This is a long review but I hope you will find at least some of it useful!
I flew out on a last minute holiday (17th Sept 2013) booked the day before through Olympic Holidays for a great low price of £148. The accommodation was allocated on arrival at the airport and I ended up at Stelois Gardens.
Coach transfer from the airport only took 30-40min but we may have been lucky as we were the first drop-off and the coach then proceeded to another 4-5 hotels.
Upon arrival at 3:30am, check-in was quick and easy and you have the option of paying €20 to use the safe in your room. There is no air-con.
The rooms themselves are very basic but generally clean. However, even though it is self catering, I would not recommend using any of the 'facilities' in the room. The two hobs were old and rusty, I had one big pot which was missing a handle and no pan. There was also a sandwich toaster in the cupboard but it wasn't clean either so never used that. The kettle was old and tatty too so didn't use that either. I had a couple of plates and dishes which weren't very clean, as well as a couple of glasses which were ok. That's as far as the self catering went.
The fridge was a decent size and worked ok but the freezer compartment was frozen solid and the door to it wouldn't open. This meant that it constantly leaked into the rest of the fridge and made everything in it wet.
As for the beds, they were comfortable enough (I stayed in room 108, downstairs facing the back) and the sheets and towels were changed halfway through my stay. The cleaners do come in almost every day, approx 10am-12pm, to mop/sweep and empty the bins.
What they don't do is replace/replenish the toilet paper so you'll have to buy your own if your one roll they give you to start with runs out.
The toilet worked ok but the seat wouldn't stay up because the base of the toilet was positioned too far back. As for the shower, mine worked pretty well with hot water almost all of the time. Others I spent the week with said they hardly had any hot water in their rooms and one of the shower head holders on the wall was broken so they had to hold the shower head when showering. The shower curtain in my room and in most of the others was placed rather strangely in the middle of the bathroom; drawing it all the way across only separated the shower and toilet from the sink. This meant that when having a shower, you'd often get the toilet wet as well as the bathroom floor. Not a major problem as there was a drain inbetween the shower and toilet which the excess water went into. Still, the design of the whole bathroom could have been much better.
I had some small ants in my room but nothing to worry about; no cockroaches or other insects although some others did say they had a couple of roaches in theirs.
If you are prone to being bitten by mosquitoes then you can buy a number of repellents and sprays in the local shops. After suffering some bites on my first two nights, I bought a plug-in one for €5.50 and that solved the problem.
If you need to do laundry, then there is a place 2min walk away as you are heading towards the strip. The lady wanted €10 to do our washing! We bartered down to €8 which I still think is a rip-off. As she also wanted another €8 to dry them, we declined that bit and dried them ourselves in our rooms. The washing machines are quite large so I'd recommend two of you putting your washing together to save money, like I did.
On to the better things:
1) The pool was lovely and a very good size, with plenty of space for sunbathing around it or on the grass adjacent.
2) The bar was poolside and open 24hrs, with a decent sized seating area. Alcoholic drinks were reasonably priced (€3 for a double vodka, or similar, with mixer) but bottled beers were more expensive at €4 and steer clear of the cans of fizzy pop if possible as they were €2.50 each! A small bottle of water was €1 but they also sold 6x 1.5L bottles for €2.50 which was a bit of a bargain. There was no restaurant but the bar provided decent variety of food which was good value, the majority €4 to €5.
3) The beach was only 1-2min away.
4) Malia Strip only 2-3min in the other direction.
Yiannis, the owner, is your typical Greek guy. Friendly but nobody's fool and if you get on the wrong side of him then he can become stubborn. The other staff were all pretty friendly too but I felt that maybe as it was near the end of the season, they were a bit tired and in need of a rest.
