We didn't go to the evening entertainment but saw the lovely animation team putting their hearts into giving people a great time.
All in all it was such a good holiday.
However what I found was inexcusable was the quality of the wine it is on tap and is by far the worst red wine I have ever drunk even by Greek standards and they shouldn't say wine is included is terrible. The cocktails were mass made and not individually made and this showed they were weak tasting but a few were nice very limited choice. Also there was no waiter service and I have never boon to a 4 star even all inclusive that hasn't had bar waiter service this was really annoying.
I found the buffet to be not very good quality and certainly not 4 star. If you chose well and stuck mainly to the whole fish and certain other dishes it wasn't so bad but it limited my choice to one or 2 items a day to eat. the rest was like work canteen food. the seafood pasta was really nice the rest was very watery.
however, the comments in the book were complementary about he food.
we booked for the Greek night and was supposed to pay 25 euro for the privalage but when we found out to get the cheapest bottle of wine we had to pay another 25 euros we walked out and got our money back.
The location for us was excellent we payed extra and got one of the superior bungalows with seafront view form the kreta mare and the view was amazing.
We couldn't use the main pool they played music constantly and the staff were the whole time asking if you wanted to join in with activities or they were organizing dances sport or just generally clowning around there there was a pool above the main pool but you were still disturbed by the music the other larger pool wasn't for us it was not too pleasant and it was a long way from our room. so we stayed by the fresh water pool which was smaller and had a nice view there was less people there. So it was very relaxing and we could sit on the terrace of our room and was relatively undisturbed with the views across the sea.
The childrens club was very good an our daughter enjoyed it they put on a show with the children which is probably one of the best I have seen entertainers do.
The shows were very poor and we just couldn't watch them.
The bar area outside was nice to sit in in the evening and lookout to sea and at he sunset. The restaurant had loads of tables out side and we always got a seat mostly with the sea view so this for us was really good.
If they could upgrade the restaurant and the bar and improve the quality of the drinks I would consider a return but not till then.
The beaches of the hotel were not really pleasant to sit on and we went down swimming a couple of times but you couldn't relax.
Travel operator: Nekkerman
The hotel was spotless. We stayed in one of the superior bungalows and the service was excellent, beds and towels changed daily and the room was cleaned. The complex itself was set in beautiful grounds with lovely views. There were 3-4 coves with small beaches which were ideal for quiet sunbathing.
The food was always lovely but a bit repetetive but we had no complaints.
The location of the complex was ideal if you are used to staying in the same place, but we had never done this before and after the 1st couple of days we were ready to get out and about. We hired a car for 4 days and got to see lots more of the island, Crete really is a fantastic place. Rethymno was about a 5 minute drive away and had lots of shops, cafes and a lovely harbour area. We also visited Bali beach which was perfect, clear water and no shingly beach, our daughter loved it there. We also visited Souda Bay where the war cemetery is and Chania. Now, Chania was great, bit of both like a really busy city with fab shops and a quieter side with a beautiful harbour.
The only down side to the complex was the amount of german people, and I don't mean that in a nasty way I just mean there was very little socialising and we only met one British couple while we were there. I like to have a chat with people when we're by the pool or in the bar.
The entertainment was basic but they put 100% effort in. We went to the kids disco a couple of times and you couldn't fault them for trying.
All in all the complex itself was perfect it just depends on what type of holiday you are looking for. If you like to get out and about I probably wouldn't recommend it, however, if you like to sunbathe all day by the pool it would be perfect for you.
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
Travel operator: Airtours
First of all I should point out that this hotel is essentialy one in the same hotel as the Iberostar Creta Panorama - they share all the same facilities including the dining room, pools,kids clubs, entertainment etc., so any review you find for the Panorama applies to the Creta Mare also. Although there's a separate hotel reception for the Creta Mare, this is not used, and both hotels use the Creta Panorama reception for checking in etc. The only difference between the two hotels, I believe, is that you can only book the garden bugalows through the Creta Mare, and the main Panorama hotel block and the sea front bungalows through the Creta Panorama.
