Travel operator: travel republic
Travel operator: Direct holidays
I had requested an upper floor (we prefer that) and a pool view. On arrival at the Rainbow at about 4:00pm the MyTravel Rep had to phone the owner/manager (Costas) as there was no-one at the reception. However he arrived a few minutes later and we were given Apt. 210, on the top floor of block 2 (only 3 floors) but over looking the busy road that runs in front of the Apts.
At first we were a little disappointed with the Apt. these are rated 3 star+ by Direct Hols, which is rather overrated, they are quite basic and should be 2+ or 3 at a push. The Apt was clean, spacious and airy, with a balcony off the living area and off the twin bedroom. The bath room was small, with only a small corner shower, but again it was clean. The kitchenette had a fridge, electric kettle and two elec. rings. There was sufficient crockery, glasses and cutlery for four people, so the two of us were ok. We had sea views from both balconies, although this was over the main road and buildings leading down to Stalis beach front.
There are only 17 Apts and 2 Studios, split between two blocks. Block one is nearer the road and includes the small reception room. Block two is slighty set back up a few steps and has a couple of Apts that do overlook the pool. There is NO air conditioning in any rooms, but you can hire a fan for about 15-20 Euros per week, a must in August, as it was very hot . Luckily with the two balconies open we got a nice breeze through our Apt.
You can also hire a safe in the room for 15E per week. The traffic noise from the road is noticeable, but did not bother us, even leaving the bedroom balcony door open at night was ok.
Once we were over our initial disappointment, we did agree that we'd actually got one of the better located Apts, as the ground floor ones (and the two studios) had no private terrace and people in them said they were a bit 'dark'. Also, the Apts overlooking the pool did get a lot of noise from the pool bar, often late at night and into the early hours (more on that to follow!).
Our main issue with the Apt and the 3star+ rating given, was the condition of the bedding and towels. They were always clean, BUT the sheets were often ripped or had holes in them, and the towels were similar or so hard you could scrub pans with them. Luckily we were prepared and had taken a pair of our own hand towels! There was only one cleaner for all 19 Apts, sheets were only changed twice during our two weeks, towels a few more times. On 'change over' days (Tues/Friday), the cleaner was so busy that you didn't get your bin emptied and people resorted to putting their bin bags out themselves. Overall, this did not seriously effect us,or spoil the holiday. We could have easily complained etc but we just wanted a relaxing time with no 'bother'. However, this does not go hand-in-hand with a 3 star+ rating and we certainly mentioned it one our final review sheet to Direct Hols.
The pool is a good size for a small Apt site, it was clean, had a shallow end (0.75 - 1.5 meters) and then a very steep drop to the 2.5m end. There were sufficient sunbeds (with mattresses) and 4 or 5 parasols around the pool, which were grapped quickly each morning. The Apts were full, with a lot of families of 4, but we still always managed to get two sunbeds with a brollie, between 8-9'ish, although this did change the last few days with the arrival of some 'early risers' with towels on beds from 7:00. These Apts are exclusive to Direct Hols so all customers are 'Brits' , with a few locals in at weekends. They seem to be very popular with Irish guests, with about 75% of guests Irish when we stayed there (not a problem by the way!).
The pool area and bar are under separate management and ran by a Greek chap (Dimi) and his English partner Sue. There were very friendly towards ALL the guests and do breakfasts, snacks etc from about 9.30am to 6 pm, but they do not do 'meals' as it is not a restaurant..
The pool itself was closed from 6.30pm, but the pool bar stayed open all night until at least 2am, or until the last person left - which was 3 or 4am some nights, hence the Apts overlooking the pool got a lot of music/chatter noise most nights. They also do a weekly BBQ on a Sunday, which for 12E was good value. Dimi's mother and father come done from Heraklion to help with the BBQ and are really nice, friendly people.
There is a very well stocked mini super market just in front of the Apts, open from about 7am till late, so you can get all that you need, fresh bread, fruit, water, drinks etc within a minute or so. The Greek family who run it are very friendly and speak excellent English.
Overall we did enjoy our time at the Rainbow, they are a good simple, no-frills base for a holiday in Stalis, near to all that the resort has to offer yet sufficiently away (5-10 mins) from the noisier beach road strip of bars etc. They are located on the very busy main coastal road, and you must take care when crossing, use the bit to the right as you go out of the Apts, there are steps on the other side of the road down to the street running directly to the beach front. You can also catch the local buses to nearby Malia or Hersonissos, they are air conditioned coaches and run about every half hour from early morning until after 9pm, Stalis to Malia was 1E each. A taxi to Hersoissos was 8-10E.
There are loads of bars, shops and very nice restaurants all along Stalis 'beach road' , within 5 mins from the Rainbow. The beach road runs all the way to Malia, and you can walk it in about 30 mins, or use the local road train ("Happy Train") which runs around the resort from Malia, Stalis to Herson's and back. A round -trip takes about 1 and half hours and costs 6E per adult.
As for eating out, we liked the Jasmine House for Chinese and Amici's for Italian. The Golden Beach, El Greco and Mythos are all good for Greek food. During our two weeks we never had a bad meal, and ate somewhere different every night except two, when we went back to the Jasmine and again to Amici's. The Greek people are extremely friendly, polite and there was no hassle from anyone.
Travel operator: Direct holidays
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