I travelled with my husband and son, and over the last twenty five years or so, we have had in excess of twenty all-inclusive holidays, so we do have some points of comparison. We felt that some aspects of the hotel were truly outstanding, but that other bits compromised the experience as a whole. We stayed for October half term, which was the very last week of their season, so that might have had some impact on the resort (which felt badly run down and eerily quiet), but shouldn't really have been allowed to affect the hotel. If I could have given three and a half stars, I would have done, because it was a little better than average, but not sufficiently great enough to be described as 'very good'.
The team of maids, who worked tirelessly, always had a cheerful smile and a friendly 'kalimera'. Special mention must go to the two Georges and Niktarios at the Italian restaurant for the quality of the food and also the service. The two guys at the beach bar were also really helpful. and the Serbian animation guy (Peter?) was also really lovely.
Regrettably, the same cannot be said of the reception staff (with the very notable exception of the big chap who has a beautiful, kind smile). I don't want to mislead: the women on reception do smile when approached, but it feels more of a grimace. I suppose that when you need help with something, you just know the difference between a cold smile that they have been told to use (that never reaches their eyes), and a genuine smile with a warm manner.
In fact, as our holiday went on, we stopped asking reception for help or advice because their barely concealed hostility made us feel like a nuisance, and instead we tried to ask other British holiday-makers. The woman behind the pool bar also had a very bad attitude, as did the waitress at the Mexican. A shame really, because they let the other hard-working, polite staff down.
As with most all-inclusive hotels, the main 'restaurant' is more of a canteen and consequently, the food is mass produced. However, some hotels manage this better than others, and in our opinion, the Faliraki Beach was at the very bottom of that scale.
In particular, the breakfast was about the worst we have experienced. I know that bacon in Greece is never the same as British/Danish bacon, but even so, the bacon that we were faced with was like a fatty dog chew - and a cold one at that! The fried eggs were always undercooked, with the whites still transparent, and often cold too. The bread rolls were hard, and the fruit salad was just an apple salad, with no other fruit in it. The kiwis (served separately) were so under-ripe that I couldn't dig a spoon into them, and the platter was left practically untouched most days, presumably because other guests had the same experience. However, if you like lettuce and cucumber for breakfast, you would have been happy.
Lunch and dinner were little better, and although in theory there was a lot of choice, we felt most of it was inedible. ALL of the meat dishes were fatty and chewy, and the dishes were lukewarm at best. Mass produced - and cheaply produced. The vegetables were all over-cooked and sloppy. Again however, the salad was fresh and plentiful.
But things really changed mid way through our break when we tried out the separate international restaurants, that are the hotel's best kept secret. They are the feather in the cap of this hotel, and for the life of me, I just cannot understand why they aren't signposted and why there is no information provided about them, either by staff or in written information. The hotel would do well to promote these restaurants because they are really lovely. They are situated around the side of the hotel, in a beautiful location overlooking a small pool, and for the first couple of days, we didn't even know they existed.
There is a Sushi restaurant (appropriately staffed with a Japanese chef); an Asian restaurant (which is actually Chinese rather than Asian); a quite superb Italian restaurant; a Greek restaurant; and a Mexican restaurant. As with other bars in the hotel, the drinks are all locally produced, and unfortunately, you can't get a coffee at the end of your meal at any of them, which is a bit disappointing. But aside from these two little niggles, in general, the service and quality of the food was superb - care and effort was evident in both, especially in terms of presentation and flavour.
The public space/facilities and the rooms
When the taxi dropped us off, the hotel was very impressive and beautifully illuminated with coloured lights. The interior decor is fabulous too, and the whole place is kept spotlessly clean. The main lounge is lovely, and the furnishings are all high class and decent.
On the downside, there was only one lift working for the duration of our stay, and even that one seemed so dangerous that we opted not to use it. Okay if it's just one or maybe two adults, but dodgy for children or if you have luggage. The problem is the doors shut very quickly, and the button to hold them open appears not to work. Even brute force seems ineffective and we had two near misses before we stopped using the lift. Scary!
Also, significantly lacking, is a secure storage space for luggage on your day of departure. Instead, guests are told to pile their cases and bags up at the foot of the staircase, which is messy, potentially dangerous and very insecure. There is simply no other option, except to take your suitcases to the pool, or to pay for a late checkout (6pm) for 35euros.
Outside, the sunbeds are tired and many are broken - that needs to be addressed because it makes the pool area look far less attractive than it should. But the landscaping is beautiful, and the pools themselves are very nicely done. The whirly kids slide is great fun for adults too :) The outside bars are decently situated, one with a selection of lovely farm-style ice-creams by one pool, and the other is by the beach. Unfortunately, the beach bar closed before the end of our holiday, which we felt was badly managed. Another thing we noted was that guests without an all-inclusive wristband were served their drinks in glasses, whereas those on all-inclusive were served drinks in plastic cups!
There is little to say about the rooms, other than they were satisfactory. Not the best we've ever had, but far from the worst. Disappointing views - but then the hotel is built at right angles to th sea which seems a shame as if the rooms had frontal sea views, it would have made a real difference. Ask for a pool view rather than a sea view!
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- Also Known As:
- Faliraki Beach Hotel
- Mitsis Faliraki Beach Hotel Rhodes