Transfer time from the airport is 20 mins (if that). As we pulled up, we passed by a tired looking residential apartment block - don't let that put you off. Its not unusual to see small children playing out in the street until the small hours, however the residents keep to themselves so are no reflection on Nikos.
Apartments are very basic, 2 single beds in a room at the back and 2 single beds in the lounge/kitchen area. As all rooms are self catering, the amenities are important, however ours somewhat lacked! Luckily, we had no intention of using them as we ate out so I can't really comment.
Bathroom was clean, if small. The shower is heated each day by solar panels so by the time the fourth person had got in the shower, the water got cooler.
The staff were amazing - warm & welcoming and go out of thier way to help. Cant fault any one of them.
The pool area is kept clean and tidy and the rooms were cleaned by 2 very hard-working cleaners. Towels & sheets were changed often, although if you need an extra towel, the girls are quick to bring another one.
Next to the pool and bar area is a small playground - nothing more than a climbing frame and a swing but kept our youngest happy. Theres also a small 'games' room where you'll find computers with internet access, a pinball machine and a pool table.
The walk into town takes approx 5 or 10 mins. Walk down the lane, past the corner shop & fore-mentioned residential apartment block and you can't fail to spot the underpass which takes you under the busy main road. (its not as bad as some previous posts have made out - even at night its well lit and feels safe)
Out of the underpass you'll see various buildings advertising carhire. Theres an alleyway that runs by the side of this, almost opposite to the underpass, and this will take you straight down to the main street and beach. (it looks to be a dead-end at times and sometimes feels like you're walking through someones back yard, but is used frequently by tourists & locals)
Alternatively, turn right once out of the underpass and continue to walk for 3/4 mins until you reach a side road, which leads down to the same stretch of beach. You know you're on the right track if you come to a restaurant on the corner which advertises a traditional Greek night twice a week. (it fills quickly so if you want a table in time for the action kicking off at 9ish, you have to be there early!)
At the bottom of the side road is the ever popular 'Maria's Golden Beach'. Whilst the food is nice, the owner/manager that stands outside touting for business all day never forgets your face and will badger you to eat there again every time he sees you.
'Nemo Bar' is a great little place for a quick drink - its not far from 'Marias Golden Beach'. Clean & modern, you can make use of the crazy golf course - great for the kids. Most of the bars on that side of the street have direct access to the beach & offer sunbeds at a cost, usually including a cooked breakfast or similar.
The beach does get busy and this is probably one of those beaches where you cant just turn up with a towel and make a bit of space, you have to be a patron of one of the bars in order to grab a spot.The sea is warm & clean but there are some rocks so be careful with younger ones. The sand itself is also clean but gets very hot - shoes are a must for walking on it! Also, dont be suprised to be offered anything from watches to sunglasses to massages from locals that walk up & down, keen to make a bit money.
Further down is the 'Irish House', again another nice bar with a friendly atmosphere. You'll also find 'Kaliana's' - a bar with a seperate restaurant directly over the road. The food is beautiful and well recommended. The bar itself has a small playground, pool tables, drought sets and internet use for 50c per 20mins. With cheap drinks and friendly staff, you cant go wrong.
Walking down the opposite way, i.e turn left at 'Marias Golden Beach' instead of right, are a couple of lovely restaurants hidden away from the main bustle. There doesnt look much down there, but after a 5min walk past a couple of large hotels, you reach 'The Curry House'. The food is beautiful, but if you carry on walking to the end of the road, you'll come across a quaint seafood restaurant. The location is amazing (you are seated on top of the sea) and the food is good, however service was a tad slow. It wasn't that busy, but it certainly has potential.
The worst place we ate at was a pizza restaurant not far from 'Nemo's'. I forget the name, but it has a small clay oven at the front, facing out to the street. There were only 2 tables in but the service was poor - we waited almost an hour and 15mins for food.
Another lovely restaurant is 'Mythos' - almost everyday we were accosted by the waiter on the door, which we dont approve of but we decided to see for ourselves and were pleasently suprised. Its decorated with a beach theme, its not at all tacky and the service was quick.
'Edem Bar' had delicous snacks - their burgers are delicious. Also, not forgetting Mama's cooking back at Nikos, we ate there a couple of times and really enjoyed it.
Whilst there are lots of souvenier shops in Stalis, don't rely on the duty free shop at Heraklion airport - theres one very crowded shop with huge queues. Also in Stalis, you'll find lots of shops offering carhire and various trips. We went to Aqualand and booked through one of the agents rather than the tour operator. If we had gone with Thomas Cook it would have cost us around 130Euros, but with the agent, it cost us just over 60Euros. This included the cost of the bus (which was actually a huge air conditioned coach which picked us up just over the road from Nikos) and entry. Understandably; lockers,refreshments and food cost extra, although all slides were free once inside. The kids had a fab time; although it was very busy, the queues weren't too big and we got our money's worth.
The agents will also cash traveller's cheques and the rate was pretty good. We took a mixture of cash and sterling traveller's cheques and found when we cashed them, we walked away with more Euros than what we got for our money at home. We also noticed a few ATM's although we didn't use them.
As other posts have mentioned, do not miss Sunday night's BBQ. The food is out of this world and the lively, party atmosphere brings everyone together. Nikos get top marks for hospitality.
Would we go back? - We've always said the world has too many places to visit to warrant going back to the same place. Nikos may just be the exception - we would go back tommorrow if we could.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.