We spent one lovely week in the hotel in mid July and really enjoyed it! We got from this hotel exactly what we wanted, it met almost all our expectations. I'll list all the positives, then negatives, both based on OUR preferences.
- Location. About 20min ride from Chania airport (we had travel agency bus, taxi trip would cost around 40eur). Few hundred meters from "city center" Platanias, although not in a noisy part by far. On the beach. Million of supermarkets and tavernas right outside of the hotel. We didn't go to this vacation to hike around, explore local specialties or to party, just to rest and sunbathe. So, what might be seen as a negative by others was a certain positive.
- Premises. The hotel is a complex of interconnected segments, older part south of a local main road, newer part north of the road, pretty much right on the beach. The 2 parts are connected by a pedestrian ramp above the road, so no need to cross it. Although it's also possible to go from one part to the other on the ground as well, there's a pedestrizan zebra with a traffic light.
We liked plentiful greenery on the premises (in the older part) - lawns, garden, flowerbeds, palm trees, some blooming bushes in staircases in between building segments etc.
We also enjoyed a handful of interconnected outdoors swimming pools, especially those "bowls" - it provided variety of cooling off in water while tanning.
Galleries, connections, staircases in between the segments, terraces, backyard were also prettily designed and decorated. We totally preferred this segments system (especially in the older part) of the hotel to some monoblock. Quite charming.
- Rooms. We stayed in the older part, so called mountain view room. In reality you get very green back garden of the hotel, some sleek trees, rolling hills and mountains on the background of the entire picture. Really calming and pretty. We really preferred our side of the building to the rooms overlooking the swimming pools in the front of the older part: we had more privacy and less noise compared to those, we really appreciated that arrangement.
We heard staying in the newer part would've been better cuz of seaview and more modern interior design but we were in no rush for either one: weare coastal dwellers so seaview is something that we have at home; nor we are too keen on modern style interiors. Also, the pool in the newer part was "boring" compared to those in the older part. So, personally for us it was perfect.
Our room was decent size, with seating area and balcony (all rooms have balconies or a terrace), spotless clean, marble bathroom with actual tub. Come to think of it, the entire hotel territory seemed to be very clean (although I spotted a few cigarette butts on the naroow edge between the lawn and tile in the pool area). Like other reviewers, I also noticed that beds were somewhat hard but once again - for my personal preference it was just perfect. AirCon worked great cooling the room down in just a minute or 2.
- Service. We had very uncomfotable flight times, arrived to the hotel shortly after 9am, but check-in time only after noon. The registration happened instantly, our bags taken to storage room and we've been offered to join the breakfast buffet, although "officially" all our services would kick in only after 12 o clock. Then a customer service rep speaking our language approached us and offered her her services in case of any need. Although I have no problems with English we did turn to her once and she resolved everything instantly.
By 11am we were already very tired after our sleepless travel night, nor my mother was feeling too well in the non-AirCon'ed lobby. I approached the the receptionist again asking to figure out a room for us ASAP. She got a manager involved and 3min later we were already settling in our room.
Another time sound disappeared from our TV and there was a minor problem with showerhead on our bathroom. I meantioned it to the recpetionist when leaving for a walk and upon our return everything was already fixed.
Beach towels are free, as well as sunbeds (wooden and lighter ones, metal/plastic). There was plenty of them and was always enough for eveyone, despite the hotel being full and despite the fact that some guests reserved more beds with their towels than they actually used.
Generally staff was very nice, especially waiters. One of the waitresses was super nice, she seemed to enjoy her job and spread totally cozy atmosphere around herself. She even joined dancers and guests in the Greec dancing line and was just.. well, so cozy and cute!
- Food. We were on half board. The food was generally quite good, there was plenty of choices in appetizers, vegetables and meats during all meals. Not sure what another reviewer meant by "food was gross but chips were to die for". Personally, I couldn't care less about chips, pork or fish but I appreciate beef, lamb, spinach/artichoke/aubergine etc dishes, so I was quite happy with the food. One of the dinners had Greek and onther one Crete specific theme.
