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All reviewskids clubsaladplastic cupswater slidespool areasea viewanimation teamchrissi islandyoung childrenfab holidayfamily hotelall inclusive hotelworst parteastern europeanssnack bar by the poolall areas of the hotelevery evening
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Reviewed September 4, 2008

Have just returned from a 7 night stay with my partner and our 4 year old twin boys. Have never written a review before but as I read lots of them before I went , felt lots of others would rely on reviews too. So whatdid we think? Well the weather was unbelievable, 38 degrees on some days but with a wind blowing we could still lie out in it. The boys were coated in factor 30 regularly and came back a gorgeous colour.
The room we had was overlooking the sea, which could be heard constantly but we quite enjoy the sound of the waves so that was fine by us.We had a king size bed, a small double and a single bed. There was an ample size bathroom, and a fridge in the room. the room was cleaned daily and was spotless. We were on the 4th floor and had a balcony but it had a raised front so theboys were safe.
The food! Having read other reviews we were a little bit concerned what we were going to face. Have to admit, we and the boys had no problems with the quality and quantity of food available.(Russ says he would have liked a few more more days with bacon for breakfast buy hey ho!!)There was a good choice for all and the boys ate every mealtime. Getting used to drinking from plastic took a while but i guess with small children around I,d rather they stood on a plastic tumbler than some broken glass.
The pools were excellent. We didn't really venture in to the main pool as the lazy river and kiddies pool more than entertained the boys. The kiddies pool with its climbing frames and slides was excellent and the boys spent hours making friends in there. There are 3 water slides which are open a few hours a day. Again they were great fun and it was reassuring to have them closely monitored by the lifeguards.
The Kids Club! What can I say? We have never been on holiday with a kids club before so went with an open mind. The boys absolutely loved it. There are various sessions throughout the day on different days, with lots of great activities. Our boys had their faces painted, went to a chocolate party, painted, played hgames, watchd DVDs and just had so much fun! They will probably remember Rockin Ryan , Energy Emma and Crazy Cat for a long long time. They were excellent kids club reps!!!
We venturd out a couple of night along the seafront to The beach front restaurants and again there was a reasonable choice depending on price and quality.
Sunbeds...........Aargh!!!! This was really as everyone else has said , a real pain . My two little uns were appy to have lie ins which they don,t at home, but I had to get up each morning at 7 just to go down to ensure we got our sunbeds where we wanted them. The hotel simply does not have enough beds! Also they should enforce the rule about leaving towels, and if you leave a towel and aren,t any where to be seen by lunchtime then thetowel should be removed!! Moan over!
All in all, though, we booked this last minute and a had a great time. It doesnt pretend to be 5 star, it is simply an exceptionally clean, pleasant sea front hotel with a great choice of food and perfect for families with young children.There are water sports on the beach outside the hotel and with the bigger slides too I guess older kids would also love it.We just want to know which hotel Rockin Ryan and Energy Emma are going to nxt year as they will guarantee the kids have a great time which means we wil too!!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank MargaretWhitleyBay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2008

My wife and I and our eleven year old son had a great 7 night stay at this hotel. We were on an all inclusive deal with First Choice and it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and relaxing holidays we have experienced. It wasn't all perfect but the good points far outweighed the bad.
The hotel itself is beautifully situated adjacent to a beach and eating out on the restaurant terrace in the beautiful weather was a real pleasure. Having read quite a few criticisms of the choice of food available, we were prepared for the worst but in fact there was a wide choice of different types of food, all delicious as far as my wife and I were concerned and even our son, who is a fussy eater to say the least, managed to find things he enjoyed.
The beach itself is a bit rocky but swimming was absolutely fine as long as you took care getting in and out of the water. The pools in the hotel grounds were perfectly adequate and my son and I enjoyed the slides a great deal. Although these only operated for two and a half hours each day, we found this to be more than enough for our purposes and they were well managed from a safety point of view.
Our room was basic but pleasant enough and the air conditioning worked well for sleeping purposes. The worst thing about it was it's proximity to the social area so getting to sleep before eleven pm was difficult due to the noise from the poolside bar.
The worst thing about our stay was the ludicrous grabbing of sunbeds at the crack of dawn. We learnt from day one that it was impossible to beat them so the only way to ensure a sunbed was to grab one yourself as early as possible. The hotel has signs displayed in English and German stating that towels placed on the beds before 8am would be removed but this policy was not carried out.
All in all a really good holiday and a friendly, clean and comfortable hotel.

High points:- Location, choice of food, weather, jet ski hire, promenade walk to Ierapetra, boat trip to Chrissy Island (the most beautiful sea we have ever swum in) and the relaxation generally.

Low points:- Sun bed grabbing, noise from bar area in the evening.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank baldybates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2008

The petra mare is a grubby and under resourced hotel. When we stayed there the indoor pool and gym was closed and the waterpark was only opened for 3 hours a day. the main bars only open in the evening. The parasols and sunbeads are only fit for a skip. everything is plastic cups and self service or just one person trying to deal with too many customers. So take your own glass.
On the positive side the location is beautiful and the local town very friendly. There is plenty of food but little variety. would i recommend this hotel "NO".

