“ Address: P.O.Box 30006 / 5340 Ayia Napa / Cyprus „
When it comes to holidays I'm a hard one to please. I like sun and plenty of it, I like to be somewhere that has "decent nightlife" but the thought of being in the centre of an 18-30's scene actually makes me shudder (caused by a disaster holiday when I was 18 to Magaluf) and I also like to stay in a nice hotel with a little bit of luxury because after all I'm on holiday. So when searching for holidays Mr Lools and I were pointed in the direction of the Grecian Bay in Ayia Napa and I am glad to say we were not disappointed.
Before I start on the hotel I feel I should probably explain a little about Ayia Napa for those that have not visited before as my lasting impressions of the resort were certainly not what I was expecting.
Ayia Napa is located 25 miles east of Larnaca Airport which takes about 30 minutes coach transfer and is on the east coast of Cyprus.
Ayia Napa is renowned for its nightlife but this was certainly not the rowdy holiday resort I was expecting. I have visited many "rowdy" resort such as Magaluf in Majorca and Malia in Crete where the resorts are dominated by a very British drinking culture and you can't get away from that but that is not the case in Ayia Napa and is not dominated by the "chavs" like many holiday resorts are. The Square offers the rowdy bars and nightlife that some crave but away from that are lots smaller bars, restaurants and pubs which are great for those wanting to relax on a night-time and welcoming to families. The standard and variation of food offered by restaurants is a lot higher quality than many other British dominated holiday resorts and not just focusing on cheap and cheerful.
Ayia Napa has lots of beautiful beaches where there are plenty of opportunity to take part in water sports or go on boat trips in particular to Famagusta. There is also a Venetian Monastery, picturesque harbour and waterpark within the resort.
The Grecian Bay is a 5* hotel located directly on the beach. The hotel has 271 rooms and is set over 4 floors. The hotel has a large outdoor pool and private beach area. It also has a large indoor pool and gym with sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room. The hotel has a spa with a range of treatments available. Inside the hotel is a large restaurant and also an outdoor restaurant called the Fishermans Hut. The hotel has a children's club, hair salon and 4 shops inside the hotel. The hotel has 3 tennis courts and a 125m driving range.
The Grecian Bay Hotel is around 500m from the resort centre which is a 10 minute walk. It is located directly on the beach front and has impressive views of the beach and sea. The hotel has a number of restaurants, bars and two supermarkets located directly next to the hotel. The main road leading to the resort centre has restaurants, bars and shops all of the way up to the resort centre from the hotel so you do not feel like you are isolated
The Grecian Bay occupies a large plot and because of this is set back from the main road so also is quite quiet and you do not hear a lot of noise from neighbouring hotelsPictures of Grecian Bay, Ayia Napa
standard double bedroom or the main road.
***Price and Booking ***
We booked through Thomson Holidays in May 2008 for a holiday in mid-July 2008 (peak season). For a package holiday for 7 nights which included airport transfers and a rate of bed and breakfast we paid £495. At the time this was excellent value and the majority of room only and self catering options in other 3 and 4 star hotels for the same dates were between £400-£450 therefore we felt it was worth paying just a little extra for better standard of hotel with breakfast included.
Other travel companies that offer package holidays to the Grecian Bay Hotel are Thomas Cook and Olympic Holidays. For July 2012 Thomson holidays have priced a 7 night stay package holiday on the bed and breakfast rate at £950 per person so prices have gone up quite substantially in 4 years.
You can also book a stay here via the hotel website which is http://www.grecianbay.com . Prices vary but a one night stay at bed and breakfast rate for mid-September 2011 is 70 Euro .
We opted for a standard room when we booked with Thomson and did not pay extra for a sea view. The hotel has 3 options for a room and inland view (facing onto the garden and main road), a side sea view (with partial views of the sea) or a full sea view where rooms look out directly over the beach. Each of the standard guest rooms have air con/ central heating, a mini bar, large balcony, satellite Tv with a range of channels, a radio, private safe, telephone and hairdryer. Each guest room also has complimentary dressing gowns, slippers, towels and toiletries.
