That is probably very inappropriate for this post considering it's another one about Crete and I can assure you that they do not speak Spanish in Greece or in any of the Greek Islands! So yes, it's another post about Crete, mainly because I've had so much to say about it! Today I want to do a review of the hotel we stayed at and finally put to rest the mixed thoughts I've had about it. Don't worry, I think this shall be my last post on Crete, at least for a while, and then I'm going to move onto Mexico next week in keeping with the fact I shall be there in 26 days today... not that I'm counting or anything...!
Firstly, we booked everything online through onthebeach.co.uk which was really easy and simple to use, and a great price. I think we paid around £250 each for 4 nights, all inclusive in, what we were told was, a 4 star hotel, including flights. It made everything else much simpler as everything was done for us. We flew with Thomas Cook to Heraklion airport. It was a nice and easy flight with a great range of in-flight entertainment considering it was only a 4 and a half hour flight. I've already mentioned about how bad the return flight was in my first Crete post! That was not onthebeach's fault though, that was purely the fault of Easy Jet. But, I guess you get what you pay for and we didn't pay that much!
|View from our room looking straight forward. Beautiful greenery and the sea in the background. You can also faintly see the island of Dia.|
|View from the room when looking to our left. You can see the tennis courts and swim-up bar.|
After a 15 minute transfer organised by onthebeach.com with Avra Travel, I will add that our driver on the way there was lovely and I regret not tipping him, but the driver on the way back was rather miserable, we arrived at the hotel. We were the first drop off along with another English couple. Our first impressions were very positive as we were welcomed at the reception with cold towels to cool us down after the journey. The lobby area looked very posh; it was stylish and clean. We were given our all inclusive wristbands and told that we'd been upgraded to a superior room. Bonus! Before we came I had researched a lot into the hotel and saw that the superior rooms were newer and bigger rooms than what we had actually booked so we were happy with that!
|Two single beds pushed together. Blanket weren't originally on the bed but it got too cold at night to not have them on!|
The rooms were ok. It was only supposed to be a place to sleep and we managed for the four nights we were there but had we stayed longer, I think we would have been complaining. You get given a single key card to unlock your door and to turn on the electricity, this was fine except for the fact that there is a fridge in the room which seemed pointless considering as soon as you walk out of the room, it will turn off. Same with the air con. Every time we came back to the room, it was boiling! That said, the air conditioning unit was very good and managed to cool down the room pretty fast.
The room was clean and tidy but the beds were rather small. Simply two singles pushed together. It was good that me and Caitlin could have a bed each but they weren't very big. Again, that was ok for the sort time we were there. The balcony was a reasonable size and had a beautifully peaceful view of loads of greenery and the sea in the background but we did find a cockroach once. I'm don't mind that so much - it's nature.
The bathroom was the main problem. That and the TV. Firstly, the signal on the TV was terrible, it was very fuzzy and sometimes it didn't even pick up the channel. Secondly, there didn't seem to be any English channels whatsoever. We found one once that was showing movies we had never heard of but a day later, the whole channel was gone. Weird. Onto the bathroom, it was very small and cramped. There was no ventilation so no matter whether or not we wedged the door open and left the air con on, it never seemed to cool down. Also there was the odd broken tile and the shower doors wouldn't shut. Oh that shower, one of the most annoying showers I've had to deal with. One second it's a nice temperature and then without doing anything, it's freezing cold or scorching hot.
|Outside area of the Lobby bar with the pool in the background. Lots of sunbeds around the pool and plenty of seating near the bar.|
|Pool by the Lobby bar. Nobody was sat around it as this photo was taken on our last day and it was very windy, too windy to actually go outside.|
The hotel itself has four pools. One is by the lobby bar and is your bog-standard rectangular pool that most people seemed to sit around but then if you walked back out the main door and across the main entrance and car park, you come to a large kids pool and then the swim-up bar. Guess which pool we chose to sit by! There didn't seem to be many people by the swim-up bar pool and there was only one bar man serving both the bar in the pool and the bar behind. All drinks during the day were served in tiny plastic cups, but that was fine because we had all inclusive. The fourth pool was an indoor pool. None of the pools were even remotely warm. In fact they were freezing! Even the indoor pool!