As I say, it was near the end of the season so a lot of the clubs on the strip had already shut, leaving just 2-3 that were still open. Plenty of bars to choose from though and a whole host of places to eat. Meals in general were reasonable priced, mainly €8 to €10 for a standard meal (€3 for the local beer Mythos) and all much of a muchness. However, I'd recommend The Brasserie for their food which was delicious. This place is the first restaurant you come to, if leaving Stelios Gardens and heading for the strip, next to Havana Bar.
Drinks are also reasonably priced and you will get a lot of people trying to entice you into their establishment with all different kinds of offers; I think the best we had was two vodka/red bulls (or equivalent), three shots and a fishbowl for €5 each but there are plenty of really good offers out there.
For those interested in getting out and about whilst on holiday rather than just staying local and drinking, there are plenty of places where you can hire quadbikes, motorbikes, push-bikes and one place where you can hire a car. But be warned, some of these places might offer you a good deal but that may be because they do not provide you with 'proper' insurance. I have heard stories of people taking their quad back and then being told they must pay extra because there is damage to the vehicle, generally charging them €15 for a flat tyre or €50 for a dent, even if these problems were there beforehand.
You can hire a quadbike from them for as little as €10 a day (€8 for push-bike) but that is with NO insurance at all. Whatever you do, don't do that as the fines are crazy if caught. Generally €20 to €30 a day with insurance.
I hired my quadbike from Hermes which is located on the corner next to The Brasserie at the 'beach end' of the strip. Spoke to a Welsh lad (Spoggy/Spuddy/Squibby or something like that lol) from Swansea who worked there and he was asking for €50 for two days. I managed to barter and got him down to €40 and also extended the time I had to return it by 5hrs. By all means do barter with them - if you don't ask, you don't get!
The reason I hired from them is that they provide fully comp insurance ('British' insurance as they call it) so no matter what happens you are fully covered. As far as I am aware, Hermes are the only ones who offer this and I fully recommend them. When I returned it after two days, I just chucked them the keys and that was it; they didn't check the quad at all and that reassured me with regards to the insurance. Petrol is actually more expensive than the UK at about €1.80 a litre but I found that €10 was more than enough for two days of sightseeing; the tank will hold about 10L if you want to fill it.
Another thing I'd highly recommend is wearing a helmet. This seems to be an optional thing to most people and they aren't exactly the height of fashion but we were told by a couple of locals and a rep that if you are stopped by the police and you aren't wearing a helmet then the fine is €230! They also said that some of the hire companies will pass your info on to the police if you don't take a helmet and then split the profits from your fine with them if they catch you!
There are plenty of places to go and it really does depend on what you are after. On the first day I had my quad I travelled West through the neighbouring town of Stalis, along the coast and up towards the mountains.
On the second day, I ventured further out and this time went East, along the coast and made it onto the highway and travelled for approx 20km before stopping at a town called Neapoli. A beautiful place, very clean and tidy with some great buildings, statues, a plateau and a monastery. I spent most of the afternoon there taking a look around.
Olympic Holidays can also arrange certain trips for you for better prices than you would pay locally. Greek Night (€38, Wed & Sat evenings) will take you on a coach trip for 20-30min up the mountains and when you get there you will experience typical Greek food and drink (all you can eat/drink; one girl even brought back four bottles of wine for free) as well as dancing and plate smashing too, with a souvenir shop (not your typical tat that you get in Malia). I'd highly recommend it as quite an authentic Greek experience.
They also do a number of boat/coach trips: Agios Nikolaos port, Spinalonga, Chania's Old Venetian Harbour and many more but I didn't go on any of those.
All in all it was a very enjoyable experience and the weather was still ~30*C for most of the week despite it being mid/late Sept.
If you are looking for a boozing holiday and just want some where to lay your head without being fussed about anything above mere basic amenities then this is the place to stay as it is in a near perfect location. If I went back I would look to stay in a classier place, probably in neighbouring town Stalis which looked a much cleaner and wholesome town than the booze-fest of Malia.
Rooms at the back are quieter although slightly more prone to insects.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.