“ Address: Kardamena / Kos / Greece / Tel: +30 22420 92500 „
The hill is rather steep between the beach and the main reception/restaurant area. So if you have troubles walking then I would not recommend this hotel to you. However, there are little golf buggies that the staff will happily come and collect you in. The hotel is built on a hill, and as a result there is a very strong wind that blows throughout the day. While at times it was welcome and refreshing, at other times it got very frustrating to have to keep holding onto half empty cups to ensure they did not spill drinks everywhere in a gust.
There are 3 small shops opposite the main reception. One selling snacks and drinks and souvenirs, one selling gold and silver pieces, and one selling fur items. The mini market had an adequate selection of things like crisps and chocolate bars, and newspapers. The alcohol however, was over-priced.
Around the resort there are no sign posts telling you where anything is, so you have to explore by yourself. At the main reception they can give you a map but it doesn't take into account the different levels the resort is on. On the first couple of days we thought it was strange that there were no toilets by the pools or by the beach. But then we checked the map and discovered there are - they just aren't sign posted.
Everything for the public is kept impeccably clean, the toilets are always replenished with soap, tissues and hand towels, the bar areas are always wiped clean, the floors are never dirty. The staff here really do work very hard to keep it looking great and new.
WiFi is available in the main lobby area. It was a bit temperamental, but you're on holiday - you shouldn't be checking emails etc!
You can walk into Kardamena town along the beachfront if you fancy it, or there is a shuttle bus for E1.60 per person, per journey. We walked, and it is a rather long walk in the heat, but it is manageable. However, Kardamena is very run down and unless you desperately want to get some booze or cigarettes, I wouldn't say there is much else there. Lots of businesses have been closed down and abandoned, and parts of the town are ghost-like which is rather sad. We overheard other people at the airport talking about their time in the town and they said the bars were rather grotty and there was nowhere particularly nice to eat! We were certainly glad we'd gone for the all inclusive option at our hotel!
The swimming pools are magnificent. There are so many of them, always clean with beautifully clear water, and clean tiles. We saw the man cleaning them every day with the special robot.
The water is salt water, so not to everyone's liking, but there are showers located by most of the pools to wash the excess salt off. The water itself is pretty cold, but this is very refreshing when you get too hot in the sunshine.
Around the pools are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas. The umbrellas are fixed into the ground so sadly not moveable, but there are a lot of beds. They are made from wood and are very sturdy indeed, and very comfortable. Each night we saw the staff moving the beds around to ensure that the place was kept neat and tidy and ready for the guests the next day. The only issue we had with sunbeds was that people tended to put their towels on them early to reserve them and never actually use them. This was rather frustrating, but seems to be a fact wherever you go on holiday.
The top pools by the restaurant tended to be the quietest and were slightly more sheltered from the winds.
Beach towels are available to borrow from the hotel for a small deposit. Most people at the hotel used this facility.
Food and Drink
The main buffet restaurant
Breakfast catered to everyone's different tastes. You could have cooked foods, including freshly made omelettes, continental foods including cheese and ham, cereals, yogurts and pastries. Coffee was served by the waiting staff, and there was a great range of teas available, including many different types of herbal teas, and 3 different types of juice on offer.
The buffet restaurant was not busy at lunchtime while we were staying at the hotel, so it was nice to get the pick of the seats, and to be able to go up and down without queuing too long. There was a very good selection of food available including meats, pasta, salad dishes; as well as a small selection of dessert items too.
Dinner was a very busy time in the buffet restaurant. If you wanted to sit outside then you had to wait a while to be seated.
The number of people using the buffet at dinnertime makes you realise that the main stand is not quite big enough for the number of people the hotel can accommodate. The queues get very long, and you can spend about 15min waiting to get around it. But the choice of foods available is very good, meats, fishes, pasta, chips, salads. And a great selection of dessert items too.