|Amphitheater where the animation team put on shows at night. Also the kids club during the day and mini disco at 8pm.|
|Kids outdoor play/park area. Also where the beach volleyball and boccia ball are held (on the sand behind).|
During the day there is an entertainment programme on run by all three members of the animation team. They get people involved in darts, volley ball, stretching, boccia ball (basically french boules) and some more activities. On days where it's raining or too windy to be outside, they get all the board games you can think of out for everyone to have a go at inside in the lobby bar area. We played a game of Jenga with them on our last day as it was extremely windy! At night time they put on shows down in the amphitheater. I like there use of an amphitheater because it links back to the Ancient Greek times but their's was a little awkward. It took us ages to find it, even though it was basically just downstairs (the first time we went down, just before the show, there was nobody there so we thought we had the wrong place). It was also just completely white with massive poles that restricted the view of the performance area that was just a floor. In saying that, they did well given that there was only three people performing.
The food was very samey. I found myself eating cold pasta every night. Oh yeah, the food was always cold. It was like it had been sitting there for a while and that's saying something because most nights we went for dinner at opening time, 7pm. Breakfast was lacking the traditional Greek yoghurt. There was something there that resembled it but whatever it was, it wasn't nice. I was really looking forward to some fresh fruit and yoghurt. Then again there wasn't really any fresh fruit either. I tried to stick to cereal but the "cold milk" wasn't cold so I had toast and butter instead. Drinks wise, there wasn't much choice. Considering it was an all inclusive, not much was inclusive. There were two lists of drinks and if you wanted anything off the longer list, you had to pay the full price. The wrist bands you wore didn't really get you much. There is a choice of 4 different cocktails you can have but if you want a Pina Colada, you have to pay an extra 6 euros. I love my Pina Colada so as you can imagine, I was pretty miffed.
|Beach area that is seconds away from the hotel.|
|Shops across from the hotel.|
The hotel was in a good area. It's right by the beach, where if you want to lie on a sunbed you have to hire them at a price, even though there was nobody there. We just relaxed on the sand itself. It was very peaceful. There are also shops along the beach front and just across from the front of the hotel. All the shops sell all sorts of things from your traditional souvenirs to Ray-Bans, Converse and iPhones. The Converse and the iPhones were 15 euros each. Somehow I think they weren't real... You should've seen the state of the Converse boxes! There was the odd restaurant and bar around but they were practically empty so we didn't feel quite so safe to go to them. Apparently we went really out of season though so perhaps when the summer comes, more places will open and it may be a completely different scene.
HOW MANY POINTS WOULD I RATE IT OUT OF 10?
Booking through onthebeach.co.uk - 7/10 Quick and easy, and good price.
Flight with Thomas Cook - 7/10 Friendly staff, slept well, good in-flight entertainment.
Flight with Easy Jet - 2/10 Bad air pressure, miserable staff, no room to move and really dirty.
Hotel room (Superior Room) - 5/10 We managed for our short stay but the bed were small and the bathroom was too hot!
Swimming Pools - 5/10 They were always cold and swim-up bar closed early and the actual pool felt slightly like it was in the middle of nowhere.
Bars - 6/10 Most of the staff were friendly but some didn't bother talking to you but spoke loads to the Germans and Belgian.
Entertainment - 6/10 Didn't get involved much because we went out on trips. The staff tried hard but the shows were very poor. In the comedy show that we saw they had to explain the joke in the final sketch.
Food - 4/10 Always cold and not much choice considering it was a buffet.
Drinks - 4/10 Not a lot to choose from when you're all inclusive. Most drinks are given in a tiny plastic cup.
Area around - 7/10 Lot's of shops. Most places weren't open but told they open when the main season starts. Beautiful views around the beach and a lovely place to go for a walk.
Overall I'd rate the hotel a 4/10. It might have been better had I not been expecting a bit more considering we'd paid for all inclusive. Luckily we weren't there for long and spent most of our time on trips and exploring rather than in the hotel. I would definitely without a doubt return to Crete but I would look around a choose a different hotel, possibly somewhere else too. We cycled through Sissi which looks really nice so I'd like to stay there instead of in Gouves. We did have a fantastic holiday and you can read more about it in this post and this post!
Next stop: MEXICO!
See you soon!
- KC xx