We went thinking we didn't mind but by the end of the week you do start to think that the Germans get the better deal.
All the entertainment is still in German, watched Mama Mia but didn't enjoy it, all the songs are in German as well as the dialog. this wouldn't matter if the hotel wasnt so isolated you can't go anywhere to entertain yourselves. Even the water exercises are all in German cant follow the instructions, the newspapers are German, the staff greet you in German even if you great them in Italian which I found very odd.
We thought that we would be able to pop in a taxi and go somewhere but it is too far and too expensive. The hotel is however very clean spacious the pools are lovely the walk through the pine forest to the beach is very nice, and the beach bar is good.
The waves are quite large OK for adults but a bit rough for the kids and there is a steep drop as you enter the water. We had lunch down there as it was more relaxing and not so much of a bun fight to get the food.
In the restaurant everything is all over the place one bread knife for over a thousand people, things in different sections takes a while to get everything you need together. Must mention the red wine, I thought it would be cheap plonk but drinkable (wrong) the red wine is like noting I have ever tasted it is freezing cold and comes with a frothy head and the taste of lager, if you like lager you wont mind it but if like me you dont drink beer you have had it.
I had to buy bottles of wine, this took at least half an hour to find one and get someone who could sign it off. The food could have been better but I am not going to complain about it as I always came away satisfied and didn't get sick of it.
The location of this hotel is the main drawback if you hire a car you will be OK but still cant go out at night and have a drink anywhere.
The Rep in this resort is a star he is the best Rep we have ever had on any holiday and he sorted out many things for us, his name is Mario great Guy.
Take care not to go over your luggage allowance as this return airport are very keen and were charging people also leave room for bottles as they make you put them in your case.
There are no duty free shops in the airport.
Travel operator: Thomson
Flight with Jet2 very good, no delays. On arrival, picked up by bus and took us promptly to the hotel. We checked in quickly, staff were very nice and explained everything we needed to know.
Complex seemed huge and took us a while to find our room - when we got there, suitcases already there! Rooms were spotless and kept this way everyday.
We thought the food and drink choice on all inclusive was amazing - we loved the German beer garden where you could enjoy freshly BBQ'd chicken and as much beer as you could drink - cold! Or the pizzaria, with the chefs cooking the pizzas in the traditional open ovens, a wide variety of toppings, again with more alcohol, wine this time! The main restaurant was nice with a huge choice of food, lots of tradtional Italian fayre - basil, mozzerlla, swordfish, sundried tomatoes etc. Only thing was it got very warm in there during the evening - fans didn't have much of an effect. There was another,smaller restaurant to the side, serving chips and lots of meat. All eateries had plenty of drinks and salad bars and fruit to eat - we though it was great and didn't seem to have a problem with the temperature of the food.
The pools were fab and only had trouble on a couple of occasions with getting a sunbed, but managed after a walk around. The quiet pool was lovely for some shut eye in the afternoon. The family pool was great for water aerobics - three times a day and this keeps the amount of food and drink away from the waistline!! The animation team were good, they worked hard and long hours. Always involved everyone, even though they were mostly German or Italian.
It was the first time the hotel was opened to British customers and there were teething problems in the way of communication, but we thought all staff made a great effort to help and their English is better than our Italian or German!! We loved the cheesy 'Garden resort' song that they seemed to sing at every opportunity - really funny, but slightly annoying towards the end!
Went to the beach, very stony and waves huge and quite rough, was ok though but I preferred the pool. We went to Sicily on a day trip which was fantastic, saw Mount Etna and the beautiful towns and countryside on the way were delightful. Well worth visiting. We also went to Stromboli on a boat, this was also fantastic but I felt it was a really long trip - 2pm and 2/3 hours on the boat to the island, a couple of hours on the island and be prepared, not much there at all! Then the highlight is when you leave aroun 9pm, it's dark and you see the volcano erupting and the fire and flames coming from the volcano are breathtaking. But then somes the 2/3 hour journey back - very tiring, would give it a miss if you have kids.
