“ Address: Peyia Road Paphos / Paphos / Cyprus / Tel: +357 / 268 44000 „
SENTIDO PAFIAN SUN VILLAGE ----------------------------------------- This year I spent my summer holidays on the lovely Mediterranean island of Cyprus. This was the fourth time I had been to Cyprus, twice to Protaras, and this would be the second time of holidaying in the resort of Paphos. I think, for a family, I slightly prefer Protaras as a resort, to Paphos, as, if are staying in or near the resort centre there is much to do for all ages, and the beaches are generally better on that side of the island. However, I prefer Paphos airport to Larnaka, and the transfers are generally shorter to Paphos hotels than those in Protaras. This year my husband and I, as well as taking our seventeen year old daughter, were also taking our twenty year old son and his girlfriend, both hard working and hard up students. This meant that we had to very carefully consider costs and accommodation. Because of privacy needs we decided to choose somewhere on this island that offered studios or apartments at a reasonable cost. We also wanted to go on an all-inclusive basis. We feel that although there are some downsides to being catered for on an all-inclusive basis it works out quite good value for a family such as ours and helps with budgeting when on holiday. Because of this we found a hotel in the Paphos area which seemed most suited to our requirements. Cyprus has sunshine in abundance...and hotels. The choice of hotels is fantastic, with something to please everyone and all pockets but, we had certain boxes to tick. I knew that the hotel that three of us had visited and loved (The Ledra Beach) the previous year was too expensive for five people for two weeks. After much research and discussion we decided on booking our holiday at the Sentido Pafian Sun Village (NOT to be confused with Pafian Park) hotel in Paphos. The main reason for this choice was that we could book a studio AND a one bedroomed apartment for less than we paid the previous year for three adults. Now, I was under no illusions, and I looked at review sites and felt that this hotel wouldn't be luxurious, but was probably the best we would get for the price we were prepared to pay. It came to around £4,400.00 for five adults with extras such as selected, and together, seats on the planed. I booked with Direct Holidays; Thomas Cook's discounted holiday company. This holiday worked out considerably more expensive with other holiday companies. I also contacted a friend I had made on a previous Cyprus holiday, whom I knew had stayed here several times. She recommended this hotel/complex, saying she had enjoyed her visits here. The Sentido Pafian Sun, claims to be a four star hotel. I thought that I would not agree with this rating and in this respect, I was right. All travel went exceptionally well. We arrived at the hotel on an Saturday afternoon in August at about three o'clock in the afternoon (Cyprus time). The previous two hotels we had stayed in in Cyprus had also been four star but they were superior to this one in quite a few ways. At the Ledra Beach one was given a cold drink at reception on arrival and cases were taken to rooms by a bellboy. Not so here. I feel that these small extra touches are important to the holiday and can give a good impression from the start which straight away helps to put one in the holiday mood. We waited about fifteen minutes to check in and were told that one room was ready but the other one wouldn't be ready for about half an hour. I asked which was ready, the studio or the apartment. I was told that both were apartments so that was a plus. We weren't given information as is usual,about meal times, all inclusive etc., simply handed some literature and a map with our rooms circled on it. With our heavy suitcases and in the searing 35 degree heat it wasn't easy to go up and down stone stairs to reach the apartments. Also, it wasn't easy to find the apartments as the layout here, at first seemed quite confusing. When we did locate our holiday homes, the maids were finishing cleaning the first, and we had to wait a short while for the second. ACCOMMODATION Our two apartments were separated by two bedroomed ones meaning that we were either end of a small block of eight. We were as close as it would have been possible to be placed. To get from one apartment to the other, entailed climbing down some stairs form one and up to a flight to the other. All apartments were generally in blocks, with four on the ground floor and four on the first floor. The exteriors were very ethnic in appearance, painted in pretty pastel shades with tiled terracotta roofs. Inside the apartments we tested everything. Most importantly the air conditioning in the bedroom and the lounge worked. It wasn't the best air con I've experienced but it was adequate. One of our apartment's patio doors didn't lock properly but the position of the balcony made it virtually inaccessible from outside. I was pleased to see that the lounge contained a 'proper' sofa bed which had been made up. It seemed comfortable enough and certainly better than the camp beds which are often used. There was one tiny wardrobe in this room and two drawers. Very inadequate, I think. There was a television with only one news channel in English, although this didn't bother me. The doors led out to a balcony with a good view of the pool and a sea view. The kitchen area wasn't well equipped but, as we were all inclusive this wasn't a problem. Although I do think one saucepan is a bit of a joke! There wasn't enough crockery or glasses for three. The kitchen had a toaster and sink, kettle and two hobs. There was a decent sized fridge. Nothing was supplied though, as there often is in all inclusive hotels, especially if they claim to be three star plus or four star. There is usually a small supply of tea bags and sugar at least. Nothing here. The main bedroom was sadly lacking in storage space and we had to use a suitcase to keep some clothes in for the duration of our stay. There were three drawers in the wardrobe and a drawer in the dressing type table. This drawer had a hair dryer fitted in it. The hair dryer was decent