Stayed here for 10 nights in early July with my husband and two teenage sons.
Very excited to get the ferry across to the island which was beautiful on first sighting.
Checked into our rooms, but have to say were extremely disappointed.
I had emailed the hotel prior to our stay to let them know that one room was for two teenage boys, and also that we would like a sea view. The reply came back that 'they would do their best to accommodate the request'.
The rooms (269 and 270) were both small (as other reviewers have pointed out). There is a double bed and a very small dressing table, but no room for anything else. Small, adequate bathroom with shower. There is no kettle in the room so take your own if you like a hot drink.
The size of the room really would not have been an issue, however, the hugely disappointing thing was the total lack of view from the balcony (see photo). The balcony side was high concrete with the aspect of a flat roof & the side of the hotel! We didn’t sit on the balcony once.
It has to be remembered that we paid a lot of money for this Thomson holiday in a FOUR STAR hotel on an island surrounded by water and the room and view just didn't justify the cost or rating compared with the other four star hotels we have stayed in. To be honest, it was more like you’d expect In a Travelodge & e definitely expected better. Also recent reviews have said that all rooms have a sea view, but this is definitely NOT the case.
Also, although the hotel knew beforehand that our boys were 19 and 16, they put them in a double bed which I found odd. When I challenged this at reception, they were dismissive and unhelpful, and said I could 'upgrade' to a twin, but it would be at an extra cost, and not next to us as we had apparently ‘only booked a standard room’. I then took it up directly with the Thomson rep whose solution was to provide an additional blanket - good job they get on! Again, I don't think this is the service of a four star hotel and I was annoyed that none of this was made clear to me when I emailed in plenty of time before our holiday. Be aware that apparently all Thomson guests get a standard room unless they specifically pay for an upgrade to a sea view or are lucky - seems a bit of an unfair system.
Found the room air conditioning to be fairly ineffective at night - it didn't stay cool enough and seemed to reset to 24 deg overnight..
The quality of the rooms definitely had an impact but decided to move forward so we could enjoy our much anticipated annual 10 day holiday. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great and the lounge area got very busy when it rained, so a lot more time than we would have liked was spent in the room. We never used the balcony as it just wasn’t appealing at all.
On the positives, the hotel is spotless and the cleaning, catering, and bar staff are very friendly and helpful. Reception staff were sometimes a bit severe.
The food was excellent, especially considering the numbers – lots of self service choice at both breakfast and dinner and didn’t feel over-crowded. You get free wine/beer/soft drinks with your meal. The restaurant décor is a little stark and it is a shame that there is no al fresco dining in such a beautiful location. Also no coffee is provided with the evening meal but could be purchased from the bar afterwards.
Breakfast ended at 10am, which we found quite early on holiday. You really had to be down by 9.30 and our teenage boys missed a few. You don’t want to be setting alarms and rushing down to breakfast when you are on holiday to relax. They don’t have to set up for lunch, so even half an hour longer would make a difference.
We loved the tranquillity and beauty of the island (no traffic noise), and it was lovely to walk round in the evening and enjoy the sunsets weather permitting.
Nice big pools, but still a bit difficult to get sun beds if you’re a family. If you went down by the sea (very close to the hotel) you had to pay for sunbeds and umbrellas which we felt should be free for all hotel guests. They get a LOT of day trippers coming across to the island and I can totally understand charging them, but hotel guests shouldn’t be charged when the whole island is basically under the hotel’s management.
We loved going across to Rovinj on the hourly free ferry (very efficient and fun with excellent staff) – just beware if the weather is bad – we got stuck across in Rovinj one evening as the boat stopped running – luckily it managed to do a late run but it was touch and go and then a VERY rough crossing. Rovinj is a great place to go for a drink and wander after supper. Entertainment in the hotel wasn’t great and the outside bars were quite expensive and didn’t serve coffee, although the setting was glorious. Lots of good places to eat/drink on the mainland with a buzzy atmosphere.
Didn’t feel there was much for teenagers – more a couple’s/young families’ hotel. There was a pool table used a lot, (you had to pay for) and a football table which I never saw being used. They could do with getting rid of that and getting a table tennis table instead. Nothing really for the older kids to do when it rained.
There is Wi-Fi in the lobby area, but the lobby was always quite full and it was sometimes difficult to find somewhere to sit. – lots of teenagers using Wi-Fi and taking up the comfy chairs!
We went on two Thomson organised trips - The Best of Istria - long and tiring day but excellent - the guide Tin was especially good. Also went to Venice for the day - really enjoyed it, but the boat trip back took 5 hours (rather then 3) as one engine broke. They also ran out of water which was inexcusable - lucky they got the engine working again or we would have taken 7 hours with no water! Don't get lured into buying the extra excursions on board - you can get them cheaper once you arrive.
All in all we really enjoyed our holiday. The weather was disappointing with a fair amount of rain – not a fault of the hotel of course but bear in mind that it doesn’t get the same sort of climate that the Med does and it did mean that we didn’t get to enjoy the pool and evenings as much as we have done on previous holidays.
This was our first time in Croatia and we absolutely loved it – beautiful unspoilt area with lovely people and we would definitely consider returning. I would also love to go back to the Istra, but only if we could guarantee a room worthy of a four star hotel. Shame, would definitely have been five stars otherwise...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Istra is an island of its own, a traffic free oasis of sea and sun, wonderful beaches and secluded spots, a ten minute boat ride from Rovinj. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Istra Hotel Rovinj
- Hotel Istra Rovinj