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“Not perfect, dinner organisation is a shambles.”
Review of Helona Resort

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Helona Resort
Ranked #13 of 39 Hotels in Kardamena
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 September 2013

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.

What's good.
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.

Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakitira-Hotels, Γενικός Διευθυντής at Helona Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 October 2013

Dear Guest,

Τhank you for taking the time to post your feedback from your recent stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Kos-Helona. We value all our Guests' comments and we take them under serious consideration in order to improve the services we provide and achieve our 100% Guest Satisfaction goal.

Please rest assured that we will address all the points of your dissatisfaction with our hotel team, so that no similar issues arise again.


With kind regards,
The Manager

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Reviewed 22 September 2013

Like the previous poster who by review was a diamond holder on my stay some years back this was an issue amongst many I think the Helona became a franchise for Hilton and I myself was concerned that they weren't adhering to brand standards as set out this hotel also took on mark warner who I have to say are excellent but this summer has seen a drag down with discontented guests on holiday I rather feel the owners own hotel lacitera was also down prior to mark warner and Hilton becoming involved and this summer as previous posted stated no loyalty whatsoever to hilton guests at all and personally next summer mark warner and hilton need to pull away and not be used or there company's to make this hotel something it's not and wasn't until these 2 company's put them back on the map and they are not reflective of the 2 company's way of doing things it was evident on previous posters general manager response and to any going on holiday anywhere my advice would be to make sure that what you are paying for you get under the name of the establishment it is not exceptable others are charging high prices and not getting what they pay for and professing to be what they aren't

Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
Thank Brigitte J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakitira-Hotels, Γενικός Διευθυντής at Helona Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 October 2013

Dear Guest,

Τhank you for taking the time to post your feedback from your recent stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Kos-Helona. We value all our Guests' comments and we take them under serious consideration in order to improve the services we provide and achieve our 100% Guest Satisfaction goal.

With kind regards,

The Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2013

Our comments about Hilton Honors come at the end for anyone who's interested, but first here's our general review of the Hotel...

The Doubletree Kos is a modern, good-looking resort situated on a beautiful beach. The Hotel's public spaces are cool, stylish and airy and everything is well maintained and clean. The Doubletree is located around 25 minutes from the airport by cab (cost Eur22 each way). It's also under the airport's flight path so there is some aircraft noise.

The facilities in the Hotel are good - star ratings are famously subjective, but we'd have this down firmly as a 4-star property rather than 5-star as some sources suggest. The Hotel appears to focus primarily on Package Tour guests from Europe and Russia.

At the time we stayed in early September occupancy was high and facilities were crowded. We were allocated a sea-view room which was a good size and comfortable apart from the hard bench like, wall-attached sofa. The bathroom was also spacious with a walk-in shower and a bath. Soundproofing between rooms is poor and we were disturbed by our neighbours' snoring each night - and their bath time, in terms of sound at least, was also an unwanted shared experience. Basic tea and coffee making facilities were available in the room but supplies were not replenished daily.

Breakfast is served in the main buffet-style restaurant. Food choices and quality were variable - there was a really excellent range of breads, yogurts and hot dishes (including some delicious Greek specialties) but fresh fruits were poor and often topped up with tinned varieties or left un-replenished. There was always a long line to enter the breakfast restaurant and we didn't enjoy this first thing in the morning - or the overly-loud staff member whose job it was to direct guests to tables. Breakfast wait staff were sometimes disengaged and always slow at topping-up coffee etc. At the time of our stay breakfast at the Doubletree Kos could not be described as a peaceful start to the day.

Many of the Hotel's guests appeared to be staying on a package which included buffet dinner and we noticed that the evening lines at the buffet restaurant were even longer than at breakfast. Our rate included breakfast only so on our first night we chose the Hotel's a-la-carte restaurant for dinner. Three staff were laying-up tables when we arrived around 730pm and each studiously ignored us. We approached one and asked if dinner was available - they seemed surprised at our request but we were eventually seated and ate dinner in the otherwise empty restaurant. This was a disappointing experience with lukewarm food of poor quality and served with a focus on presentation rather than taste. Consequently on future nights we took a taxi to Kardamena (15 minutes and Eur10 each way) which offers a wide range of restaurants, many along the sea front. We found the taxis on Kos very reliable, quick to arrive, and with courteous drivers - an effective alternative if you don't choose to hire a car.

Each day we went to the Hotel's beach which was good, although the sunbeds are basic and not very comfortable. There is no beach service but the self-service beach bar is excellent and offers a good range of drinks and food at reasonable prices. Staff here were friendly and helpful and, along with Housekeeping and Reception, were the best we encountered in the Resort.