The seafront restaurants
The 4 restaurants at the bottom of the resort on the beachfront were Greek, Asian, Mexican and Italian. You need to go to the Asian restaurant the day before at 11am and book for the next day. They are open for lunch and dinner, and food is cooked freshly. The queues for the restaurants get very long, so it is worthwhile going down at about 10:45 to ensure you are relatively near the front.
These restaurants work by offering a small menu for you to choose from. We have read previous reviews where people have mentioned restaurants running out of items. We only experienced this with the desserts but never with any of the items on the main menu.
The Greek restaurant:
This was the only restaurant of the 4 beachside ones that we did not enjoy at all. The salad was drowned in oil and the portions were small. The food was fatty and uninteresting. We left disappointed from here, and actually went and got some more food from the main buffet restaurant instead.
The Asian Restaurant:
There was a bit of a fly problem in the Asian restaurant, in that they were everywhere. Which was a bit off putting, but the food was absolutely delicious - they just need to invest in some Citronella candles to keep the critters at bay!
The food was Chinese based, but wasn't greasy at all, and was cooked perfectly. This was my favourite of the restaurants, I just wish the flies were not such a problem.
The Mexican restaurant:
The food here was very nice. There was no vegetarian options for the main course though, which would put some people off. The staff were really nice here, and I didn't fancy any of the main courses, so they made me a second starter instead.
The Italian Restaurant:
We ate at the Italian restaurant twice during our stay, and the food was lovely on both occasions. We sampled the pizzas and the pasta dishes and both were really lovely. The service in the Italian is the slowest of all the restaurants, but it seems to be one of the most popular choices, especially for people with small children.
There are 6 mini restaurants surrounding the pool bar. They are open for lunch and dinner, and you do not have to reserve a table here, you just turn up. However, they are small and only seat about a dozen people at a time so you may have to wait at busy times.
Pita Corner: This mini restaurant serves basic Greek style food including kebabs and souvlaki. The souvlaki was a tad too fatty for my liking, but the food was cooked fresh and nicely presented.
Burger Inn: serving chicken and beef burgers, cooked fresh to order and served with little potato wedges. The burgers were nice, although a tad on the small side. But perfect as a little lunchtime treat. If it was for dinner, I would think one burger wouldn't be enough for a grown up but would be perfect for a child.
Ouzeria: this is Greek tapas type food and was really tasty. It was nice to have a great selection of foods to try. Each dish comes out separately, so you can be sat there for a while just eating dish after dish. We were absolutely (pleasantly) stuffed after eating here.
Pastry Corner: serving ice creams and crepes (freshly made) until 2am, this seemed to be very popular throughout the day. A great choice of ice creams available as well as different fillings for the crepes.
We didn't try the Sushi restaurant or the Beraria restaurant, but the food did look really good and although the Sushi restaurant was never as busy as the others, there were always empty plates from those who did eat there! The Beraria restaurant was very popular with the German guests.
The mains bars at the hotel were the pool bar, the night bar (which as the name suggests only opened at night) and the lobby bar. The night bar had seats inside and out, but there aren't really enough for the amount of people staying so people often have to stand around waiting for others to leave.
The singer in the bar is fine. It's the same things each night, but to be honest it's just background music and is slightly more personal than just playing a CD. There were other entertainment nights by the shops, but we just enjoyed looking at the great views, sipping our drinks and playing cards.
Drinks are a combination of some name brand spirits and some non. But to be perfectly honest the non-name brand ones are just as nice as the name brand ones when mixed as a cocktail. The servings are incredibly generous, and there is no such thing as a 'measure'. It is just pour and serve. So it is easy to get drunk quite quickly. I would say that the wine and beer are not as strong as we have in the UK. But the spirits are, so beware. Plenty of soft drinks and coffees/teas are available throughout the day, and my particular favourite was to have an iced coffee with Baileys in the late afternoon - absolute heaven.
