I had to write and describe our experience of this hotel after reading all of the negative reviews. We booked a last minute week here for two in September 2012 and then read the Tripadvisor reviews which mostly seemed to slate the place.
This got us quite worried. Unable to cancel and prepared for the worst, we set off for a ‘week of hell’. Nothing could be further from the truth in our experience. We arrived at the hotel via the coach transfer which after dropping off several other groups, took about half an hour from the airport. Like in other reviews, we were dropped off at the main entrance to the hotel.
The coach did not drive us directly to the front door, we did have to walk the twenty seconds to the hotel, no problem for us, but a family with small kids etc may take forty five seconds, first problem dealt with. A large coach simply would have trouble pulling into the driveway, that’s all.
On arriving at the foyer, we were greeted by one of the biggest and brightest smiles I have ever seen. This was a theme throughout the entire stay. The staff were extremely friendly, courteous, attentive and more than helpful.
The main foyer and bar area seemed immaculate and quite modern. There was information on everything from local food, taxis, car and bike hire and day trips available here. The staff would help with any queries. There were two computers for internet use which didn’t cost much and there was wi-fi in the foyer area too at a small charge. All the staff spoke English, German and Italian fluently.
We were given our room keys at this stage but elected not to pay for air conditioning which we knew was to be paid locally. We went in the lift to our room and had a very pleasant surprise bearing in mind how dreadful we were informed the rooms would be. The room was immaculate. There was a huge, modern, white leather bed and very contemporary fittings. We had a 1st floor garden view room with a balcony. There was loads of storage space and there was a tv and two power outlets.
The bathroom was less modern but had a sink, w/c and shower as most of them do, a shower curtain which we folded away and it was tiled floor to ceiling like a wet room. The floor in here did get wet each time we showered but that did not concern us. If it did, we’d have used the curtain.
Even in September, the heat at night was stifling. On the first night, we went to reception at about two a.m. and asked for the air conditioning. The night receptionist came to the room immediately and sorted it out for us. Again smiling, being friendly and courteous. I would say to budget for this extra expense as the rooms at times seemed hotter than outside. The average outdoor, daytime temperature during our stay was 31 degrees. This was in early September so I can only guess what it’s like in the high season.
The following day and every day thereafter we went down for breakfast. Again we were greeted by a super friendly member of staff in the open air, pool side restaurant. The self service restaurant is the only one on site and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The ceiling is covered and provides a much needed shelter from the sun even in the morning. The restaurant is next to the pool, there are covered seating areas and around 40 sun loungers spread around a nice pool which also has a separate kids pool. There are inflatable toys and lilos etc if that’s your thing. There was a pool bar too. There’s also a small shop on site stocking a small range of essentials and lovely ice creams.
The food is fresh, tasty and well prepared. The choice for breakfast included several cereals, breads, cakes, biscuits, Greek yoghurt and honey, eggs, bacon, sausages, ham, cheese and Greek salad which was served with every meal.
Lunch and dinner were served with at least two veg dishes, and at least two meat and or fish dishes. These were incredibly tasty but not Cordon Bleu as you might expect from a hotel of this rating. However you could have as much as you wanted. Kids would have no problem with the menu as the food was not too exotic/spicy etc. There was something different with each meal.
It is accepted practice at the end of your meal to politely clear your dishes onto a small trolley for which the staff were very grateful. This took ten seconds, but for one awful family of Brits there, it was too much effort, they just flat out refused to do it, whilst the other nationalities did it with zero effort and much appreciation from the staff. That was quite embarrassing.
Red and white wine, beer and seven or eight soft drinks were offered with each meal. The hotel asked politely that alcohol only be consumed with lunch and dinner. Not an offensive request we thought.
This is where a lot of the negative comments/reviews come from I think and it seems there are people who want to go and drink all day and call that a holiday. If they cannot get enough free booze between lunchtime and half ten at night, this is the least of their problems. While people did drink at lunch and dinner we saw zero alcohol related, bad behaviour during our stay.
So that’s the hotel, the staff and the food taken care of, now to the location. Afandou is a lovely little village some two kilometres from the beach. There are tavernas, bars, supermarkets and chemists here. This is NOT Afandou Beach, that is a very sleepy, quite, quaint place at the sea shore. Afandou Village or centre as it’s called on the road signs is a ten minute walk away if you want to cross a busy road, fifteen if you skirt around this.
There is a stunning, 4 kilometre, sand and pebble beach with water as clear as Gin at Afandou Beach where the Sivila is. They pride themselves here on the clarity of the water and as a world travelled diver, I can say it’s the clearest water anywhere I have seen in Europe or indeed anywhere else in the world.
