I researched a LOT of places up and down the Romanian Black Sea coast. We are more outdoor/nature/mountain adventurer types so when we visited Romania, the majority of our time was spent in Transylvania, but we did want to see the Black Sea coast and find a place that was comfortable, well-appointed, and not right in the middle of all of the tourist trap craze that spans much of the Constanța area. With the Arena Regia, the only way to really review the places is by drawing up a list of pros and cons, because there really is no middle ground. It's all black and white, good and bad, day and night.
- BEAUTIFULLY furnished and immaculately landscaped. Wandering through the halls feels like exploring some private castle in Spain or the Caribbean. Very tasteful décor. I like the dark wood, the polished marble, the whole "seaside" ambience in a very elegant way.
- The private beach is beyond wonderful. It's a quick walk through the complex from the Arena Regia 5* hotel to the beach. No hassles, really. You pick a couple of lounge chairs under an umbrella, and a cabana guy comes along to set it up for you. The beach is uncrowded (obviously, since it's private!) and you can enjoy a swim in the Black Sea. Really nice. We were impressed.
- Parking is easy and efficient. Only about a quarter of the parking spots were occupied when we were there (which seems to be the norm, after reading other reviews)
- This really is THE place to stay on the Black Sea coast in the Constanța area if you want a nice place which is up to Western European / North American standards. Trust me. I not only did my research beforehand, but I looked when we went driving up and down the main street. The other places in Mamaia are mostly dives. Cheap, crowded, noisy, touristy places. If you want a nice - and exclusive - and quiet - experience at the Black Sea coast, then this is the place to stay.
But with that being said, the cons:
- Customer service is severely lacking. Upon check-in, you are presented with a two-page list of rules which is extremely off-putting, especially for the amount of money this place charges for their rooms. I have stayed in many places both more expensive - and less expensive - which were all respectable and never actually handed a huge printed list of rules to customers upon check-in. They are extremely obsessed with their towels and warn you right away what will happen if you steal them or lose them or leave them at the beach. Really?? For the amount of money charged per night for a superior room, the average riffraff is not going to be staying here. The parking lot is filled (well, for the parking spaces that are occupied, anyway, which again are only a few) with high-end, newer model cars. Not the type of people who are going to steal towels.
- Hallways and common areas are not well-lit during the day, and only dimly-lit at night. Probably an energy-saving feature, but be that as it may, it can be a bit daunting. It didn't really bother me too much, though the lights are dim enough to the point where it is hard to make out the room numbers on the doors, even in the middle of the day.
- The pools close early. We were SHOCKED to discover that the outdoor infinity pool closes at 6:00 PM. That is absolutely unheard of, especially in a 5-star place. Pools are where people usually hang out in the evening. Mindful of the beach closing at 8:00 pm, we went to the beach first, then had dinner (at the Colonial Bar, by far the best customer service of the whole place) and afterwards expected to relax in the pool at sunset. Wrong! The pool was closed.
- The Romeo & Juliet restaurant (though both restaurants are somewhat formal, Romeo & Juliet appears to be the less format of the two) ALSO closes at 6:00 PM. What the heck?! I was dumbfounded by that. How can a restaurant that has a dinner menu close at SIX PM?? But it does, and that's the rule, with no apology whatsoever. Very odd, again given the 5-star nomination and the price you pay to stay here. (I reference the price a lot; but that is because, in my opinion, you really don't get what you pay for here.)
- The shower is claustrophobic (smaller than a phone booth) and there is no bathtub. I can live with that, but it's still annoying.
- Check-out is INSULTING because they actually don't let you check out until they have a maid go in the room (who is waiting right outside the door, practically) to *count* the number of towels, washcloths, hand towels and beach towels in the room before you are allowed to check out and leave. Again - in a five-stay hotel, and for the amount of money paid - this is just flat-out insulting. If they want to make that their rule, fine, but having to inform the guest of it while they are standing there waiting to check out? I've stayed at places of a much higher caliber and there is none of that nonsense.
And finally, because this is a con as well as a pro, this is the best place to stay in Constanța/Mamaia Black Sea coast area.
Despite the warnings on the hotel website to book early in the year because the place is completely filled in the summertime, it was eerily empty. One group eating at the table in the mezzanine in the "fancy restaurant". We counted only four of five hotel rooms, besides our own, that actually had lights on in the evening. Nobody came in, nobody went out.
If we went back to the Black Sea coast, would we stay here? The answer is yes, because it really is the only decent place to stay. And we greatly enjoyed the beach. And our dinner at the Colonial Bar was superb!! But the hotel's hours of operation are ridiculous and the list of rules are frankly insulting. I understand that they must have had a lot of problems with the towels, but that still doesn't make it acceptable.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.