in power but smelt as if it was melting when in use. It would have been good a few years earlier. The double bed was fairly comfortable. Either side of the bed was a reading lamp although mine was working the shade was broken and shabby. The room was of a good size. A safe was to be found in the bottom of the wardrobe. Its use had to be paid for but I can't remember how much, but it was on a par with other hotels. The bathroom was small but good enough. The over bath shower was powerful and always of a good temperature. The bathroom locked. Clean towels were supplied every three or four days, but if required could be requested from reception. Lavatory paper was always left in good supply. Hand wash was supplied but the shower gel dispenser was empty. No toiletries were supplied or gift packs. The apartment had stone floor tiles throughout. I was pleased with the space in this apartment. We soon saw ants marching across the sofa bed in neat formation. We reported this. We asked for extra pillows and clothes hangers. It took three attempts to get the extras but we had to buy our own ant spray. There seemed to be an abundance of ants throughout but we weren't really troubled by them after the initial visit. DISABLED GUESTS There were a few guests staying at this hotel who used wheelchairs. I would think this complex itself is fairly accessible to wheelchair users, and those with mobility problems. As long as the hotel is properly informed of guests needs then there are plenty of ground floor apartments and studios. Ramps were in evidence around the entertainment and restaurant areas, and to access the hotel itself. The hotel has a small lift. However, most facilities were to be found on the ground floor. The outdoor swimming pool were manageable for those who could walk a little, as they had wide steps going into them. However, I did think rails would have made them even better. The surrounding area would not be so easy to manage for a wheelchair user. Much of the public streets are unpaved, uneven and stony. I believe if one hired a car for trips out then this hotel would be suitable for those with mobility problems. SWIMMING POOLS I could not fault the swimming pools. I had feared that they would be full of screaming kids and rowdy adults but, no, the main freeform pool was a delight, and so easy to get into by steps or pool ladders. I could walk around in this the pool, which I like, not being a great swimmer. This pool was where the daytime entertainment took place. As expected, the pool was warm. Just down a few steps and round a corner there was another smaller pool but still of a good size. This had a small bar next to it staffed until six in the evening. There were a few empty sun beds available around this pool all day. There was also an indoor pool which, when not claimed by teenagers, was good for serious swimmers. This indoor pool area also contained a Jacuzzi and well equipped gym. A sauna was available but wasn't included in the all-inclusive tariff. Sunbeds were placed around this indoor pool. SUNBEDS As the ladies in our party like (not need!) their beauty sleep, hubby and our son kindly alternated as to acquiring sunbeds. They went down around seven in the morning, but there were plenty of beds available, even five together. We have been to worse places than this. I had read reviews claiming one had to get up at five a.m. to procure a sunbed so I was pleasantly surprised. RESTAURANT The restaurant was far too hot. I have found this in other Cypriot hotels, so was not surprised. On entering the restaurant a waiter, or waitress, would appear and show you to a table. We were shown, on two occasions to a table with table cloths heavily stained by the previous occupant's food. It wasn't nice and I had to ask for a clean cloth. This request was not popular. I thought the standard of cleanliness of linen, chairs, tables, glasses and cutlery was not of a good standard. I have never come across this before on Mediterranean holidays. I was also surprised by the staff's lack of friendliness. They weren't rude or anything, but on previous visits to Cyprus we have always shared a joke or two with staff and smiles have not been lacking. I felt that the staff at The Pafian Sun, overall, were not as friendly as one usually finds at Cypriot hotels Long trousers were required when dining in the restaurant, and in the day time no swimwear. I'm happy with this arrangement but it seemed strange when you had to be decently dressed for the privilege of being seated at a dirty table. Once shown to your table you would be offered drinks (wine, beer or soft drinks) that would be brought to your table. The service was usually fast. As for the food, my husband and son liked it, but they eat meat. However we three girls don't eat meat and the choice was limited. There wasn't usually much at all in the way of a vegetarian option, and on the few times that there was it wasn't worth the wait. I usually eat fish on holiday but found it not well cooked here. I'm really not that fussy but would give this hotel thumbs down on the food front. Not terrible, but certainly not great. BARS The main poolside bar was open during the day and this was the bar serving drinks in the evening. Drinks were served in flimsy plastic cups. I don't mind plastic cups near the pool but I think they could have been of better quality than this and they were too small for beer, holding about one third of a pint. The selection of drinks was adequate. This bar also served drinks to be enjoyed inside. There was a further pool bar which was only opened one evening when German guests requested its use. INTERNET There was an area inside housing three computers with coin slots. These were often out of order and usually only two would be working, and often only one. There were a few game machines. There was usually a queue for these. GAMES EQUIPMENT The hotel had a pool table and an outdoor table tennis able. Tennis, including floodlit tennis was available. I believe you had to pay for a floodlit game. We didn't play due to the heat. