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Reviewed July 25, 2010

After several years we had the opportunity to get away and wanted a relaxing holiday. We decide we wanted a place that had some historic attractions but really this time we simply wanted to spend most of the time bathing in the sun, sand and sea. Our Travel agent friend here in Budapest gave us a few offers and we decide on Crete and the Southern coast.
All our expectations were met! My wife and I are both experienced travelers and have slept in tents and mountains tops and in five star hotels, so we have a wide base for comparison. We were both very satisfied and have since recommended this hotel to many friends.
Of course it depends what you want... The hotel is first and foremost a family hotel and there are lots of kids, which doesn't bother us as we have four of our own (whom we did not take with us this time, but would love to take back to the hotel in the future). The customer service is top notch fast and friendly service from the cleaning ladies (we once locked ourself out of the room), the dining room staff, waiters, waitresses, cooks etc, reception and all. The room had a GORGEOUS ocean, view!!! and my request to but put in a quieter part of the hotel got us this upgrade to the top floor and the sea view in a part with fewer kids, only once did we hear a kid running up and down the hall (for 5 minutes). The room is large and spacious with AC and a nice bathroom and an old Hungarian Lehel brand fridge ;-) there were two bottles of "welcome water" when we arrived and that we then replenished form a nearby shop.
The food was ABUNDANT with great variety, my wife and I have very different tastes she being very veggie and me being a glutton (who also loves to cook). Yes the food is oilier and blander than what we are use to, but they have to accommodate several hundred different palates, there was something delicious every night, we both loved the loads of fresh vegetables and feta cheese and tzaziki sauce, I enjoyed the fish and the evening fry-up, the morning doughnuts were impossible to resist and I just had to have 5-6 with my coffee (I have not stepped onto the scales at home since and will not do so until I starve myself for a week beforehand... Anyway the food has something for everyone!!! And it never ran out, the snack bar being open after breakfast until I don't know when... No the wine isn't great, but the bear is the nice light Greek bear that is very refreshing and the ouzo and raki and poured liberally if that is your taste. We spent several nights sitting down at the bar, (always had a table by the rail) watching the sea, sipping ouzo with soda and ice and enjoying a cigar (my wife had a coke).
The beach and pool were just perfect! Yes you do have to stake out a claim to a chair and umbrella in the morning, so when you walk down to breakfast you take a towel and through it over a couple of chairs. spent hours lounging by the ocean every day and it was amazing! The hotel has a long lovely dark sandy beach (take lots of lotion and apply at least twice a day) We spent all week except for two days on the beach and it was great.
One day we took a local bust to Heraklion and Knossos, another day we rented a quad and toured the hills, but both days we got back in the afternoon and ran into the sea.
The hotel has an OK gym and I was able to work out (did 3 times, should have every day).
We only took part in two evening programs, the music quiz and the Greek night, both of which were fun. We wanted a relaxing get away and not crowds, that's why we chose the southern coast and why we didn't go to any big happenings.
We strolled through the town of Irapetra a couple of times and it is a pretty and pleasant little place, not at all crowded and not too touristy, another plus.
Anyway... to finish up... We got all the we hoped for from this all inclusive package and had one TERRIFIC week. I would strongly recommend this hotel to any one travelling with kids, and also to anyone who wants a week in the sun, sand and sea!

(I do feel a need to comment on some of the negative comments that some people have left, and that I read beforehand... I am VERY GLAD that I ignored them and though I do not doubt their sincerity I do not "understand" them, I have only good things to say...
God Bless

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank AndrewMile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2010

Well.....where shall I start??
We stayed at the Petra Mare in October 09 with our 4 year old son for 10 nights, we paid £900 in total which at the time we thought was a real bargin (now we know why!)
First off i'll start with the good points, of which there are few!
1) The First Choice reps and entertainment team were great, they were always really friendly and did their best to entertain both adults and the kids. My son absolutely loved the kid club, which was really well run with a different activity/theme every day. They also did a good job with the evening entertainment(considering they had no proper equipment just a mic and music) but they got all the kids and parents up dancing and doing games.
2) The rooms were fine, could do with a bit of modernisation but they were very spacious as was the balcony. I would definately recommend paying the extra for a sea view, really nice! The beds however were very hard but you get used to this a bit, the bathroom was a good size and there was plenty of storage for clothes. Our room was cleaned every day, with clean towels and the bed linen was changed about 3 times during our stay.
3)The Kids pool was fab with the pirate ship and slides, my son loved it he spent hours in it every day and it wasnt too cold either.
4) The beach was nice, right at the back of the hotel which is handy, clean, free sunbeds, the water is lovely and warm and quite shallow, but big waves!

