Top Tips: at the end!
General: The hotel is about 3km west of Kardamena and just next door to its sister hotel the Portobello Beach - with which it shares a theatre for night-time entertainment. It looks like a "groundforce triumph" - lots of hard landscaping and water features so it can appear a bit harsh and unrelenting especially at noon when the sun is highest. There isn't much shade but there are passages behind many of the rooms which link up and can provide a sensible route across the hotel. It is on the flight path and every flight to Kos flies over the hotel - but this did not bother us at all. We went all-inclusive and you need to have your gold card with you at all times. Often it was not asked for - or you could get away with just one for a round of drinks. Occassionally (main bar was worst) you would be asked to show one card/drink and the date would be checked too. The hotel has a gym but the equipment is (relatively) poor and it is not air conditioned.
Room: We had a junior suite - and it was was great. Two keys are provided (and you can always work the air-con with your Tesco clubcard!) Maid service was impeccable and towels changed twice daily. We booked 6pm checkout locally for €55 (subject to availability) and kept our all inclusive all day.
Food: was plentiful and high quality. I thought there was enough variety and flavour not to be bored over a 10 day stay. Of course a buffet presentation provides its own limitations - the food tends to be a similar style each day and the salads were always the same - but we felt there was plenty of choice and we totally enjoyed it. We found service was generally very fast and the food almost without exception hot enough. Our biggest complaint to be honest was that the "fruit juice" (orange/apple/pineapple) was actually squash - and this was true in the bars as well. Breakfast on Sunday morning includes smoked salmon and champagne! (well sparking wine)
Restaurants: There are 6 restaurants - we didn't go to the A la carte "French" restaurant - I was not excited by the menu and it was fairly expensive (about €25 for a main course).
The main restaurant: Had the biggest choice and you don't have to book . There was a fish night here and two Greek nights which we thought better than the fish and greek restaurant respectively. Wednesday night is the Greek Gala night with music and dancing... Get an outside table if you can.
Greek Restaurant/FIsh Restaurant: must be booked and only at luchtime. Both were OK but to be fair the food in the main restaurant provided better overall choice.
Italian Restaurant: must be booked and this was probably our favourite. As well as the "meat in sauce" hot buffet - they did pasta to order and pizza. The soup was good too (actually the soup everywhere was excellent)
Asian Restaurant: Sort of bland Chinese (but don't let that put you off) rather than Indian. Again must be booked but differs from the other restaurants as it is table service. We went twice. The offer is soup (which changes each day), Wonton/Chicken Wing/Spring Roll, A mild curry with rice and an oriental side salad and finally banana fritter. The curry is almost too bland - but tasty enough to make a pleasant change. The Italian and Asian restaurant are evening only.
The beach bar does toasted sandwiches and is a good choice for a lighter lunch.
The midnight snack buffet is only worth a visit on a late arrival.
Drink: As described - local wine/beer/spirits etc. I thought the quality was pretty good though it would be nice if they had a choice of 2/3 wines as the same wine day in/day out gets a bit repetive. Other wines are available to purchase (we didn't). You cannot remove a half drunk bottle from a restaurant - not sure if this applies to bought bottles though). Soft drinks were good - though diet pepsi was the only sugar free option (but was part of AI) Drinks in the fridge are not refilled - however, it is no problem to get drinks (including still water) in plastic glasses from any of the bars and take them either to the room/beach/pool/theatre.
Entertainment: Could be better. The theatre show (which generally started about 20 minutes later than the advertised 21:30 tended to be the same animators dancing and singing to a different backing track - we saw Grease and Riverdance! It seems they are playing to the lowest common denominator. On the main terrace was Fulvia - a 30 something petite singer - who actually wasn't that bad. The only problem is that she is there 6/7 nights and plays exactly the same set to a computer backing track every night. By the fifth night I'd had my fill of Fulvia. The Greek Night on Wednesday is a must. On some evenings they ran films at the beach bar (like my big fat greek wedding). The hotel has a conference centre/cinema - but this was closed for the duration.
