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“Nice hotel for families but overpriced food”

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Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort
Ranked #19 of 35 Hotels in Elounda
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 25, 2013

We stayed at Porto Elounda for a week in Sep’13 with our 5-month baby.
We holidayed in Crete for the fifth time now and stayed in top five star hotels in Elounda twice. So going to Porto Elounda we can make an objective comparison to similar hotels in the area.
I start with the positives:
- Excellent beach. Comfortable and generous layout, plenty of sunbeds in shades and under the sun, beautiful turquoise waters and it is a pleasure to swim in them. I have not seen such water in other hotels in Crete. Sandy and shallow shore is perfect for children;
- The hotel has a lot of green land shaft on the beach and for golf and it makes it a nice contrast to the dry land;
- Room service is very good and the hotel is spotless throughout;
- Breakfast and dinner buffet are excellent. There is a plenty of choice for every taste and the food is fresh and tasty. At dinner buffet in particular there are very tasteful options to try. To note that hese are mass produced foods so do not expect a gourmet experience. There are a la carte restaurants for this such as Italian Aglio Oleo or the Deck.

- The main is the cost of the food for lunch. The hotel cleverly set up the catering scheme offering dinner buffet as the half board option and EUR 20 p/p voucher to swap it for lunch. This traps the guests to spend a lot of money to lunch as there is nowhere to go within the walking distance. There is only one option for lunch at the beach Greek restaurant Odysseus. The restaurant is overpriced and EUR 20.00 will not even cover the cost of one main course lunch drinks are excluded (bottle of water is 5.80 EUR).
Souvlaki dish (one stick of chicken pieces, chips, pita and some tomatoes) is EUR 21.00
Two pieces of grilled chicken breast with the bowl of rice and salad leaves is EUR 22.00
Chicken salad (similar to Caesar salad) EUR 18.00
Greek salad EUR 15.00. These are the cheapest dishes. Most main courses range 21-40 EUR and starters 12-20 EUR.
The average price for a Greek salad in tavernas is 5-6 EUR and 8-9 for souvlaki. If the hotel charges three times more it has to exceed either in quality or quantity. Otherwise it is a rip off and taking advantage of their captive clients on the beach which is what the hotel does.
The hotel needs to offer more lunch options either at the beach bar at the cheaper prices or review the menu cost at the Odysseus.
Having read the other reviews the cost of catering seems to be the feedback throughout.
When we stayed at the other 5-star hotel at Elounda and paid similar prices the dishes were notably tastier and plentiful!
I also felt that the waiters at the restaurants (dinner as well) are well trained to discreetly offer you the more expensive drinks (not a feature of the known Greek hospitality). At Aglio Oleo they offered us a glass Proseco to start with before even showing us the menu. Then we saw in the bill EUR 10.00 for each glass. At the Desk we asked for a house rose wine (EUR 7.00) and they quietly offered a branded wine at EUR 10.00 instead.
At the receiption I asked a guy (his name Anastasious) about the nearby taverna and he diverted my request to the hotel restaurants. When asked again he reluctantly and vaguely explained the location ....
Like one American reviewer said if they could charge for air they would. So please ask for the menu first and be clear what drinks you order.
I agree with the user bislandgirl from Turkey on the cost of food however not with the manager Elias who responded. The cost EUR 7.00 for a glass of house wine and not a branded wine! The branded wine starts at EUR.10.00. The dishes at a la carte restaurants do not start with EUR 5 and EUR 16 but around 15-25 for starts and 25-40 for a main course. We did not dine at any of them purely based on the cost of the dishes.

A couple of small points:
Sunbeds have metal frames and very uncomfortable metal handles so one cannot sit on these lounges but only lie. I badly hurt my foot on this bed trying to reach to my baby.

The free Wi-Fi in the lobby is not reliable and often you cannot connect. The hotel receiption had to restart the router several times when asked to restore the connection. The frustration as that the receiptionist said that it is a "known problem with Apple I-phones" - a note to the hotel that Apple works fine and it is a problem with the Porto Internet network. I found this quite frustrating.
A final general comment is that the hotel is primarily for families and if some couples do not like “little darlings” they should stay away from this hotel. The children’s’ noise is everywhere – on the beach, at the breakfast, at the reception etc. Having travelled as a couple to Crete for four years I personally would not come to this hotel as a couple. However as a family it is a different matter.
Finally, I would recommend this hotel to the families or adults who do not mind having children running around the beach. However with the knowledge that they will have to pay for overpriced very average quality lunch.