We booked flights and hotel separately because it is much cheaper if you have kids, as the hotel makes little or no charge for them.
When we arrived we were allocated (as we booked the Creta Mare) a garden bungalow. These are very pleasant appartments, comprising a front room with two single beds (that double as settees in the day), a smart bathroom and a small connecting room with a sink, fridge and cooker (no idea why you would need a cooker but they were in all the bungalows!)leading to a small back bedroom. There was plenty of room, and plenty of storage. Each has a terrace - these varied as to size and whether they got the sun though.
However, although these bungalows were perfectly lovely, and all had a very nice garden outlook, I was a bit disappointed not to have a sea view; so I asked the reception (as nicely as posssible !) whether we could change our rooms. She told us she would speak to the Manager and to come back the next day - which we did. We were delighted to be shown a sea front bungalow that was just perfect, even though strictly speaking it belonged to the Panorma part of the complex. We were not even charged extra for this cheeky upgrade - it certainly pays to ask sometimes !!
One of the outstanding features of this hotel was its gardens, which were absolutely beautiful - almost like being in a caribbean resort. We were watching humming birds feeding, when we were sitting on the terrace at breakfast each morning - which was amazing. The place was beatifully landscaped with pretty terraces and paths everywhere. If surroundings are important to you then this is the place to come !
The hotel has numerous swimming pools (5 I think)There is one very large pool which has a swim up bar and music, catering for the younger market I guess, but then there were several smaller quieter pools dotted around. We liked the small one at the Rethymnon side of the complex - very quiet with a lovely eye level view across the bay, as you swam. There was also a great kids splash pool outside the kids club - ideal if you wanted to sunbathe and let little ones splash about safely in shallow water.
There were three or four private coves, almost lagoons, belonging to the hotel - all fairly small but somehow they never seemed crowded. The coves had artificially made sea barriers that made them very safe to swim in (or use inflatables). The sea was clear turquiose, the beaches were small and sandy-shingle. You were supposed to pay for the sunbeds at the beach, but there was never anyone enforcing this when we were there mid October (near the end of the season). There was also a small harbour from which you could hire jet skis, boats and take banana boat rides (extra cost).There was also a bigger public shale/sand beach with easy access from the hotel on the far (Rethymnon) side of the complex and it makes for a pleasant 5 min. walk - there is a (rather green slimey)river going into the sea where a flotilla of ducks hang out- the kids enjoyed taking them bread and feeding them.
During our stay we were also very impressed how accessable everything was to wheelchair users (though able bodied ourselves) - you could easily get around the complex in a wheelchair - even to the beach.
The food was excellent- self service buffet with lots of choices and good quality. The lunch time food was just as good. Surprising for an all inclusive ! The drinks....well a drinkers paradise really.... beer (not watered down) and red and white wine (very drinkable - and I am quite fussy) ON TAP !!!! Cocktails and mocktails to die for, great coffee and cold drinks..icecream that the kids lived off ! You certainly should give this place a miss if you are on a diet !!! You get one free meal at the a la carte restaurant during your stay, but the general standard of the main canteen plus our picky kids meant that we didn't bother trying it.
There were lots of different places to 'hang out' during the day so it never got monotonous, nor did we really feel the need to go out side the hotel much. However, if you did want to get out and about, then the hotel was right by the main road that runs the length of the North coast of the island, with a bus stop outside the hotel, and buses every half hour up and down.
The nearest big town is Rethymnon which is about 15 minutes away, but there is also a frequent Noddy train that runs to the nearby little fishing village of Panormo (about a mile and a half perhaps). One thing you notice sailing past the hotel each day along the coast, is a replica galleon 'pirate' ship that leaves from Rethymnon's old port (18 euros per adult and 10 euros for a half day trip)They do various length trips depending on the season - they were only running a half day in Mid October that visits the nearby sea caves (nothing special)and Panormo - however a real must if you have young children !