The food trays refill was being done regularly, I never saw trays that were emty or just had a couple of unappetizing bits left. Neither there were queues for food, just on a couple of occasion there was like a "conveyer belt" of eaters along the rows with food trays but hardly anyone had to actually wait for his turn.
- Stuff for kids. We were there 2 adult relatives with no kids so didn't pay attention to kids related amentities, although there was very many kids, from under 1y.o. all the way up to late teens. I think kids had a pool of their own, although some of them splashed in deeper pools, too. Most of the kids seemed genuinely happy by the pool, in the restaurant and during entertainment.
I think families with kids were placed in another part of the building since we didn't hear any related noise while in our room. Or may be kids were just well behaved since there weren't annoying or dustirbing in the pool area either.
- Entertainment. Not buch but still. 1.Magician. 2.Live Cretan music/dancing. 3. Two dancing couples with a juggling/magician couple. Each of the 3 events were nice (although magic tricks were probably a bit boring for adults), the dancing event was DEFINITELY more fun than similar experience in our Cretan Night tour. (The dancing performance itself was better in the tour but fun for participating tourists was arranged much better in the hotel event). Dancing and juggling was quite alright, too.
Now, the negatives:
- Sea/beach. Clean indeed and nicely arranged but naturally not nice at all. The sand is greyish, the waterline is pebbles, the water muddy. We ourselves live on a coast, also I have plenty of experience with other seas/oceans, so this one wouldn't hold comparison with nearly any of them.
- Rooms. Looked a bit too plain for 5*, may be rooms in the newer part are better.
- Bathroom. There was no shower curtain, just sort of a glassdoor on the tub edge. But it was not big enough to protect the bathroom floor from the shower sprinkling and splashes. Carefully arranged showerhead position and water pressure solved the problem but guests shouldn't be forced to juggle with that sort of stuff in a 5*
No bathrobes. Not that we needed them badly but expected.
No "washing device for private parts".
Magnifing mirror. It was attached to the wall in a way that was uncomfortable to use it, neither it had lighting.
- Food. The biggest disappointment was the news that during our halfboard included dinner ALL drinks were charged for, including soft drinks and just plain water. A bottle of water would cost you 3.70eur or sth like that. I don't know the prices for wines or cocktails because we don't drink alcohol.
Not much food variety from day to day. No oatmeal for breakfast. Only 2 or 3 types of juice.
For ourselves we decided not to take halfboard packages in similar locations anymore: if paying for drinks then the price paid after each meal would run close to a meal in a local taverna, except for it would be more local, we can have variety and also it would be healthier: we have hefty appetite and couldn't say "no" to ourselves while in front of all those full trays. Halfboard is not for eaters like us.
- Service. Some employees could be trained to look/act more friendly. Some do try that but seemingly "just because they have to".
On the 2nd day a cleaner only showed up in late faternoon, when we were resting after the day by the pool and had "Do not disturb" sign. We asked our room to be cleaned while we went outside for a walk, which they did. But it was just a quick bed and towel makeup, not real cleaning. So we kept using "Please make up my room" sign on our door every night to ensure that the room would be cleaned by the time we are back in for our afternoon rest.
- Entertainment. Not much besides what already described. I would agree with other rveiewers that more than half of the nights after dinner were julacking any atmosphere. Once again, we came there to rest, not to party, but even for such boring farts as we are it was a bit dull.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay and tahnks to early booking discount our experience was worth the money. Althought it wouldn't stand up to its full price in my opinion.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Minoa Palace Resort offers majestic views of its surrounding countryside and the White Mountains. To the north, the hotel enjoys panoramic views of the endless beach of Platanias with the shimmering sapphire blue Aegean beyond. With the extension of the hotel in 2008, guests have immediate access to the beach, over the aerial bridge, connecting the two hotel's sections. The luxury and comfort, combined with the attention to detail and the relaxed atmosphere, provide a holiday to remember for a lifetime! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Minoa Palace Resort And Spa
- Minoa Palace Platanias
- Minoa Palace Hotel Platanias
- Minoa Palace Resort Platanias, Crete - Chania