We also ate out at a restaurant that the hotel and rep recommend, about 5 miles away. The hotel takes you there and arranges a time for you to be picked up - only they didn't!! Virtually no one spoke or understood English, so trying to explain this was awful! In the end, the manager understood and took us back to the hotel, where the driver who was supposed to pick us up was standing by his car having a fag!!! The food was lovely, but be warned, no English translation on the menu so I ended up with a plate of veal and nothing else for one course! Oh well, all part of the experience!
In all, a very enjoyable and value for money holiday - I would love to return again.
Travel operator: Portland
The accommodation was very clean, other than this we have nothing good to say about this hotel. There were no tea/coffee making facilities in your room, if you wanted an early morning drink, you had to walk over to the restaurant. The food was monotonous and often cold.
The entertainment was non descript and what there was, only catered for the German holiday makers. Only one bar served free spirits, this was akin to a hospital ward.
The hotel is in the middle of nowhere, so unable to walk into a town or village, there is a shuttle bus into nearest town, Pizzo,(8km)twice a day 10.00am and 4.00.pm last pick up to return back to the hotel is 7.00pm, cost 5 euro each. not a lot there. It states in the 2006 brochure that a shuttle bus goes 3 times a day to Tropea, this is an hours drive away, apparently this is a misprint as no buses available, expensive by taxi 50 euros each way.
Would not advise anyone with children to go to Garden Resort, as there are few facilities for them, nothing on the beach, which is very gravelly and sea not safe.
Trips over glamourised, advise car hire approx 55 euros per day.
Overall the hotel caters for German holidaymakers, and the facilities for British sadly lacking, even TV programmes were 95% German, won't even mention sunbed saving!!
Don't be misled by the title of hotel, its quite simply a holiday camp.
Travel operator: Portland Holidays
Food good and a varied selection.
Location a little remote, no shops or restaurants within walking distance.
Rooms comfortable and spotlessly clean.
Did not try entertainment, but others enjoyed it.
More transport needed to other areas possibly shuttle bus the scenery is spectacular.
An excellent place for a very relaxed holiday. Has only opened up to British holiday makers this season a lot of German influence but this did not spoil our holiday
Travel operator: Thomson's
The breakfast is very basic and were the bacon,eggs etc are served in one restaraunt you have to walk to another restauraunt to get some toast or cereal to go with it.
If you love being away from anywhere at all then this is the place for you as there is nowwhere to go for miles.
Also I suggest that if you do go to this place make sure that you invest in or take your mobile phone with you as there are no phone facility's except in the hotel rooms at a premium rate.
Travel operator: thompson
The manager of this hotel is German
This , I believe is the first year that Britsh tourists have been allowed in - probably reluctantly.
Hotel 20 minutes from airport but no aircraft noise. Flight from Manchester by Jet 2 no problem.
Complex itself spotless, immaculate gardens, and really nice pools. Rooms clean , but heart sunk when I saw the long corridors and concrete floors - expeience has taught these are echo chambers - so if you go take ear plugs - stilleto heels a real pain.
All signs in German - staff speak Italian or German, but generally pleasant to deal with.
Food was self service. Took a day or two find your way round -- the coffee and tea ( hot water and T bag). Food was varied and of reasonable quality - except for one factor. A lot of it was luke warm as it had been sat there for some time. Breafast eggs were sometimes cold. No real use complaining to staff, so complained to rep.. Not saying my 3 day nightmare of bad sickness from all directions was a result of this but we ate nowhere else. Apart from this I know there were at least 5 others - English - including one poor old man who came back on the plane in this condition.
There is nowhere to go. You are discouraged from taking local transport, but when we went to Pizzo the local people there were really nice.
Went on a trip to Sicily via the rep ( something I dont normally do but the car hire was around
Travel operator: Thomson
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