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“Great hotel but mediocre service”

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Arion, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
Ranked #6 of 7 Hotels in Vouliagmeni
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 1, 2007

We enjoyed the hotel and its facilities. All the trappings of a 5 star luxury hotel, except service that is. Nevertheless, that didn't ruin our stay. The decor, room, furnishings, and bathroom were all flawless. The rooms facing the sea have very spacious balconies. Breakfast was excellent. We particularly enjoyed the beach deck- but it could've been better with actual service. The quality of service at this hotel was inadequate. A few things that come to mind: uncooperative and arrogant front desk staff, failure to meet guest requests (requests made prior to arrival and requests at the hote), as well as late and frequently lack of service at the beach deck. So although this is a luxury hotel and quite beautiful, service at the Arion is not so luxurious, mediocre at best. My advice for Arion guests is to keep expectations low and try to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

  • Stayed: May 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Service
2  Thank PrincessRenée
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 1, 2007

My wife and I stayed at the Arion Resort for 3 nights. We had been visiting her family in Sparta and this resort felt amazing for the few days that we were there. The room was wonderful and large for European standards. The beach area and decks around the beach were very clean. In fact, everything was great about the resort itself, except the service.

I know that you're in Greece where things move at a slower pace, but the service at this resort was almost comical. Two of the days we were there we sat on one of the decks by the beach. We were sitting right by the towel table and bar. There were about 6 or seven workers sitting there not doing anything and speaking very loudly in Greek. I'm not fluent in Greek, but I still heard all the obscenities in their conversations. My wife is fluent in Greek and understood everything they were saying and she couldn't believe her ears. This is not supposed to happen at a 5 star hotel.

Dinner in the steakhouse turned out to be a clown show. My wife ordered in Greek and still the order was all wrong. Watching what was happening at all the tables around us, should have been a sitcom. No one's order came out right, food was cold, the service was not up to par for the prices they charge.

Starwood should really step in a get a grip on these service issues for this hotel. They have a beautiful location and a beautiful hotel. They just need good service.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank LITraveler72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2007

I have just returned from a three-night stay at the Arion Resort and wanted to pass on what a wonderful time my boyfriend and I had.

From the moment we arrived at the Arion we were made to feel very welcome by the staff, who were friendly and helpful at all times. I was very worried after reading some negative reviews here but it seems they are taking note because we were looked after so well.

Our room (Grand Deluxe) was a generous size with a fabulous luxurious bathroom - huge marble shower, bath with sea view, double sinks... And the bed itself was large and extremely comfortable with plush pillows and sparklingly clean white bedding.

We were delighted to have a blacony overlooking the front of the hotel with a beautiful sea view. The only complaint I could muster about our room came when I sat on a lounger one evening reading a book and was disturbed by the honking of car horns in the car park and what sounded like an altercation with a taxi driver!

As for the rest of the hotel and resort, it really is as wonderful as it looks on the website. and it was surprisingly quiet when we stayed. At one point, we seemed to have the private beach to ourselves. What a treat! There are ample places to snooze the afternoon away - from decked areas to a stunning outdoor pool overlooking the sea. It really does make you feel spoilt for choice.

Of course, we also tried out the spa pools and, again, were the only people using them. Shame really, because it meant the water had not been warmed much and we shivered through our session in there!! The staff did see to it that this was turned up though, and relaxing music was piped in which had us both dozing in the comfy loungers, again, overlooking an amazing view.

The breakfast selection is almost the best I've ever encountered (that honour goes to a place in Edinburgh!) - really unbelievable amount of choice - from fry-up to fruit, cake and pastries to cheeses and bread. Everything you could imagine was there, and the staff were so attentive.

We were genuinely sad to leave and had such a wonderful time. I think our only criticism could be that food was very pricey - still, most 5-star places ramp up prices to a ridiculous levels so nothing new here. And the quality and quantity was sufficient not to feel too ripped off.