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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Thank kevy1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2008

Got back from the Petra Mare last week, we were there from 29th July to 12th August and had a pretty good time. It was very hot but there was a good strong wind most of the time to take the edge off the heat. During the first week, the wind was a bit of nuisance in the evening, blowing the drinks away in the flimsy plastic cups, but in the second week the wind dropped for a few days and it was a bit too hot! On a bonus point, there were no mosquitoes; I think the wind blew them all away!
The hotel was lovely and clean, our bathroom needed a bit of TLC but the sea-view made up for it! There were just three of us and we had one king-size bed, one double bed and one single bed, all very well spaced-out (not all in a row, like in some hotels). The air-conditioning was good but didn’t reach the far corners of the large room. We were on the first floor, Room 121, right above Reception. There are no lifts to the first floor, which seemed a bit stupid as there are lifts to all the other floors, so we had to struggle with our suitcases on arrival and departure!
If you have a late departure, book your late checkout room when you book the holiday; we didn’t, and we couldn’t book it once we were there, they were too busy and the room had already been allocated to new guests after midday. We were given the key for the “courtesy room” and honestly, it would be a courtesy if they just kept it as clean as the rest of the hotel! It was filthy and hot (no air-conditioning) and I felt dirtier coming out of there than before I went in. I’d have been better off showering on the beach!
Yes, you have to be up early for a sunbed, and yes, I was one of the “breakfast club” putting towels out at 7-ish and sitting on them till the 8 o’clock deadline; but we NEVER left them unattended all day - we were always down by the pool by 10:30ish (after breakfast) and stayed there until about 5 o’clock. It’s just one of those things, it’s happened on every holiday we’ve ever had and will continue to happen everywhere forever more, so GET OVER IT and join the club!
The entertainment team were great – Kelly is very professional and supported by Amy and Ayesha. Ryan is wasted as a Kid’s Club rep, he should be a full-time entertainer. The shows were all good (pantomimes, School of Rock, etc), and the nightly game shows (Family Fortunes, Play Your Cards Right etc) before the main performance were always a good laugh. Daytime activities were a good way to pass the time, I did Aqua-Aerobics a few times and we always got back from lunch in time to watch the daily Water-Polo. The only nights we didn’t enjoy were Sundays, when the reps have a bit of a “cop out” and send everyone down to the tiny El-Paso bar for karaoke – that’s NOT what I call a show, especially when it’s only a quarter the size of the main bar so most people can’t get in there!
The pool area is a bit “tired” but apparently it’s being all done up for next summer. The slides are popular, but my daughter bruised her foot quite badly when she hit the bottom of the pool coming down the “fast” straight slide, so be careful! The pools are saltwater. While we were there, the main pool was emptied at 4pm one afternoon for cleaning, and was filled up and sparkling ready for use the next morning. The main pool was very cold because of the wind, and you had to brace yourself for the morning aquafit session, however it was a very welcome cool relief in the afternoons!
I was a bit disappointed with the beach. Lots of rocks, stones and CONCRETE and dirty grey “sand”, however it seemed very popular, and the sunbeds on the beach were all taken much earlier than the pool sunbeds most mornings. The beach was especially favoured by the Germans and Eastern Europeans.
There is a good team of people doing watersports on the beach. My kids did the “Banana Express” which was a full hour going to a secluded “cave” where they could snorkel and jump off the cliffs and then to finish off, a spin round the bay on the banana. This was 25€ each and they let me ride in the speedboat (with their delightful little dog) for half-price so I could take the camcorder and film them. They also went on the “Squabs” (inflatable sofas) during Happy Hour for 10€ each which gave them three good spins around the bay (about 15 minutes).
Food at the hotel was lovely! An excellent selection for all preferences. Very easy to get your five-a-day if that’s what you’re into; and also easy to stuff yourself with junk for two weeks. Lovely salad bar, lots of fruit (and cakes) and always something good on the grill - fish, chicken, pork etc, and on Greek night they had lovely gyros (kebab meat) and pita, they also did souvlaki (pork skewers) a couple of times. My favourite meal was breakfast – a plateful of donuts every day, well, we were on holiday! Yum!!
The restaurant was busy but we always got a table somewhere. I liked the lovely outside terrace, great to eat your lunch overlooking the sea, but unfortunately this terrace is spoilt by cats and smokers. Didn’t care much for the snack bar near the pool, same stuff every day, chips, hot dogs, pizza, pasta, bread, ham and cheese. Okay for a slice of cake in the afternoon though!
The hotel itself was lovely, but I have to say I was very disappointed with the surrounding area. This was our first time in Greece (always done Spain), I was anticipating picture postcard traditional villages, but it’s all concrete and unfinished building sites. It’s all a bit “unloved”. The promenade into town is full of graffiti and the buildings are not pretty. However there is a small Venetian fortress at the harbour which isn’t concrete, and there are some nice shops in the main town selling euro-designer shoes and clothes.
We did the Minoan Adventure excursion (First Choice) which was a good guided tour of Knossos (the palace of the Minoan kings) and a 3-hour stop in Heraklion, which again, is not the prettiest place I’ve ever been to, but the museum has all the Minoan relics recovered from Knossos before some idiot archaeologist rebuilt the ancient site with, you guessed it, CONCRETE!!!
Heraklion Airport is a fun place to spend a couple of hours… You don’t hand over your suitcases at check-in, they are just weighed (and charged, watch out…) and boarding cards are issued and then you take your cases to another desk where they go through the x-rays. Then you proceed to the main departure area – apparently there are two “terminals”, even though the entire airport is only about as big as our local Tesco, so you have to make sure you go through the right bit. Once in the main departure lounge there are no big screens to tell you which gate to go to, you just have to listen out for it (there is one tiny TV screen very high up where nobody notices it). The planes are all “parked” at jaunty angles all over the tarmac and you get the little stand-up bus to board the plane.
Overall we had a good holiday. The hotel was great, Crete wasn’t what I expected, but this isn’t the hotel’s fault. If we could pick up the hotel and plonk it down somewhere else it would have been much better.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank cyberspacekadette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2008