In all the bars the drinks are served in plastic cups so that there are no glass incidents. The night bar serves some in glasses but only if they are being drunk inside the building, close to the bar.
The pool bar had a bit of a problem with creepy giant hornet things. They were attracted to the sugar in the Pepsi machine, and seemed to be everywhere. They didn't sting as far as I was aware, and the staff just tended to ignore them.
The staff work relentlessly and are always busy doing something, you never see them lounging around or taking breaks. They all had a great range of languages spoken, mainly Greek, English, Russian and German. But we got the impression that many of them could speak French and Spanish too.
The staff were always polite and courteous, even though a lot of the other guests were very rude and unfriendly. We quickly learned that a smile and saying your pleases and thanks you's (especially if you could master "thank you" in Greek) would get you even better service and seemed to be really appreciated by the staff.
The bedrooms and bathrooms
We stayed in a standard room which consisted of twin beds. The rooms are very clean and modern, and there is a lot of "white". White sheets, white walls, white bath. Some of the fixtures and fittings seemed a bit cheap and possibly liable to break, but the overall effect was very nice and modern.
The doors open using key cards as is the case in many hotels. It seems this hotel perhaps started with the idea of using keys, as there are locks on the doors, but then they realised that keys are too costly to replace when guests lose them. The key card system is intelligent - you actually have to use the real keycard to operate the electrics (by popping it in the slot by the front door). Ours couldn't be fooled with an alternative card - it actually needed the keycard. So you can't leave electrical items on during the day while you are out.
Rather annoyingly there were two power cuts in the week that we were there. This means that you cannot use your keycard to get into your apartment. If you want to go outside while the power cut is ongoing then you have to leave your balcony door unlocked. Which was a bit disconcerting, but we didn't encounter any problems doing that.
The air conditioning system is sensitive, and you need to make sure that the doors are all shut otherwise it won't work.
Sometimes you could hear the people in the rooms above you moving around, and although this wasn't a problem for us as it only happened a couple of times, we did overhear other people having a bit of a moan about it on a couple of occasions.
The bathrooms were almost like a double bathroom, firstly with the bath and sink, and then connecting from there through another glass door was the toilet and shower wet room. The only downside to the shower and toilet being in the same room was that the shower tended to flood the whole room, and it took ages to dry out, so then every time you wanted to use the toilet you had to go across the wet and slightly slippery floor.
The towels were changed each day, but they need to be as there weren't really proper facilities in the bathrooms for hanging them up to allow them to dry off. My main annoyance with the bathrooms was the toilet paper should definitely be a lot nicer for a 5 star hotel! Also the hairdryer in the bathroom was strapped into the wall and didn't have a very long cable. I'm only 5ft3 and I struggled with it, so I would advise people to take their own.
There were no ledges in the shower for you to put your toiletries on, so you had to balance them on the shower unit or leave them on the floor. Toiletries were not replenished very frequently, so remember to take your own with you too. We just had the Mitsis ones mainly, and only had one bottle of Hermes conditioner. This wasn't an issue for us as I personally preferred the smell of the Mitsis ones, but they do advertise as providing Hermes products.
We had a bit of an ant problem in our room, they were creeping in through a slightly unfinished part of the floor. We blocked up the hole with a bit of toilet tissue and had to kill many of the ants, but the bodies were always cleaned up by the maids each day.
The mini fridge in the rooms was always well stocked with soft drinks, beer and mineral water. It was a really nice touch. The wine provided when we arrived was just a mini bottle (with a few monkey nuts on the side). Sadly we couldn't open the wine, as it needed a bottle opener and the one they provided was so flimsy it broke.
So overall our experience here was a good one, we really enjoyed the hotel and thought the staff were wonderful . People shouldn't expect the 5 star standards of a British hotel, but it is a really lovely hotel, and there is nothing here that is dislikeable enough to spoil your holiday. It's a really good venue, lots of things to eat and drink, and great staff.