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“Paradise Found”
Review of The Island Hotel

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The Island Hotel
Ranked #2 of 36 Hotels in Kato Gouves
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 21, 2012

This is a lovely Hotel which pays great attention to detail.
The surroundings are tranquil and totally relaxing. We spent most of our time around the Quiet Pool only a stones throw from our room, no 812, and although we didn't try out the much larger main pool,as we were quite happy to sit and read, we could see it was equally relaxing and pleasant.
This Hotel is a 'Four star plus' in our opinion, and as a couples/adults only experience, ideal for a complete getaway. Attention was paid to the general ambiance of the site and it was decorated with lovely places to sit and enjoy. The entertainment was essentially low key, but of very good quality, and the food was good on the whole, with plenty of choice.
The 'A la Carte' restaurant was particularly good and we enjoyed a free experience of this, as a special offer to all guests from the Hotel.
The room we occupied was not particularly large, but very nicely decorated and furnished, and the balcony was overlooking a small orchard at the back . This hotel is very large, but it doesn't seem to be, as there are so many quiet and secluded places to enjoy and it is not a high rise monstrosity.
The female manager was very engaging and actively present and welcoming and all staff were very professional, friendly and accommodating.
The beach, though small, was very good and the sea shallow and safe for swimming. There is a bar at the hotel which serves the beach and lots of local vendors selling fresh fruit and various cakes regularly visit.
There is a promenade outside the hotel and shops and Tavernas nearby. Kato Gouves is relatively quiet and in some need of structural updating, but we particularly wanted to be in a less popular area, so were very pleased with our resort choice. The only thing perhaps which should be mentioned, is that their are planes flying overhead, but this did not have any real impact on our stay.
We have both said that we will be returning to this brilliant Hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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15  Thank Jaklynba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,311 - 1,317 of 2,021 reviews

Reviewed October 15, 2012

We had a wonderful week here, enjoying the lovely food, beautiful sea views and the hotel itself which is stylish, clean and very well run. There are two pools, plus the beach just across the quiet road is excellent for swimming in the clear turquoise sea. There are lovely walks along the seafront. By bus it is easy to reach Heraklion, Ag Nik and hiring a car enables you to visit the Lessithi Plateau which is scenic and unique.

Room Tip: Choose a sea view- the island offshore is beautiful.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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13  Thank ALIF23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2012

During the last week of October 2011 my Partner and I enjoyed our time at this hotel so much that without hesitation we decided to return again during their last week of operation, 7th to 14th October this year.
It is often said that a return visit is a disappointment, when compared to the first.
Definately not the case with the "Island"; it was even better second time around!
The hotel covers quite an extensive area, everywhere being exceptionally clean, tidy and well managed.
Our room Maid was exceptional (502).
Each and everyone of the Hotel Employees was completely dedicated, happy, smiling and very willing to please. Quite an achievement when you consider their economic situation.
Something we might learn in the U.K.
Throughout the week at all mealtimes the selection was wide and varied; something for everyone and all of a high standard. At no time did I see anything "below par" and believe me I spend a lot of time "inspecting".
Mentioned in another review, a lunchtime visit to Paradises is very worthwhile, and for car hire we were very pleased with the service provided by Mike, just along the road.
For comfort, relaxation, dedicated Staff and good food this is the place for you.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank EDDY W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2012

Just returned from a weeks stay at this lovely hotel. For the first week in October the weather was amazing, hot sunny and that lovely warm breeze that cools the skin whilst sunbathing. The previous review says it all, this is a very clean modern hotel. The staff were so nice and friendly and nothing was a bother. Food really nice although we sometimes struggled with the choice of the main evening course, but that was probably our problem and not the hotels. However we did have a problem with the cats, whilst very cute they were a nuisance in the restaurant , where they roamed freely and were often fed titbits by guests. We especially enjoyed a pre evening drink in the Island Taverna which overlooks the bay towards Heraklion, again the staff were really friendly and what a place to watch the sunset. All in all this is a great hotel for a chill out holiday.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Freda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2012

After the summer we have endured in the UK we were really looking forward to our first visit to Greece. We had read all the reviews before going but having been recommended by our son and his fiance, who visited in June, we half knew what to expect, and we weren't disappointed.
Rather ironically, we were in room 516, next door to the previous reviewer and agree with most of what they have said.