We've just returned from 2 weeks at the Petra Mare and would go back tomorrow! We had a great family holiday with friends, (2 parties of 4, in rooms next to each other as requested) and despite some of the negative comments we'd read beforehand, we thought the hotel and the First Choice team were fab.

Yes, the food is repetitive but there is enough to please everyone and you can't fault the quantity and freshness. As soon as a dish is nearly empty, they bring out another one. The fresh donuts fly out in the morning though and people load their plates up with them!! The 'theme nights' are a bit odd, as many of the same dishes appear each night and the only greek food on 'Greek Night' was moussaka which was a bit disappointing. We went into town a couple of nights and ate at the Cafe On The Rocks. Ask for a variety of starters to get a better taste of Cretan food. The local beer in the hotel is really nice and the kids certainly enjoyed helping themselves to fizzy drinks all day. The drinks were cold, despite comments that they weren't, although the water wasn't that chilled. The snack bar has the same food every day - except for the shape of the pasta - but hey, you can alternate between pizza & chips or ham/cheese roll etc and there's always fresh melon and baklava. Its not the end of the world!!

Our biggest complaint was the sunbed war - we just couldn't get sunbeds for the first few days and got really fed up. People were getting up at silly o'clock to put their towels out, but not actually using the beds until midday. It was really annoying and we were very tempted to start chucking towels in the pool (well it was very windy while we were there!) We ended up complaining the to the rep about it and she admitted that it was a problem with all nationalities and spoke to the manager, soon posters appeared telling people not to reserve beds until 8am and that towels would be removed. It didn't seem to make much difference so unfortunately we became as bad as everyone else and started putting towels down between 7.30am/8am and sitting with a cuppa for a while.

The hotel is spotlessly clean, maids are always cleaning and emptying bins around the pools etc. The floors can be a bit slippery, especially in the snack bar but that's mainly due to barefoot people coming in from the pool than the cleaners. The walkway around the lazy river is really slippy though so do take care!

The kids reps were fantastic, so energetic and enthusiastic. Our kids met Rocking Ryan on the trip to Chrissi Island and loved him from then on, Energy Emma is great too so well done all of you!! The entertainment team, Smelly Kelly, Aiesha and Amy work damn hard and made us laugh. Give them a break and join in the games etc, you're on holiday so have a laugh!!! "Big Fish, Little Fish, cardboard box......." you'll soon catch on!

Chrissi Island was good but the boat was way too overcrowded so some people couldn't sit down (a recurring theme generally) but the sea was beautiful on the other side of the island, make sure you walk over there as the water is amazing.

Our best day of the holiday was the 4x4 trip into the mountains, it was FANTASTIC and we thoroughly recommend it. It may seem pricey when you look at the exursion list but don't miss it, the drivers (hi Gary!) are so knowledgeable and they make it so much fun, the lunch in a village taverna is out of this world so honestly, don't miss it. Be warned though, the Reps tell you about visiting Zeus's Cave but they don't tell you everything. There is a very steep climb up the mountain and then 200 steps down into the cave itself, which obviously you have to do in reverse to get back - all in 45 minutes. The drivers stressed that it was really difficult so only the 2 dads in our group went, much to the kids disappointment and they said afterwards that the kids wouldn't have made it.

Its worth buying some beach shoes and snorkels etc as there are plenty of fish in the shallows of the beach, but watch out for the rocky bits, they hurt!!!

All in all, we had a really good time and would go back tomorrow as its so cold and miserable back here! If you've got young kids, the night flights aren't the best (understatement) as you get all the Malia gang going out to party on the same flight......say no more. Getting through Heraklion airport was quicker and smoother than fighting through Gatwick so we had no problems there. Go for a sea view room, you won't be disappointed, to wake up in the morning to sound of the sea is just wonderful. Go with an open mind and enjoy your holiday, we loved it.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank JulesXX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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