Now for the bad points.............
1) "Slop Time" as we started to call mealtimes!THE FOOD- it was absolutely disgusting, cold, bland and very repetative! Breakfast was probably the only just about edible meal, so fill up for the day as lunch and dinner consist of pretty much the same every day- fatty, chewy boney meat mainly pork or chicken?? veal?? to be honest it could have been anything its that bland and horrible, slimey pasta with a watery tomato sauce, tastless plain rice or boiled potatos and bland mixed veg. UGGHHHH! Us and most of the other guests seemed to take to eating from the kids buffet of chips, pizza, fish fingers etc which was a little better. There was plenty of choice of salads which were ok but v oily and had funny taste but you cant live on salad for week, Again the deserts were mostly ok but you get sick of filling up on sickly sweet cakes every mealtime.
2) The drinks were rubbish for a supposedly 4 star all inclusive, they consisted of watered down flat beer, and cheap nasty tasting wine that I only managed to force down with lemonade in it. Limited selection of local spirits, cheap coke and other fizzy drinks. All the drinks apart from spirits were self serve so at least there were no queues. You had to pay extra for cocktails (6 Euro)! And for branded spirits (3 Euro).
3)The transfer to and from the airport was a nightmare, over 2 and a half hours on a crowded coach with no air conditioning while the crazy Greek driver speeds round windy cliff edge road at about 80mph! if you are willing to do this transfer at least make sure you are on a daytime flight, we had a night flight and we didnt get to the hotel until 4 in the morning, my little boy was ill all the way there due to the windy bumpy roads and the heat.
4) The new ampitheatre for the eveing entertainment.......Hmmm dont think this was thought out much, sitting in there in the evening and trying to relax with a drink while you watch the entertainment is not possible, first of all the shape and location of the ampitheatre creates a wind tunnel effect inside, i had to stop wearing floaty dresses and skirts beacuse they kept blowing up lol, also the ledges to sit on are hard, cold and uncomfortable and the lighting is very poor. Plus it right at the other end of the hotel, at the far end behind the pools.
5) Dont come to this hotel expecting to find much to do in the area, there is nothing, a small town with a few of the usual souvenir shops and some bars and restaurants but theres nowhere else to go so its gets very boring. Its about a 15 minute walk down the graffiti covered promenade past all the run down houses and buildings and the local youths hanging around- not the most pleasant of scenery.
6) The adult pool is always empty, i went in a total of 3 times during our stay, the reason is its FREEZING!!! its just unbearable no one went near it not unless you were very brave! Also not too safe for children as its very deep i could barely put my feet down.

Oh and a final warning stay away from the snack bar, the food here is worse than in the restaurant, I was violently ill after eating a greek salad from the pool snack bar, didnt touch it again.

All in all the bad points definately out weighed the good points and we wouldnt go back, just not worth the money, at best its a poor 3 star!

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank helenb84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2010