Room Tip: Try to go to Elounda or Plaka to eat unless you do not mind paying the hotel prices.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank ANIE186338
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EloundaSA, Public Relations Manager at Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 28, 2013

Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to review Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort.
Thank you also for your very positive comments regarding the sea,the private sandy beach, the landscape, the golf course, room service, breakfast and dinner buffets.It always makes all of us more than happy to have such a positive feedback.
Regarding your main remark that "we offer to our clients only one option for lunch, the Greek Odysseas restaurant" please note that do offer four more options:Lunch at our sister property Elounda Mare hotel,a snack bar, a room service menu and a beach menu which guests can find at the umbrellas of our private beaches. We are really sorry if all these options were not communicated to you.
Regarding the prices of Odysseas Greek restaurant, please note these are very competitive as starters are from 6.50€, salads from 9€, main courses from12€ and desserts rates start at 6.60€ , while a large bottle of water costs 4,50€ and not 5,80€. Finally our house wines are branded and this is why a member of the staff always presents the bottle to our clients before he serves it.
Regarding your comment that "children are everywhere" please note that at the period you visited the hotel (15th to 23rd of September) 89% of our guests were couples,while only 11% were families so it really depends on the period someone is visiting the resort.
Finally regarding your comment about the internet connection it is true that we had some difficulties this year with the wireless internet which was caused due to the telephone lines provided to us. We are looking into a solution regarding this matter and I am sure that we will find one for 2014.
Thank you once again for reviewing porto elounda Golf & Spa resort and for giving us the opportunity to reply to your remarks.
Best Regards
Elias S. Kokotos

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Reviewed September 21, 2013

returned back from our first time in greece..
some things about the hotel..
1.rent a car.we rent from heraklion so we had car all week.you will need the car as agios nikolaos too far and other sites needs car.we rent in the internet 27 euro/day.
2.food in hotel exellent(half board).d o not miss the greek night -- it is every wedensday!!
3.they charge for water so buy six pack in supermarket and put in your room(4 euro per bottle).
4.beach and water outstanding and there is enough place.
5.service at hotel one of the best i seen ever very freindly and helpfull.
6.for lounch resturants in hotels are tooo expensive and you might go to taverna at elounda or agios nikolaos ---very good and 20 euro per couple.
7.eounda is quite far so if you plan to go to the other side of crete be prepare fo 500 km driving.
(to chania and the area south).
i would recomend this hotel and can say it is well worth and beautiful and we will be back.

Room Tip: you do need the rooms with swimming pools.as the beach exellent and sandy and also the pool is very...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2013

We enjoyed our week's stay at the Port Elounda and would recommend it. It is really one of three Elounda properties, and probably the homely sister of the other two, being older and less fancy, and seemingly more family oriented. Like the guy with the mid-life crisis buying the Porsche, or the woman who has substantial plastic surgery, the Porto Elounda seems to have gone big on its Spa - which is world class. Great facilities, amenities, and service. If they spent as much on a rehab of the rest of the facility, it would be amazing.

We agree with the complaints about the cost of the food, and they really do have to offer more options.

The beach is nice, and our kids enjoyed the pools. The staff were all very helpful. We had good support from the concierge, the maitre d' at the restaurant, and even the housekeepers.

The resort does seem to cater largely to Russians, with a mix of British, Israeli, Greek, and Germans to round out the clientele. As an American it was rare to spot any other Americans anywhere in Eastern Crete - and we had people ask us where we were from (not the standard - what part of the states, but more - what kind of accent is that, are you English?).

And I hardly saw anyone use the golf course, which was nice, but clearly stretching a Par 3 for 9 holes.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Publius-DC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2013

As we arrived at the hotel we had no WOW FACTOR!! As expected as it was so highly rated, great views though.
Not going to ramble on! Just make some comments.

