We are seasoned Greek holiday makers and have visited many Greek Islands over the last 15 years or so. We go self catering because we like the freedom it brings and are thus familiar with the Greek 'basic'! However, around 8 years ago we settled on Kefalonia as our favourite place, in particular, Katelios.
We have stayed in a variety of studios within Katelios and have always been most happy with the accommodation, friendliness and service received from the studio owners. We have also hired cars for a few days and have travelled the island from top to bottom almost every year.
This year however, was different. We booked the Katelios studios with Olympic for 14 nights and arranged to hire a car for a full week because our friends were also holidaying at roughly the same time as us except they were based in Lassi. We had agreed we would car share to see the island as they had never hired a car despite having made some 4 visits to Kefalonia previously.
The Katelios studio is well placed in the village and has its own pool, a must for us. The local well stocked mini market is situated very close next door. Although we had passed the studios on many occasions whilst staying at the Eryphilli studios, we had not paid too much attention to the place and had not used the pool facility as the Eryphilli also has its own pool. On arrival we were shown our room, which turned out to be the usual basic standard and unremarkable. Shabby, dated but tolerable. However, on being greeted by the owner, a large poorly dressed unkempt man, our troubles began. Whilst people need to be made aware of facilities on offer such as the air conditioning and safety deposit box, they do not need to be pounced on regarding an impending BBQ evening some three days hence. The hard sell began with the owner demanding to know if we would be going. When I explained that we were meeting some friends later in the week and I was unsure of our plans at that time I was met with a hostile response that 'if I didn't want to go it was not a problem' and that informing him at a later time was not an option as "I need to know"!
It is hard to describe one of the most unpleasant people I have ever met on a holiday. 'Aris' as he is known is a bully and his manner is both aggressive and intimidating. Other posts have described him as being moody and sullen and this description is most apt. There is no doubt that if you do not frequent his bar or purchase the optional 'extras' mentioned previously, he finds it difficult to extend even a reasonable degree of courtesy.
From the outset we had no hot water and on day two of our stay I went to the bar area to inform Aris of this so that he could rectify the problem. Instead of assuring me he would put this right, he launched into a tirade about 'complaints' muttering in Greek and English and blaming the lack of hot water on a 2 hour strike the previous day. Off he stormed, demanding I accompany him to the boiler house to see for myself that it had been serviced. Needless to say I declined. Still no hot water and on day four we duly collected our car and went off around the island on our travels. This included two nights stay away from our accommodation when, thankfully, we were able to have hot showers after the hard days travels.
On our return surprise! We were able to have our first hottish shower in our room but come the following day, back to cold water :( In addition to this, there was no cleaning service and our bins were emptied only once in the first week. The linen and towels were also changed only once and you can imagine the state of our towels by the time they were changed! Despite our best efforts and the use of a flannel we were unable to remove all of the suntan lotion in the shower. This only took place some four, five or six days after our arrival as it was carried out while we were away.
We had arranged to revisit our friends in the second week to do more touring and this also involved a further overnight stay so once again, we had been back in our studio for some three days and our bins had not been emptied. Since we were going touring again, I emptied the bins myself on the morning we were going out and once again went in the bar area to find Aris in order to complain at the lack of service and the failure to provide hot water. I spoke to him an a polite manner and at no time did I raise my voice or swear. This time he flew into an absolute rage, saying no-one else had complained and saying 'I do not believe you'! This was a new experience for me and I was quite incredulous at his reaction, especially when he told me "don't complain to me". I'm not surprised other hadn't approached him. His attitude was clear for all to see in his manner and I can't see many people challenging him. I told him not to raise his voice to me in that manner and asked him if he thought I enjoyed complaining, telling him that it was my holiday and that all I wanted was my bins emptying and some hot water! Once again he marched off to the boiler and left me standing in the bar area. I went back to our room to collect my bag and in he marched......... turning the tap on at the kitchenette! If it wan't so serious it would have been comical. He stood for at least two minutes letting the water run but of course it was stone cold. Suddenly he shouted, "see! here! put your hand under the water. It is hot now"! I put my hand under the tap and the water was barely tepid.....and I told him so. " You wait for 10 minutes and the water will be hot " he said. By this time I had lost patience and told him in no uncertain terms that I wanted hot water when I wanted it...not when he decided!
Just in case you weren't aware........the writer is a woman! I wouldn't let my husband approach him because I had his measure on our arrival. The man is a greedy, overweight, lazy slob and doesn't give two hoots about holiday makers. He charges 14 euros per person for his BBQ, a re-heated hash of cheap food (words came from other holiday makers who had been press ganged into attending his BBQ). He has only a toaster facility behind his bar and doesn't have cooking facilities for a BBQ on site. I had only used the swimming pool on one occasion at the beginning of the holiday as, having taken a close look, I could clearly see a scum ring around the side and lots of floating garden debris and insects. I couldn't see the bottom of the pool and this is always a warning of a potential health hazard so decided to go elsewhere.
He also asked other guests for 20 euros to use their studio on the day of departure whilst allowing others to 'leave him a tip and put the key in the door' if they were deemed to be 'favourites' who had patronised his bar.
As a final insult, on the day of departure whilst my husband was preparing our breakfast, he came around at 10.15am to shout out that we should "go.... leave the room". When my husband asked why and that we thought the room should be vacated at 11am, as had been the case at all the other studios we had used, he said 10. His wife duly arrived and dumped her buckets, mops etc at our door before we had a chance of getting our suitcases out! Although we had not seen a notice at any time during our stay as it was obscured by other printed information, other guests who were also leaving informed us that on hearing him they checked and the notice on the back of the doors clearly stated the room must be vacated at 11.00am! I had already taken out all of our rubbish myself and placed all recyclables in the council provided bins just down the road.....something that neither he or his wife had done in the whole two weeks we were there. There were plastic bags full of empty glass and plastic bottles left by previous guests around the gardens together with other rubbish strewn about the gardens surrounding the pool area. The place looked like a junk yard!
We didn't care! We were glad to be out and after eating our boiled eggs we placed our cases in the bar area and nipped around to the beautiful new Magnolia hotel and spa at the back of the Katelios studios where we spent the day swimming in the glorious, clean pool and having a very civilised lunch there before dressing in readiness to meet our coach!
Obviously we have spoken to Olympic about this matter and the level of efficiency in their dealings with the owner will become apparent in due course as more posts are put on the various web sites giving accounts of Kefalonia and Katelios in particular. Lets just say that the Olympic rep was stationed at the same studios for the duration of the season and was not unsympathetic towards our complaints. No doubt he will process the complaint in accordance with ' the system' and the company will take whatever action is deemed appropriate given the circumstances.
If you are a 'faint of heart' type person who cannot deal with conflict of any kind, you have been warned! You might be lucky.....Aris may change his ways but then again..........
- Also Known As:
- Katelios Studios Hotel Katelios