I was very surprised when we arrived in our room at just how large our "standard" room was. There were two beds pushed together which made a very large bed. The walls were all painted white, and the floor in the room was white marble. The bedding in the room was also white which gave a very light and airy feel. The room had a lot of storage in a large wardrobe in the corner which had a chest of drawers in here, space for at least 2 large suitcases and also plenty of rails to hang clothes up to keep room's clutter free. The patio doors onto the balcony were large and took up the full balcony area so you had a wall of glass. Although we had not paid extra we were given a side sea view room so had a great view of the pool and also of the bright blue sea. The balcony area had two plastic chairs and a table with a rack to dry clothes and towels on.
Not only was the room immaculate and kept immaculate by the daily maid service the bathroom was also spotless. The bathroom was decorated with white tiles and cream marble counters with a toilet, large basin and shower bath. The bathroom was new and unlike in many hotels you stay at in good condition with no cracked tiles or unsealed areas around the bath. My only criticism was that the water in the shower was often an inconsistent temperature and would alternate from hot to cold very quickly.
The rooms were surprisingly very soundproof and you could not hear the people in the rooms next to you or doors slamming which we have found a problem in most of the hotels we have stayed in when abroad. The temperature of the room was also very comfortable and even in 40 degree humid heat the air conditioning allowed the room to stay very cool and comfortable. You could actually leave the air conditioning on when you went out as the room electronics were not controlled by a key card which meant you did not have to wait 5 minutes or so when you got in to the room before you benefited from the air conditioning.
The mini bar fridge was very large and the size of a normal fridge and there was space to store your own drinks and food alongside the food that you could purchase (at a extortionate price).
The Grecian Bay has two main restaurants. The main hotel restaurant where lunch, dinner and breakfast is served for guests who have booked food as part of their package and you can also pay to dine here. The main restaurant also has a terrace area which serves lighter snacks and meals during the day. There is also an outdoor restaurant on the lawn area next to the beach called the Fisherman's Hut which serves locally sourced meat and fish dishes. The prices to dine were very expensive in comparison to the local restaurants around the hotel and a couple we were chatting to paid around £50 for a 3 course evening meal from the Fisherman's Hut whereas in a similar style restaurant on the main street you would pay around £20.
We decided on not dining on an evening at the hotel based upon reviews from other guests and also because there was so much choice around the hotel. We did buy snack meals at lunch times which were pizzas and toasted sandwiches. These were satisfactory but no better than what local restaurants were offering yet were on average around £3 more expensive per meal.
Breakfast was included in our board basis and I will say that in terms of choice and quality of the food it is the best I have experienced in the 8 years' worth of summer holidays we have been on. The amount of fresh fruit, cereals, pastries and juice was exceptional as was the quality. The cooked breakfast was also brilliant and because staff are continually stocking up the buffet breakfast food is not stale, cold or soggy. The quality of the sausages and bacon in particular were excellent and did not taste like the usual mass produced poor quality products you find on breakfast buffets. In addition to a wide range of fresh juice, varieties of tea and coffee every morning champagne was on the menu. Of course being on holiday I made the most of this!
The restaurant was large yet so was the buffet so even at breakfast when there were a number of guests dining at once you did not find big queues as there was more than one dish with each item in.
As the Grecian Bay Hotel is a 5* hotel it does boast an above average number of facilities which include a private beach area and a pool area. The pool is very large and is made from three rounded circular pools which are joined together in the middle. The depth of the pool varies but is between 1m and 1.2m in depth, therefore for younger children you will need to take care. There is a small circular pool which is less than 50cm deep which is considered a "childrens" pool. Personally I felt although there was a children's club with a number of activities if you are a family with young children looking for a hotel with suitable pool area the Grecian Bay is not it. We noticed only a handful of guests with young children and there were mainly families with young teenagers or couples staying in the hotel. The pool area was extremely clean and had a large number of padded sunloungers around it with parasols.
