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“Lovely experience”

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Tui Sensimar Elounda Village Resort & Spa by Aquila
Ranked #5 of 35 Hotels in Elounda
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 13, 2011

We booked this resort for a week while we were in Crete for a friends wedding. We booked a standard room which was perfect for us. It was clean, lovely interior design and a really comfortable massive bed!
The resort is really well designed on a cliff face with different levels of pools, bars and restaurants. The private beach is small but all you need and the clear turquiose water is great for snorkling.
The staff at reception, bars and especially the main restaurant are fantastic. Nothing is too much trouble and the food in the main restaurant (buffet) is of a good standard and there is ample choice.
Only things to note are that this is very much a couples hotel, if you're not there as part of a couple you will soon be very aware of all the couples around you! If you are in a couple this would make a really romantic retreat.
The resort is slightly out of town so you can't just walk to the nearest bar or restaurant in the evening. We found ourselves mostly using the bars at the resort which proved to be very expensive.
Over all it was a great experience and I'd definetley go back, perhaps only as a couple next time though!

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with friends
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7  Thank emmsedinburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,196 - 1,202 of 1,925 reviews

Reviewed October 11, 2011

When we arrived we were upgraded but only for 2 nights as obviously the room type we had booked was not available. An upgrade may be better appreciated by someone with 2 nights of their holiday left as we had to repack and check out off the room by 12 noon and told our new room should be ready if we came back about 2pm so for 2 hours we had no room!!!
The hotel and gardens are lovely, the staff veryfriendly, spotlessly clean rooms and the food great.
The hotel is approx 3 km from Elounda and as the hotel has no transport you either walk (approx 30 minutes), take a 7 euro taxi ride or walk the 600mts up an extremely steep hill to main road for the public bus. (A public bus does come to the hotel once a day which will take you to Elounda or Ag Nic but there are no buses returning from these places directly to the hotel)
The hotels man made beach it is not recommended for anyone with a walking disability as you have to either descend approx 80 steps or from the opposite side a dozen steps then a sloping ramp.
Coffee and tea ia suppied in your room when you arrive but is not replaced when used.
We went to the Greek night and had a great time, the food courses were fantastic and would say if you are going to do it dont have lunch!!. The musicians and dancers made for a good night . A 15 euro discount for the Spa is given if you book for the Greek night however I suggest you check your account when leaving as the discount doesn't appear to be deducted from your Spa bill atomatically.
I can assure you that we had a great holiday and enjoyed our stay in the hotel (even if we had to report a fault with the A/C 4 times,each time it was attended to quickly and we were given a bottle of wine and a basket of fruit as compensation for our trouble)

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank iandorothy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2011

We chose the Elounda Village Hotel based on the many positive reviews on this site, and we were not disappointed.

Upon arrival we had our room upgraded to a Junior Suite (having originally booked a Superior Double Sea View). A fantastic room on it's own, this upgrade also qualified us for Mythica Status. This appears to come standard with all but the 'Standard' room types and qualifies you for a series of excellent little perks that really enhance your holiday (more details here, from Aquila's own website: http://www.aquilahotels.com/NEW/index.php?p=1_6 )

Our room (302) was spacious, airy, well decorated and kept spotless by the chambermaid (although she came at somewhat erratic times, anything from 11:00 to 16:30!).

The hotel itself is beautiful, set in well kept gardens and built in a blend of traditional and contemporary architecture. The beach is a little on the small side, and despite requests from the hotel management not to do so, people still 'reserve' sun-loungers with towels meaning you'll need to get up early to ensure a prime location. The sun-loungers themselves are a getting a bit old too, and are starting to show some wear-and-tear. The sea is warm and crystal clear (it's a International Blue Flag beach) and you can expect to see various types of fish if you go snorkelling, or scuba diving from the Scuba centre there.

The food from the buffet is excellent, and beautifully presented. We stayed two weeks and never had the same meal twice. The only downside is the service. Whilst it was by-and-large quick and efficient most of the waitresses look like someone just shot their dog, and getting a smile out of them was a rare experience. Service at the Mirabello and Symposium restaurants was much better, and both offer romantic ambience and delicious food. If you have Mythica Status you can eat for free here and only pay for your drinks! Talking of which, drinks were expensive (fresh orange juice 5.80 Euros for example) but unless you're a raging alcoholic who wants a couple of bottles of wine a night, it's not too bad. We mostly had water or juice, with the occasional (excellent) cocktail from the bar, and only ended up spending half our allotted allowance for drinks.

For lunch you can either choose from the Beach bar, or pay slightly extra and eat at the Mirabello. I'd recommend the latter for the enhanced atmosphere and better presentation.

I'll finish off by mentioning a couple of the trips available via Thomson. The first is their 'Spinalonga - The Island' excursion, which we felt a little disappointed with. The tour guide for the island itself is extremely knowledgeable, however the tour feels rushed and the island is very crowded (up to 3000 people a day in high session). The cruise to Kolokitha island was also a let-down. The beach there is very small (see photo) and as there were 3 other boat loads of tourists there at the same time, extremely crowded. Elounda was nice enough, but not quite the picturesque little town we were hoping for.

