Like another earlier review on here suggested, do not be taken in by the glossy photos of this hotel, or by the four star rating. This is a three star hotel at very best but many features fall below even that standard. In addition, the Ilion is much, much noisier than you might expect from its website and from its peaceful setting, high up on the hill overlooking Elounda.
I stayed in mid-May 2013. The rooms are of a good size but desperately basic. The fixtures, fittings, furnishings and décor are all rather tired and are starting to wear. The wall art is mostly hideous and has to be seen to be believed. The overall sensation is one of deepening disappointment. The shower fitting in my room was loose and did not hold the shower-head properly, the bed had a broken strut and the new bed-sheets delivered one morning were stained. The towels provided were thinning with ‘Ilion’ written in biro along the edges. The satellite TV had about 5 channels, only one of which was in English (BBC News 24), there was no DVD player or music station, and no kettle, cups, tea or coffee.
I booked a room requesting to be above ground level with pool or sea views. I arrived to find my room had neither, so the very first thing I did was to request an upgrade. I was told by the hotel Receptionist that this was absolutely impossible and that the Ilion was not obliged to accede to any such advance requests. This was not what I had been led to believe when I placed the booking via www.lastminute.com.
I decided to take it on the chin and not let it spoil my holiday. However, on day three, I noticed that while I had been out for the day, the fridge in my room had been swapped out for a different model. I soon discovered why. The new fridge made a terrible racket every 15 minutes or so, which kept me awake at night. Clearly, someone else at the hotel had complained about the machine, so the hotel staff had decided to swap it for the quiet machine in my room. The next morning, I complained about this to the Reception desk and asked them to put the old, quiet fridge back in my room. This was not done so I had another fitful night’s sleep. I had to make a second request to the Reception the next day to have the fridge replaced before it was actually done.
The next day, I decided to have a quiet early night. I was reading in bed at about 9:30pm when the most unbelievable racket started up. It sounded as though there was an illegal rave going on right outside my room. The music was so unbearably loud (and bad) that in the end I had to get up, get dressed and drive in to Elounda to get away from it. As I drove out the hotel complex, I was staggered to discover that the noise was coming from the pool area and was clearly some sort of hotel staged attempt at ‘entertainment’ although God knows who could be entertained by such a tasteless cacophony of sub-par Euro dance.
Without a doubt, the best thing about the Ilion is the pool area. This is well presented with smart wooden decking, comfortable seating and sun-loungers, a clean pool and stunning views out over Elounda Gulf. Unfortunately, the beautiful tranquillity of the setting is shattered by the hotel’s incomprehensible insistence on playing god-awful generic dance music at the poolside from 10am in the morning, right throughout the day.
When I first discovered this, I thought it could only be a shocking aberration. Alas, no, I soon realised that in fact the music is a quite deliberate feature. I did attempt to complain about it and explain that the invasive and abrasive music was totally at odds with the incredible peace and quiet of the beautiful setting, but the manager of hotel appeared bemused by this. I tried to spell out that guests to the Ilion, most of whom are older, would book to go to Malia or Ibiza instead if they really wanted an auto-tuned, four-beat, Euro-dance soundtrack to their holiday but this too fell on deaf ears. The biggest concession I could wring from them was that they turned the awful music down slightly that day. By the next day, it was back up again on full volume. God knows what some of the other guests made of it but I am in my early 30s and I found it utterly unbearable, crashingly tasteless and completely inappropriate.
If the pool is the best thing about the Ilion, then the noise levels you will be exposed to during your stay is the worst aspect of staying there. I have mentioned the terrible music they play all day by the pool and the disturbance of the ‘entertainment’ night, but you will also find that there is a neighbouring hotel with an unfortunate habit of playing raucous beach party music until the small hours, which carries straight over to the Ilion. Being on top of a hill does not help either and the wind whistles and whips through every crack and crevice, through doors and windows, creating a high pitch screeching sound.
The staff and service are OK. They mostly tend to have a positive approach. There is no advertised room service as such but one day I attempted to get a pot of tea delivered to my room. I phoned Reception and the man sounded as though I had just insulted his mother. Nevertheless, the tea did arrive although whether it was worth waiting for is another matter.
I found the food ordinary at best and cheap at worst. The breakfast bar is mostly unappetising although there is a wide range of things to choose from so it is a case of trying to find the least from many evils. I only wanted half-board so I didn’t bother having dinner at the hotel but I gather from talking to other guests that it is passable (there is fantastic food to be found in Elounda itself – check out The Ferryman for starters and you won’t want to eat anywhere else for the duration of your stay). You can get snacks and lunch from the bar by the side of the pool but again, this is mostly very ordinary, with nothing to get you excited by the prospect. Sadly, like everything at the Ilion, it’s all very perfunctory.
To sum up, I would say that this is one of the most disappointing hotels I have ever stayed at. At least with a lower star rated hotel, you know what to expect. With the Elounda Ilion, you are left with a nagging sense that you should have got a great deal more for your money. The hotel should be much more up front with the noise levels its guests are exposed to and it badly needs to spend some money updating the rooms. If you are looking to escape somewhere for either a bit of quality or for tranquillity and peace and quiet, then the Elounda Ilion Hotel & Bungalows should be avoided at all costs.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Elounda Ilion Hotel in Crete was built in 1990 and since then has undergone many renovations and extensions with the final being in 2015. The hotel is built on a hill side offering a panoramic view to the bay of Elounda and the island of Spinaloga with its medieval castle. It is situated 10 kilometres from the city of Agios Nikolaos and 2 kilometres from the village of Elounda. The facilities of the hotel include a main restaurant, a snack bar, a central bar, satellite television room, billiard, children's playground, tennis court, mini golf and ping - pong. Also you can enjoy the hotel's swimming pool and your children the separate children's swimming pool. The hotel offers its own parking area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Elounda Ilion Hotel Crete