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“Best Greek All Inclusive I've been to”

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smartline Margarita Hotel
Ranked #3 of 73 Hotels in Laganas
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 30, 2011

I'll start with the negatives because there are only a few!

ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was pretty poor and this was partly due to a number of technical issues coupled with a bit of inexperience. No doubt it will get better after a bit of time but if you need to be constantly entertained and can't make your own entertainment you'll struggle here. Paris was great with the kids and always seemed happy to play whatever games the kids wanted each day. It constantly annoys me that people complain about the entertainment in hotels and yet all we saw was people refusing to take part! Get up and dance, get involved in the games, play killer pool ... you're only going to get out as much as you put in.

LOUD MUSIC: We like to sleep for a couple of hours in the afternoon and several days the music from the family pool was so loud we just couldn't get any rest. Someone else must have complained because it went back down again for the last few days we were there.

SHOWER: We always had plenty of hot water, but it was very difficult to regulate the temperature. It would be just right and then suddenly it would be freezing or scalding hot. Not ideal if you have young kids, but is pretty typical of Greek plumbing.

On to the positives, which are much more numerous!

FOOD: We all thought the food was fantastic. It worried me that a previous reviewer had said that you wouldn't get Greek food but I wonder what they think Greek food is! We had moussaka, stifado, spanakopita (spinach pie), tiropita (cheese pie), dolmades, baked aubergines ... the list goes on. Greeks also eat what we'd consider to be "ordinary food" like chicken, pork, beef, rice and potatoes so if you think you're going to get food that seems totally foreign to UK palates then don't worry. There's always chips and a pasta dish for fussier eaters, fresh salad at lunch and dinner and the desserts are absolutely fantastic. There's also fresh fruit available and the breakfast is fairly typical of any hotel we've been to - bread, jam, pastries, meat, cheese and full English if you want it. At first I thought it was strange that we were allocated a table to sit at but during busy times this proved to be a very good tactic as it meant we could always sit together as a family. The food at the pool bar was freshly cooked so you had to wait for whatever you ordered but I prefer that than having food lying around for a while just so people could get it instantly.

DRINKS: There are no cocktails but there is the usual range of local beer, wine and spirits. I certainly didn't encounter any watered down drinks and sometimes had to get an extra soft drink to dilute the spirits as they were too strong. As for the local soft drinks we didn't have a problem with them but if it's a big issue for you the branded ones can be bought in the local supermarkets. It was made clear to us at the time of booking that what you get is LOCAL drinks so unless they've started making Fanta on Zakynthos what else could we expect?

ROOM: We got one of the new rooms with a view of the well maintained garden and family pool, and it was lovely. The decor was really quite posh with stone cladding, feature panels and recessed lighting and not at all typical of the usual basic Greek rooms. The beds were nice and firm and we really liked the screen door which was secure and would let air in but keep the light and the mossies out. The room was cleaned every day and we got fresh towels twice. We found that the whole hotel and all of the external areas were very clean and very well maintained. The decor was nice too. We also liked that there are lots of signs up asking people to respect that families with children are in the hotel and to keep noise to a minimum at night. If your sleep is easily disturbed I'd recommend taking earplugs because as soon as the sun starts coming up the birds are out in force.

POOLS: There is a pool entirely for adults at the front of the hotel and it never seemed busy. I did find this a bit annoying as the adults were using the family pool which made it difficult for some families to get sunbeds together. There was also quite a bit of topless sunbathing going on at the family pool ... mainly by older women who really could have done that round at the adult pool as they had no kids with them.

OVERALL: This is a lovely hotel, fantastic by Greek standards. The staff are helpful and friendly if you are polite and friendly to them - it works both ways. The main problems we encountered were down to other guests (noise, rowdy behaviour in the pool, flushing toilet paper and blocking the plumbing) and not the fault of the hotel. I would definitely return to this hotel and I'd recommend taking the quiet way to the beach and avoiding all the reps trying to get you to book trips or go into their restaurants.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank allybee13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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768 - 774 of 1,004 reviews

Reviewed May 30, 2011

We have been going to this hotel since 1998. A few breaks inbetween but always glad to be back. The family that own the hotel go out of their way to make you feel welcome. If there are any problems 'Margarita' will try and sort things out straight away. I've read some of the reveiws and to be honest i really don't understand what folk expect!
This is not a five star hotel. Its constantly being updated (during winter months) There is a good and wide selection of buffet style food both greek and english. while "chips" were on offer there were plenty of other choices.
The enterainment has started a little poor due to manu and sam having to cancel their return, however i know that margarita will put this right as soon as she can. Its proberbly sorted already! The reps jordan and jo are lovely and work with margarita to make your holiday stress free. (keep up the good work).
most of the rooms have been refurbished and hopefully the rest will be completed during this years winter months.
Both the pools are lovely! one for adults (big kids really) and the family pool is just as nice.
We have made many friends at this hotel over the years, quite a few of us reunite and none of us have had a bad holiday yet. The locals are always pleased to see you and 'yes' they will ask you to pop in to their taverns but they are always polite and we've never been upset by them. There are plenty of lovely places to sit and have a nice ice cold beer after a stroll on the beach. (try the blue waves) just as you walk off the beach. Or the fantasy bar. They are so friendly.
Don't leave the island without seeing the turtles! You don't have to spend a fortune. You can pay 15euro and go out on a boat for just over 2 hours to turtle island (beautiful).
We have recommended this hotel to our family and friends and those that have gone have had a lovely time. Its a 3 star hotel in greece and in our opinion its good value!
We'll be back!

