A family of 5, including 3 teenagers had a fortnight's holiday at Hilton Doubletree Helona Bay, booked through Mark Warner. We were there in peak summer holiday season.
We had a good holiday, not least because Mark Warner's sailing, tennis and kids club facilities which are at the Lakitira resort next door were excellent, as always. Not all is perfect with the hotel however and if I were running Hilton I would be wondering whether this is being run in a way consistent with my customers' expectations.
The bedrooms are modern, tasteful, clean with comfortable bedding etc. rooms were cleaned each day to a high standard .A large number of rooms have access to private pools of a good size, but we didn't see many people using them, most preferring to use the communal pool or beach. We didn't have a private pool, but we did have a spectacular sea view. Sadly, through poor architectural design, the high concrete balustrade of the balcony means that you cannot see the view when sitting here. Nice when standing up though.
The beach is clean and beautiful.
Sailing with Mark Warner is well equipped, well run by expert staff, and 3 minutes walk.
Tennis at Lakitira. was also excellent with social tennis each evening and a competition each Friday ...lessons there were also great .
Most of the staff work hard, are friendly and courteous.
What's not so good.
Firstly, The organisation of the buffet dinner is an absolute joke. Some nights we chose to eat as 4, on others as 5 as our youngest often ate with the kids club at Lakitira. Regardless of the number, we were asked to wait 20-30 minutes for an outdoor table every night. We tried different times between 7.45 and 9pm. In every case we were left waiting.
Worse still we were all asked to wait in a strange walled-in containment area which is next to the air conditioning units and which is very very windy. This waiting area had complimentary ouzo, but no other drinks, and there are no chairs to sit down on. Completely depressing way to start a dinner.
The maitre d and team were all very apologetic and suggested we eat at tables indoors, in rooms which were always empty. Half the fun of being in a hot country like Greece is to eat al fresco however and the hotel is totally under resourced for this. Clearly the architect never thought about this problem, but it makes for a totally miserable experience. On the worst night we stood waiting for 45 minutes!
Incidentally, there is an outdoor a la carte restaurant which hardly anyone uses as most people are on half board terms and don't want to pay the extra (standard expensive price minus 30%). If I were running the hotel I would allow half board customers to eat for free or a much bigger discount at this restaurant which would ease the congestion at the buffet.
The buffet itself is not particularly good and is very repetitive. Nowhere near 5 star.
Secondly, the gym is pretty pathetic. It is in a small room and for no know reason has air conditioning which switches off automatically at 6pm. The information booklet talks about free weights and resistance machines. There are no free weights and the machines use non-adjustable air resistance rather than conventional weights.
The main swimming pool is large and beautifully situated overlooking the sea. No complaints about the pool, but there are insufficient sun beds and the fight to lay out towels early in the morning is the worst we have experienced. The problem has been caused because the main infinity pool you can see on their website is permanently closed. Staff say it was only ever intended as an "ornament"! Nonsense, this pool has huge decking areas, swim-ladders etc. I suspect it has just been taken out of use because the adjacent marble floors become too slippy to be safe. In any case it has meant everyone uses a single pool which is a fair hike from many rooms, and which has insufficient loungers and feels crowded. If I were the management I would put loungers in the adjacent grassy gardens during peak season.
The animation guy, Patrick, works hard during the day offering keep fit, family water polo, aquarobics etc. if you are on the Mark Warner programme there are loads of other classes and cycling etc at Lakitira too. The evening entertainment programme however is mainly at Lakatira and is really poor. It largely consists of staff miming to pop songs. Fun for one night, but not over and over. The Hilton is a long way from the nearest town, Kardamena, and there's not much there in any case. A little more investment in entertainment is needed. Moreover the cocktail bar in the Hilton lacks atmosphere and has one barman who is completely overwhelmed by the number of drinks orders he is given. The poor fellow needs some assistance.
Would we go again? Probably not. This holiday cost approximately £11,000. I think for that amount of money we would expect better food, less chaos at dinner, more space by the pool, and more staff in key functions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Helona Resort is a beautiful establishment with an impressive architecture. Small buildings scattered in beautiful gardens, elegant domes, cobbled alleys and natural materials such as stone, wood and marble, allow the entire complex to blend harmoniously with the surrounding, peaceful landscape. Large windows and openings offer a fantastic view to the sunny Aegean Sea and lighten up all interior spaces. Twenty-one infinity pools enable water to flow from one to the other, inviting guests to dive into summer happiness. The resort sits on a gentle hill that overlooks the beautiful Helona beach, on the southern coast of Kos island, at a peaceful area called Gourniatis, only 11 km from Kos international airport (KGS) and 4 km off the lively village Kardamena. Kos town is about 35 km away.Helona Resort has a delightful collection of spacious guest rooms, cosy family rooms, luxurious suites and private villas. Many of the rooms enjoy the extra privilege of a shared swimming pool in front of their terrace whilst others have lovely gardens spreading in front of them. Each one of the suites and villas has its own private pool. The resort has two restaurants, three bars, a spa and a conference center. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Helona Resort (Aka Doubletree By Hilton Resort Kos-Helona) Hotel Kardamena
- Helona Hotel Kardamena
- Helona Resort Kos/Kardamena