1.SOOOOOO EXPENSIVE. Overpriced rooms.

2. FOOD and DRINKS. Astronomically high. Glass of house wine €7 Bottle of average wine €40

3. €20 VOUCHERS given if you don't want to eat (rather samey (warm/cold buffet) every night. These can be used at any of the other restaurants !!!!!!!!! But oh my goodness,,,,,,, the extra you have to pay is "madness". Very nice to have a €20 "sub"!!!! But then add on another "mortgage".<<<<<COME ON 'PORTO ELOUNDA' Be sensible and lower you prices, you will attract more people to your restaurants and stop so many drifting off to Elounda town where the average cost of dinner and wine (and lots of add ons) Maximum €60 for two.

4. FORGOT!!!!! To check when I booked about "Children",,,,,,, of course they are LITTLE DARLINGS! If they are yours :-) but if they are not,,,,,,, and there are """""dozens""""" running
around errrrrrrrm!?!?!?!?!?! Lets put it this way ''"""""""" next time I will check.
Oh dear I'm writing too much HOPE YOUR NOT BORED :-)

5.A BRIGHTER NOTE. The Staff throughout are amazing JUST AMAZING AND THANK-YOU

6. SMALL PRIVATE BEACH. Downside,,,,,,,,, the sitting areas have very dusty, dry unkempt areas and screaming "little darlings" STAY IN YOUR BEDROOM" to avoid this!!!!

7. FIVE STAR, Try to be but doesn't quite get there.

8. WALK. Well,,,,,,,,,, you take your life in your hands if you want to walk out of the hotel, No pavements and mad drivers to deal with.

9. MIX UP. .... Was told that we could walk to Elounda when I booked this holiday<<<<<<<<< NO THANKS>>>>>>>>>> Too far and not pleasant. Scruffy walk and dangerous. Don't consider it with your "little Darlings"

10. YOUR ON HOLIDAY. so you have to do the touristy bit!!!! Visit the Island of Spinalonga (lepor colony) Well it was,,,,,,,, so don't worry! Buy the book and read before you come. Victoria Hislop 'THE ISLAND"

11. SIGNING OUT NOW!!! Sounds like I have moaned and moaned. We have had a wonderful time and our bodies are beautifully """ crisped """ up (No money left for expensive body cream:-(

Room Tip: The higher the room the better the view.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank bislandgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EloundaSA, Guest Relations Manager at Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Dear Guest
Thank you very much for the very good rating of our hotel and for your positive comments.
Regarding your comments about children: Please note that we communicate in all our marketing material that porto elounda is a resort that sits on a plot of over 80,000 sqm, with facilities for all kinds of guests, from couples and families, to business travelers and that all these guests can coexist harmonically during their stay at our resort due to the large spaces available to all. On the other hand if it had been communicated to us that you wished to stay in a small boutique hotel we could have transferred you to our sister property the elounda mare hotel.
Regarding your comments about prices: First of all please note that porto elounda Golf & Spa Resort is one of the few 5 star resorts in the area that offers a Half Board package for all clients even during high season, which means that both breakfast and dinner are included in the price of the room. Also please allow me to say that a 7€ glass of wine is for branded wine, where the bottle is presented to our clients before serving it. Also please note that the rates of the starters/salads at our a la carte restaurants start from 5,5€ and for main courses from 16€, while prices of wines start from 25€ . We can assure you that these prices are very competitive to other 5 star Mediterranean resorts and that for us it is very important to keep the quality of the served food and beverages.
Thank you once again for taking the time to review our property and for giving us the opportunity to reply to your remarks.
Best Regards
Elias S. Kokotos

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Reviewed August 30, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here 7 nights, and it was really nice, with good facilities. But boy was it expensive - we expected it to be, but we were surprised a couple of times. Overall though very high quality hotel, facilities and service, though the latter fell off a cliff after we checked out, whole waiting for our evening transfer to the airport.

First off, the registration was efficient and polite. We arrived after 9:30 so they provided a cold plate for us im the room. Nothing special but fresh and plentiful.

The room was clean and had a beautiful view of the sea, but there were 3 of us, and they simply opened out the sofa in the same room which would have been provided if there were only 2 of us.