Also, worth noting that most taxi drivers have never heard of the resort, and even the area! We went to nearby Glyfada for the evening and had to ask four drivers before one would take us back. They all charge random amounts too - not exactly great but not a relfection on Arion!

I absolutely loved my stay here and would heartily recommend to anyone looking for a pampering and a bit of luxury. It's a fabulous place.

Stayed: September 2007
4  Thank luofei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2007

This is the letter that I sent to several people at Starwood regarding my recent stay at the Arion. I will post any follow-up correspondence as I receive it from them.

Thanks!



Mr. Edmond A. Pinczowski
Complex General Manager
Astir Palace Vouliagmenis
40 Apllonos Street
166 71 Vouliagmeni
Athens, Greece



August 20, 2007


Dear Mr. Pinczowski,

I am contacting you today to share my recent experience at your property, the Arion Resort and Spa. My sister and I had made a reservation with Starwood Central Reservations here in the United States, for a four night stay. Two reservations were made—the first two nights were using SPG points (18-20 July; Reservation No. XXXXXXXXX) and another reservation was made for two paid nights (20-22 July; Reservation No. XXXXXXXXX).

My sister and I are Greeks living in the US, and both frequently travel there during the year. Growing up, we have known the “Astera” as the premiere Athens hotel, and upon learning that Starwood had undertaken management of the property last year, we were impressed that two reputable brands had joined. In April, my sister had the opportunity to stay at the Arion, and truly enjoyed the experience. Therefore, we decided to spend part of our summer holiday at this property.

As mentioned above, the first two nights of our stay, were using SPG points which we had redeemed for accommodations in a two twin room on the Excelsior Floor at the Arion. We booked following two nights in a deluxe seaview room, also with two twin beds. Upon making reservation with SPG Central Reservations, we had inquired if we could arrange to remain in the same room during the stay so we could settle in and enjoy the accommodations. We were told that it would probably not be a problem. The agent made a notation on the reservation and said that an upgrade would be requested since we are both SPG Gold members.

On July 18 at approximately 11 a.m., we arrived to the Arion using the complimentary airport transfer that the Excelsior Floor includes. When we checked-in, we inquired about our request to remain in the same room during the four nights. Pantelis, the Front Desk Shift Supervisor, who was assisting us, said that this was not possible as the hotel was full during the upcoming weekend. Therefore we would need to change rooms after the second evening. We both understood, and proceeded to go to the room we were given. When we arrived to the room, we were surprised as it was somewhat small, and facing the parking lot. We also discovered that there was an even bigger problem—there was only one bed! Again, we are siblings, and not a couple.

I called the front desk and notified them of the mistake that was made. They told me to remain in the room until they could resolve the problem. Fifteen minutes passed, and the front-desk rang. Pantelis told me that only one room was available with two twin beds at the hotel. He sent someone to show us the room. The room was a corner room on the second floor, again facing the parking lot. I was disappointed and proceeded to go down to the reception to see what could be done.

At this point Pantelis told me that there was nothing that he can do and that this was our only option. I asked to speak to his supervisor, and I was told that she was in a meeting at the moment. I asked him to check and see what type of room we were booked under—and he said it was just marked as Excelsior with no bedding specifications. No notation was made regarding staying in the same room or bedding he said, and even if there had been, the Controller did not adhere to requests. He just assigned rooms based on availability. By this point, we had wasted about an hour between rooms and arguing for no reason. I was fed up and told him that we would temporarily remain in the current room until his supervisor was available to discuss the matter. He said that would not be an issue and he would keep us abreast of the situation.

We headed to the beach and pool area for a few hours and returned back to the room in the afternoon. At that point there was no message waiting for us. We took a nap, and around 7pm, I headed back down to the front desk to check on any updates on the situation. George, a front-desk employee, helped me. I gave him a summary of our circumstances and he told me that he was informed on the situation. He said we had two options: we could either move to the Westin Nafsika or remain in the same room. Nothing else could be done. I expressed my anger as this was a double downgrade in room category. I also told him how I felt this was done because this was a points stay and not a revenue stay.