The main pool is large and some rooms share a pool too which runs alongside the terraces of those. The disadvantage of these rooms is that neighbouring guests are walking past your terrace as they use the shared pool so privacy is compromised. Unless you're a real pool fan it's probably as good to stay in a lower-priced regular room and use the beach and main pool instead - or of course to go for one of the villas with private pool but these are a significant step-up in terms of cost.

And finally some views for anyone interested in the Hilton Honors scheme....

We reserved this Hotel directly on the Hilton website and because of our on-going loyalty to the Hilton group. I guess for the Doubletree franchisee at this Hotel the Hilton affiliation is a useful source of additional guests but of course with this comes obligations on behalf of the Hotel too.

We emailed the Hotel in advance of our stay to check-out room options for Diamond members but they didn't reply for two weeks, blaming a technology fault. This wasn't a great start and, in the absence of a timely response from the Hotel, we went ahead and reserved a standard room. The Hotel subsequently added a sea-view for us in recognition of our Honors status and we also received two complimentary bottles of water on the first day but nothing further for the remaining nights of our stay. With breakfast and internet included on a complimentary basis for all guests, the Diamond Honors benefits at the Doubletree Kos are therefore quite limited.

On the day we checked-out we asked the Reception if we could extend our check-out by even just a couple of hours but this was declined, explaining that there could be no flexibility in the 12 noon check-out time. We are not overly-precious about the Honors Scheme and I don't believe we have unreasonable expectations of what it should deliver and we also understand that late check-out is not a guaranteed benefit at any level. However, when you consider that to earn Diamond status Hilton require that you stay 40 nights a year in their properties (more than 10% of your whole year in other words) to be unwilling to offer back even a couple of hours in these circumstances we found extremely disappointing.

In the spirit of providing feedback at the time I spoke with the Hotel's General Manager, Niko Iakovidis, about the situation and shared our surprise at the Hotel's lack of flexibility, particularly since the Hotel comprises almost 240 rooms. He explained that the Doubletree needed to accommodate many early-arriving package tour guests on the day of our check-out and from what he said it was very clear where his priorities lay and that wasn't with us, the loyal Hilton Honors Diamond members. The GM really offered no empathy with our situation and I was surprised that he made no effort whatsoever to consider alternatives. As a result our last day at the Doubletree Kos was not a comfortable one and we left underwhelmed with the Resort and with Hilton as a whole, and with our future loyalty to the Hilton Group under serious consideration.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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3  Thank tint7003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakitira-Hotels, Γενικός Διευθυντής at Helona Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 September 2013

Dear Guest,

Τhank you for taking the time to post your feedback from your recent stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Kos-Helona, in such detail. We value our entire Guests' comments and we take them under serious consideration in order to improve the services we provide and achieve our 100% Guest Satisfaction goal.

Please rest assured that we will address all the points of your dissatisfaction with our hotel team, so that no similar issues arise again. Just for the sake of good order, I would like to mention the following:

Pre arrival communication
Unfortunately the provision of internet is not the most reliable one, mainly due to the lack of modern equipment from the provider. This indeed results in communication issues sometimes, for which we apologize.


Restaurants
There could be some rush times when guests are arriving at the main restaurant together. The restaurant management and personnel is trying their outmost in order to eliminate the waiting time. Although we understand that some of the culinary experiences you had in our hotel were not what you expected, we need to point out the numerous enthusiastic, "ultra" positive comments we get from our Guests every day related with both our restaurants.

Late check out
With regards to the late checkout request, kindly note that we would have been more than happy to provide you with a room, provided there was availability or even arrivals on a later time during the day, but unfortunately as explained, on that specific day all arrivals where scheduled in the morning. Under such circumstances it would not be possible to have guests waiting to be checked in.


I also wish to express our appreciation for the positive comments you have made.

With kind regards,

The Manager

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Reviewed 20 September 2013

Fantastic Location. Very friendly and courteous staff. We had a fantastic time. The only hiccup was the food, really, not a fan of buffet type food. There is an a la carte restaurant but the menu is fairly limited, that said the beach side bar serves a mean club sandwich.

Not much else to add to the other comments.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank wwwlsnr30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakitira-Hotels, Γενικός Διευθυντής at Helona Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 September 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to write about DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Kos Helona. We are very pleased that you had an enjoyable stay at our hotel.

