In marketing circles they say that "people buy people", and maybe that's one of the reasons why over the last 20 years we must have stayed at the El Greco at least 10 times; the staff are always so genuinely friendly and helpful - nothing has ever been too much trouble, and it's not that fake "we are here to serve" kind of help, but just a genuine happy pride in being the best that they can be and having fun at the same time.
FOOD: The food is the best 'package holiday' hotel food that we have ever come across (and we have stayed at many 5+* hotels all over Europe) - a huge variety to choose from - usually at least 6 different 'main' dishes including vegetarian, with added 'theme' nights (Chinese etc) and always fresh and well, in a word, superb.
LOCATION: The hotel is located by a fairly narrow sandy beach (sun beds provided by the hotel), in a quiet area about 3 or 4 miles from Rethymnon town, so not suited for those who want walking access to lots of bars/clubs etc. However, there is a cheap bus service which stops outside every half hour for town trips (20 minutes journey). I think the Taxi to town was about 8 or 9 euros (?), so along with car-hire for odd day trips we have never felt trapped.
ROOMS: Rooms are spacious and spotlessly clean, as is the hotel in general. All have TV, but only BBC world if you did want English programs, so bring the ipad if you want to watch any films. Showers are somewhat outdated because they are mostly just baths which you have to climb into, with a shower curtain but hey ho, it has never been an issue for us (until I took my elderly mum and realised this might cause a problem for her). The hotel last year embarked on a refurbishment of rooms, so I expect this will improve for all the rooms over the next year or two.
POOL: The main pool is salt-water and fairly old fashioned (i.e. rectangular with no water slides, sprays, wave machine etc), but for us this has never been an issue - we took our children and now take our grandchildren & they love it. Always warm and clean it's, well, it's a pool. There are also rock pools further along the beach - take crabbing lines to keep kids happy for hour after hour! There is however one improvement which the hotel could make to the pool - it only has old fashioned 'step down ladders' rather than wide solid steps, which was a bit tricky for my elderly arthritic mother who we took last year (along with 3 other generations of the family!), but it was fine getting her in and out with a little help.
DECOR: To be honest, up until last year the décor was getting rather 'dated' and tired. Again for us, this was not a problem because of everything else which is so good, but the revamp started last year has already made the remodelled areas look fabulous. Frankly, we were at first a bit worried when we saw the improvements because we thought "hmmm ... how long until the price goes up"!
GUEST MIX: Yes, in more recent years there have been lots of Russians (it used to be more Germans I remember), there are always Italians, Greeks, French, Danish, British etc, and that is one of the reasons we love the place - for its cultural mix. If you want a hotel where it is solely British guests then this is not the hotel for you. I read a review mentioning noisy kids. Yes, it does happen around the pool area when children are having fun, but this is not a noisy hotel (trust me, go to family hotels in Egypt if you want to hear real noise). There are always loads of couples without kids and they always seem to have a good time and besides, there are plenty of grassy or sandy places with sun beds away from the pool which are very quiet.
ENTERTAINMENT & ANNIMATION TEAM: Years ago they seemed to be more 'in your face' (pool water polo, aerobics, beach volley, darts, table tennis, putting etc ). More recently the hotel seems to have altered the feel during the day; lots of activities are still going on but you never feel hassled to get involved - the list of daily activities is on a notice board - get involved if you want or just chill out by the pool if you prefer. There are also shows every night. I must have low expectations because although I have loveys in the family, I always think that much of the entertainment is actually quite good :-)
New lifts and ramps made it easy with elderly relative in wheelchair. Excellent.
VALUE FOR MONEY: It certainly is not the cheapest hotel on Crete and I wish, oh how I wish that it were cheaper, but overall given the quality of food, service and facilities, yes it has to be pretty good value for money when compared to other hotels in similar locations.
WOULD WE GO AGAIN?: Take a guess. My wife had already booked for 2014 for the 7 of us the week we got back :-)
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- Also Known As:
- Grecotel El Greco Hotel Platanias
- Grecotel El Greco Rethymnon
- Grecotel El Greco Hotel Rethymnon
- White Palace Luxury Resort Crete/Rethymnon