He disagreed, and was sincerely apologetic. In fact, he made an effort to resolve the problem, offered to talk to the Front Desk Manager about a discounted rate for to the following two nights which were paid and offered a dinner for two for our troubles. I thought that was extremely nice of him. He took every effort within his power to correct the problem. The following day, we made a reservation for the Club House Restaurant. A dinner reservation confirmation was sent to the room stating it was complimentary.

On July 20, as we were told, we had to switch rooms, and were given an ocean view room. This room met our expectations. We remained there until our departure on 22 July. In the morning, we headed down to the reception desk to settle our bill. At this point, we were not sure what our bill would include. We were promised two things: the complimentary dinner at the Club House and a room rate reduction for the two paid evenings. At checkout, we dealt with Maria, who pulled our bill. Again, I was disappointed, as nothing was taken off the bill! The Club House dinner as well as the whole room rate for the two evenings was still there…

At that point I was disgusted with the situation and thought why even bother arguing or reiterating my previous conversation with another person. I mentioned to Maria what by her colleague, George, had told me. She hesitated for a moment, consulted with another front desk employee and eventually removed 430 Euro from the bill coding it under “Customer Complaint”. I commented to her that the comment that she added was not correct, as it was not a customer complaint—but rather “Customer Inconvenience.” I then asked her why the Front Desk manager never bothered to contact us and was told she was busy in meetings. During our four day stay, I was very surprised that the Front Desk manager had so many meetings, she could not pay attention to customer service. Tired of arguing, we paid the bill and left the property.

As you can see, we are very disappointed with the whole situation. The Luxury Collection is one Starwood’s most prestigious brands and usually maintains the highest level of standards. This unfortunately was not the case during our stay. From the moment we checked-in, we experienced disappointment and aggravation. Nothing was ever done to resolve the situation. Not once did Ms. Koukoutsi nor Mr. Papadopoulos make an effort to contact us and apologize or help resolve the situation. It was as though they did not care. There was not even a simple gesture such as sending a bottle of wine or a fruit basket. They would not have resolved the issue, but would have shown the level of customer service we expect from Starwood. George, a front desk employee, not a manager, was the only one even attempted to correct the problem. But in the end, he did not follow through as the charges were still on the room bill.

Since the Arion was not able to fulfill the original reservation, something better should have been offered. You simply cannot double downgrade an elite guest and expect him to be happy. In fact, an upgrade was due—to either a suite (with possibly a rollaway bed) or even a bungalow. The last thing we wanted to do during our vacation was to continuously argue with various staff members at the hotel. We were expecting a relaxing accommodating stay, instead we got a headache.

I also have some general comments on other parts of the hotel. Frankly, the property is understaffed. At this ADR pricepoint, there should be a favorable employee to guest ratio. This was definitely not the case. For example, there was limited waitstaff at the beach area. A server would pass by about once an hour. That is unacceptable. Staff should be at the customer’s disposal to order drinks and food. We encountered the same problem also at the lobby lounge. Not enough waitstaff was available for drink orders. That’s lost revenue for the property. We also had an issue was that with the cleanliness of the room. We found hair in the bathtub of our first room. Plus, the cushions on the patio lounge chairs were soiled. Again, not what one would expect to find at a Luxury Collection Property.

Employee morale is also low. The staff of the Arion seems to be unhappy with Starwood. It appears that they are not treated well by management. They are overworked and there is not enough help. If the Arion is to remain in the Luxury Collection chain, these things need to be changed. This should not be an issue to the guest.