The second one we went on was the 'Minoan Magic' excursion. This was also a little disappointing. Again the tour guide (the same one we had for Spinalonga) was very knowledgeable, but desperately needed a microphone of some kind as you couldn't really hear her. Again the tour was rushed, and the site of Knossos itself was again very crowded. Heraklion was nothing special, a typical noisy, dirty city much like any other you can find the world over. Down by the sea was nice enough and there are plenty of shops if you want some retail therapy, but I wouldn't say it was breath taking.

Of the three excursions we went on with Thomson the third and final was the one we can thoroughly recommend. The '4x4 Adventure' is brilliant. Gary our driver and guide was friendly, funny and extremely well informed about all aspects of Crete. The scenery from up in the mountains is breathtaking, the traditional lunch at the taverna delicious, and the trip to Zeus's cave well worth a look (4 euros entry, be mindful of the quite steep set of steps up to the cave). We both agreed that of all the excursions we went on, this would be the best to experience the less touristy side of Crete, and to really get a feel for the more traditional lifestyle, as well as the incredible scenery the island has to offer.

So that's that. I hope this review has proved useful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and I'll try and answer them. Both myself and my girlfriend are now counting down the months until we can go back to this brilliant hotel, and fantastic country!

Room Tip: Upgrade to a Junior Suite if you can. The Mythica status is worth the extra cost alone, and we notic...
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank CyanideJack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2011

if you are looking for a five star hotel that as the pefect setting this is it; staff very helpful;food great;try the beach bar what views;we even picked our own limes for our gin and tonic;and its adults only;we were upgraded to suite very nice;and again what views helgeo exeter,devon

Room Tip: sea view the views are fantastic pick high suites you can see more
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank george896
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2011

We arrived late due to ATC Strikes, entrance has about 15 steps and no Bellboy? We were ok but many other guests who arrived with us were over 60 and struggled with suitcases.
Once inside we were well greeted by the reception staff and a bellboy? that were very friendly and checked us in quite efficiently and with a drink. We were tired and we were quickly shown to the main dining area. The buffet was awful, small and had relatively few dishes. The wine was expensive but we were prepared for this bottle of red wine and a bottle of water 36.90 Euros, we did notice not many others drinking wine. As the buffet was so bad we decided not to eat in it very often, we ate their a further 2 times, the next time the buffet was not unlike the first time it was ok, the 3rd and last night it was disgusting, all meals were cold the meat was gristle at best, they run out of plates and dishes. In past reviews we were delighted to read how guests had rated the buffets as good? all I can think they have never experienced 4 or 5 star buffets elsewhere, again I noticed that only a few of the tables had wine on them out of about 50. If Mr Manager was not so obsessed by trying upgrade his hotel to what it will never be, he misses the point reduce the cost of wine and more guests would purchase it?. We found the house red wine which was 21 Euros to be very palatable but a carafe of similar wine in Elounda was 10 Euros at the highest ranked Restaurant in Town.
The main Restaurant was minimalist in decor inside and poor quality seating although outdoor areas were better? The main bar was like a church and before 9pm I could have preached a mass as it was so dead and quiet due to the fact my cocktail (B52) was 9.80 Euros? ah you say but a Baileys was 7.40 Euro which was the better value after 9.00.
The decor was awful, seats mis-matched, poor in comfort. It needs a professional eye to sort out the dead areas and style of the Hotel.
We chose this hotel from the adverts based on 3 reasons No 1. The Beach (which was about the size of a badminton court and can only be described as a grubby little patch of grit).
No 2. The 3 swimming pools the largest was ok for about 20 guests the next had 2 sun beds and that’s how big it was! The 3rd had 8 sun beds and was big enough for 2 paddlers. They were mis-sold.
The 3rd reason was adults only and we found it was. The rooms were nice not too large and we had a fantastic view over the bay. If you have a problem with your heart or walking this is not the hotel for you.
I tried to get service to the large pool e.g. 2 cappuccino’s and was told by the waitress they did not bring them up to us so we had to take them in paper cups at 7.80 Euros? And they were cold!

The swimming area by the sea was good in its own man made inlet, but crowded, it was windy and my wife had a black eye on the 2nd day thanks to the flipping sun beds again poor quality. The diving team seemed very helpful; the water sports man was morose and unapproachable. The gardens were pretty and as stated we found all the staff friendly and happy except the manager.
We ate in the Mirabelle Restaurant for lunch several times although pricey it was good, with friendly service. A light lunch 2 main courses a shared salad with a couple of drinks 45 Euros it was worth 30 Euros? Think about it 350 Euros just for lunch over 7 days! On talking to other guests about 6 couples in all, none of them would return here.
I am not trying to compare Elounda with The Caribbean, South Africa or Dubai but I have been to 5 star hotels in Turkey for a lot less money than here and they outclass the Elounda Village by miles.
Elounda Village is an average little Hotel but the Manager is deluded if he thinks he is running a 5 star hotel, it could be better, but the decor, the barren areas within the hotel, the cost the of extra’s, waiter service around the pools (none) lack of Bell Boy at the entrance (not hidden away inside the reception) A Happy Manager would be a good start.

