“ Address: Ixia Beach / 85101 /Rhodes / Greece „
I stayed in the Ixian Grand in June 2011 for 7 nights with my Mum. We had talked about going to Rhodes and decided to go ahead and book the flights and hotel ourselves. I scoured the net for hotels and found several nice hotels in Ixia - not far from Rhodes town. This one was my favourite based on reviews and the hotel website.
**Booking & Prices**
I actually booked the hotel through a third party company Alpharooms who were offering a heavily discounted rate. We paid £600 for 7 nights in a standard room, which would have cost approximately £800 direct with the hotel. I immediately regretted my decision to use Alpharooms after reading a lot of negative press about it online. As the dates got closer I contacted the hotel to ensure they had my booking which somehow they didn't!! With only a week to go before the holiday and non-refundable flights I was mortified and contacted Alpharooms immediately. They were actually easy to get hold of and contacted the hotel for me, and somehow an agreement was made that due to their being no standard rooms available we would be upgraded to a deluxe room with sea view for no extra cost! As you can imagine we were thrilled with this! I still don't know who messed up - Alpharooms or the hotel, but either way it was dealt with very well.
The hotel is located on the Ixia strip which is basically a long road of restaurants and hotels. The Ixian Grand is on the beach side of the road meaning it has lovely views of the sea and its own private section of beach. Despite most of the hotels in Ixia being 4/5 star the area itself doesn't look that pretty. It actually looks quite tacky like a place teens would go on holiday, but without the wild nightlife. Also the road the hotel is on is impossible to cross. We found most restaurants were on the other side of the road and some nights it took us 15 minutes just to cross the road - no exaggeration!! The traffic just went on and on, with no lights to slow it down or crossings. It was literally like trying to cross a motorway!! Of course this is no fault of the hotel, but thought it was worth a mention particularly for those travelling with kids or those who aren't good on their feet.
The hotel is roughly a 10 minute drive from the airport, so we opted for a taxi transfer to and from the airport, which cost roughly Euro20 return. It is also only a 10 minute bus journey from Rhodes town which we visited on a few occasions including in the evening. The buses were fairly regular and reliable and there was a bus stop just outside the hotel on both sides. However we found taxis only cost slightly more to Rhodes town so ended up doing that rather than the bus on some occasions.
We were really impressed with the rooms, they comprised a studio type room with the bedroom and living area combined into one open space. The bed was huge and had plenty of pillows as well as a bedside table on each side with lamps. The living area was closest to the balcony doors and had a small sofa, chair and table. There was also a dressing table with mirror, lamp and drawers, and a large television. At the back of the room was a huge wardrobe which contained plenty of hangers and shelves, plus an easy to use electronic safe.
We occasionally sat in the living room area, although not too often as we preferred to sit on the balcony which had a lovely sea view and furniture - 2 stainless steel chairs and a small table for drinks etc. We made good use of the balcony area which also looked out onto the pool and gardens, and frequently sat and read books there in the morning and well as having a drink there in the evening.
The bathroom consisted of an open area (no door) with a large sink area, mirror and places to hang your towels. Then there was a toilet with separate door, but the toilet room actually led into a separate shower area. The bathroom was an unusual design and I wouldn't say it was the best use of space, but it was different and it made it look more modern somehow. The only flaw is if you were sharing with someone you're not used to they would be able to see you in the sink area (cleaning teeth etc) which could be a bit awkward! Also there would be no private area to get changed other than in the small toilet area or actually in the shower itself!!
I was also very pleased that there was a dressing table in the room with a chair and large mirror in front of it for getting ready. I enjoy getting ready before going out in the evening, and like doing different styles with my hair etc, so it was great to have this space and the mirror made it much easier to get ready.
I really couldn't fault the rooms, everything was immaculate and you wouldn't have known anyone else had stayed in there. The rooms were also air conditioned via an electronic unit, which was easy to use and was capable of cooling off the room very well.
Other features in the room were a television, although not many channels were available. In the end we usually opted for a radio channel which despite having foreign DJs played some great background music. We had a mini bar which was filled with various overpriced drinks and snacks which we avoided, however we did use the free space for water bottles which came in handy.
Another nice touch were the dressing gowns hung in the bathroom for our use throughout our stay. I'm used to wearing a dressing gown while drying off after a shower at home, so was nice to have this option whilst on holiday too.
We never had any problems with noise whilst sleeping in the room, although the music played in the bar could be heard from our room but this usually went off at around 11pm when we were still awake. However perhaps it could cause a problem if you were travelling with children or like to go to sleep quite early.
The rooms were cleaned daily to a very high standard and all towels and bed sheets changed daily. Although this was nice and better than things not being changed, I felt there wasn't too much need to change every towel and every piece of bed linen daily, however I couldn't really complain! I think it would be better with towels to do what many other hotels do and have a notice saying that if you wish towels to be changed please leave them on the floor to indicate this.
We were also never aware of the maids visiting, regardless of when we left the room we never had them knocking on the door or barging in! The rest of the hotel and outside areas were also kept very clean and I never saw anything that was remotely dirty.