At one end of this beach is a small resort called Kolymbia. Not very..........anything really, just a collection of hotels and not much else. At the other end is Traganou Beach, a must visit as the snorkelling here is excellent. Slap bang in the middle is Afandou Beach. No hotels on the beachfront and the Sivila is a three minute stroll away from the beach.
This resort is quiet, there are four or five tavernas here and a couple of beach bars, but that’s pretty much it. If you want a quiet, relaxing, traffic free time, this place is fine. This place is chilled and you could find a spot on the beach all of your own. If you want swing from the chandeliers and rock out til dawn, maybe Falaraki, ten minutes up the road might be a better bet.
So to some practical advice and suggestions.
This hotel is all inclusive but if you have been to a huge, 5 star, all inclusive complex in Egypt as we all have, this place may seem a little different. I personally didn’t want to risk going to Egypt and instead decided to stay in Europe and try Rhodes for the 1st time. If you want to stay in the hotel and never venture out, I guess you could do that. There’s everything you need to survive.
If you did want to get out and about the island is spectacular and is very accessible and easy to navigate around. The roads are excellent and the drivers are as good as any at home. The island is quite small and you can get across it even on our preferred transport, a quad, in under an hour.
Lindos is a must see and takes about half an hour to reach from Afandou. There is the world heritage site there and the views are amazing. There are some lovely beaches there too.
Rhodes old town is worth a visit and is fun for a bustling night out combined with an exploration of sleepy back streets and ancient ruins. There’s a nice marina here too from where boat trips operate taking people around the island and or across to Turkey etc on day trips.
There are several places near to the hotel worth a visit. The seven springs are nice. Just literally that but a nice hour or so trip out. There’s an ostrich farm/safari place to visit. A shaded valley renowned for butterflies is nearby and many beaches and loads of other things besides.
You’d get a map with a hire vehicle and the hire firm would be more than happy to tell you where to go if you asked. You can organise a car/scooter or quad from the hotel and the firm drop off and collect the vehicle from there. We went into Afandou centre and got a bit of a better deal but not much. Save yourself the hassle and get it from the hotel.
One important thing to mention is the mosquito situation. This seems to have been blamed on the hotel in some reviews, not entirely sure how, but hey. Take some sprays for during the day around the pool and get a plug in for the room. THIS IS A MUST!
If you get a cab from the hotel to the airport, it will cost nearly 40 euros. Bit steep I thought.
Ok eating out.
If you get sick of the food in the hotel or just fancy a night out, there are two very different places I’d recommend. Leave the hotel and turn left, head down the road a couple of hundred yards. On the right is a taverna specialising in local fish and seafood. It has two small boats outside as decoration and the building is mostly blue and covered in vines and flowers. It’s run by the single loveliest hostess I have ever met. She was so incredibly friendly and helpful. The food was out of this world. Traditional local Greek food that was some of the best I have ever had. Expect a meal for two without drinks to coast about 30 euros, amazing. This place was called “To Fresco” but spelled differently in Greek, but just look for the place near the hotel with the boats and flowers outside.
The second place I couldn’t believe and sadly we discovered it on our last night. This place was in Afandou Cetre and seemed to be an extension on someone’s house. The 10 euro set menu was extensive and inclusive of all drinks including wine, ouzo, beer, water and soft drinks. At first glance there was a choice of over fifteen mezze dishes. Sounded nice, so we gave it a go. The hostess was lovely and welcomed us in and then the most amazing Greek food came out in an avalanche one dish after another, and it just kept coming! We thought we’d get a choice of a couple of the fifteen dishes but in fact it was all of them and more! The food was amazing, the service first class and the value beyond belief. At the end of the meal after repeated attempts to ply us with wine and even more food, we asked for the bill expecting it to be far more but the stated ten euros each was asked for and we paid not quite believing the meal and drinks we’d had for such a small price. This place was called Snak Map in Greek but if you head up the main street in Afandou centre until the road bends to the left, it’s on the bend. A reddy coloured place with an oval sign, definitely worth a visit.
I realise I waffled on, but I wanted to write and say how we found the hotel, the staff and the area in general. I can’t comment too much on what others have written only what we experienced ourselves. The hotel was fine. The staff were excellent. The hotel’s food was nice. The island is beautiful. It’s people friendly, warm and welcoming. Would I go back to the hotel? Absolutely. Would I recommend it? Yes I would. Would I go back to Afandou Beach? Tomorrow!!!
If you do go, I hope you enjoy your time as much as we enjoyed ours.
Thanks for taking to time to read this and I hope it helps you make your decision.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.