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“Excellent lovely beach hotel in a perfect spot to see Western Crete”
Review of Santa Marina Plaza

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Santa Marina Plaza
Ranked #9 of 31 Hotels in Agia Marina
Certificate of Excellence
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
66 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Excellent lovely beach hotel in a perfect spot to see Western Crete”
Reviewed 19 June 2010

The Santa Marina Plaza hotel is situated in Agia Marina which is 8km from Chania (a city with an old Venetian harbour which has lovely restauratns dotted around it) and 1km from Plantanias (a more lively resort with lots of bars and restaurants). Agia Marina is fairly small but with plenty going on - there is a Sports bar down the road which we visited to watch the England match and made some super friends - a guy called Mark runs this outside bar and is from San Francisco, USA and you can hear laughing the night away - a real character (his Dad is Greek).

The hotel is modern with a slighly cosmopolitan feel to it. The reception staff were very efficient and always said hello and were happy to help with any queries. The rooms themself were perfect, spacious, clean and modern with all the facilities you need and everything is new. We stayed in a side-sea view room which was lovely although you can pay more for ones directly looking out to sea. Our room was ground level and although we were disappointed at first, we could walk out our patio door to get towels on the sun loungers very quickly in the morning lol!

The pool is a perfect size and has a number of sun loungers around them again which are modern and of good quality. As this hotel doesn't have any kids club programmes going on, the pool was more or less empty every day so if you are after some peace and quiet, you have definitely found the right hotel - it was such a treat not having to hear kids shouting and bawling and hogging the pool, wonderfully blissful if you are trying to relax. There is only a limited number of sun loungers and our rep did say that the hotel will eventually do something about it but in Greece, you know that they can take their time with things. However, saying that we never struggled with this as an issue and always got a couple plus as the hotel is on the beach, you can get a sun lounger on the beach but please be aware, the Government impose a tax of six euros for two sun longers so you do have to pay. There is a pool bar also but be aware, three euros for a coke...... not cheap so buy some stuff and put it in your room or take it down to the beach.

The food at the hotel is fairly good, the breakfasts are the usual assortment of bacon, eggs, sausages, salad, meats and cheeses and the odd Greek dish such as mushroom pie. Plenty of choice and slightly better quality than normal. The evening food is actually pretty good too although we only dined in once as we like to eat out on holiday but if you are on a budget, you won't be disappointed if you eat in. Again, the staff are very helpful and friendly.

As hotels go, this one is ideal if you are looking for a bit of luxury, no screaming kids, a beach and good food. From all my visits to Greece, this was the best hotel I've stayed in and was overjoyed with it, so relaxing plus in an ideal location in Western Crete. It is situated on a main road so there are buses going by every half hour directly to Chania or Plantanias (buy your tickets from the local shops outside the hotel or on the bus).

Outside the hotel, Chania is to your left and Plantanias to your right so stand on the side of the road at the bus stop to go either way (if you get stuck, ask at the shop which if you come out the hotel is on your right). Plantanias is worth a visit for a good meal up the hill - walk up and look for the signs to Vigli, a hill top restaurant with the most amazing views. Word of warning, avoid Cosmos restaurant, a really weird feel and very expensive. Vigli was lovely and run by a family and will take care of you, bringing you complementary watermelon, cherries and ouzo for afterwards mmmmmm......

For trips, don't book with your representative, soooo expensive. Instead hire a car - prebook with EuroCars or Hertz online to get the best deal. Then take your car out and visit the places your rep will tell you about. There is a church inside a cave worth a look at (omg though, the car trip is scary with all the cliffs lol), there is a Botannical Gardens. This is quite interesting as a few years back Crete suffered a major forest fire. Following this, four brothers decided to replant some vegetation in memory of this fire and created these lovely gardens with so many different varieties of fruit and herbs and a really nice thing to walk around. It was only 4 euros and you would be supporting this wonderful park type gardens. There is a modern taverna there too with a purpose built arena and all the food and drink served is made from their own produce so really cool - have a fresh orange juice, they are incredible.