Room Tip: Ask for new dec room overlooking front of hotel
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  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank darcey20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2011

Firstly to the the people who have made other comments about the hotel not been very good and not having much choice of food for fussy kids....DONT BOOK ALL INCLUSIVE, this hotel is typical of a greek hotel offering an all inclusive deal! Great hotel in my opinion.

I've got back today from the Margarita Hotel after staying there for the last week. We flew with Thomson Airways and First Choice and were really pleased with their hard work when we were there. The hotel is exclusive (I'm sure of it) to them and therefore all the guests at the hotel are from the UK.

HOTEL - Is based on the outskirts of Laganas, and in my opinion is in the right spot and its away from all the busy bars and restaurants (more later about Laganas). The hotel has two large pools, the one at the front is just for adults and the one at the rear of the hotel is the main family pool. The main pool has a snack bar and drinks bar, and the evening entertainment (weather permitting) is out there too!
The main building holds the reception area, bar and restaurant. When you check in your assigned your room and also a table number for eating in the restaurant in. Now what concerned us about staying here was that we were told we would need to share a table with other guests, we weren't looking forward to this! However we found that we met some really good people that we would never have really spoke to and actually thought it was a good idea in the end. Also on check in you get a band to go on your wrist, so that you can use the bar etc...

ENTERTAINMENT - In all honesty we read great reviews about last year's entertainment team. This year Dave and Paris were doing it, and unfortunately badly. However it was so bad it was actually funny... During the day there is killer pool and darts for the big kids as well as some pool games, we didn't get involved with these really. There was entertainment to by Paris with the kids also going on. At night there is bingo, now we weren't bothered about this, but with the chance to win €100+ it's worth a shot! Dave read the balls out and Paris is the dolly dealer running round to the winners...Not that good however a few technical hiccups with people not being able to hear and it turned into quite a comical sketch... unknowing to them...There was some other entertainment too from greek dancing to karaoke and horse racing. Not really what interests me however we really enjoyed it. We met some great people, mainly some Scots!

ROOMS - Now we only seen one room, ours! The room was a good size, twin room with balcony that had a garden view. Now I suppose it did tick the box that it was a garden we saw, there was a couple of plants in pots! However our balcony didn't get much sun, and if you hung out far enough you could see the pool! Not a major problem, someone has to have that view...! Clean bedding/towels and a TV in the room, fridge and kettle. Now our only major problem with the bathroom is that the shower is a little small! And the one other unusual thing is a telephone beside the toilet...why you would ring some one on the toilet I don't know...!?!? The room has air conditioning and a safe box too, you have to pay for these when you check in. I think it was €6 per day for the air con and €15 per week for the safe box.

FOOD - The food I thought was fab! However I'm not a fussy eater and will eat almost anything! Breakfast is served 8am-10am each morning and has typical English Fry Up items, bacon, sausage, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, beans, fried bread and hash browns. Tea and coffee is available too! Cereals, fruit, fruit juices and breads with jam. There is a toaster so you can toast your bread too! Now the toaster is my only criticism...a bit slow and only fits four bits of bread on...not very good with a hotel of several hundred people! Lunch is on 12noon -2pm, now we only had lunch in the hotel once, the rest of the time we ate out at the beach or on a trip. The one lunch we did see had lots of fresh salad items, tuna, ham, chips etc... I'm sure there was lots more!
Now the evening meal from 7.30pm-9pm we thought was excellent! Again lots of salad, ham, feta, cheeses, then several hot dishes a mix of - lamb chops, beef stews, pork casserole, chips, potato wedges/roast potatoes, pork, chicken legs/thighs and more.... Soup and bread too! Really impressed, the food was always hot and fresh and plenty of it. You just had to grab a plate and help yourself. The bar is open too, so you can get some wine or beer also! Deserts, lots to choose form too!

DRINK - The all inclusive drinks were great. The lager is nice and there is wine and spirits available too. The mixers are cheap local pop, however weren't to bad...The drinks are served til midnight each night too.

