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Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Chania Town, Greece
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Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Alternative title = "Good old Trip Advisor"

I am very lucky to live in Crete, but still hanker after a couple of days away from home occasionally; here is the story of 2 very different trips last week....

2 friends booked 1 night All Inclusive at the St Constantin Hotel in Gouves - they wanted a 5 star luxury spa hotel, to be pampered for a day & paid E190 for 1 night. They are not TA users or they wouldn't have done it! It was horrible, no better than 3 star, basic rooms, dirty pool, terrible food - they were given 1 small, tasteless (that's pretty difficult to do here!) Greek salad between 4 & a small chicken souvlaki each. They went to bed hungry. Sadly, tavernas in Gouves have closed down due to the influx of AI in the area.

I, armed with a little local knowledge & my trusty TA, booked a night in Kavousi Resort at Falasarna last week. 3 of us shared a spotless, roomy apartment, well equipped (whereas the St Constantin did not even have a cup or teaspoon available) for E97 including a fabulous breakfast. We had a delicious, huge, fresh meal at Captain Nikolas' taverna on Falasarna harbour, fantastic fish fresh off the boat & less than E20 per head, incl drinks.

So my advice is - Don't book AI, do a little research, use TA, make some calls/ send some emails, book direct.... all my money went straight to local people. I spent less than half the cost for at least twice the value!

New York City, New...
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for Skopelos
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1. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Welcome JWugg:-) Thank you for a wonderful post contrasting with details.. and very good details.. especially regarding the food! Folks don't know what they're missing staying at AIs unfortunately! Enjoyin'!

Edited: 14 August 2013, 16:23
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2. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Have to second what Litsa say, well done.

Like a lot of fellow independant travellers I feel that Crete has such a rich and diverse culture that AI's should be outlawed from the island.

Devizes, United...
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3. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Great advice straight from a local JWugg. Each to their own but why anyone would wish to go all-inclusive and miss out on all that great food is beyond me.

Bristol, United...
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for Messenia Region, Laconia Region, Magnesia Region
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4. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Excellent post JWugg, let's hope it will open the eyes of someone who is thinking AI is the "easy option". It saddens me that people don't know (or don't care) what they are missing.... or else they find out the hard way, and too late.

South Pole
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for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
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5. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Excellent post - should be compulsory reading for everyone contemplating AI. Hopefully when people ask about AI anywhere in Greece they can be directed to your experience!.

Somerset, United...
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6. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Thanks for posting that JWugg, it's a timely reminder of what AI is doing to Greece and also that, by going self catering, you give yourself the opportunity to enjoy a holiday to Greece to the full and how it is supposed to be.

The tour operators relentlessly push AI at the expense of all other options like their is no tomorrow lining their own pockets and that of the foreign owned hotel chains. As a result they are killing the local bars, restaurants & other businesses. Greece really doesn't do AI very well but the TOs' brainwash people into booking AI packages. This forum is littered with tales of woe from people who have come back from going AI which did not meet up with their expectations or promises made by the TO.

The message is clear and simple - please don't go AI and line the pockets of the TO and hotel chain. It is destroying resorts and their businesses throughout Greece. Please go self catering and, in so doing, helps keep the resorts & local businesses alive and also you will come back home having enjoyed your holiday much more eating in the local tavernas and seeing far more of the country you have bothered to fly up to 2,000 to go to.

Surrey, United...
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7. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Thank you JWugg for posting, lets hope that your post proves to people that you can have a better and cheaper holiday going SC rather than AI, and of course you just cant compare the quality of the food and drink that you will receive in an AI hotel, to the freshly prepared and home grown food in a local taverna.

Over the last few years visiting Crete and also other Greek Islands, we notice the impact the AI hotels are having - each year we notice more tavernas and bars have shut down and you only have to be on a beach at lunch time to see the "dreaded wrist band brigade" rushing to get to the hotel restaurant for their lunch time free for all!!!

We travelled to the beautiful island of Corfu in June and were shocked to see whole areas "shut down" on the north coast...it was just so very sad.

If tourists continue to travel AI then they wont have the choice to pop out for a drink or a meal in the local towns.....because they will have helped to destroy them :-(

Rethymnon, Greece
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for Crete
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8. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Great post JWugg! T.A. is a great "tool" to find what you're looking for in every destination, and with a little help from the forums, you can have the best possible holiday.

You can definately call AI also "tethered vacation" as you have to go back wherever you are to the hotel to eat.

There is absolutely no comparison to the quality of a local taverna food to any of an AI hotel, as many of them grow their own vegetables. Also the views of some taverns will make you remember it for ever.

P.S. LOL MG! : "dreaded wrist band brigade"

Derby, United...
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9. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Agree with all the above.What is the point of going to Crete and never leaving the complex. They are missing out on so much! If we continue to in this vane those of us who enjoy the real crete will strugle to find accomodation unless we are rich enough to own one!

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10. Re: Trip Report Crete - AI vs DIY

Local taverna food is a highlight of every one of my trips..... can't imagine it any other way.