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A Wonderful Place But Remembered With Sadness
Petra Mare (Greece)
Member Name: lak11
Petra Mare (Greece)
Date: 24/11/10, updated on 10/07/12 (110 review reads)
Advantages: Large hotel rooms and the hotel is in a nice location.
Disadvantages: The entertainment wasn't very good.
When I think about this holiday and recall the awful event that happened during my stay, I can't help but feel a deep sadness. It was towards the end of the first week of our holiday when, one evening, I was sitting in the outside area where the tables and chairs were placed around the stage area for evening entertainment, when I realised that people were congregating around the entrance to the hotel, and reception area. I remarked that it felt like a fight was going on or some sort of trouble. With that my teenaged son disappeared to have a look at this fight. I followed to get him back and out of harm's way. A crowd had gathered and it was apparent that something ominous had happened or was happening, due to the strange silence. We heard that the police were coming but didn't know why.
A little later we were told that a man had jumped from his hotel room balcony, taking his two young children with him. We didn't know who, if any had survived it seemed as if hotel staff were trying to keep this 'hushed up'. We later found that the man was in a critical condition and so was the daughter. The young boy had died.
This sense of shock spread through the hotel; everyone speaking in whispers, wondering how a father could do this. Attempted suicide is one thing but why involve his children? Of course many holiday makers had spoken to the family and felt dreadful. Should they have realised something was on the brink of happening? Could something have been said? We befriended a family where the father had witnessed the event and tried to calm the hysterical mother of these poor children.
It was the most horrible thing to happen but seemed to bring closeness to fellow guests who must have subconsciously decided to be kinder to other holiday makers. I don't suppose we will forget that awful evening and the strange surreal feel of the following day, but enough said of sadness. It wasn't the fault of the hotel or the lovely location.
This hotel was then exclusive to British travellers through First Choice Holidays. There were other nationalities staying here. Our group consisted of me, husband and our two teenaged children.
The transfer was lengthy being between one and a half hours plus from Heraklion airport' I don't mind this as on the way to the hotel it provides a good view of a new country. As it was daytime we had a good view of Crete and realised it's a large island.
It was a usual check in. Not too lengthy just a few details gone over and all inclusive bands put around wrists.
Staff were efficient. Reception was well manned.
We had booked two rooms which both slept two to three guests. On entering the rooms we were pleased and surprised at the spaciousness. These were the biggest hotel rooms we had ever had. Although basic in decoration this large amount of space added a comfortable feel. Bedspreads were attractive.
Each room consisted of two large single beds, fairly comfortable and a further sofa bed placed at a distance away from the other beds. This too was quite comfortable.
Storage space was adequate, though I never feel there's enough but better than at many hotels. And as the room was so large it didn't seem too bad.
There was television, radio, and bedside lamps.
The bathroom was adequate and had a few toiletries and hairdryer was supplied.
The rooms had stone tiled floors throughout.
The sea view from the balcony was fantastic .One thing I want from my holiday is to see plenty of sea.
Sheets were changed every few days and towels just about daily.The rooms were kept clean.
Air Conditioning which for me is a must, worked well.
The usual facilities were available, table tennis, a few video games, internet facilities, darts etc. But nothing exceptional.
Well this was one of the things that attracted me to this hotel-the wonderful pool which was like a mini waterpark. Flumes, slides and a lazy river, (flumes etc were supervised). The lazy river was too lazy and didn't move. You could swim around it or float on a lilo or rubber ring. There were steps around here making access easy. There was another small pool area where games took place such as water polo and water volleyball. The pools were cold.
The children's pool had lots of slides and fun activities.
My children had great fun in the pools but they don't seem to have the flume and large slide anymore.
The team of four entertainers were First Choice employees.They worked very hard but weren't the greatest. I thought two of them were very good dancers but the singing wasn't the best nor was the entertainment as a whole.
There was further staff running a kids club.
Evening entertainment was poor, mainly consisting of inane game shows where one or two (always the same!) guest were itching to get on stage and dress up or do silly walk etc. There were a few quizzes where the questions went along these lines:
1. How old is Mark?
2. Which entertainer likes chicken curry?
3. How long has Gareth worked for First Choice?
Well, nice as they were, I didn't really care. Shame because I love a general knowledge quiz.
We enjoyed sitting around this area thought and chatting to other guests. It wasn't easy to find a table as there were large groups of guests who reserved ridiculously large amounts of chairs and table space. There were complaints about this to the staff but as they seemed to befriend these large groups nothing was done. Sometimes we went out.
The restaurant looked authentically Greek having lots of stone features. Food was buffet style, serve yourself. It was usual to find your own table and then a waiter would appear to take your drinks order and return with them shortly. These waiters were great fun.
There was an outside area where, if seating was available the view was amazing of the sea, in the evening turning inky black. One could hear the waves crashing upon the beach.
The food was okay and mainly Greek style. There were a few English dishes but cooked in a Greek style-oil and herbs. I didn't mind the food but did get a little fed up with aubergines, by the end of the holiday.
Drinks were good. We didn't go thirsty!
There was an indoor bar and a poolside bar, also various places where you could fill a plastic glass from dispensers.
The very long beach is made up of tiny black pebbles. The sea is usually rough which delights my daughter. I would strongly advise pool shoes. On entering the sea it will dip suddenly. When the sea is rough it isn't the best beach for non-swimmers or young children. However a little further up the sea is calmer but this is near to the water sports area. We did enjoy our dips in the sea.
An English lady would appear around the pool area a few times a day to drum up custom for water sports. She was friendly, informative but not pushy. The variety of water sports was good.
I have read some reviews on Ierepetra and am surprised with the negative ones. But then I do research before going and usually get about what I expect. The location of this hotel though was better than expected. We loved it! A ten minute or so walk either along the beach or a path, and then a well paved are (avoid the mopeds though) and one arrives at Ierepetra itself, '''once a small fishing village'''. A perfect distance for an after dinner walk. Or a place to spend an hour or two
On the sea front are a few welcoming restaurants and bars mostly Cretan in style and atmosphere. One or two are quite modern. We enjoyed a meal or two along here. And there are a few gift shops where that really re eager for you custom. In fact I felt guilty if I didn't buy anything as these shops seemed a bit jaded to me; as if custom was sorely needed.
On walking along narrow street at the side of the shops and restaurants it seemed very surprising to come across the small but busy town of Ierepetra with its many shops, pharmacies, banks, shoes shops, lingerie and clothes shops, all very stylish and not there for the tourist. Noisy with cars honking horns, mopeds and motorbikes in abundance, and very smart locals. The local people in many of these Mediterranean towns are very smart, I find.
On returning from here to the hotel we passed a church very brightly lit and saw a wedding party leaving. Very festive.
As to going farther afield I would advise hiring a car. It's a long way to get to places. We went by bus to Aghios Nicholaos once and had a great day but then found the buses stopped at about six o'clock or so, to return to Ierepetra. We waited about an hour and a half for a taxi. I believe this taxi only took us out of pity, as I hailed it with my daughter, both looking forlorn. The drivers didn't want to go as far as Irepetra.
Apart from the tragic event happening here we still had a good holiday. The hotel was three or three star plus, depending on who is rating. I would say three star is about right. There were things that could have been improved but there were good points such as the large rooms, the wonderful views and Ierepetra itself. I would love to return to Crete.
Summary: We managed to enjoy our holiday although it will be remembered with sadness.