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment team were resident Thomas Cook staff. These were probably among the worst I've come across. They were nice enough people but I feel there was no good leadership here. Usually of an evening hotel entertainers mingle among guests but this is the only place I have been to where all of them (four) sat at one table with a party of holiday makers for the whole holiday. This was remarked upon frequently among guests. There was much complaining about the lack of effort shown by these entertainers. These type of entertainers generally work hard and are popular with guests, but I feel that here they didn't match up to others I've seen, and didn't seem to have much in the way of organisational skills. When a table tennis tournament was taking place, with about twelve competitors taking part, all four staff sat watching. It's a shame that these young people only seemed to endear themselves to one group of holiday makers for the two weeks that we were there. We still joined in activities and had a good time but I have been to enough places by now to know when the standard is good or not. Evening entertainment was mainly carried out by the resident team. They weren't bad but it did become a bit 'samey' We were usually able to get a table fairly easily to be around the entertainment area. LOCATION I knew before commencing my holiday that The Pafian Sun was a little out of the way, yet, in all honesty it was better placed than I had expected. It is really very much on the outskirts of Paphos (about 8km) However there is a choice of two local buses, stopping outside the hotel. We didn't often have to wait at all for a bus; probably the longest wait was fifteen minutes. Mind you that meant becoming much overheated. The buses are reasonable and comfortable, being like coaches and air conditioned. Taxis are easy to get but you should always agree the price before commencing the journey. Paphos is a lovely place to visit, with its welcoming harbour, bustling with restaurants and gift shops. There are historical sights to see and all sorts of boat trips available. I would always advise that you bargain as it seems to be expected, and you would usually expect to get a cheaper price than first stated. The five of us chose to go on a half hour speedboat trip with Cypriot driver. I believe we paid less than twenty Euros for this altogether and it was one of our holiday highlights. Scarier than the water park! There is also some English fast food outlets in this area which I don't particularly consider an advantage but, if you have a fussy child, or teenager, they may come in handy. I would say that I have found Macdonald's in Cyprus to be of a better quality than many in England. One of the buses that stop outside the Pafian Sun continues past the harbour to Aphrodite Water Park. I would recommend this. It isn't as big or as scary as the Ayia Napa water Park but I thought it much friendlier. I even ventured on some rides. Usually I spend my time on the lazy river, only. We had a great day here. From the hotel, if we waited for the bus to go in the other direction from Paphos, we could get to Coral Bay in about ten minutes. Coral Bay is reputed to be one of the best beaches in Cyprus. We had heard that it tended to become extremely crowded but, although we visited on a Saturday (weekends are usually the busiest as locals like to venture out to enjoy their island) and had no trouble finding sunbeds, and although it was lively, I wouldn't have said it was packed. This beach is ideal for families and one can walk out for a long way and still have feet stepping on the sandy sea bed. There are plenty of places to visit from here, even without hiring a car, but be warned it is hot, hot, HOT! Close to the hotel are a couple of small coves but they aren't very easy to access and, although once in the sea it's lovely, the coves aren't that inviting. The view though is gorgeous. The blue Mediterranean Sea looked so gorgeous... and there was hardly ever a cloud in sight. Opposite the hotel there is a very nice large bar called, 'The Crazy Spoon.' This has a restaurant serving good reasonably priced food by its friendly manager, Nicholas. Downstairs there is a snooker hall, which hubby and son enjoyed. There are pool tables too. There are a few more bars and shops within walking distance BUT if you enjoy a good after dinner stroll then you would be best to find a busier more central location. Personally, in July or August I can't walk far in Cyprus owing to the heat. It is the hottest place I have visited in the Mediterranean. SENTIDO PAFIAN SUN VILLAGE OVERALL So, although I was not impressed with this hotel as four star, overall there were things about it that I DID like, one being the lovely pools. The layout of the complex was pretty. It didn't feel too big. It is more a three than a four star, if that. But then again some facilities were good, such as the gym but, I feel that the many facilities in this hotel weren't utilised well enough. It seemed to me that it wasn't being managed well enough, which is unusual in a Cyprus hotel where staff are usually kept well 'on their toes.' It felt to me as if it could have been good but someone needed to 'manage.' Many holiday makers said they had visited this hotel in the past and it had been much better. I would also say that it was much as I expected and I don't think for the price we paid we would have got much better. One way in which this hotel exceeded my expectations was in its guests. These were mainly British and family groups and a few couples. I had thought it might be on the rowdy side but I never heard bad language or bad behaviour. I didn't witness anyone noticeably drunk (even my husband!) and I found this place to be wonderfully friendly between guests. More so than usual, even. I will say that we had a wonderful holiday with many memorable moments. I would definitely consider returning, once again, to Cyprus but would probably look for a different hotel or re- visit the Ledra Beach. But the Pafian Sun, although lacking in some respects, can still provide a good reasonably priced holiday. I think if you know what to expect then you will probably have an enjoyable holiday. Please bear in mind that it is NOT what most would class a four star hotel.