The hotel pool area is at the very front of the hotel between the main building and the beach. It is a very large area with big pools, one salt water and one fresh water pool. The pools are surrounded by a vast grassy garden area where there a numerous scattered sun beds, parasols and tables. In the morning these are all set out neatly and in pairs, however guests are free to wheel them around to wherever is best. The sun beds all had a padded mattress which made sunbathing very comfortable and tables were easy to find and came in handy for drinks and sun creams.
We only went in the freshwater pool and found it to be warm and also shallow enough to stand up in (so not ideal for diving) but it was just right for casual swimming. Although the garden area was crowded the pool itself was never particularly busy. However the garden area was always very busy and on occasion we struggled to find a sun bed. This isnt really fault of the hotel though as they couldn't possibly fit in any more sun beds and the garden area is huge, it is more that it appeared that a lot of the people staying in the hotel preferred to be by the pool than going out during the day.
The pool area also had its own outdoor bar and bar seating area. The pool bar only really sold basic soft drinks, as well as one of each colour of wine and a couple of beers. We ate in the bar on the day we arrived and ordered a pizza and salad between us and 2 cokes. The drinks as expected were very expensive so we didn't bother buying drinks from here again. The food took about 20 minutes to arrive, but the pizza was lovely so it was worth the wait. The seating area was really modern and trendy looking but also comfortable, for example big sofa style chairs.
The main hotel bar is located in the hotel lobby and is a square area with bar stools all around it so the bar staff serve from all angles. There is also a large seating area next to the bar which extends outside onto a terrace. This area is beautiful with modern furniture and entirely glass walls so you can watch the sunset onto the sea.
We visited the bar on a few occasions after getting in from our evening meal. On each occasion we opted for cocktails as the bar boasted a wide variety of cocktails all presented on a nice menu. The cocktails were always very well made with high-quality natural ingredients. They weren't cheap at Euro10.00 each but the quality made this price worth it.
We opted for breakfast to be included when booking so we ate in the hotel for breakfast every morning. There was huge buffet area in the middle of the dining room with almost everything you could imagine for breakfast. I don't have much of an appetite in the morning so usually just had cereal followed by fruit with Greek yoghurt. However one day I did try the cooked English breakfast which was very good. There was plenty of choice and there would be something to suit all tastes. The dining room itself was very well appointed and the furniture and decorating was all good quality and tasteful, giving the room a modern look which matched the rest of the hotel well.
The dining room was very hectic at breakfast time which I suppose was to be expected when most people arrive at the same time and it is self service, however I felt the staff were doing their best to keep things under control. Despite this my Mum did struggle to get a cup of coffee which was being issued by various staff around the dining room. We also had to queue at the door on a few occasions as there were no tables available which was a bit annoying, but not really the hotels fault.
Overall I didn't particularly look forward to breakfast time, despite the food being good, I felt it was quite a stressful experience!
We didn't have any other meals included in the hotel so I can't comment on any other meal times.
**Other Hotel Amenities**
The hotel looks out onto a beach and the stretch of beach directly in front of the hotel is a private area for hotel guests only. The beach is a pebble beach so not ideal, but the hotel did put a few sun beds in this area for guests use.
There were toilets in a basement beneath the lobby which came in useful for when we were by the pool or in the bar. The toilets were very unique and featured huge chunks of wood made into sinks for washing your hands! There were 2 lifts in the lobby area for access to all floors in the hotel, we were only on the first floor so only used the lifts when we had our luggage with us, but when we did use them they worked fine.
On our first night in the hotel there was a big BBQ for guests outside and also traditional Greek entertainers who sang and danced. We didn't officially attend the entertainment but watched some of this from out balcony. Other than that we didn't really see any other entertainment in the evening, but may well have missed it if there were as we were out most evenings.
The street the hotel is on has many restaurants on both sides of the road (although most are on the opposite side which means crossing that horrible road!) We ate in several of these and all served traditional Greek dishes and although none of the restaurants looked particularly fancy, the food was fantastic! The restaurant staff and owners in all were also very friendly and welcoming. None of the restaurants were ever too busy as most hotels on the strip offer all inclusive and I think most guests must have opted for this, which is a shame when there are such nice restaurants so close by.
We also went in a few of the local bars which were even quieter than the restaurants. Again the staff were friendly and made us some lovely cocktails, which were also very cheap! The only issue is that all the bars and restaurants are on that busy road, which means the view isnt great and there is a lot of noise!
Therefore our favourite place to go in the evening was Rhodes old town, where we went twice. Here you could enjoy good food (of course for a higher cost) but with a great view and atmosphere around you!
All the staff we came across in the hotel were smartly dressed and presented and very polite and helpful. The reception staff were efficient during check in and out, and also helped us by booking our taxi on one occasion as well as giving us useful information on how to get around and when the buses arrive etc. The bar staff were equally as helpful and very friendly and well trained. The great service made the hotel even better and put the icing on the cake!
Overall we were so impressed with every element of the hotel. It truly is a 5* hotel and I couldn't see much room for improvement, other than bringing down the expensive pool bar prices! I would recommend the hotel to adult families and couples - however I'm not sure it is the best place for children, there weren't any child orientated facilities to be seen and the busy road outside makes it quite a dangerous place. However for everyone else I would highly recommend the hotel and would also strongly advise paying extra for a sea view, as it is a genuinely good sea view and very close to the water.
Ixian Grand Hotel,
Tel: +0030 22410 92944