“ Tsokkos Odessa Hotel / Odessa Hotel, Protaras, Cyprus. „
TSOKKOS ODESSA HOTEL, PROTARAS, CYPRUS
I have holidayed twice at the Odessa, but the second time I did not find it twice as nice! I stayed at this hotel in the summer of 2007 and 2008. We were here, on both occasions, for two weeks on an All-inclusive basis. Our party was made up of, me, my husband and our youngest offspring, two teenagers (aged fourteen and seventeen in 2007). This was our first visit to the island of Cyprus and we have all returned since.
I chose the Odessa hotel after much research, not knowing much about Cyprus. In fact prior to this holiday, I hadn't really fancied Cyprus as a holiday destination, preferring the Greek islands. However I had two teenagers to consider. In 2006 we had been to Halkidiki in Greece and whilst we had all enjoyed it, especially my husband and I, it wasn't the type of place easy for teenagers to make many friends. It was beautiful, but our hotel wasn't the friendliest place that I've been to. Cyprus has its party spot, Ayia Napa, though from what I hear you can still have good family holiday, but generally it seemed to be a good place for British holiday makers of all ages. I looked up all the resorts as best as I could and, reading between the lines of holiday reviews (after all we all want different things from our holiday) I felt that Protaras would be the best place for us to spend our two weeks in the sun. I was a bit worried that it would be like Southend-On-Sea, in Essex, though. No offence to South- end but I wouldn't want to holiday there for a fortnight.
On both occasions of going to Protaras and the'''Odessa Hotel''', I booked with Olympic holidays, as I felt that the price was reasonable. I would now, after discovering, Holidays Direct, and having two holidays in Paphos, Cyprus, with this company, expect to find a better deal with them. But I always shop around, looking g for a good price but decent flight times. When choosing a holiday some seem well priced until taking into account flight times and nights in the hotel. I always try to get morning flights out and early afternoon returns. This also means you don't have to obtain a late room on your departure day, or worse trusting your belongings to a luggage room. I prefer to breakfast and leave soon after, still fresh from a morning shower.
If travelling to the Protaras area, you are much better served by Larnaka Airport. Larnaka is alright but we have found it very crowded if there are delays and it's difficult to find seats. I prefer the smaller Pahos airport but, I think it takes too long to transfer to the hotel from here so would always choose Larnaca for Protaras and Ayia Napa areas.
On our first visit to the Odessa we enjoyed our holiday from start to finish
TRANSFER TO HOTEL
About an hour and a half was spent on the coach from the airport but as it was comfortably air conditioned, and this was our first sight of this island. We sat back and enjoyed it.
We holidayed towards the end of July and it was unbelievably hot. Be well prepared for sun, sun, sun if you holiday in the summer months. Take plenty of sunscreen and light coloured shirts to cover up with. I have been to other Mediterranean resorts but found this the hottest.
The twenty-four hour reception reception area is well manned. Staff vary in their level of helpfulness, but we found they were at good to very good. Check in was efficient. We were fitted with our all-inclusive wrist band and given instructions as to where we could eat, dining times etc. and informed that a safe hire service was available, which we took use of. We were given a swipe card for our room (which also worked the electric) and instructions as to the room's location (we had booked two rooms). Our cases were taken to our rooms by a porter. The rooms were on the second floor and, although lifts could be a little slow at times, I would say they were adequate. There are 209 rooms in this hotel.
SUITABILITY FOR DISABLED GUESTS
The hotel has three lifts but there probably are easier hotels for those in wheelchairs. Also access to the beach would not be the best, or to the main strip as there is an incline which might prove difficult to push a chair up, especially bearing in mind the heat. There are some hotels in this location built on more level ground and with easier access to the beach. I wouldn't say it's the worst though but best to give careful consideration in this respect, or seek expert advice.
The rooms weren't brilliant but about what was expected. As usual the storage, particularly drawer space, wasn't enough. The wardrobe was quite large but, why oh why don't they give more drawers and shelving, or even hooks? We needed more clothes hangers, which arrived fairly quickly, along with the requested extra pillows. The rooms were carpeted. They had been cleaned but, as I usually find not that well. Bathroom and balcony floors are mopped every day and beds made, towels and sheets regularly changed, surfaces wiped, in a fashion but, the maids seem to ignore the dusting! However, I will say that the maids here worked exceptionally hard and for very long hours. They were friendly and a, 'kalimera' was always forthcoming.
We had two beds, large singles, pushed together. These were fairly comfortable but well used. When a third bed is put into these rooms it is often a camp bed and not comfortable (so I am told) and the space is then limited.
On the first occasion we had side sea -view rooms, which gave us a good view of the sea when actually out on the balcony (one couldn't see this from the room) and a pool view. The view was very pleasant but the following year I requested a full sea view room (paying a supplement) and this was marvellous. I could see the vista from the room.This hotel is very close to a lively beach so it was nice to see the water sports taking place.
