My Crete retreat: The new Greek resort where Lisa Maxwell found some family time

I'd never been to Crete before – actually, amazing as it might seem, this was my first visit to Greece.

But when I looked at the photographs of the hotel I would be staying in – Daios Cove – I was instantly captivated: the place looked stunning. Daios Cove is a new luxury beach resort on the north-east coast of Crete, ten minutes from Agios Nikolaos, on a hillside overlooking its own private sandy beach. And it's less than an hour's drive from Heraklion airport.

I had swotted up a bit on Crete's history before I went and knew that the island boasts of the world's most important archaeological sites, but we were after quality family time, and that's exactly what we got.

Daios Cove

Captivating: Daios Cove villas overloko the resort and pretty, enclosed beach

Our first glimpse of the resort was sensational. As we approached, it just seemed to pop up out of the rocks, as if the hotel had grown out of the cove or risen out of the sea. It's a very, very clever piece of architecture.

I was on holiday with my partner Paul and my 12-year-old daughter Beau, and we had a gorgeous villa with its own pool. When we arrived, we threw open the big sliding windows and stood there drinking in the wonderful view of the cove and the beautiful, deep green sea beyond.

Beau had her own room, which made her think she was Paris Hilton. With a whole floor to herself and her own en suite bathroom, she felt as if she was living the dream.

Like most 12-year-olds, she thinks she's going on 18 and almost straight away she was lying by the pool with her iPod. For her, this was the life. In fact, all three of us had to really struggle to drag ourselves away from the villa because it was so wonderful.

The whole place was a work of art. All the surfaces seemed to be made of carefully polished marble, and glass balconies ensured that wherever you were in the villa, you had a view of the lovely coastline.

There was always something to look at, whether it was people enjoying water sports or the beautiful and luxurious boats that would come and go. Actually, we had everything we could possibly want on our holiday.

The food was especially magnificent. At Daios Cove, you can eat very inexpensive meals, but you can also treat yourself if you want. I had lots of salad, which was great for me, and Paul – who was on the protein-packed Dukan diet – went for meat, meat and more meat, with a bit of veg now and again.

He managed to stick with that, even though Beau and I would often sit enjoying a bowl of chips on the sunlounger next to the pool at lunchtime. Drinks were no problem – one of the centrepieces of the hotel is an amazing infinity pool with a fantastic bar.

Lisa Maxwell with her daughter Beau
Lisa Maxwell with her daughter Beau

Quiet time: The resort was perfect for some relaxing family time in the sunshine

We had heard that Greece could be uncomfortably hot in July but we found the climate perfect. While it was very warm, there was usually a wonderful sea breeze to keep us cool. We had to be careful, however: we did get a little burnt because the breeze made us think it was cooler than it really was.

We really enjoyed the fact that the ambience was quite laid-back. This was a pleasant surprise because when we initially checked out the resort website, we thought it was no place for a 12-year-old. It looked as if it would be full of people who would all get dressed up for dinner and look perfect. We'd have found that fairly intimidating – but happily Daios Cove wasn't at all stuffy. It suited us that there were plenty of English people there.

Phil Tufnell, the cricketer, was visiting when we went. Often when you go to places where there are lots of English, you feel you have to make a special effort to be sociable around the pool. I like that, especially if there are children involved because they get to make friends. Beau made a couple of good pals and we all enjoyed the very relaxed atmosphere.

When we didn't fancy mixing, we escaped to our villa and used our own pool area for some heavenly quiet time. We made a couple of visits to the resort's spa, billed by the hotel as 'the perfect hideaway, infused with earth's energy, dedicated to purifying the body, balancing the mind and elevating the soul'. Well, I couldn't say no to that, could I?

But Beau and I had much more fun together on a banana boat ride out in the bay – it was hilarious being dragged along through the waves.

The intention of our holiday was to relax, and we came back completely recharged. Daios Cove is not inexpensive, but you certainly feel you get value for money.

Lisa Maxwell is a presenter of ITV's Loose Women.

Travel Facts

ITC Classics (01244 355 527, offers seven nights' half board at Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas from £1,349 per person including return flights and transfers. The price also includes €100 resort credit per room. Prices for a two-bedroom 'Wellness' villa on a B&B basis start at £4,079pp. Both deals are valid for travel completed by October 31, 2012.