If you are a beach lover, take a drive to Efalonsi. This beach is the most amazing beach I have ever seen, it looks like it belongs to the Maldives which pink soft sand and clear water with fish swimming around your legs - amazing. This area is protected by the Government so there is nothing around this beach, no development at all. There are toilet facilities which are portaloos but very nice ones and they have a collapsable beach bar, again Government owned and is taken away at the end of the season. The beach bar is very reasonable and you won't get ripped off. Go here - you won't be disappointed.

I hope this review has been informative, I really hope you choose this hotel as it is perfect for visiting Western Crete. This side of the island has a totally different feel to it. On the East side you have Malia which is a bit of a Blackpool Abroad with the old 'English pub' thing going on which we just dread - the West side is more authentic and has breathtaking scenery and you will feel more like you have seen some of the real Greek way of life.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank Noskibabe1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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nriskin
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2009

this hotel was recommended by staff at the atlantis in herakalion. we went w/o a reservation and stayed 4 nights @120 euros a night in a beachfront room. breakfast was included. room, breakfast, location and reception were great. we were there the last 2 days of june and first two of july. the beach situation was quite nice. we had a car but walked (referred by front desk) to an area about 15 minutes away.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank nriskin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2009

Just returned from a great week's holiday at this hotel and can find little to critcise about the place. After booking we had seen some of the negative comments on this site and found them all to be unjustified. What needs to be remembered is that a 4/5 star rated hotel in the Greek Islands is not going to offer the same level of facilities that you may find in a 4/5 star in a European City and if you keep this in mind you will not be disappointed.
As the hotel is only a few years old all fixtures and fittings are in good condition (at least ours were). It is worth paying the extra for the sea front rooms (as opposed to sea view) as the view and the sound of the ocean is fantastic. Wardrobes, shelves and drawer space are very good and modern, beds and pillows comfortable, bed changed daily, bathroom more than adequate with modern shower and bath fittings. Balcony is inviting and patio doors smooth running!
Most of the dining is outside but under semi cover. Internal is available but never needed during our visit. There is a good choice of main courses each evening and although these may not be adventurous to some they are more than adequate to most and you would have to be a difficult individual if you could not find something to your liking. Salads to precede and sweets afterwards were excellent. I have read that clients have gone further afield for dinner but I imagine that you would find pretty much the same food in restaurants/tavernas in Chania.
Choice of wines was excellent and staff were knowledgable on the subject.If they were mainly local I see no problem in this as Cretan wines are good.
Reception Staff and Managers were always on hand and happy to solve any problem. Excellent English is spoken and they also understood some of my feeble attempts at Greek.

Perhaps the only downside is the busy road along the coast which passes the front of the hotel. However only the Reception area is anywhere near the road and once inside the hotel any noise problem is non existant.
No need to bother with taxis to Chania. A half hourly bus service mainly on what we would call coaches passes the hotel and takes about 15/20 minutes. Cost 1.50 Euro each way per person!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank ExiledinYorkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2009

My wife and I stayed during the second week of may and found the hotel to be perfect for an early season break. Our sea view room was very comfortable and clean and the general facilities in very good condition, which I suppose they should be for a relativly recently built hotel.
The staff were always helpful and polite and bearing in mind that they were not yet up to full speed for the start of the main season everything seemed to function very smoothly. ( the pool bar was not open until our last day, so lunchtime snacks were a bit of a pain, but a quick walk down the beach to one of the numerous "tavernas" did the trick).
However, I could not imagine going to this hotel or resort in the hight of the season, as the most appealing aspect was how quiet the hotel was due to low occupation, there are only a very limited number of poolside loungers so get your towels down early (!!) or you will have to use the beach. High season I'm betting you can't see much sand due to the mass of umberellas.
My only other (minor) criticism is the cost of drinks at the bar and the variety / quality of the food bearing in mind this is supposed to be 4/5 star hotel.
Things you should do 1) take the bus into Chania for the day but avoid the seafront resteraunts. 2) Walk the Somaria gorge, but beware your calf muscles will kill you for a couple of days afterwards.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Nigel44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Athens
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2009

