We stayed in the hotel end of Sept. 2009, but I cannot select that particular time range in TripAdvisor.
From the moment you arrive, you are greeted by a nice and attentive staff. There's plenty of stairs to the hotel lobby and no ramp or lift, but once the bus drops you in the front of the hotel there's someone to help you carry the luggage. One evening the kitchen staff was leaving and a busload of elderly tourists just arrived. Without being summoned by anyone, everybody left their stuff at the reception and rushed to help the newly arrived guests.
Location: The hotel is a bit away from the main street (some 5-10 minutes climb). This might be a disadvantage to elderly or people with disabilities, but the whole Crete is hilly, so a bit of training does not hurt. There's not much to do on a 20 min walking distance from the hotel, with the exception of a few bars. The core of the resort is about 30min walking distance, most of it on a decent promenade. The hotel itself is a compound built by the model of a "cretan village", with one main building (reception, restaurant, bar, rooms) and several smaller houses. Connection between the houses and the hotel is done via a large "street" and many narrow staircases. Again, someone will helpfuly carry your luggage to your room, should you not be hosted in the main building. But it's definitely not something for people confined in wheelchairs or single mothers with baby strollers.
The rooms are large, offering the possibility to chat with your buddies without having to scramble to place them somewhere, but otherwise there's nothing special about them. My in-laws were accomodated in the main building, which seemed to be a bit more noisy (from the kitchen and restaurant) and had centralized A/C with predefined "on/off" hours. Our room was about three "levels" below, in one of the houses. At night it was a tad more noisy due to being closer to the main road, but the trees and cicadas were cancelling out the noise. <grin>
The restaurant was large enough to always offer a seat, but you could not always hope for a place on the terrace. A couple of times, though, the waiter came to us a few minutes later to tell us that there's a free table, should we wish. The food itself was good, a few things were really memorable (like the yogurt and the honey, a few dishes), but, on average, I would have been happy to have a more tasty food.
The animation was in a muted tone, a few sports activities (like tennis, voleyball etc) and a few fun games, nothing rude or to be ashamed of participating. No one was pushed to join, if you were looking like relaxing, even your neighbours were approached in a low voice.
The pool was relatively large, even if not huge, and seats were never a problem. The beach was a bit more problematic: to reach it, you had to either cross the main street (quite wide and driven by daredevils), or duck through a tunnel (about 1,30m height) and then cross a smaller road. Not something you'd like your kid to do alone. The beach, however, seemed to be the only one around offering sand and a decent entry in the water, the rest were really stony and hard to negociate. On the beach you could rent chaise longues and umbrellas from the beach bar (not related in any way with the hotel). End of September was great, it was a bit cloudy and warm enough. The only totally clear day we went on the beach we had to literally run for the water, so hot was the sand.
As you have noticed, the staff keeps on being the recurrent subject in this review. I read other reviews before booking the hotel, but I understood the meaning of "bending backwards to please you" only a few days after we were there. From chef to waiter, from reception to cleaning personnel, everybody was similing and willing to help. And not the usual, bought, "I smile so that you pay my rent" kind of smile, but you could really relate to the people and we started knowing about half of the team by name. In how many hotels have you been able to do this?
Things to do around: trip to Knossos, hike to the Koutouloufari village (quite picturesque). Further: go to Agios Nikolaos, extremely nice; Lashiti had no windmill (as in the picture), the water pumps seem nowadays to be driven by electricity, is not really a must.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel King Minos Palace
- King Minos Palace Hersonissos
- Hersonissos Palace Crete
- King Minos Palace Hotel Crete, Greece