Location, location, location. A sloping site on a promontory gives many lovely views. It is far enough from Agios Nikolaos centre to avoid the hustle and bustle, but close enough to walk to. The bungalows and meandering paths give it the feel of a small village; I think the sculptures do add to the ambience. There are plenty of sun loungers (some look good but are uncomfortable) and parasols spread around the shore – there are two small beaches.
We had wonderful views from our bungalow but not a lot of privacy due to a low hedge – difficult to have both – a compromise would be better. Our pool was clean and with plenty of space around it to lounge, but a little chilly; I imagine it's great in the summer heat. We found the pump noisy – there is a switch on the side to override it. The room was spacious but the only window didn't open meaning the door was the only ventilation without using the effective air con. The Jacuzzi bath had a shower over it – temperature difficult to control, we didn't use the bath. These days in a luxury hotel I expect a walk-in shower that works well. The bed was hard. After the first night I complained to the maid and she promptly fitted a mattress topper which helped. Why not always fit them? I don't expect hard beds in a hotel of this standard, luxury beds are a great selling point – even Premier Inn know that! The maid service was excellent – unobtrusive, room always clean and tidy.
Breakfast is a buffet with egg dishes cooked to order. A good usual selection of fruit, yoghurt, cereals, breads and cold cuts and hot bacon, sausage, beans etc, a little variation in this day to day. Glasses of fresh orange were the only juice worth drinking. Service was mostly good – always smiling Hannah in particular ranged the whole restaurant observantly clearing and serving – others seemed to be going through the motions.
The big negative for the restaurants are the number of annoying feral cats – some people will feed them which only encourages them – in my opinion the cats are a pest that needs to be dealt with.
We ate dinner in Bacchus our first evening, bizarrely there are no prices (the same with Ambrosia) and we seemed to surprise the Maître d' that we weren't on half board; we wanted flexibility in where we ate. Fairly uninspiring half-hearted Greek cuisine – half as good as the restaurants we found in town.
The SLH package included a "gourmet dinner" in La Bouillabaisse, I tried to book this when we arrived but it wasn't yet open, they would tell us when it was. A couple of days later we found it was now open – no one had told us – I booked for the next day. When we went to eat we found it was closed! It appeared we were the only booking, but no one had tried to tell us. Apology but no explanation from reception, they offered another evening but we had other plans – manager summoned – he tried to fob us off with lunch, after some "negotiation" we settled for dinner in Ambrosia. The four course meal was reasonable international cuisine with Greek influences. Only three or four couples dinning. Service? The tables around us were cleared as 10pm approached; the couple next to us had to grab their desserts before it closed! Not what I expect in any restaurant.
After dinner I went and sat at the bar next door, 'Greek coffee?' I asked the barman, he looked wistful – I settled for expresso and greek brandy. When my wife joined me, the barman ignored her and cleared tables, on his return he barged behind her to put his tray on the bar, my wife moved the other side of me, he still ignored her, a lady came to the bar, he ignored her, a man came to the bar, he went to serve him, my wife told him what she thought, he muttered apologies and excuses, we left. We didn't eat dinner or buy a drink in the hotel again; there are restaurants in the town that serve proper Greek food, are friendly and charge less.
My overall view is that the hotel is living on its laurels; there are undoubtedly good aspects to it, but some structural weaknesses that need to be addressed by the management if it is to offer real luxury, most noticeably the attitude of some of the staff who have little idea of what good service is. We could have gone anywhere in the world and they need to realise that that is the market in which they are competing. I also question whether 129 rooms is small.
If you want good greek food there are several inexpensive restaurants in Agios Nikolaos
Thank you very much for letting us know about your concerns. We would like to share with you the hotel’s side of the story in a few words.
You had booked our “SLH Gourmet Package”, 14–21May15, accommodation in a Superior Seafront Bungalow.
As Club Members the hotel offered a complimentary upgrade to a Superior Bungalow Seafront with private pool (two room categories up).
All our pools except the main swimming pool, are not heated; the water temperature of the private pool those days was about 24° to 25°.
As soon as you mentioned that the bed was hard, the maid service situated a topper mattress. We admit that the new sun lounges are not very comfortable although all guests have a choice of three kinds of sun lounges and there are plenty around the hotel. The specific type of Sun-Lounges, despite the nice shape, it is not comfortable to lie for a long time, but the hotel does have plenty of the other normal types.
La Bouillabaisse a la carte restaurant opened its doors on May 16th.
We apologize for the fact that we did not inform you personally for the opening, although we had published announcements to various points in the hotel for the opening. In addition we feel sorry for the misunderstanding concerning the reservation in La Bouillabaisse the day that it was closed. At this case the management team offered a complimentary menu & drinks included, to Ambrosia a la carte restaurant.
On your first night Dinner: our Maitre of the Bacchus Restaurant welcomed you and presented the choices that all our guests on Bed & Breakfast basis have: Choice of the a-la-carte menu, all with prices, or the “table d’hote” menu of the day with choices of soup, appetizers, main course, salad-buffet and dessert buffet. The price of the day menu is written on our price list and on the announcement board inside the restaurant next to the restaurant’s entrance.
Concerning the comment about the main bar, it was an unfortunate incident. Your wife had gone to the toilette while you entering the Bar, ordered two drinks, an espresso and a Metaxa. It was obvious that our staff member thought that you ordered for your wife as well. When your wife came at the Bar, the barman did not ignore her at all, he thought that the second drink was for her do he did not asked if she wish to have something else, and kept on preparing drinks for other guests. However as soon as he realized the situation, he apologized to you.
Our service in general is praised and appreciated by many guests, so we are really very estranged about your comment and feel really sorry that you obviously felt experienced our service in another way than it usually is.
We ask you kindly to rate this situation as an exception and want to assure, that we will take into deep consideration your review in order to avoid a repetition.
We would be very happy if we may welcome you again, whenever you decide to come back to Crete and send you all our best wishes!