After reading a mixture of reviews about this hotel, i felt that i'd leave my own review from my perspective. I am 14, and travelled with my nana, her friend, my auntie and my 6 year old cousin. We stayed a duration of 2 weeks and we all really enjoyed it. The hotel was aesthetically pleasing and was very clean. I have been to many holidays and this is only one that i can honestly say i have liked the food in. The rooms are large and the maids to a great job to keep them clean. I'd recommend to pay that little bit extra for the balcony beach view. We had two rooms and one of them had the sea side view the other never. I enjoyed going across to the other room to see the view, its lovely. Where as our view, well what view? we saw a few tree's , flags and well thats about it i suppose although we did have the choise, and its nothing to grumble about. We also booked this hotel for all the slides they had in the pictures, not long before out departure we got a letter saying they had renovated the hotel and the slides were not available. We were awfully dissapointed but just went anyway. I was surprized at how much i enjoyed it as to what i was expecting after reading some of these reviews. There is a little shop in the hotel which sells everything you need really , which is handy. For those of the people my age who loves to have a chat to your mates every so often on the computer there is a few computers available for you to use, they aren't that expensive either. I personally thought the food was excellent, i've been on many holidays and end up eating alot of crap because of the lack of food i like. But here the food was always hot, there was always plenty of it and there was always a large variety, couldn't be better in my opinion and some of the family's too. My wee cousin loved going to the Childrens club she didn't want to go at first but after she went the first time she was there almost everyday! , they really tried their best to keep everyone entertained and happy. The Entertainment reps were amazing, tried to engage everybody at something one day or another, Debbie and Luke were always constantly on their feet entertaining everyone which was great they were really nice. The children love the pool for them its got plenty to do on it for them including small slides a pirate ship and more, its good to keep them occupied for so long, but there was plenty of screaming matches when people had to go for lunch or dinner they just didn't want to leave that pool. The pool for the older people was really deep actually but it was great, Although the pool does have salt water in it after a few days its not so bad . Plus its easier to get a tan in salt water...If you swim under the brigde and look over the edge of the pool you get a great view of the beach, its lovely. The ampitheatre place is Ok, could be better though as there was this mental wee boy when i was there he collected lots of these brick things that you sit on and started collecting them into a big pile!, personally i don't think those bricks should be able to move far less children being able to pick them up. Although apart from that the shows they put on are well thought out and really entertaining. Must upload some of the video's i have. The pool bar is great, easy access to a small variety of food, although the food here is repeated but always hot. The ice cream is only available here a few hours a day though which isn't so great, worst of it is i only like vanilla so i had to wait a few days all the time to get one i liked, due to them only doing one flavour a day (unless it ran out before the few hours). The bar is good in the hotel, nice to here some music banging in there as the hotel doesn't have music on anywhere else and well i love my music lol. There is a few snooker tables and ice hockey and stuff. Shops down the street are quite good, although you should haggle, even if its only for a few quid . Add it up at the end of the holiday those few pounds does add up to alot :). Many of you's is moaning about those plastic cups, if you go to the bar inside you dont get a plastic cup its glass, Don't know how many glass cups have been dropped and smashed , plus its dangerous for children so what do you want them to give you?! most reasonable hotels give you those cups. I must say i must have picked up about 500 of them, but it didn't bother me. They wont blow away unless you sit and drink all of it then can't be bothered to get up and bin the cups! its simple there are plentyy of bins that are emptied plenty of times a day, so use them. The beach is lovely and is cleaned often! its spotless if you go down early its just people likes to mess it up by leaving litter lying around. The sea is lovely to swim in nice and warm. The activities that go on at the beach are good, there is the crazy ufo thing, banana boat , polo, bulls stuff like that or similar.
There were no bugs about either when i went which was great! It was always roasting so a great place to go and relax and have a suntan, great place to meet new friends and fantastic for children. I'd recommend it to family's. Picture's wont upload for some reason, so if you'd like to see pictures of my holiday then please feel free to contact me.
If you decide to book up have a great time, its fantasic.
xxx

  • Stayed: August 2009
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4  Thank Chelsea_Pittman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2009

I loved my time at the Petra Mare. My family and I had a fantastic time, the entertainment was the best. Luke, Debbie, Sam, Wez, Laura everyone was kind and fun. The days were filled with games for everyone and the nights were full of life. Everyone even parents danced to the Kids party time club song. The entertainers were so friendly. I left just before my birthday. I can remember the embarassment of coming down to the stage to collect my little gift, as well as when my family won a certificate for the fact out whole family lost. We got certificate for all sorts of things, I personally won one for singing 'I will survive'. I really wish I can go back one day to have the same fun again, and if I did I would book a room for at least a month.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank MangaArtist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2009

Stayed at the petra mare last week of the season and wished we hadn't to be honest. We've never complained about anything before now but this place would have been better run by Basil Fawlty. Before I list the bad points i'll tell you about the good.
*very clean(cleaners did an excellent job)
*bar staff spot on(when working)
*location(beautiful)
now for the bad!
*pool bar closed all week
*main bar closed half way through the week during the day (so had to walkfull lengh of pool area and hotel for a drink and a bite to eat. If that wasn't bad enough you had to put a shirt on before entry and if you wanted a spirit go and find a member of staff if you was lucky!)
*food(not to bad until the dreaded vine leafs which took centre stage for the last four days which became a running joke between the guests)
*beach(never cleaned apart from sun loungers around you and they weren't even germans)
*entertainment what entertainment! (kids mainly watched videos unless you paid 5 euros for a slice of pizza or half a cup of sweets. Adults one game of killer pool all week during the day and a quiz at night if you was lucky nothing at all the last night got told to make our own entertainment nearly forgot to mention film night they put on a dvd not on a big screen on a 30 inch telly with no sound!)
*reps CRAP(a few of the guests went into complain and got told to read the terms and conditions and that was it asked for a complaint form they didnt have any, one guest wrote in the feed back book, Micheal the rep ripped it out and he told us he'd sent it off with a complaints form. Yeah right!!!!!! not very good first choice should rename to last choice!
If it hadn't have been for the people we met and the kids having a good time because there was a quite a few of them, this would have been the holiday fom hell but between us and most of the guests who were left during those last few days we kept our chins up.
Just like to say as well not all of reps were CRAP Younger kids end worked hard to keep them entertained as much as they could.

Location Good
Hotel staff Very good
Hotel very clean and lovely
Would recommend if all aminities were available and not run by First Choice

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with family
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Thank bongoBackOfBeyond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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