Probably the biggest advantage of the Grecian Bay hotel in my opinion was that you "prebooked" your sunloungers for the week and sun loungers were not taken in the usual manner by putting your towels on them after an early morning dash. On arrival you visit the pool bar and you are given a spot with the required number of sunloungers as each area has a post in the ground marking out the allocated number of each sunlounger "plot". If you wanted to use these sunloungers for the day you had to simply arrive at your spot before 10.30am and put your towels down and they were yours until you took your towels away. Any sunloungers with no towels on them after 10.30am were free to use. The pool (and beach) attendants manned this system and it appeared to work extremely well amongst guests. The pool area has a bar but the pool in general is very tranquil and relaxed and as you are not allowed inflatables in the pool it means you can actually swim around in the pool very easily.
From the pool area you can walk straight down onto the private beach. There is also the option to pre book your sunloungers for the beach. The private beach area is on the main beach and non-hotel guests can walk straight through this area but the sunloungers are set back so people tend to walk nearer the waterfront. The beach area is very clean and attendants are going round asking if you want drinks and picking up any litter.
The hotel also has an indoor pool area with a Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. I did not use the steam room and sauna (mainly because the last thing I wanted to do in 40 degree Cyprus was sit in a hot room) but I did use the Jacuzzi and indoor pool. This area was immaculate and modern which is suprising as often with hotels in "sun" locations you find the indoor facilities are not up to the same standard as the outdoor. This is not the case with the Grecian Bay and even the gym was large and modern enough to be considered an actual gym rather than a makeshift room with a few exercise bikes in. There were at least 4 of every piece of equipment all modern which included treadmills, cross trainers, rowing machines, step machines, exercise bikes an weights.
We did not use the spa facilities or hair salon during our stay.
We did browse the shops in reception however personally I feel that these were overpriced and offered the same things you could get throughout Ayia Napa just at a higher price. There was a souvenir shop, a clothing/ bag shop and a newsagent which also sold books. The newspapers were priced the same as other places in the resort but magazines were a lot more expensive and I would buy my magazines from the local supermarket adjacent to the hotel rather than this newsagent.
Prior to visiting the hotel I had read reviews which all seemed to criticise the staff in the hotel saying they were rude, ignorant and did not care about guests. Personally I found the opposite and all staff from the reception and waiting staff to the cleaning staff were extremely helpful and friendly.
Check in was efficient and the receptionist explained that after checking in we should visit the pool bar area if we were wanting to reserve sunbeds for the week around the pool or by the beach. She also explained about the local area and the town and where the main areas and sights were which I feel is beyond the usual level of service you receive when checking in.
The staff around the pool were also very friendly and would come around regularly with complimentary frozen flannels and would take drinks orders.
The cleaning staff and maids visited rooms on a daily basis and we found if you were still in your room they were happy to come back later with no grumbles.
I would firstly say that Ayia Napa is definitely not the "chav dominated" holiday resort it is made out to be. It is definitely lively but offers beautiful beaches and a wide choice of places to eat with the beautiful scenery of Eastern Cyprus. The Grecian Bay Hotel is definitely a 5* hotel offering a large outdoor pool, a private beach, large guest bedrooms with facilities like a spa gym and restaurant offering quality local food. Most importantly the hotel is clean but also brings to you little luxuries that you would expect from a 5* hotel such as ice cold flannels when you are around the pool and also the option to pre book sun loungers on the beach or around the pool so you do not have to worry about the "sun lounger rush".
I feel that we got an excellent deal through Thompson when we booked in 2008 and for £495 per person for a package holiday for bed and breakfast during mid July we got an excellent deal especially as for July 2012 prices for the same holiday and board basis are being advertised as £950 per person by Thompson!
For couples and families with older children that want a relaxed holiday in a 5* hotel with the option of nightlife I would definitely recommend the Grecian Bay Hotel.
Grecian Bay Hotel
Kriou Nerou 32
P.O. Box 30006
Ayia Napa, Cyprus
Tel: +357 23842000
Fax: +357 23721307