Daytime Entertainment: We the adults were more than happy doing not much. But not much was not enough for our teenage children (both boys) who had nothing much to do. There is one table tennis table. No Pool room. One computer with internet access (see below on this) but children under 16 not allowed to use it. The watersports were good,d we enjoyed the jet-ski, and could have done more --- but they are expensive (€50/15 mins for the Jet Ski)... Archery was advertised (we wanted to do this) but it had been discontinued.
Computers: Anticipating a lack of older children activitiy we took ipods and a netbook. WiFi is available in reception and was fairly reliable. We should have taken a cat5 cable to get wired access in the room. The safe was just big enough to take the netbook but not a laptop. There is nowhere in the room suitable for attaching a kensington lock.
The computer room next to the indoor pool had 4 computers in it with Internet access - but at the start of the week only one worked and the others were in various states of disrepair. You are not permitted to play games on these computers (good!). While we were there two computers were repaired - but a sign put up banning under-16's - so something else they could not do!
Beach/Pools: The pools are stunning - personally I didn't mind the salt water - you float easier! Though I do think they are a risk if you have small children as they can be as little as two metres from an apartment door and completly unguarded. The indoor pool is fresh water but cold - as it does not see any sun. There are two jacuzzi's
There was some nabbing of sun-beds and it could be a gamble about getting one round about lunchtime but more often or not it was OK. We were always able to find one on the beach. The beach is probably 'imported' and the sand is slightly gritty and abrasive and I thought a little sticky. Also there is a little strip of rock/stones to cross before getting into the sea. On the other side of the marina toward Kardamena is a naturist beach - just in case you are walking off the beaten track.
Out and About: The hotel bus runs irregularly so you may need to take a cab which is €9 to Kardamena. It is also possible to get the bus to Kos town (we didn't) Car Hire - I would use Sirent in the hotel lobby - prices are competitive. Do not use (t)rust rentals in Kardamena - I was disappointed in their service - we had problems with the buggy and the hire car and were ripped off for fuel on the boat we hired. Don't bother hiring a car for more than 3 days - it probably isn't worth it - and if just two of you think about just hiring a buggy - more fun (again you can book these in the hotel). There are plenty of guides to other beaches on the island but here is my 2p - On road to Kefalos the first beach is Gold Beach which is not at all commercial and practically deserted. Further on Paradise/Bubble beach is much more commercialised with a good range of water sports and a nice bar. Water sports here are cheaper than the hotel (€35 for the jet-ski) so better off here if you do travel out.
a) Do not book (pay for) transfers - a cab from the airport is a standard €19 each way
b) Do hire a buggy - great fun - we took ours up the track behind the hotel for about 7km - follow your nose it brings you out next to the airport - turn right to get back to Kardamena.
c) Do not hire a self-drive boat - expensive and I don't think worth it. TrustRental charge for the boat's fuel at double the rate it would cost them! Rip Off - I wish we had just gone on an organised boat trip instead.
d) If you book packed lunches (day before at reception) then you get a sandwich, some fruit/a cake and a bottle of water each! The bottle of water is very useful though the sandwich was a bit stale
e) Kardamena is not the prettiest place in the world! probably best avoided.
f) Pack a cat 5 (computer network cable) for internet access in your room.
g) Get yourself a light lunch at the beach bar rather than a full meal.
i) Book restaurants by phone (Dial 9 IIRC) when you get up - if you want later than 7pm
j) The hotel shop charge about €14 per book - if you run out of reading!
Finally a fantastic hotel - especially if you want a lazy days beach holiday. If you have teenagers that want to be entertained then it is best avoided (others give this advice too which meant not too many kids of similar age to ours for them to befriend).
The all inclusive offer is more or less faultless... and while the PortoBello beach hotel looks prettier and greener - I think PBR is probably better. Any criticism is only because it fairly expensive and with all your eggs It's a shame that Kos is not more attractive
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- Also Known As:
- Porto Bello Royal Hotel Kardamena
- Atlantica Porto Bello Royal Kardamena
- Porto Bello Beach
- Kos Porto Bello Beach
- Porto Bella Beach
- Atlantica Porto Bello Royal Hotel
- Atlantica Porto Bello Royal Kos/Kardamena