Crete holiday perfect for sun and relaxation, says Olympian Keely Hodgkinson

AFTER bagging a silver medal for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, Keely Hodgkinson deserved a break.

For the 800m runner, Thomas Cook’s chic, chilled Cook’s Clubs seemed just the ticket, as she headed to one in Crete.

Here is how Keely, 19, enjoyed her stay on the Greek isle . . . 

HOW WAS THE HOTEL? After the Olympics, I was in need of sun, fun and relaxation and a Cook’s Club seemed perfect.

In the popular town of Hersonissos, the adults-only hotel is near a beach and great restaurants — and Malia’s party strip is a ten-minute cab ride.

The mix of things to do was just what I was looking for. The nightlife is great and many places are on or over-looking the beach.

Inside, the hotel is trendily minimalist. Walls are decor-ated with street art and the place has a laid-back vibe. It seemed to attract a younger crowd who are up for a good time but still want a safe and comfy place to crash.

I loved the fact the hotel is so close to the airport. After a four-hour flight from the UK it was just a 20-minute trans-fer — then you can drop your bags in your room and hit the restaurant, bar or pool.

I was travelling with two friends from university and our split-level three-bed mais-onette had space for us to chill out and a great balcony with a view of mountains.

If you’re holidaying with a partner or mate, there are also decent double rooms that are great value.

The main pool had a beach club vibe, with a DJ and super-comfy loungers. There’s also a spa with indoor pool and wonderful treatments.

But with the season still not over for me, I had to check out the gym, and it had more than enough, including a treadmill, bike, cross-trainer and weights.

FOOD UP TO SCRATCH FOR AN OLYMPIAN? My friends and I are all athletes so we look for a hotel with varied food — healthy bites as well as some naughtier options. After all, we are on holiday.

We certainly weren’t short of choice at the hotel’s Cantina restaurant. For breakfast, there are several stations offering everything from local yoghurt, cereals, fruit, pastries and Greek cheese, to bacon, eggs, mushrooms and all the trimmings.

Or the chef can whip up an omelette with veg or cheese, which would have been ideal if we were training.

The Cantina also serves hearty lunches — our fave was the sweet and sour chicken — as well as dinners of pasta and salad and lighter bites from the all-day menu.

GO: Crete

Thomas Cook has seven nights’ B&B at the 4H Cook’s Club Hersonissos, including flights from Gatwick, from £312pp, arriving May 11, 2022.

See thomascook.com.

WHAT ABOUT RESTAURANTS NEARBY? Mexican joint El Puerto, on the seafront, serves Instagram-worthy nachos and fajitas or spicy seafood dishes and pizza.

Be sure to enjoy a cocktail or five while at the hotel. There are classic margaritas as well as more unusual mixes like the El Zombi — with tequila, chilli liqueur, pine-apple and passion fruit, all in a black skull-shaped glass.

For the morning after, we stumbled on the Boho Cafe which does strong coffee and delicious desserts. Try the fabulous kataifi — a crispy, lemon-scented cake packed with a sugary, gooey filling.

HOW DID YOU UNWIND? With bustling nightlife close by, we could dip in and out. You don’t have to head to Malia either.

The Palm Beach club is a five-minute walk, as well as BioBio, which became our go-to.

Overlooking the sea, BioBio is buzzing with people our age drinking cocktails.

If you’re a daytime partyer, trendy King Scorpio beach bar has day beds and DJs.

Crete’s weather is a big draw too, especially in September and October when it can be rubbish in Britain — it was 30C most days for us.

GET ANY TRAINING IN? Aside from the hotel gym, there’s plenty in the area that will keep fitness enthusiasts like me and my friends busy.

We rented quad bikes, 40 euros each per day, from a shop 20 metres up the road.

After zooming up into the mountains, we explored the village of Mochos with its pretty courtyards, al-fresco cafes and breathtaking sea views.

Take the ride to Malia if you get the chance and stop off at the sandy Nisos beach en route. Here, you can swim out to the islet of Afentis Christos.

For thrill-seekers, there’s the Aqua Plus water park, with slides, rides, pools and a lazy river. Entry is 28 euros and it’s only a ten-minute cab ride from the hotel.


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