The hotel covers a large area and consists of two main buildings separated by well laid out and maintained grounds. The levels differ all over the site so it is not really suitable for anyone with limited mobility but these levels create plenty of variety and different character areas. Once we mastered the knack of getting into the double hammocks, we enjoyed quiet times together, gently swinging back and forth in the shade of one of the many mature palm trees.

As others have mentioned, the area around the hotel has little to offer, and Thomson's description of what the village of Gouves has to offer, uses more than a little 'artistic licence'. Having seen it from the bone shaker 'wally trolley' train, we felt no desire to wander round what is best described as a scruffy village with too many closed and abandoned premises, very little to offer.

We had intended to hire a car for a couple of days but opted instead for a couple of the Thomson trips. Firstly we went to the palace of Knossos on their Myths and Legends Tour which was a half day tour. The first half of the tour was to the palace which was fabulous, with so much history, (dating back to 7000BC!) but we started to find out that there was very little genuine evidence as most of what we were looking at was reconstructions. After the palace we were driven further inland to what was promised to be 'a pretty little Cretan town that has won architectural wards' ???? Really? The scenery there and back was lush and green and very different to the area around Gouves but to be honest, they could have saved the petrol and taken us back to the hotel.

Our second trip was to the Leper island of Spinalonga and the harbour of Elounda. Again, this was broken into two parts. The first part, a coach trip to Elounda, then boat trip to the island was great and we found the island had a fascinating history and our guide was full of facts and very informative. After that we were back on the boat to be taken to a 'secluded beach' on the other side of the island for a BBQ prepared by the staff of the boat and a chance to swim in the turquoise waters. Great if you are a swimmer. What we found was that we moored just off the rocks next to a very average beach big enough for about 50 people. The problem was that we were one of 5 or 6 boats each carrying 100+ people!!

Our advice to others would be to skip the trips and hire a car locally, or book it on line before you go, for delivery to the hotel. Thomson quoted 55euros a day for car hire but you could get on for 30-35euros by doing it yourself. For the cost of the two trips we could have hired a car for six days!!!

The staff were really friendly and eager to chat and their mastery of our language put us to shame. A few deserve a special mention; Popi in the Tholos bar was always friendly and smiling, There was a good selection of drinks on offer although the measures were a bit too much like the UK, rather than Spain. Nicole in the restaurant, who produces her own Extra Virgin Olive Oil and red wine during the 6 month shut down, and the lady who ran the Stone bar, (didn't catch her name, sorry). She told us that we (the Brits) had done the Olympics proud.

In summary, the Island Hotel is perfect for a relaxing break by the pool and the beach, but next time we will get a car for a few days and explore more of the island. We are already planning to return next year.

Room Tip: Aim for side or garden rooms to be quieter
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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16  Thank nosmadanai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

We returned from this hotel last week after experiencing a really lovely relaxed break - helped along by the stunning weather. The hotel itself has a modern theme, very chilled out would be the word I would use to describe it. Lots of nice quiet comfy places to lounge, nap or just watch the world go by - amazing hammocks dotted around the grounds for you to use. A "quiet" pool at the rear of the property, but we found this too hot on some days as it doesnt benefit from the sea breeze. The large pool at the front of the hotel was kept scrupiously clean, is up to 9 feet deep in places and was I would call refreshing to swim in - others may have said cold, but I suppose if you go at the height of the summer, it would be very welcoming. If you dont like to swim in the pools, then the beach is just across the road. Most of the time it has a lifeguard on duty and the sunbeds are free to hotel guests. We preferred to use the loungers around the pool as we could then look out to sea and enjoy the views.