The room had a small table and two chairs in it but I would rather have had the extra space. Bedside lamps, one large wardrobe, drawer space and a television, fridge and safe were contained in this room. Bottled water could be got at the hotels bars (free for all inclusive guests) and kept in the fridge. Tea making facilities were supplied.
The furnished balcony was pleasant with the lovely view.
The air conditioning worked well.
The Bathroom was of a good size with over bath shower. The shower was a little erratic at busy times but not a real problem. The basin was set in a work surface which provided plenty of storage space. Some toiletries and a welcome pack of things such as a comb, sewing kit, shower cap, small soap tablets was provided, along with shower gel and tiny bottles of shampoo. Toilet paper was regularly supplied and bins emptied every day.
Maid service was good although, as they were overworked, sometimes the room would be undergoing its cleaning at four in the afternoon when many were ready for a rest and respite from the heat.
Towels were changed when required (by placing used towels in the bath tub) and were of a decent quality and not too bad in size.
A hairdryer was supplied.
This was a nice area, although I feel it needed some maintenance. There were tiles missing from the pool and the grilling around it was broken in places. I ruined a bikini on this and it was almost embarrassing. Thank goodness my bikini was lined! I used the sewing kit!
The shaped pool was very warm but too small for the amount of guests staying here. But many a friendship was struck up by being in this pool and chatting.
These were not in good enough supply and one (hubby or son!) had to get up very early to secure them. As our holiday ran in to August, hubby found as the holiday progressed he had to get up earlier and earlier. Seven o'clock was too late. However if one hadn't been able to find sun beds around the pool, there were some often available around the grass areas.
The pool bar
This also supplied the evening drinks, had a good supply of all inclusive beer and spirits. The beer supplied was Carlsberg and Keo, which my husband prefers. Many spirits and cocktails were available, and international spirits could be paid for. The service, in the bar and all bars was efficient and extremely friendly. Drinks were served at your table in the evening by friendly staff, mainly Eastern Europeans, or if you wished, you could queue at the bar. Drinks in outside areas were served in rigid plastic cups.
Around the bar was an area with tables and chairs with large parasols, providing a cooler spot to sit and have a refreshing drink.
Near to the pool area was the restaurant where you could go for lunch and help yourself to a three course or a four course, buffet style meal. Not for me, I always lose my appetite when it's so hot but there's always something to pick at. No swimwear permitted here and decent attire was expected.
Alternatively one could remain outside and be waited upon either before or after lunch, remaining in beachwear, seated at tables with overhead ceiling type fans. The food was quite good, offering snacks such as toasted sandwiches, jacket potatoes with choices of fillings, omelettes with salad and chips or spaghetti Napolitano, or Bolognese. I think the menu was very good.
This was uncomfortably hot. I did like the fact that when you entered the restaurant you were greeted politely and shown to you table. Your order for drinks was taken and you were free to serve yourself to a good choice of food. I do find though, that the food in these hotels gets very samey on the second week and I feel that by the end of the holiday I've had my fill of aubergines and stiffed peppers. For meat eaters, I am told, the selection of meats was usually good and very tender. There should be more options for vegetarians. The choice of fish was quite good, often serving sea bass and swordfish, as well as fried fish in batter.
Breakfast was always good, although my daughter and I often had an extra half hour in bed and ate from the snack bar a little later, or had an early lunch. Hubby and son had breakfast every day, without fail.
There was a tennis court but we didn't use this. It was much too hot for this--even in the evening.
*An average gym, and massage room was available. My daughter used the gym a few times. My son always intends to use the gym but seems to run out of time with all the other activities available.
*A table tennis table was placed in the outside area.Equipment was poor. It was easier to buy quite cheaply form the many local shops your one bats and ping pong balls, rather than wait for these almost useless ones supplied on request by the hotel.
*There is a small video games area but the machines were not in a good state of repair.
*Internet is available by purchasing a card from reception for varying amounts of time.
*This hotel advertises a souvenir shop but it wasn't in use on either of our visits although both took place in the high season. It was there, but empty and closed. This was a shame as, although the shops were near, one didn't want to .leave the hotel for a pen, or batteries or items wanted immediately.
It is worth mentioning that many of the hotels in this area are owned by the Tsokkos hotel group, and some share facilities. The Odessa hotel would compete against nearby Tskokos hotels in games, such as water polo and water volleyball.
A bar, in pub style, called, The Victoria Bar, is available for the use of hotel guests, but it is not included in the all-inclusive tariff. There are two, good quality pool tables in here. The bar stays open until about one a.m. (all-inclusive option ends about midnight) but if many guests are using it will often remain open longer.
