The first thing that strikes you is how massive the resort is. So massive that you are issued with a map on arrival and the staff use a golf buggy to get from one part of the hotel to the other!
The resort is actually split into two hotels, the Paradise Royal Mare and the Paradise Village. Once in the restore there's very little distinction between the two "hotels" and you can freely walk between the two. In fact you could spend a week here and not even realise that there's supposed to be two "hotels".
We stayed in the Paradise Village which is the further away part of the resort, with the Royal Mare containing the main reception, pool and eating areas. Although staying in either seems to have is advantages and disadvantages. The Royal Mare seems to be the newer part of the resort so any experiences staying there may differ slightly (although according to the website the Royal mare is 4* and the Village 5*)
The room was pretty disappointing for a supposed 5* hotel. I'm sure it was great when first opened but the block we stayed in was shabby and needed renovation. While there was nothing seriously wrong with the room, it was kept very clean and everything worked, it wasn’t even close to being at a 5* standard.
There are pools located everywhere (seriously, every time you turn around your faced with another pool!) which is awesome if you like your space. We had a pool on each side of our building and there were never more than half a dozen people in each.
The main pool located at the Royal Mare is the only pool on that side of the resort and its gets very busy and very loud. The activities team loved to slap the music on full blast and get everyone involved in some kind of games, which is not really my sort of thing so stayed well away from the main pool. The downside of the Village pools is that all the daytime bars and food areas are located in main Royal Mare area, so every time you fancy a drink or some food you have to hoof it over to the other side of the resort.
The resort has its own area of beach which is a ten second walk from the hotel, there are plenty sun loungers available and at no point did we struggle to get a space. There are a load of activities available at the beach with all the usual banana boats, Parasailing etc. on offer.
The hotel also offers a neat beach towel service where you can get a clean beach towel each day for no charge.
The food available was distinctly average, anyone’s who has ever been to an all you can eat buffet will have an idea of what to expect. There are some standouts (freshly made pizza and pancakes, yum!) and there are some dishes that you wouldn’t even feed to your dog (and my dog aint that fussy!).
You also receive vouchers so that a table can be booked in one of the "gourmet" restaurants; Italian, Chinese, French or Greek. We had two vouchers for the week stay and went down to book on the second day of the holiday, only to be told that there was only enough space left for us to book one night in the Greek restaurant. After kicking up a bit of a fuss the receptionist magically managed to book us in for the Greek and French.
The Greek was a bit disappointing with the food available much the same as what we could get in the main dining area, the French was very good and was easily one the highlights of the stay.
One thing to be aware of is that all food areas (gourmet restaurants or not) require men to wear long trousers for dinner. It’s a strange rule as the main dining area is not any in form or manner a classy place to eat and the result is an uncomfortable and warm dinnertime.
The drink selection is good with most main spirit brands available (although no JD for the bourbon drinkers!) and a local lager on tap. There are cocktails available at most bars and the bartenders are (mostly) happy to make you anything that’s not on the menu.
At night there’s not a lot of atmosphere around the bars, this can mostly be attributed to the massive sound system used for the stage being turned up full blast and there being no restrictions on children being allowed to enter (or more accurately run around shrieking in groups) the bar areas.
The main staging area is adjacent to the bars and any music from the stage totally dominates the bar areas. The entertainment is what I would describe as Butlins-esq; a bizarre Michael Jackson act (no singing, just lots of makeup, miming and dancing), a cabaret singer doing Tina Turner covers and the activities staff dancing to musical numbers. It was pretty cringe inducing stuff and there was no way to escape from it without going back to the room or leaving the hotel. The entertainment lasted till around eleven o'clock each night with the bars closing at midnight.
With there being no restriction on children in the bar areas we found that there would be groups of kids running around all night, which was fine at first but after seven days it would have been nice to sit in a bar and not have packs of children constantly running around the place. Even the nightclub (which is open till two AM but you have to pay for drinks after midnight) was filled entirely children mostly under the age of twelve.
The area in which the hotel sits is slightly out of the way, once you leave the resort there are a couple of bars and restaurants nearby but it’s quite sparse. The upside is that the resort lies nicely between Rhodes old town (which was a great day-trip) and Faliraki (pretty awful but hilarious at the same time), so a trip to either is pretty quick (10 minutes a taxi to either).
One major thing to bear in mind before booking is that this is very much a Russian holiday resort. 95% of the people there are Russian and accordingly the resort is catered toward Russian tastes and culture (there are only two English TV channels, one of them is actually a Russian news channel in English, and there are three fur shops based in the resort!).
With that said we found no problem with the Russian guests at all, there are obvious cultural differences and a language barrier to overcome but reading other reviews I was expecting hoards of ultra-rude Russians at every turn but in fact found them pleasant and much the same as any other nationality on holiday.
Ultimately the resort is geared more toward families that couples, which is where most of my complaints would lie. I’m sure with kids this place could be great as there is loads on offer to keep them entertained while the bar awaits. The night-time entertainment was tacky but there are plenty of people out there that love that sort of thing (Russians?) so it’s all about the individual opinion. I expected more from a 5* hotel and while there are some great features and high points of staying here I would say it’s more likely a 4 star complex.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC