We stayed at this hotel for a week in May. As prior to that the most recent was in January. I intended to write a brief review. I then discovered three recent reviews dating from stays around the same period as ourselves. We had some difficulty believing we had stayed at the same hotel and thought some of the remarks were unduly harsh so hope to give a more balanced overview.
The good points:
The hotel is slightly over two years old and still looks fresh and new.
Build materials and interior finishes such as furniture, soft furnishings, lighting etc appear to be of a high quality and standard throughout. Much use has been made of marble and the interior designers have succeeded in achieving an “Ottoman” theme.
We thought everything was very clean and tidy both inside and outside, and everything appeared to be well maintained with no cravks, choips, whatever.
The fitness room was not large but appeared to be well equipped with quality equipment.
The same applied to the childrens playroom.
The spa area was run by Veronica, a lovely efficient lady (with good English) who ensured everything was immaculate and run as it should be. She was one of the most efficient and helpful staff members in the hotel. Sauna, steam room, changing areas, lockers, loungers for relaxation, and a wonderful hammam which was just beautiful. All of these were complimentary, only beauty treatments, massages etc had to be paid for, also if you did not want to DIY the use of the hammam you had to pay for an attendant to give you a traditional Turkish Bath with or without massage.
There were also couple of shops and a hairdressers and a couple of empty units.
The pool was more than adequate in size, with loungers, sun canopies and towels provided and there was a small building with showers and toilets adjacent.
The garden area was very small but beautifully landscaped and had various styles of tables, chairs, and lounging sofas arranged in shady spots, sun canopies were ready to be opened out if needed. A lounge/bar and the “pub/sports” bar also opened onto this area.
There were a couple of restaurants, most used was the large one where buffet breakfasts and dinner were served with a choice of indoor or outdoor tables.
The lounges and bars were beautifully furnished and the “pub/sports” style bar had tvs of varying sizes (including big screen) in the larger area with booths arranged along the rear. Each booth had an individual tv on the wall. On the evening a major Turkish football match took place, this was the only time we saw this pub busy....it was crowded.
Most upmarket hotels in Kyrenia/Girne have casinos, you can see them everywhere, catering mostly for visitors from mainland Turkey and the Middle East who arrive here to gamble. Local Turkish Cypriots are not allowed entry, as both the person and the casino would be liable to pay a hefty fine if caught. The Savoy Casino opened onto the street outside but could also be accessed through a doorway in the lobby. It was not at all intrusive for hotel guests unless they wanted to enter. We went inside one time to see what it was like and discovered they were offering the best rate of exchange for our £s! It was not overly large, actually smaller than we had thought it would be, probably around the same size as the buffet restaurant (measured from the door to the rear wall) with a small number of gaming tables, a selection of slots, cashiers booth, what you would expect really. Why someone should put in their review that no casino tour was offered we cannot imagine, nor can we imagine why one would be needed.
Our first night there we had a room which was slightly larger in size but only had a “Juliette” balcony, and the next day we requested (and were given) a room which was slightly smaller but which had a spacious full balcony with table and chairs. Bedlinen, pillows, towels and complimentary toiletries were also of a good standard. We have never enjoyed such an impressive selection of in-room tv and music channels anywhere. In several different languages we think there were at least a couple of dozen tv channels and approx. 12 music channels. There were additional “pay per view” channels which we did not use. There was a large fridge with minibar contents, and chair and desk area with keyboard for internet use. We did not use this so there may or may not be a charge for usage. Bathroom had a bathtub with overhead shower. There was also an armchair and plenty of built-in wardrobes, shelves and safe. The rooms must be extremely well insulated, we heard no noise whatsoever from any room above, below or next door to us, nor from the corridor. If only all hotels were as blissfully quiet.
Kyrenia/Girne really has no beaches, they are found just to the west and to the east of the outskirts. A lot of hotels in Kyrenia/Girne have sea views and/or outdoor pools and loungers built out from the hotel onto the frontage or across the street from the hotel. The Savoy has neither. It is on the main street, approx 5 minutes walk to the waterfront and approx 7 or 8 minutes walk to the old harbour. Instead it has the pool and terrace within the grounds. What it does have is a private beach (free) with (free) timetabled shuttle buses running between the hotel and the beach and free loungers and sunshades. The usual services were also available. This is advertised on the website and in the lifts although we did not use it as we had only a week and were sightseeing too.
There are some photos of the various rooms and facilities on the two links below. Strangely, they each give different pictures but you can make up your own mind when you look at them.
We were booked on an offer which included free half board so we ate at the hotel for breakfast and for dinner. Had we stayed longer than a week we might well have had dinner elsewhere a few times as our meals were all buffet and the evening meal could become a little boring.
As the hotel has guests from various countries, the breakfast buffet was “international”. Good selection of local and international teas and coffees, large basket with fresh fruits, usually 2 or 3 fruit juices, surprisingly good selection of breakfast cereals (including Weetabix!) excellent selection of breads and continental type pastries, croissants etc, sliced bread for toasting in the toaster, huge selection of jams and honey, usually 3 types of youghurt, selection of cold meats and sliced cheeses, lots of different salad type ingredients including tomato, cucumber, chillies, greens, olives, aubergine, etc and several hot foods including Turkish breakfast items and things like fish and boiled eggs, soft or hard boiled. Items such as bacon, scrambled eggs, fried eggs and omelettes were not on display but cooked to order on request at no additional charge.
