My family and I, two adults and two children (2 & 4), recently spent two weeks at the Atlantica Caldera Creta Paradise, from 12-26 July. I would happily be back there right now.
When booking, we were looking for somewhere we could simply relax and do nothing for a fortnight, and we got that - though by the second week I also became a regular player of the Entertainment (Animation) team's seemingly endless options for activity, from water polo to beach volleyball, aqua gym to archery (all free).
The Creta Paradise is a very clean and well laid-out hotel/resort, but I'm sure many are similar to this. In fact, apart from the single day out we had to the beautiful port town of Chania (pronounced Hanya) we could have been anywhere. Or anywhere that was hot. The temperature was on average in the mid-30s, which was always a concern for a pair of junior debutant travellers, but in this environment, great pools, lots of shade under parasols and a welcoming breeze (though a couple of days it was a little more like wind), this was a terrific environment for a family.
If you are looking for somewhere to relax and take it easy, whether as a family or a couple, Creta Paradise is a good option, with Platanias just a 7euro cab ride down the road should you want something a little livelier every now and then. We were extremely happy with staying at the hotel though; it was too hot to mess about in the day time and the Animation Team's nightly shows were unexpectedly very entertaining and we were intent on seeing all 12 they had to offer (Thursdays they have off).
Also, Zara, the Thomson rep was first class; friendly, informative and always about to help.
During our first week, English were in the minority, which - as an Englishman who knows what we can be like abroad - suited us fine. Scandinavians and Belgians added a friendly and Cosmopolitan flavour to the resort. When we knew that a larger proportion of English people would be arriving the second week, we were a little apprehensive. On the whole, our fellow compatriots did England proud, though a small minority were responsible for late night banging of doors, setting off of fire alarms and shouting in the small hours. I believe that family has returned home now though.
Creta Paradise has two pools, the main one where all the daily entertainment happens on the reception side of the hotel, then another smaller pool at the back end of the resort across the road. Both were nice areas to spend time, but the lack of sun beds meant you had to be up early to ensure you bagged one. Despite the many signs saying 'reserving of beds is not allowed' it was rarely policed. But it's much easier waking up early to walk to lay by the pool than it is to go to work, so it was a small inconvenience at most.
Attached to Creta Paradise is another Atlantica Caldera resort, Creta Beach. While guests were welcome to utilise facilities at both hotels - there's a lovely sweeping, arch-like pool and a kids pool with slide - all-inclusive wristbands were not accepted. They also had an entertainments team - not as good as ours - and although there were daily invites to go to watch their shows, it wasn't as welcoming an environment for non-Creta Beach guests as their stage was in the outdoor dining area, so if you weren't eating your evening meal (which Creta Paradise guest wouldn't have been) you stood around like a spare part trying to enjoy the magic or music. But if you could find a seat then I'm sure you'd feel more comfortable, you'd just need to go back to your own hotel to get a drink.
And on the subject of drinks, this was also a pretty decent selection. All local spirits, plus a Greek beer call Vap and red and white wine and mineral water that you could serve yourself. Pepsi, 7-up, orange and lemon fanta on tap, again help yourself, a list of cocktails, plus coffee, tea, hot chocolate and even Baileys and Irish Coffee all part of the package. If you wanted to spend money you could, but why go all-inclusive if you are going to be a beverage snob?
Things to look out for:
- We had a garden view family room, which didn't have a great deal of space to put four cases worth of clothes and the empty case, but we managed. Otherwise it was perfect, clean, tidy and a very comfy bed.
- Looking around, the swim-up rooms looked good, a bit of a novelty and a guaranteed sun bed, but if you want to be more social and spend time by the main pool, I'm not sure it's worth the extra expenditure.
- Likewise the sea view rooms. Unless I'm mistaken, the closest rooms to the beach were a good 100 yards away, with the amphitheatre and mini-golf area between. When I book a sea view, I want to be almost on top of it. Again, in my opinion, not worth the extra expense.
- take plenty of suncream from England. It's on average 20euro a bottle in Crete, from the half a dozen shops we looked in, for the brand name stuff Sainsbury's or Tesco are doing for less than half that so you don't want to go running out.
- The food was fine overall; breakfast was always excellent with allsorts of choices, lunch and dinner were also ok, but did get a little repetitive and I was happy to get a rare fillet steak down me as quckly as I could after getting back home. Having said that, with two young children it was perfect. Our day to Chania and lunch we had offered little more than was available at the hotel, and the kids couldn't experiment. At least, with the all-inclusive, they could try different things until they found something they liked. and you can never go wrong with a Greek salad anyway.
So in summary, for us it was a great holiday and a really nice hotel, one that, if it wasn't for our propensity for variety, we would certainly go back to again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.