The facilities were good - a quiet and attractive beach, with a lovely pool, which was not at all busy. There were watersports and sailing trips, as well as golf, football and tennis.

There were several restaurants on site, and as we booked half-board, dinner in the buffet was included - it was pretty good, but what I would call standard tourist fare, though the salads were fresh and there was a good choice of hot dishes (drinks were
charged extra). On three occasions we chose not to eat there (it was too samey to eat there every day), and we we were give a €40 credit against one of their other restaurants, for use the same day. That doesn't sound too bad until we found that a simple lunch for 2 adults and a child was typically €70-80! We did find a lovely little taverna down the road called Akrohoria (a quick taxi ride away) where the food was excellent and very reasonably priced in comparison.

A final disappointment awaited us after checkout; we were refused a late checkout (even at our cost) but our cases sat in the unlocked room for 5 further hours. We could not charge lunch to our room, as we had already closed out account) and the on site restaurant we went to did not take credit cards. The nearest cash machine is in Elounda, a taxi ride away, but they will exchange money at reception - but it was a difficult exercise because they explained the bank takes a 6% commission, but what they actually meant was that they charge €6 (I doubt the bank has anything to do with it, because the rate applies was already 4% away from the spot rate).

All in all it was a lovely stay, but at the price I felt the service could have been a little more polished. And if you insist on handling the foreign exchange in such a ham-fisted way, get an ATM installed!

  • Stayed: August 2013
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2  Thank GoodFoodIsImportant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

we just came back from our 2nd vaction at this hotel .
the last one was in April , Off season and was't so good .
but now in full season we saw and enjoy all benefit of this hotel .
we took delux room with privet pool and this is very recomended .

the room are big and clean , the location in Elounda is agazing very close to the city and also close to Igios niolagios ,and Plaka .

the SPA is amazing and tritment are very good .

Cons - everything in the hotel is very expensive . so be ready for that .

Room Tip: Room with privetor sherd pool is very recomended
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Shimi B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

We stayed just four nights, and that wasn’t nearly long enough. It is a truly fabulous location. We were in the main building and our room had a terrific view of the resort and the ocean – the sunrises were amazing. The beach is small, but more than adequate, and the water is reasonably warm and clear. It is easy to get an umbrella and lounge at the pool next to the beach. The food at the main restaurant (buffet style) is good, but not special. The spa is very nice.

Despite the beauty of the resort, don’t set your expectations too high. Even though the room rates are exorbitant, don’t expect value and service commensurate with what you would get in the U.S. if you paid these rates. The worst is the water/drink situation. It was about 95 – 100 degrees when were there, yet there is no water fountain near the beach or pool area. They want you to buy their overpriced drinks. We figured out that we could just order a cup of ice and use that to cool down (note that we also ordered drinks each day). However, one of my daughters “abused” the system – she got three cups of ice one day – and she was cut off from getting any more ice. Yes, really. So, if you go there and they limit the ice or charge for it, you can blame my daughter.

Generally, you have to reserve with either full board of half board. Juices and water are included at breakfast. However, tap water is not allowed at lunch or dinner – you have to order a bottle of water for about 4 or 5 Euros, so your half board suddenly starts to cost something extra.

To fully enjoy this hotel, you need to be mentally prepared to spend lots of money and pay outrageous prices, otherwise you will be aggravated. As my kids said, “If they could charge for the air, they would.” For instance, they charged us 35 Euros for each of our three kids at Greek night. However, when it came time to eat lunch at a restaurant other than the main buffet, they only gave us credit for two kids – they claimed our third kid was considered free (funny, we had to pay for her for Greek night). Also, to use the meal credit at a restaurant other than the main buffet, you have to go the front desk and get a note allowing you to do this. They give you a 20 Euro credit per adult and 10 per kid. This amount is clearly inadequate to cover your lunch or dinner, and your meal will cost twice that – more if you order wine or beer.

Internet access – it’s free in the lobby, but there is a charge to use it in the room or other parts of the resort. If you try to access the Internet in the lobby when it is crowded, your device will have difficulty connecting because the bandwidth is limited, and the teenagers watching TV/downloading music/playing games hog the bandwidth. You just need to be patient and persistent.