Room Tip: A room with a private pool is not worth the 50 Euros per night as the sun is behind the hotel shadin...
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank derekshf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2011

Just returned. The hotel is in a great location, views are amazing. Tended to spend the days on the private beach which was very nice and great for swimming in sea. The pool area appeared too small and not really accessible to those who did not have room directly onto or near the pool. A hotel of this size really needs to expand the pool area. Entertainment is very good, in particular the Latin dance group and the Jazz singer. The 70s disco at the beach bar was also fun. The cocktails in the lounge bar were fantastic and reasonably priced for the quality. Food is good. However, what let this hotel down was the staff, with the exception of the odd one or two they rarely smiled. One staff member in the main restuarant went out of his way to make us feel uncomfortable for asking for a table outside. We were made to feel that we being a nuisance even though we always made it very clear that we were happy to wait for a table. One night as we approached he said "don't even ask me for a table outside". Service at the beach bar was also hit and miss. Service in the Mirabello restaurant was much better and worth a visit. It has great views of the sea and on the night we dined there was live piano music. It had a very nice ambience and very good customer service. Another issue was the spa. We only found the indoor pool,sauna,steam room on the last day, yet we had gone to check out the spa at the beginning of the week and the staff had not advised that we could use the above facilities for free. This was the problem throughout staff just didn't appear to want to talk to holiday makers about the facilities that were available . They just didn't promote the hotel or make you feel welcome. In previous 5 star hotels we have been been welcomed and shown around the hotel on arrival. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this hotel because in spite of the positive aspects the overall customer service was poor which made a real difference to the enjoyment of the holiday.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank Sheffield119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2011

Our tour companies offered a lot of different hotels, but after substantial exploration of different internet resources we decided that Aquila Elounda Village Hotel is exactly what we were looking for. Maybe we would choose a different category of rooms, but we asked the tour company to do reservations and got proposal with “promotional offer”. When we arrived on 18.09.2011 we were quite satisfied with what we met. The hotel is located directly on the beach. We would be happy for larger sandy beach, but you shall accept that there are always some benefits, even if you would like something else. The benefit of rocky ground is clear azure water – perfect for diving (there is a diving center at the hotel). There are several salt water pools. You can choose them in case, if you don’t like swim in the deep waters. The more information about the facilities you can find on the homepage of the hotel, I will not describe everything, because we even didn’t try all services during the stay. I would just like to add that the view from the terrace on Bay of Mirabello is really splendid. Some people are complaining in their reviews that the hotel was lacking transfer service. Probably it would be a good option to have a shuttle till Elounda town, but we did a walk nearly every day not only till Elounda town, but rather till the peninsula of Kolokitha and Plaka village. We had a Buffet breakfast and dinner included in the price and didn’t regret the choice. The food was very good, the service – perfect. Maybe the prices for drinks in the evening were a little bit too high. There are tour operators and representatives of a car rental company every day, so you can have a lot of options to do excursions or go on your own. We accepted offer to have a rented car for two last days and to exchange the room at Aquila Elounda Village hotel against the room at AQUILA RITHYMNA BEACH hotel. We wouldn’t choose the other hotel for the whole stay on Crete, but we were really satisfied with whole proposal. We got a Hyundai Matrix and took the road to city of Rethymnon.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank JanisLatvia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tui Sensimar Elounda Village Resort & Spa by Aquila

Address: Elounda, Crete 72053, Greece
Location: Greece > Crete > Lasithi Prefecture > Elounda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Elounda
#2 Spa Hotel in Elounda
#2 Romantic Hotel in Elounda
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Elounda
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Elounda
#14 Family Hotel in Elounda
Price Range: $143 - $607 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Tui Sensimar Elounda Village Resort & Spa by Aquila 5*
Number of rooms: 235
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The TUI SENSIMAR Elounda Village Resort & SPA by Aquila is an exclusive couples and adults only Hotel, for those who seek privacy as long as luxury, set amongst beautiful gardens and magnificent view of the Mirabello bay. A heavenly paradise overlooking the pristine Mirabello bay, the Elounda Village resort, offers romantic getaways and superb accommodation suitable for couples in a genuinely stone built style. Elegant bungalows, suites and maisonettes mostly facing the glistening blue waters of the bay provide a complete seclusion and exclusivity. The resort is located on the eastern coastline of the island, 3km from the fishing village of Elounda, 7km from the cosmopolitan town of Agios Nikolaos and 65km from Heraklion city. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aquila Hotel Elounda
Tui Sensimar Elounda Village Resort & Spa By Aquila Crete

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