Your sister property, The Grande Bretagne, does not seem to have these problems. We have stayed there multiple times over the past few years and the staff seems to be happy and accommodating. Service is excellent. The hotel is clean and things are in order.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate our disappointment with our stay. The treatment we received was very poor. My sister did not encounter any of these issues in March. We had high expectations and were disappointed. We are unsure if we would ever return back to the Arion, as there were too many problems we encountered. I am writing you this letter, and also forwarding it to Starwood’s Central Offices here in White Plains, NY and as well as to the head of Starwood’s European Operations, Mr. Roeland Vos, in hopes that something will be done to bring the property back to its original state. I am also going to post this letter on tripadvisor.com, and flyertalk.com along with your responses.

I am sure that you will take the time to research the matter, and find a resolution which is acceptable to both parties. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to further discuss any of the issues I discussed with you in detail.



Sincerely,


XXXXXXXX
SPG XXXXXXXXX

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank antepali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2007

I stayed with my family in this hotel in the beginning of July. It was chosen primarily based on the comments on this site about this place being one of the most beautiful.

This is true. Both the place and the hotel are marvellous. The beaches and the sea are great. The views are fascinating 360 degrees. The rooms and the hotel public areas are what you can describe as modern classic - and ultimate luxury.

But the other revious are also right in terms of poor service. Although some improvement may have been made, there is still a lot of staff (especially, from the older generation) which are absolutely unfriendly/unhelpful. The weakest area is reception.

There have also been problems with the restaurants. Although there are seem to be a lot at the two hotels, most of them are open for dinner only. So, your choice for lunch is either Taverna 37 at the seaside (fine but open-plan, so it's not easy when it gets too hot) or Kymata at Westin (but I found their buffet lunch very poor and definitely not worth the money). There are other restaurants in the area but we did not go there as we had a baby with us. By the way, the sandy beach the have is perfect for kids and babies.

To conclude, I hope Starwood will deal with service issues sooner rather than later to convert this hotel complex into a gem on the Athinian riviera. I still recommend this hotel based on expectations of improving service.

Stayed: July 2007
4  Thank AndreyBY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2007

My husband and I stayed at the Westin Astir Palace for 1 night. The security entrance to the hotel is awful. An employee asked us for our reservation and ID! The room is great (contemporary style) and a big terrace overlooking the Med Sea and the small private beach. Unfortunately, it was just before Easter and workers were cleaning the hotel to be ready for the weekend. Consequently, it was very noisy (we could not stay outside) and the pool was empty ... they were cleaning it.
One good thing is the in-room breakfast : very big, very good and a very gentle service. Maybe we will try to go back to this hotel in summer to see "how it is".

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank NADEGEPARIS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2007

My husband had a conference here. Our room was very good with a beautiful view of the bay, nice balcony. The pool is also good and the hotel as its own private sandy beach. However the service was appalling, especially around the pool and the bar. Orders were wrong, or just forgotton, that's if you can attract a waiter/waitress! I left quite a pricey dress in my room and upon return to the UK phoned the hotel several times to enquire after it, I have relatives in Athens so it could have been picked up and shipped home for me...however the hotel reported the dress "missing"!

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank AlyP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Arion, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

Address: 40 Apollonos | Astir Palace Resort, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
Location: Greece > Attica > East Attica Region > Vouliagmeni
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Vouliagmeni
#6 Luxury Hotel in Vouliagmeni
#6 Family Hotel in Vouliagmeni
#6 Business Hotel in Vouliagmeni
Price Range: $667 - $680 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Arion, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 181
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A unique place to be!The legendary atmosphere of Arion, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is enhanced by contemporary surroundings and spectacular views of the Saronic Gulf. Guest rooms and suites delight the senses with creative touches. The most distinctive feature, the resort's fully renovated bungalows, offer the ultimate in privacy and privileged services. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arion, a Luxury Collection Hotel Vouliagmeni
Arion, a Luxury Collection Resort And Spa
The Luxury Collection Athens
Arion, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa Greece/Vouliagmeni

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