The resort has a 9-hole, par 3 golf course. You can play 18 holes because the back nine use a slightly different tee box for each hole. The nice part is that almost nobody uses the course, so you can play a relaxed game. The greens aren’t maintained very well, but the cost to play is quite reasonable. The hotel rents clubs – 5, 7, 9, pitching and sand wedges, and putter – so there is no need to have your own clubs if this is the only place where you will golf. They also give you three balls and one wood tee (theoretically, you can get additional tees at the pro shop, but the club pro didn’t show up that day yet we somehow made one tee last the whole round).

If you stay in the main building, it is a bit of an ordeal to get to/from the beach. Fortunately, they have a golf cart that goes up and down every 5 to 10 minutes. The drivers are friendly and will stop to pick you up if you are walking.

One way they add value to their adjacent sister property, Elounda Peninsula, is to allow those guests to have different chaise lounges from the regular folk. The big spenders get lounges that look comfortable, while the masses at Porto Elounda get the world’s most uncomfortable lounges.

In the room, I very much liked that the resort was generous with towels. Plenty of towels and excellent quality. The air conditioning worked well, and there is more than enough closet space. We were able to upgrade to two adjoining rooms with a private pool -- seawater and not heated. Interestingly, the room with one large bed had a small bathroom and shower while the kids' room (two twin beds) had a large bathtub, large shower, and a separate sink/toilet room. The room had an adequately-sized safe, and enough electrical outlets so you can charge multiple devices simultaneously.

We attended Greek Night, which consisted of Greek music and Greek dancing in the lawn area near the beach pool. The buffet had a large selection of Greek food. It was obvious the chef took pride in his food, but I think the quality of the ingredients was limited by the budget given him by the hotel. Strangely, most people had left before the third round of Greek dancing, which was the liveliest round (Zorba, etc.).

Our kids enjoyed the kid zone, which has a small pool, two waterslides, and a sports area (soccer and a six-foot basketball hoop). However, this area is open just in the mornings. They also have an Arsenal soccer school on a larger turf field. Note that the coach is not an actual Arsenal coach – he just coaches kids in the Arsenal style of play. We chose not to pay 30 Euros per kid per hour – the session looked just like a typical AYSO practice, and the coaches at AYSO pay closer attention to the kids.

We went into the town of Elounda once. It is a six Euro cab ride one way. As with other cities where the cab drivers choose not to use their meters, the drivers will try to rip you off. The hotel might tell you to walk – that it’s just about 1 kilometer and will take you 20 minutes. Not true – it is several kilometers and will take about 30 to 40 minutes. Take a cab. The town has lots of souvenir shops and some nice waterfront restaurants.

Lastly, this hotel would fall apart without Tenia. She works at the concierge desk (it seems like she is always there) and she has all the answers. The difference? On our last morning, we made a special request to have breakfast delivered at 6:00 am because we had to get a 6:30 ride to the airport. Tenia wasn’t working at that time, and breakfast was 15 minutes late. And, the porter was supposed to help us with our bags at 6:20, and he was late. However, our van didn’t show up. Fortunately, Tenia came to work around 6:45 that morning, and she was able to find alternate transportation for us, got the original transportation provider to pay for our alternate transportation, called the airline to tell them we were running late, and called our van en route to confirm our ETA and to make sure the airline was expecting us. Wow!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank cjplus3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort

Address: Elounda, Crete 720 53, Greece
Phone Number:
Location: Greece > Crete > Lasithi Prefecture > Elounda
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Elounda
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Elounda
#10 Spa Hotel in Elounda
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Elounda
#13 Luxury Hotel in Elounda
Price Range: $237 - $1,323 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 128
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The only golf-and-spa resort on Crete is a whole world on its own, with the "World's Best Spa" according to the Sunday Times' "Travel" magazine 2007. Rooms and suites all have panoramic views of the bay of Elounda over the green expanse of the golf course's 9 holes. Children are particularly well catered for, with a dedicated facility offering indoor and outdoor play areas, a lawn-laid olive-grove, a water-park and a sports field. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Porto Elounda Deluxe Hotel Elounda
Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort Crete

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