The evening buffet was not as extensive and more traditional with soup, cold meats and cheeses, lots of salad items, and around 4 or 5 hot dishes(selection changed daily) including meat, fish and vegetarian type food such as pasta, various hot vegetables, and potatoes cooked in different ways, and an excellent selection of desserts and fresh fruits. Drinks were not included with the evening meal. The biggest selection of dishes was at the weekend when the hotel was much busier with people arriving to go to the casinos. In our opinion the evening meal was adequate but not more than that.On the plus side it gave an opportunity to sample many different dishes.
There is no denying that this is not a 5* hotel by UK standards and we think it is more like a 4*. In some respects it probably does not meet 4 * in some countries but in others would likely be considered a 5* Everywhere has different criteria for their system of rating hotels. It was however, a little like Fawlty Towers at times.
Housekeeping was somewhat “erratic”. Our bathrobes and slippers were not there on arrival but appeared within minutes of us requesting them. Ditto for hangers. We had only 3 each on arrival. There were no face flannels at all. Our bath and hand towels were changed pretty much daily, but sometimes our bath mat was removed and not replaced until a day or two later. We never saw a non-slip mat for inside the bath during our stay so care was needed. One of the bathrobes mysteriously disappeared part way through our stay never to be seen again. Some toiletries were duplicated whilst others were missing. EG Two or even three shampoos but no shower gel. When empties were placed in the bin, sometimes they were replaced sometimes not. Some toiletries which were missing at the start appeared part way through our stay. Sometimes rooms were still being cleaned and beds made at almost 5pm. There was supposed to be an evening turndown service, that never happened. Whilst the bed itself was made daily, the top bedcovers and cushions were only on it when we arrived, after that they remained folded on the floor. There was no trouser press. We did not expect tea and coffee in the room as this is not a feature in hotel rooms in many countries. Sometimes it is offered as standard, but other times only in luxury hotels and even then sometimes only in suites. In Turkey you sometimes get it, but rarely unless it is a seriously expensive hotel. We appreciated the size of the minibar as it was actually a decent sized fridge. On the website the standard rooms are described as having a Jacuzzi , we assumed a “whirlpool” type, ie a regular bathtub with jets. Never saw it yet, nor did anyone else we spoke with find theirs. We had a regular bathtub with overhead shower.
The a/c was also “erratic”. Sometimes it worked OK sometimes it worked less well. Not sure if it was controlled individually or was centrally controlled. Sometimes we were cool enough sometimes we were too hot.
Prices were very high by local standards. It did not matter what you wanted to drink, eat, buy or do, within the hotel it was expensive. Laundry and dry cleaning were also costly although we did see a local cleaning company van arrive one day and some laundry or dry cleaning being delivered so some of it is done by an outside company. A nargile was 10 lira in town, 25 lira at the hotel. Drinks were very expensive as was wine, both by the glass and by the bottle. We think the cheapest bottle wine might have been around 50 lira. A tiny bottle (300 ml?) of water was 3 lira. This may explain why the hotel was virtually deserted in the evenings. Many guests headed to the harbour area to dine or drink, there was no atmosphere whatsoever, rarely a guest to be seen in any public area, only staff, and this was a shame given the lovely and comfortable surroundings. We mentioned this on our Travel Company questionnaire and suggested occasional entertainment or a “happy hour” or a reduction in drinks prices, something…anything.... to keep guests there in an evening and maybe even encourage non residents to call in for a time. A couple of days after we left, Bobby Davro was to guest, we knew because a staff member told us, but we had not noticed any publicity for this event advertised in the hotel or in the town.
Reception staff were smiling and helpful but had quite poor English although we managed to make ourselves understood….most of the time. They could do with a couple of staff with better english. Surprisingly there was also no tourist information at reception, usually there is tourist info, maps etc but not here. They did though provide a samovar of pomegranate juice and glasses on the table just inside the entrance and this was offered on arrival and was always available so you could help yourself any time you were coming in.
The rooftop pool/terrace was usually private to guests in the penthouse suites. We were told that when events such as weddings were taking place around the ground floor pool,terrace, and restaurant, hotel guests could not use the area during the event and were offered the rooftop pool and terrace as an alternative.
The décor may not be liked by everyone. Very Ottoman, so gloriously, fabulously over the top ….love it or hate it, this is Ottoman and if the designers were going for authenticity I guess they created it. Also fairly typical of what we have found in Turkey although more muted elsewhere, there were even shades of some Egyptian furniture and furnishings in there too. Oversized “curly wurly” legged/armed furniture, lots of satins and silks, because Turkish people have a love of texture, lots of bling and glitter, lots of red, glass mirrors and especially chandeliers, gold gilding, upholstery, curtains, cushions etc mostly shot through with glittery threads, chairs so enormous they resembled thrones. Everything and anything which can be embellished id. This is not a hotel for anyone suffering a hangover.
We think the actual building and accommodation is more than acceptable, but services and staff training need to be seriously improved to bring this hotel up to its 5* rating. They also need to look at lowering drinks prices and to get some promoted entertainment for the evenings to encourage guests to stay around for longer and to bring in non residents too.
If we ever return to Kyrenia/Girne we will return to the same hotel if the pricing is competitive with similar hotels and would also recommend to others…even with the negatives.
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- Also Known As:
- Savoy Ottoman Palace Hotel Kyrenia
- Savoy Ottoman Palace Kyrenia
- Savoy Ottoman Palace Cyprus/Kyrenia