I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when I booked a Mini Spa holiday for my family 23.-25.10. at Kalev Spa Hotel. I had read some excellent as well as terrible reviews from this site beforehand, and was kind of hoping that at least we'd be lucky with our experience. :) Well, our experience was somewhere in the middle, so I gave it three stars. Could have given four as well, but some details dropped the score a little. But then again, it IS a three star hotel. There are pros as well as cons, but one thing people shouldn't do is go to a three star hotel, expect it to have all the features and quality of a four or five star hotel, and then write an angry one star review because it didn't have them. The hotel for sure is not terrible, nor is it excellent but it's enjoyable enough to have a nice vacation.
+ Location. Couldn't be better, right next to the beautiful old city center with masses of wonderful restaurants and little boutiques within short walking distance. Also a short walk from the harbour.
+ Spa. Free use for hotel guests! It's clean and spacious, and wasn't too full of people either. Nice pools for kids and for relaxation, as well as the luxurious 50 meter pool plus some water slides. We enjoyed this very much.
+ Treatments. We had some and they were ok. Me and my wife tried a massage which was nice, a massage chair which was pretty relaxing and the salt chamber. Not really sure about that, didn't feel anything special but I guess it isn't bad for you either.
+ Overall condition. The hotel looks pretty modern and doesn't have any major maintenance issues. Some details (colours, materials) can be a little dated, but nothing that bothered us too much.
+ Staff. Friendly, helpful people. Didn't see any of the grumpiness reported by some reviewers. And one should keep in mind that there are different cultures. Estonians (or Finns, for that matter) don't have the bright 24/7 smile on there faces like the Thai people for example, but that doesn't mean that they are being rude or impolite. And being friendly yourself you are surely more likely to get treated friendly in return.
- The hotel offers free wi-fi in the rooms, but it didn't work in our room. My computer found the Kalev network but said that it was out of range. And I have a brand new Macbook Pro. Our room was at the end of a corridor, next to the outdoor wall but that shouldn't be a reason for the wi-fi not to work properly. The signal was too weak I guess.This was the biggest dissapointment for us. The wi-fi worked just fine in the lobby, for example, but we couldn't use it in our room.
- Restaurants. The food was good, but there didn't seem to be enough of it. We payed for half board, and on every meal they ran out of something in the buffet restaurant. One day it was something from the main course, the other day the dessert. That shouldn't happen even in a three star hotel. The day we left we had lunch in the a la carte restaurant which had an interesting menu, but even there I had to change my order because they didn't have what I ordered (duck). As I said, the food itself was of a good quality, and the breakfast (that has made some reviewers so mad) was just fine. Not a big selection or anything fancy, but good quality and vast enough to fill your stomach. Once again, don't expect too much from a three star hotel. It's your own fault if you do.
- Overall equipment. The hotel did seem to run out of some other things as well, like spa sandals that you were supposed to be able to buy from the reception, and childrens bath ropes that we were supposed to have in our room for free. They did find a bath rope of some kind for our daughter when we asked for it. The receptionist's excuse was that the hotel is so fully booked (and I guess that would have been the reason for the lack of food too), but that's not an acceptable explanation. They should have enough equipment/food/anything for every single customer that they book in, or they shouldn't book the hotel so full then.
- Some other minor things in our room; not big enough to complain for the staff, but big enough to remind you that this indeed is not a four or a five star hotel.
All in all, we had a nice and enjoyable family vacation. Would we go back? Yes we would. The positive things outweigh the negative ones. Also, it's not too expensive compared to some other hotels.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.