We stayed at Santa Marina Plaza for Orthodox Easter 2009 and it was up to our expectations. The area is beautiful. The landscapes and sea views are incredible. We took the sea front room.
The hotel is located in the Aghia Marina village, well connected by local transport.
The service was excellent and its well maintained property. The staff of this hotel are really good, & they were very friendly.
The restaurant in the hotel was not that impressive. We faced some problems with dinner, we were told that there will be a special buffet served on easter day, but the hotel management cancelled and we were left with very few options. We are basically vegans and it was difficult to manage with the available options. There is lot of scope for improvment in the food management.
Overall we had a great stay and i would certainly recommend this hotel to my friends.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Masowm20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
essex
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 November 2008

the large rear terrace overlooking the sea was perfect.the hotel itself was excellent but unfortunately the food was barely warm and the staff could not be made to appreciate the problem.the food was good standard but never even once hot.they are either very thick and incompetent or their equiptment needs replacing.

Stayed August 2007
Helpful?
1 Thank debbie62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wetherby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2007

We just returned from a week at the Santa Marina Plaza in Aghia Marina in Crete. We can only agree with everything said by the previous reviewer from September 2007. We also had a third floor sea view room which is very worthwhile though I am certain the other rooms are OK. The staff at the hotel, especially at the reception, are excellent. All the fixtures and fittings are of high standard - there is little sign of wear and tear anywhere. Considering we were there right at the end of the season, there was no sign of any of the hotel services starting to be "run down".

This hotel is, as far as we can tell, probably mainly focused on German and Scandinavian customers, which is in my experience a good thing. However there were visitors from the UK, France and other countries too so there is a very pleasant cosmopolitan feeling about the place..

The main criticism we have, as did the previous reviewer, was concerning the food. None of it could be described as bad but it did lack imagination and variety. This is a real pity as with an improvement in catering the hotel would overall be hard to criticise. Sure you can eat out but to find decent restaurants you would have to travel to Chania (20-30 minutes by bus/taxi), then of course have to travel back afterwards.

This brings me to the main reason why we would probably not go back to Crete. The northern coastal strip is frankly a mess, poorly developed and catering for the lower levels of tourism. The strip from Aghia Marina through to Platanias and beyond is terrible. Nothing but poor class bars and restaurants (you know the type, where the menu consists of faded pictures and strange translations), mainly aimed at self catering of which there is a large amount in this area. The beaches are generally fairly narrow and covered in beach chairs etc. I would imagine it would be unbearably busy in the season.

The Santa Marina Plaza sits uncomfortably in this environment. True, it has the best bit of beach but it is squashed between a derelict site on one side and a (admittedly not bad) self catering place on the other.

So overall an excellent hotel but we're not too sure about Crete. It has some beautiful countryside in the interior and is of course steeped in distant and recent history. But is it a "nice" place to stay? For us, no.

  • Liked — Room quality
  • Disliked — Catering
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank chasba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Santa Marina Plaza

Property: Santa Marina Plaza
Address: Agia Marina, Crete 73014, Greece
Region: Greece > Crete > Chania Prefecture > Agia Marina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Agia Marina
#4 Luxury Hotel in Agia Marina
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Agia Marina
#10 Family Hotel in Agia Marina
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Santa Marina Plaza 4*
Number of rooms: 51
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
SANTA MARINA PLAZA Hotel is built at the sun-blessed beach of Aghia Marina, at a mere 8 kilometers from the city of Chania. It’s looking forward to offering to every visitor of the island, an unforgettable stay in one of its 49 luxurious rooms and 2 Junior Suites.All hotel rooms have magnificent view of the sea and are equipped with a Mini-Bar, Air-Conditioning, Satellite TV, Radio, two direct dial telephones, wireless internet line, electronic safe, bathroom covered in marble and a hair dryer. In addition to the above, Laundry service, Childcare service, Room service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Santa Marina Plaza Hotel Agia Marina
Santa Marina Plaza Chania
Santa Marina Plaza Crete/Agia Marina, Chania

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