“ Address: Vegas Hotel / 20 Amathus Avenue / Limassol 4060 / Cyprus „
During our honeymoon in Cyprus earlier this year, we decided to have a couple of nights away from our apartment as we fancied a change of scene and a couple of nights out without having to drive. Anyone who has been to Cyprus will know that unless you're in a car, it can be quite tricky to get around.
After searching round online, we chose this hotel, as it looked reasonable for the (very cheap) price, and was based in Limassol within walking distance of restaurants, bars and so on.
OK, SO IT'S NINETY EUROS FOR TWO NIGHTS, HOW BAD CAN IT BE?
We came across this hotel on booking.com. As usual, we were on a bit of a budget, and as we were looking for somewhere to use as a base to explore the area, we weren't too bothered about what star rating it was. Or so we thought.
The hotel is a budget range hotel, costing around 45 euros per apartment per night. It claims to be within 5 minutes walking distance from pubs and restaurants, and provides sea views from the balconies. The rooms on booking.com and the website looked reasonable, so we figured we'd take a chance.
OH MY GOODNESS, HE'S BROUGHT ME TO A STRIP CLUB ON HONEYMOON
First things first, the hotel was technically in "walking distance" of everything, but only if you enjoy walking fifteen miles per day in sweltering heat. I'm not exaggerating either, we drove the strip we'd walked along the following day, and worked out that in two days we had walked about twenty five miles. I actually had to buy a new pair of shoes on the way back to the hotel on day one, as my flip flops were causing some agonising deep cuts and blisters. Not quite the relaxing experience we'd hoped for.
Secondly, the hotel is a NIGHTMARE to find. It's basically along a long strip of hotels, but because the others are four and five star (i.e. nice), they are well signposted, whereas this one is pretty much down an alley, with the tiniest sign I've ever seen (the sign is also in Greek) so this caused about an hour of my husband being none-too-pleased as his phone wouldn't connect to the internet to get a map or phone them, and we were basically driving round a busy city with no clue where we were going. Not helped by me pointing out cute cats climbing into wheelie bins. Anyway, I digress. It's a nightmare to find, and when we did finally find it, I kind of wish we hadn't.
My final comment on location, is that this hotel is in the far end of Limassol, slightly away from the centre of everything, and is basically verging on the red light district. The walk from our hotel to Limassol involved passing several strip clubs, or "gentlemen's clubs" as they like to call them. If I hadn't had any involvement in choosing the hotel with my husband, I would have been slightly worried about how he was expecting the honeymoon to turn out! When we got to the hotel, the manager gave us a map of Limassol to show us where the nice parts were, and the hotel is so far away from the nice parts, it wasn't even shown on the map..............
THE PRACTICAL STUFF
The hotel has its own car park, if you're persistent enough to find it. It basically involves a barrier which has a code you put in to let you in. When we got there, we buzzed to speak to reception, but there was no answer so we were let in by a car coming out of the car park, which kind of makes the whole security system a bit flawed and pointless.
There are 12 rooms in this hotel, a restaurant, and communal gardens. The gardens are absolutely lovely, with boutique chairs and tables, very chic, totally not in keeping with the rest of the hotel. The restaurant/bar looked nice, but we didn't use it as the point of the stay was to get out and about.
We were given a key for our room, and one for the front door. The front door is locked at night as there is no 24-hour reception service, so we were advised to take our key with us and ensure we locked the door behind us if we were getting back late. The second night we got back to the hotel, there was a drunk couple loitering outside, so we rushed in as quick as we could before we ended up with them asking us to let them in. I felt quite vulnerable as the hotel is down a side street.
AT LEAST THE STAFF ARE FRIENDLY
I suppose I should find some positives for this hotel. The woman who seems to run this hotel was very friendly, and offered us lots of leaflets etc to help find the sights. She also gave us the map to show us how far from the nice parts we were....
IT'S NOT THAT BAD.....IS IT?
Moving on to the hotel itself. The first thing that struck me was that the stairwell leading to our room was a little like a council flat block of apartments. I looked beyond this as we weren't planning to sleep in the stairwell, so I thought I would base my opinion on the room itself.
The room itself is more of a self-contained apartment. It has plenty of room for two people, with a lounge area, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, and a balcony which links the bedroom to the lounge. At first glance, I thought it looked ok, and we spent the first evening trying to convince ourselves with reassuring comments like "Well, we'll be out most of the time" and "What can we expect for thirty quid a night".
In reality, this is little more than a hostel. The sea views don't exist, well they do if you squint through the high rise buildings in front of you. The balcony basically overlooks other buildings. The doors and windows are stiff to open and close.
The lounge area is basic but spacious, and had a double sofa, coffee table and TV. We didn't bother trying the TV, as we were trying to spend as much time out of the apartment as possible. The sofa had some dodgy stains on it which we tried to ignore.
The kitchenette looks ok on the photos, but the cabinets were really old and had front doors which were half hanging off on some of the units. It smelt a bit musty and the cupboards looked like they'd never been cleaned inside. The fridge was unplugged so we didn't bother plugging it in as we only had water to put in it and we figured by the time it was at the right temperature it would be time to check out.
The bathroom was probably the worst thing about this visit. On entering the bathroom I was greeted by a really awful smell of damp, and made the startling discovery that there was a sliding window on the wall leading into a gap in the wall. I tried closing this as it made me feel uncomfortable having it open, and also I think the other rooms had the same window so we could hear everything going on in other people's bathrooms. Lovely. On closing the window, the smell of damp became a bit unbearable so we left it ajar.
The bathroom suite was horrendous, old and jaded. The floor was carpeted and had a circular lime green rug (yes rug, not bathmat) in the centre which seemed to be a breeding ground for other people's pubic hair. The bath wasn't clean, and I decided to use my swimming beach towel rather than risk using the towels provided.
The bedroom....well lets just say it didn't lend itself to any kind of romance. The bed was low and luckily reasonably comfortable. The bed cover and pillows didn't feel clean, the carpets were brown and full of stains. By this point I didn't even dare open the wardrobes, as everything just felt unclean and made my skin crawl. The second night was the best night's sleep I've ever had, as I was so excited about checking out in the morning. This was despite the noise coming from the main road below, where the locals seem to spend their evenings racing each other and beeping their horns.
THE POWER OF PHOTOGRAPHY
I realise that anyone trying to market their business will take photographs which show it in the best light, but for anyone wondering what on earth we were thinking by booking this hotel, I invite you to check out their website, and see for yourself the power of clever photography:
Looks nice doesn't it?
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS HOTEL?
You can probably guess the answer to this. If you enjoy the mild thrill of wondering if you're going to get mugged any second, or return home alive or without scabies, then this is the hotel for you. Otherwise, don't be fooled by the photography and professional looking website. Luckily, my husband and I are the kind of people who just laugh off these kind of experiences, otherwise it wouldn't have been the best start to our marriage.
(Review also posted on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)