico was built in 1239, early in the rule of Venice over Heraklion, to honor Venice's patron saint. The Venetian Loggia is a 2-story rectangular Italian structure demarcated by parallel rows of arches on both floors, with an arcade on the ground floor. It now hosts the Heraklion City Hall. Across from the Loggia is Theokotopoulo Park, the largest green space in the old city center. In the park there is a bust of Spanish Renaissance painter and Heraklion native, El Greco, whose name in Greek was Dominicos Theotokopoulos.
Heraklion has a number of good museums, among which is the Historical Museum of Crete. Closed on Sundays and holidays, the museum in housed in a 3-story mustard-colored neoclassical building built in 1903 and donated to the Society of Cretan Historical Studies as a museum space in 1952. Among the exhibits in its 22 rooms, there is an overview of Cretan history using small exhibits. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum’s exhibits cover 5,500 years of human history. It has the largest and most complete display of artifacts from the Minoan Civilization in the world, many of them master works. This was Europe's first developed civilization. Its displays include original fresco fragments from the palace of Knossos (2,000 BC), including the famous bull jumper. You’ll find lots of other things to do in Heraklion. This is just a taste.
About 5 km. south of Heraklion is Knossos, the principle population center of Minoan civilization, and the site of the largest Minoan Palace ever built (20,000 square meters, or 5 acres). Knossos was the largest Bronze Age settlement in Greece, and the oldest European city.
Closer to Star Beach is Hersonissos, known as the playground for the young and the young at heart. Hersonissos is the name of a town, and a municipality, lining a stretch of the northern Cretan coastline which runs NW-SE for about 5 km. Star Beach is part of this area. Hersonissos is just west of the busy party town of Malia. Like Malia, Hersonissos is a place of intense partying and playing. Built for the under-30 crowd, Hersonissos nevertheless has some things to offer those of all ages.
Aquaworld Aquarium, in Hersonissos 300 m inland from the New York Beach club, just east of the harbor, a natural history museum, was founded in 1995, is an aquarium and reptile rescue center. It features snakes, lizards, and tortoises which can be safely fed and handled by visitors and children. It is one of only 3 aquariums in Greece. It also displays a variety of local marine life in aquariums.
Hersonissos’ Lychnostatis Open Air Museum is a collection of Cretan folk tradition artifacts originally owned by an ophthalmologist named Yiorgos Markakis. The museum, located near the harbor, purposes to show elements of Cretan folk life, including in its exhibits such objects as wine and olive presses, a distillery, a herb and a cactus garden, fruit orchards, a folk art gallery, weaving and ceramic workshops, an auditorium used for staging performances, and an annual "Traditional September" celebration, featuring dancing performances and wine tasting.
The Black Rose Pirate Boat leaves mid-morning from the harbor daily. This mock up of a pirate ship, an homage to the privateers who used to plague the waters in the area, is an all-day excursion along the caves, inlets, and coast to the village and resort of Sissi, about 12 km east of Hersonissos, where there is a 1-hour stopover. Barbeque lunch is served, and the "pirate" crew and captain, wearing bandannas and striped baggy trousers, are very friendly, especially to kids. If you're lucky the captain will let you steer the boat.
No trip to Hersonissos would be complete without a day spent absorbing the traditional life of Upper Hersonissos. As in all Greek villages, there is the brick-paved town square, the cafes, the restaurants with their white table cloths and outdoor seating, and a chance to see the more normal daily life of the village. A visit to the local church to admire its Byzantine-style icons and other artwork and contemplate in its quiet interior is also a rewarding experience.
People who stay at Star Beach tend to really love it; there’s enough to do and see just inside the resort to keep you busy for days, with the added bonus of there being lots to do and see in the area.
Themistokleous 5, Chersonisos 700 14, Crete
(+30) 28970 293-51
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