There is also an indoor pool and spa located in the the Bathhouse, this is where you can change your beach towels.

Rooms
We stayed in 517 - this has a side view of the sea, but we preferred this as we were able to enjoy the afternoon/evening sunshine on our balcony, which some sea view rooms didnt. We were also able to easily access the pool as as well as being close to one of the external gates. Plus we found that we didnt hear any noise from the evening entertainment, this was a benefit to us, as some sea view rooms looked directly over the pool area, so they had no privacy on their balconies also some rooms looked directly over the Taverna in the hotel. We had considered a room with a private pool, but as the pool area overlooks these rooms, cant really see the point. Also you have to share the pool anyway, so if you dont like your neighbours, you could be couped up on the sunbed next to them . Our room was quite airy with a lovely big bed as well as a lounger bed. On the downside the hairdryer was in the bathroom and if like me you use hair tongs etc there wasnt a dressing table with a mirror to sit at whilst you did your hair - this would have been nice. Our room had tea and coffee making facilities and a large flat screen - however only 1 english speaking channel. The rooms were well cleaned, but our cleaner didnt do this until the afternoon.

Food

The breakfasts were excellent, yes they do serve yorkshire puddings at breakfast, not sure why, but decided to try them and they were delicious, only wish I could make them like that. Evening meals are buffet style and whilst there were some nights which were better than others, if you dont fancy any of the food available, just ask the staff and they will try and make you something you like. If you like the food piping hot then use the microwave provided. I didnt have any problems with the food temperature, neither did I have any side effects from any meal eaten there. It would be nice if they did have an al a carte restaurant, however, that said, all Thomson guests were given an al la carte meal in the Taverna, this consisted of 5 courses, with a couple of choices of main meals. We really enjoyed this, but the portion sizes were too big for us, so we had to leave some in order to eat the next course - shame really.

Entertainment

Its up to you really if you want to do any of the activities which Thomson organise in the hotel, no one chases you to do anything. There is a table tennis table which is located just around the corner from the Tholos bar which we used on a couple of occassions. Other games/activities can be found in the lighthouse building, this is next to the where the wellbeing sessions were held.
In the evening, there was a singing duo, who alternated there "sets" during the week and could be found at different locations in the hotel. It would have been nice for some variety in the entertainment.

Drinks

We read a lot about the price of drinks in the hotel, however the quality was always guaranteed. We paid 10.70 euros for a gin and tonic and a beer in the hotel, we found that if we bought this in some of the local tavernas, the price would only differ by 2 euros. On the whole the prices in the hotel are what you would pay in a hotel in England, so cant see what the problem is. I did have a couple of "strange" drinks in some of the bars on the seafront going into Gouves. Not sure if they have a problem with fake brands there, but have never tasted Coca cola like that before!!

However, if you want a good cheap taverna try the Paradise, this is located about a 10 minute walk from the hotel - turn left out of the hotel go past the chapel on your right and the taverna is located on the left hand side. A large beer there was only 2 euros and was very good.

The staff
What can I say - apart from they were lovely and friendly. A big shout out for Popi in the Tholos bar and Irene in the Kitchen. The hotel staff are very organised, we had a late check out room which meant that we had to renew our key cards at 12 on the day of departure. We have done this before on many holidays, but in this case the new card was ready and waiting for us and worked!!!

The cats

The hotel owner has a cat which you will see following him around the hotel. There are also off spring and other cats which come into the property, these are not a problem. They are so cute and entertaining.

Local area

There are several tavernas at the back of the hotel as well as bars and shops. We tried Georges, but were dissapointed and found the food in Mylos to be better. They make their own bread and the stuffed vine leaves were excellent. Watch out though if you are ordering a pizza, they are enormous and would feed 4 people.

