My wife and I arrived at Lena at around 3.30am and were greeted by George, the owners son who provided us with some bottled water which we could pay for the following day and showed us to our room. When we reached room 5, I was initially a little disappointed as it had what appeared to be a shared terrace on the ground floor with no view. However, in daylight, it turned out there was a nice view of the mountains and an orchard immediately opposite. The terrace was fairly private as the studio next door had it's own terrace round the corner and was only used to gain entry.
The room itself was basic but initially clean and comfortable. It has a kettle, small electric hob, pots, pans, cutlery, bottle opener and fridge freezer. The single beds in the room cannot be pushed completely together because of the frame so we spent a week sleeping slightly apart! This turned out to be not too bad as it was very hot each night and we opted not to spend 50 something Euros for A/C. There is a safe in the room bit if you don't want it, make sure you give the key to the owners ASAP or you will be charged for it!
The bathroom was fine except that the shower did not have anything to attach to the wall so it had to be held and the absence of a shower curtain meant that the bathroom was essentially a wet-room. Hot water was limited and was ususally available only in the afternoon. All in all though, we were very pleased with the apartment.
However, there was a downside and that was the cleaning policy. They only change the sheets on Tuesdays and as most arrivals are on a Tuesday, this means that you won't get a sheet change at all if you are there for a week! We asked John, the owner to have the sheets changed halfway through the holiday and he mumbled something about dirty feet and walked off without giving me an answer. We did eventually end up getting the sheets changed though.
The cleaner only occasionally visits the room and this means that you have to make your own bed daily and wipe up dirty footprints from the bathroom on a regular basis without access to a mop! A daily whip round from the cleaner would be a great improvement as it is nice to return from the beach to a clean and tidy room.
For some reason, Lena Apartments don't include toilet paper in the cost of the stay. It was a couple of days before I realised this after I had to ask behind the bar which shouldn't be necessary. Once John told me that they don't provide it, we started to ration it and vowed not to buy any toilet paper out of principal! We did manage to survive on 'good will gestures' from Lena, John's daughter who was the only member of staff who was consistently friendly and welcoming.
The pool area is very clean and pleasant but small. Lena is only a small place though so although it was often busy, it was never over-crowded. With the beach just across the road, we spent most of the time over there anyway.
As other reviewers have said, it seems that you only really feel welcome and are payed attention when you are spending at the bar, however this seems to be a common theme in Greece and not just at Lena. With all of the other bars, restaurants and tavernas nearby though, there is no need to spend much time at the apartments if you don't want to.
A final gripe is that the staff seem to not care about making noise; banging, scraping and dropping right outside the apartment after the bar has closed and they are presumable tidying up. Not what you want when it has taken you ages to get to sleep because of the heat and then being woken up shortly after!
Elounda itself is a fantastic little town with everything within walking distance. We would advise taking the boat to Spinalonga, the scenery on the boat and from 'The Island' is amazing as is it's history. We also walked to Plaka one evening and this took about an hour. It got dark as we were walking though and the it didn't feel safe on the road as we approached Plaka as there is no pavement or lighting for much of the way. If you walk, do it before it gets dark!
We found the Mercedes taxis very reasonable and a comfortable way to get to places such as Agios Nikoloas and the bus is also very good.
All in all, we would definitely recommend Elounda and would advise to choose Lena with the knowledge that it is a pleasant place to stay but doesn't have the most hospitable hosts. if you need something, ask and you will probably get. You can always butter them up with a tip here and there to keep them on-side!
- Also Known As:
- Lena Apartments Elounda, Crete
- Lena Apartments Hotel Elounda