There are a few gift shops 5 minutes walk from the hotel also (including pharmacy).
The kids clubs at the hotel were good, with three different age groups - the staff were lovely (they all spoke good english). The animation team were equally enthusiastic and also spoke english well, so we never missed out on anything. They tried to involve everyone in doing their 'club dance' 2 or 3 times a day which was quite fun (to watch at least) - the kids loved it ! There was a mini disco every night, followed by a short awards presentation (mainly for the various kids activities), then bingo(sometimes only one or two lines if short on time)and finally a show and then disco.
The rooms and hotel areas were clean and well maintained. the hotel staff were pleasant friendly and again most spoke good english.
Well what about the downsides ? Well very few really ...and certainly not anything that would stop me booking this hotel again. If you want to pick a few faults then I'd highlight the following;
There were a few ferral cats that hung about the food areas (sorry I'm not a big cat fan at the best of times) - obviously a general Greek, rather specifcally hotel problem - but not helped by the fact that some tourists were encouraging them by feeding them !
And, although we didn't particulary find this a problem, the hotel is about 80%-90% German dominated - and yes they do leave their towels on the sun loungers (even though there are signs saying not to!)!
Finally some of the facilities (pool side bars and a few activities) had ceased, as the season was coming to a close, but this did not materially affect our enjoyment, there was still plenty to do and enjoy.
I would thoroughly recommend this hotel for families, mature couples (ie not clubbers), keen gardeners and bird lovers, and wheelchair users.
I would NOT recommended this hotel if you were alcholic, on a diet, dislike Germans, hate cats or birds, want to party all night and sleep all day.
Just my opinion.
Travel operator: Booked Independently
The food was of an excellent standard and was always in plentiful supply - as our weighing scales will agree! The hotel primarily caters for the Germans however we were told more and more English are now holidaying there - much to the delight of the staff.
Following on from this we found the childrens club was in German however we found all the English children sought each other out and didn't seem to mind. We had mixed reviews re: what the weather would be like at the end of October however, apart from a couple of overcast days, all the rain fell at night and the sun was beating down during the day.
We would not hesitate in recommending this hotel to anyone and would be very suprised to hear any bad reports regarding the staff, food or hotel however we would stress the English were by far in the minority and there was a definate clash in cultures with several of the English holiday makers in the resort having heated exchange of words with other German visitors.
Travel operator: First Choice
We chilled out at this pool and on the terrace of the suite which was very secluded which is what we wanted.
The children preferred the pool to the clubs. The standard of the food was excellent and very plentiful. Guests were taking out rolls and cold meats for lunch time but we decided that snacks of fruit bought in a nearby shop were sufficient.
We brought back a book detailing all the Iberostar hotels and considered booking again. However we have found the prices have now risen considerably and we have opted to investigate another Greek chain to get a comparison.
Travel operator: Independent
Hotel staff were very friendly and reps at hotel great with my 18mnth old daughter. Downside is the location and entertainment. It worked out expensive 15 euros each way to centre of Rethmynon by taxi, we travelled there most days as hotel is in middle of nowhere, but there is bus stop with regular timetable outside hotel.
Entertainment for children 5-12yrs old very good but entertainment for adults very poor.
Travel operator: airtours
The staff were all friendly and we felt very "at home" even though it was four star hotel.
Food well what can I say except it was one of the best buffet meal styles we have had, and we have had a few/ Three soup choices! Two islands of salads,Full greek hot and international option and then carvery style carved by the chef so what is wrong?
The drink service was s l o w and the evening entertainment was mostly "amateur". Thye did onw good evening Lion King and one outside illusionist both good.
The beaches were nothing to write home about but the gardens were even better that our hotel in Maderia last year. Very relaxing atmosphere and smoothly run hotel.
I would go back
Travel operator: thomas cook
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