Gouves
Gouves itself is a seasonal resort, so most things close by mid October - the hotel itself will close for the season on the 14/10, so a lot of the shops/tavernas had already closed by the time we arrived there. We used the little train to tour Gouves - this took us to the disused US base. Yes there are a quite a few empty shops etc as well as the fake branded goods, however judging by the amount of Chanel and Louis Vuitton which boarded our plane, some people had taken the opportunity to purchase these. Remember Greece is in a recession, as are we, I live in a town where most of the shops in the town centre are either empty or charity shops, so this didnt bother me. As we toured other places on Crete as well we found this to be the case in other towns, not just Gouves.

I would recommend the hotel if you want a chilled out holiday and want to use the hotel as a base


One point to be aware of the floors of the pool area and surrounding areas are cleaned every morning. These can be quite slippy, so take care if you are an early riser as the surfaces will still be wet. Also there are marble tiles surrounding the pool itself, these can become slippy during the day.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
17  Thank ragpop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2012

As per the title the hotel is very good. clean, tidy, modern, good layout, good facilities and pleasant views. The breakfast buffet is as expected, the evening meal was agreeable and based in a nice setting but we only ate there three out of the 10 nights, and despite this were turned away when we went for a last bite there before getting on a 10pm bus; apparently we'd had our 10 nights worth although this is not something the rep informed us about. There were a couple of downsides to the hotel: it occasionally lacked atmosphere, the entertainment was good but lacked variety, the rep was unwilling to offer any suggestions that weren't Thomson and information about the surrounding area or island wasn't something obviously available from the hotel reception.
There are a couple of bars in the surrounding area and one, maybe two restaurants worth visiting if you look past the neon lights - Mylos was about the best but the coaches fly past whilst you're eating.
I'd definitely hire a car for a couple of days. Driving in Crete is simple, one or two large roads around the coast of the Island. A trip towards Ag Nik and up the coast to Plaka is recommended. It may be a stony beach but the water is crystal clear and it's a wonderful vista incorporating Spinalonga. We actually got a kayak across to Spinalonga for 20 eur opposed to getting on a boat with everyone else, it was only (a hot) 15 mins across and entry once there was 4 eur each. We went to Ag Nik in the evening which was a worthy change of scenery with a few good shops and bars restaurants. As with most med countries it didn't come alive till late though which, as someone who likes a beverage or two is a pain when driving.
Rehtymno was well worth a visit. A stroll around the venetian fortress timed to watch the sunset, and then a meal in Castelvecchio (by far the best restaurant we ate in the whole 10 nights), followed by a stroll around the cobbled streets of the old town with plenty of side streets to peruse and shop eat or drink.
We did get a bus trip to Iraklio but i wouldn’t waste your time. it was dirty, covered in grafitti, full of traffic with not a lot to see and very few bars or restaurants that looked inviting.
A boat trip organized by Thomson was fine and a good way of getting away from the hotel, but don’t expect to be living it up on a Sunseeker with champagne and caviar.
I'd go back to Crete but probably towards Ag Nik, or alternatively get a car for the entirety and stay at various locations along the coast as we barely scratched the surface.

Room Tip: If posing in front of everyone around the pool is your thing then go for a pool room. if you like so...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank liam r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Island Hotel

Address: Vlihadas Street, Kato Gouves, Gouves, Crete 700 14, Greece (Formerly Pantheon Palace Beach Hotel)
Location: Greece > Crete > Heraklion Prefecture > Gouves > Kato Gouves
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kato Gouves
#2 Romantic Hotel in Kato Gouves
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Kato Gouves
#2 Spa Hotel in Kato Gouves
#3 Family Hotel in Kato Gouves
Price Range: $105 - $228 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Island Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 298
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Also Known As:
Pantheon Palace Beach Gouves
Hotel Pantheon Palace Beach
The Island Hotel Kato Gouves, Crete

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