With regards to the culinary options although we appreciate you are not a fun of buffet restaurants, our Helona main restaurant which serves breakfast for all our guests and dinner for those on half board, has a menu designed with influences of Greek and international tastes to cater the preferences of our multinational clientele. Our Thalassa a la carte restaurant is focused mainly on Mediterranean cuisine, based mostly on using quality Ingredients.
We wish you all the best and we look forward to welcoming you back!


With kind regards,
The Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2013

We were staying in a nearby hotel and I am so sorry we did not find this one
It is simply stunning
It has been beautifully laid out with water surrounding all the walkways and pools by each room
The beach is a short stroll downhill
We ate in the A la Carte restaurant twice and the food was amazing and excellent value for money
We will certainly be coming back here

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Liverpool196
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakitira-Hotels, Γενικός Διευθυντής at Helona Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 September 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments about your stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Kos-Helona. We are very pleased to read that your stay with us was a very pleasant experience and we look forward to welcoming you back again.

Sincerely,

The Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 September 2013

Stayed here for a week in early September 2013 as part of a Mark Warner package. This is a very good hotel but improvements could be made.

On arrival the transfer to rooms was a bit clumsy. Our room itself was very good, 704, a fairway from reception and the restaurant. The complex is on a hill side and this means that there is quite a bit of walking involved in navigating the resort. This might be a problem if walking is challenging for you but I understand that the resort has wheelchairs available and there are electric golf carts to transfer you to your room.

Our room was very well equipped. Decent bathroom, nice big bedroom area and a nice balcony looking on to the sea. Air conditioning was good and I would say the rooms are of a very good standard.

The key problem is that at dinner and breakfast seating can be a problem. This is because on the outside terrace there are smoking and non smoking areas. Most people want to be outside but a surprising number also want to smoke. The wait in the evening can be up to half an hour.

This having been said the food and quality of cooking is excellent. Breakfast and dinner is excellent with a fantastic array of foods. This is, IMHO, as good as it gets in Europe. There is also a good wine list and I'd urge you to try the house wine. It is €11 per bottle but very palatable. There are better wines too and you won't break the bank if you go for a more expensive bottle at about €23.

Away from the restaurant the main hotel bar offers a good range of cocktails and drinks. It is a bit pricey (about €10 for a cocktail) but you are in a 5 star hotel. The poolside bar is also very good. Katrina in particular keeps things nice and tight and is always helpful.

As for facilities the gym is very good, the spa has a great sauna and steam room and the main pool is massive (45m?) but not heated. You soon get used to the cold water but for the first few seconds you might worry about heart failure. The beach is very good with a dark, coarse grain sand that is a bit rough on the feet.

What really makes the hotel is the effort the staff make. People like Mercedes, Andreas, the maitre d" hote (who's name I have forgotten) are all excellent. Just a pity the reception staff are so dour.

Finally if you are on a Mark Warner break you will not be disappointed. Their staff are excellent.

So, overall, a great place. We will be back, and I don't say that about many places!

Room Tip: If you have a mobility impairment ask for a room near to the restaurant.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank LondonDavidS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakitira-Hotels, Γενικός Διευθυντής at Helona Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 September 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to write about DoubelTree By Hilton Resort Kos Helona. We are very pleased that you had an enjoyable stay at our hotel.

We wish you all the best and we look forward to welcoming you back!

With kind regards,
The Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2013

We had such a fabulous stay. We got a room with a sea view and shared pool. Worth every penny! The room was fabulous (with a bath and sep shower). The pool was great (bit chilly in mornings but it did warm up!). The hotel main pool was warmer and great too. Beach was fab. Breakfast really is amazing - so much choice! and we ate lunch at the pool restaurant every day. STAFF WERE WONDERFUL!!! NOTHING WAS TOO MUCH TO ASK. They really did make our stay relaxing, and we would highly recommend this hotel!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with DoubleTree by Hilton
Thank Natasha G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakitira-Hotels, Γενικός Διευθυντής at Helona Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 22 September 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your feedback during your stay in our DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Kos Helona. It is particularly warming to receive an evaluation like yours and to know that our efforts to provide superior service and hospitality are represented by all our team members.

We hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you back to our hotel in the near future.

Sincerely,

The Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Helona Resort

Address: Akti Helona S.A | Gourniatis, Kardamena 853 02, Greece
Region: Greece > South Aegean > Dodecanese > Kos > Kardamena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Kardamena
#5 Romantic Hotel in Kardamena
#6 Spa Hotel in Kardamena
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Kardamena
#15 Family Hotel in Kardamena
Price Range: £90 - £344 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Helona Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 238
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

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