Although I felt this hotel was fairly good value for money and it had some very good points, our second visit, and that of other guests that we befriended, was spoiled by the entertainment staff. On the first visit we found two of the team, working for Premiere animation, to be exceptionally nice and friendly to all guests they had left by the time of our second visit. The team leader and another female entertainer were still there, along with two new members, on our second visit. We found on the first occasion that the leader, Johnny had a large ego but he wasn't too bad as he had other good staff to help out. He found him a little amusing at first, until we realised that he got his laughs at the expense of others, and inappropriately. He made careful friendships with certain guests, mainly those that returned year after year. When he wasn't entertaining we found him sullen and unprofessional. On our second visit he now some sort of entertainments co-ordinator,and spent much time talking on his mobile phone. This effectively left only three staff to entertain guests. When one had their day off it was then only two. These three members also ran the kids club so entertainment staffing was far from adequate. There were several complaints. This would definitely deter us from returning to the Odessa, and I know we are not alone in this. It is a shame, as the two newer members of this team worked very hard. I would holiday in other Tsokkos hotels if I knew that the entertainment staff would be different. Premiere entertain at several hotels in this area.
Games around, or in the pool, took place during the morning and afternoon. The amount of time given to activities wasn't anything like as good as for instance The Ledra Beach in Paphos, Cyprus.
The table tennis was often abandoned because they didn't have ping pong balls. They could have nipped up to a nearby shop and bought a couple!
Water polo was played with a ball we had purchased and let them use.
Darts was postponed for four days due to them misplacing their darts.
When the darts turned up the Killer darts seemed to be run by the holiday makers, my son often taking scores as Johnny was, of course, busy. Just call it a D.I.Y. holiday on the daytime entertainment front. Although my son enjoyed the organising and scoring, I don't think this is right for a four star hotel. They really got away with a lot.
The evening entertainment started with kids club which seemed very prolonged, followed by prize bingo and then, sometimes a show performed by Premiere staff. Much of it was mimed but the dancing was quite good.
Occasionally an outside act was brought in but it was usually of a poor standard and would be a tribute act or performing parrots or a magician, who certainly wasn't magical!
We entered a quiz, which was the entertainment for one evening. The same quiz took place the next week with the same questions! We won but were told we couldn't win as we took part the week before and knew the answers! That didn't matter much as the prize was a cocktail from the bar, which we, along with most guests could get free from the bar, being all-inclusive.
Much of the entertainment was repeated the next week. I think this is very lazy. I found myself quite bored at night and if we weren't too hot we would have a walk around Protaras main strip, or find a different spot to chat to friends.
For my family the location of this hotel was excellent. It's about a two minute walk to the beach, although a bit dusty and sometimes gravelly, along the way.
The beach has everything in the way of water sports and bars, but it isn't too crowded. There are banana boats and all sorts of fun inflatables as well as jet skis. Budget for this though, as water sports are expensive. I would advise some haggling too.
The sea is a little rocky on entry but is clear enough to pick your way in and keep to the sandy parts. I used pool shoes though. Once in, it's gorgeous, and a pleasure to swim around here.
A short walk away and boat trips leave to go to different places of interest. Glass bottomed boats are popular, as is an interesting trip, sailing past, Varosha, Famagusta, the ghost town left as it was when the Turkish invaded in 1974. The Greek Cypriots evacuated leaving everything in limbo. With binoculars, from the boats, one can see tables set in restaurants, awaiting the guest who never come. This dispute hasn't been settled.
Going the other way from the beach and slightly uphill, you come to the main strip of Protaras, a very short walk away. Here, there is an abundance of gift shops, bars, mini marts, restaurants and karaoke bars. It isn't like Southend, but it's lively. I love the bustling atmosphere of Protaras at night. It's friendly and buzzing with atmosphere, yet in the two times that we holidayed here I haven't witnessed bad behaviour or anything threatening. We felt that our teenagers were safe going out with their friends to the main Protaras strip.
Buses stopped conveniently close to the hotel and take you to many places, one being the fantastic wate park at Ayia Napa.
Taxis can be ordered by reception and there is a nearby taxi rank, although we found the wait for a taxi long at certain times.
I would say the area is very family friendly and ideal for children of all ages, through to teenagers. It's also good for couples but, fortunately, we didn't see any groups of lager louts!
I think it's a terrible shame about the entertainment side, as, although, I wouldn't call this hotel perfect it still had plenty to offer and at a cheaper price than many comparable hotels in the Protaras region.
Nevertheless, we did have a great holiday at The Odessa, and made many friends. I have never seen so many teenagers make friends as at this hotel. Everyone seemed to be included, like an Odessa friendship club They seemed pretty harmonious too, and many kept in contact.
Based upon other Cyprus hotels I would rate this as a three or three star plus. I would recommend to a friend if the entertainment was improved.
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