We stayed just four nights, and that wasn’t nearly long enough. It is a truly fabulous location. We were in the main building and our room had a terrific view of the resort and the ocean – the sunrises were amazing. The beach is small, but more than adequate, and the water is reasonably warm and clear. It is easy to get an umbrella and lounge at the pool next to the beach. The food at the main restaurant (buffet style) is good, but not special. The spa is very nice.
Despite the beauty of the resort, don’t set your expectations too high. Even though the room rates are exorbitant, don’t expect value and service commensurate with what you would get in the U.S. if you paid these rates. The worst is the water/drink situation. It was about 95 – 100 degrees when were there, yet there is no water fountain near the beach or pool area. They want you to buy their overpriced drinks. We figured out that we could just order a cup of ice and use that to cool down (note that we also ordered drinks each day). However, one of my daughters “abused” the system – she got three cups of ice one day – and she was cut off from getting any more ice. Yes, really. So, if you go there and they limit the ice or charge for it, you can blame my daughter.
Generally, you have to reserve with either full board of half board. Juices and water are included at breakfast. However, tap water is not allowed at lunch or dinner – you have to order a bottle of water for about 4 or 5 Euros, so your half board suddenly starts to cost something extra.
To fully enjoy this hotel, you need to be mentally prepared to spend lots of money and pay outrageous prices, otherwise you will be aggravated. As my kids said, “If they could charge for the air, they would.” For instance, they charged us 35 Euros for each of our three kids at Greek night. However, when it came time to eat lunch at a restaurant other than the main buffet, they only gave us credit for two kids – they claimed our third kid was considered free (funny, we had to pay for her for Greek night). Also, to use the meal credit at a restaurant other than the main buffet, you have to go the front desk and get a note allowing you to do this. They give you a 20 Euro credit per adult and 10 per kid. This amount is clearly inadequate to cover your lunch or dinner, and your meal will cost twice that – more if you order wine or beer.
Internet access – it’s free in the lobby, but there is a charge to use it in the room or other parts of the resort. If you try to access the Internet in the lobby when it is crowded, your device will have difficulty connecting because the bandwidth is limited, and the teenagers watching TV/downloading music/playing games hog the bandwidth. You just need to be patient and persistent.
The resort has a 9-hole, par 3 golf course. You can play 18 holes because the back nine use a slightly different tee box for each hole. The nice part is that almost nobody uses the course, so you can play a relaxed game. The greens aren’t maintained very well, but the cost to play is quite reasonable. The hotel rents clubs – 5, 7, 9, pitching and sand wedges, and putter – so there is no need to have your own clubs if this is the only place where you will golf. They also give you three balls and one wood tee (theoretically, you can get additional tees at the pro shop, but the club pro didn’t show up that day yet we somehow made one tee last the whole round).
If you stay in the main building, it is a bit of an ordeal to get to/from the beach. Fortunately, they have a golf cart that goes up and down every 5 to 10 minutes. The drivers are friendly and will stop to pick you up if you are walking.
One way they add value to their adjacent sister property, Elounda Peninsula, is to allow those guests to have different chaise lounges from the regular folk. The big spenders get lounges that look comfortable, while the masses at Porto Elounda get the world’s most uncomfortable lounges.
In the room, I very much liked that the resort was generous with towels. Plenty of towels and excellent quality. The air conditioning worked well, and there is more than enough closet space. We were able to upgrade to two adjoining rooms with a private pool -- seawater and not heated. Interestingly, the room with one large bed had a small bathroom and shower while the kids' room (two twin beds) had a large bathtub, large shower, and a separate sink/toilet room. The room had an adequately-sized safe, and enough electrical outlets so you can charge multiple devices simultaneously.
We attended Greek Night, which consisted of Greek music and Greek dancing in the lawn area near the beach pool. The buffet had a large selection of Greek food. It was obvious the chef took pride in his food, but I think the quality of the ingredients was limited by the budget given him by the hotel. Strangely, most people had left before the third round of Greek dancing, which was the liveliest round (Zorba, etc.).
Our kids enjoyed the kid zone, which has a small pool, two waterslides, and a sports area (soccer and a six-foot basketball hoop). However, this area is open just in the mornings. They also have an Arsenal soccer school on a larger turf field. Note that the coach is not an actual Arsenal coach – he just coaches kids in the Arsenal style of play. We chose not to pay 30 Euros per kid per hour – the session looked just like a typical AYSO practice, and the coaches at AYSO pay closer attention to the kids.
We went into the town of Elounda once. It is a six Euro cab ride one way. As with other cities where the cab drivers choose not to use their meters, the drivers will try to rip you off. The hotel might tell you to walk – that it’s just about 1 kilometer and will take you 20 minutes. Not true – it is several kilometers and will take about 30 to 40 minutes. Take a cab. The town has lots of souvenir shops and some nice waterfront restaurants.
Lastly, this hotel would fall apart without Tenia. She works at the concierge desk (it seems like she is always there) and she has all the answers. The difference? On our last morning, we made a special request to have breakfast delivered at 6:00 am because we had to get a 6:30 ride to the airport. Tenia wasn’t working at that time, and breakfast was 15 minutes late. And, the porter was supposed to help us with our bags at 6:20, and he was late. However, our van didn’t show up. Fortunately, Tenia came to work around 6:45 that morning, and she was able to find alternate transportation for us, got the original transportation provider to pay for our alternate transportation, called the airline to tell them we were running late, and called our van en route to confirm our ETA and to make sure the airline was expecting us. Wow!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.