LAGANAS - The resort is only about 10 mins away from the airport and is a party town! There is lots of bars and restaurants and annoying reps standing outside each one trying to encourage you in with drink offers etc.... Now as two young (ish) lads on holiday we found we got lots of hassle walking down the road...Towards the end of the week we learnt just to ignore them...! The hotel is a 10 minute walk away from the beach, you can nip down a couple of back roads and avoid all the reps! The beach is great, really shallow water would be good for small children. Loads of bars a long the front all offering sun beds. We found a nice place called Driftwood, did nice specials at lunch time and price wise was ok.

TRIPS - Now what we must recommend about trips is book them yourself from a local booking outlet, and there is plenty to choose from! We booked and went on the Ikaros Palace Boat, and it was wonderful. A top of the range boat that can hold over 300 people. It cost us €22 each after a bit of bartering with one of the guys in the booking office. The boat go all the way round Zante Island, up to the ship wreck, caves and beaches. A worthwhile trip indeed, expensive food and drinks on board so take your own when you go. Book them yourself not in the hotel as it is cheaper!
The second trip you must book is to go and see the Loggerhead Giant Turtles, they are a must! You can book a trip for €10-15 each however for the more adventurous and I wish we had if we known how easy they would be to see is hire your own boat or Kayaks.

OVERALL - The hotel is very good, the resort lets the place down a little, however the trips make it all worth while. We strongly recommend staying here indeed. However if your a fussy eater or will only drink one brand of soft drinks don't bother you will only moan about it. What you got to remember with all inclusive is that the hotel have to cater for so many people, I guess were just easy to please!

Great staff in the hotel, really friendly. Especially Debbie on the bar and Jordan the rep from First choice. They said hello everyday!

Room Tip: Book your own trips!
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  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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6  Thank James M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2011

After reading so very many reviews and a friend of mine going there who told me, "you have 2 chidren aged 14 & 11 both boys and an infant.. you will not know you have them as there is entertainment from 10 am through till 12 at night." With high hopes we booked this holiday for a 10 day stay, location is great we had around a 10 minute drive from the airport and we were there. When we checked into reception as you can imagine a family of 5, bogged down with suitcases hand luggage and a pram, we were giving directions to our room, that was outside of the hotel. (it would have been nice to offer some assistance or at least to be shown to our room) I paid 18 euros for the safe in our room, we were issued with a card that stated our table number for breakfast lunch and dinner. The room was great our two lads had a room of their own, and if we wished we could shut a door to our room that gave us privacy if you so wished, our room was big enough for the travel cot, it was bright spacious and airy, the bathroom a good size ... We were lucky enough to have a room right next to the family pool. There are two pools in this hotel and the one in the front is for adults only. When we 1st arrived everything looked ok, it was quiet however traveling on the 10th May beginning of the season that was to be expected. The resturant was spacious, with varied choice of food, that was for the 1st 4 days of our 10 day stay.. however it was obvious to us that the hotel was becoming fuller as we were crunched closer together not making it easy at all to get to your table without disturbing others that had already sat down to eat.. Also you do expect that your meals will be repetative but this was a joke, if you were offered a rice and meat dinner one evening you could guarntee it would be thrown together the next day for lunch. The entertainment was useless, all the people around the hotel were shocked at how different the hotel had become. it appears the past two entertainers " sam & manuel" were not working there due to her expecting a baby.. in September this year. After the 2nd night of the same dull entertainment.. every night Bingo... I felt sorry for the entertainers as they were receiving information from the hotel guests that they didnt want bingo each night., however this still carry's on as the hotel get 30% of each nights takings, Kareoke too, which is ok, however I felt sorry for some families who were above the entertainments area as they couldnt get their children to sleep. The staff in the hotel I didnt find friendly at all, apart from the English lady Debs who works behind the resturant bar and her husband who deals with security at night for the hotel, Debs is full of information of the hotel and its area...I approached the hotel owner of 2 occasions the 1st was because our room hadnt been cleaned and we needed clean towels, instead of offering to send someone over she simply gave me the towels and said "what can I do the maid is sick" I knew there were plenty of maids in the hotel. The second one was our 14month baby had damaged both drinking bottles, and the teets are strange out there, when we asked if we could get anything different from Zante town she just shrugged her shoulders, being that it must have been her grandchildren behind her in reception around my sons age, I was hoping she would be more informative or at least try ....We wanted a break from the hotel so we walked out on to the roads approaching Laganas, after 5 minutes of constantly being stopped by resturant owners or Excursion operators you feel like.. whats the point!!!!! , and you cant wait just to get back to the hotel to be left alone. The price of everything out there is so expensive, a bottle of beer on the strip is 4 euro's. Our rep Jordon wasnt very helpful when we asked about the entertainment, he advised "your have to take it up with the Hotel as he personally complained (apparently ) and wasnt listened too... " However after talking to others around the hotel, no one actually bothered with him as they all felt the same.... The pool staff are friendly and the food cooked fresh, what was harsh was that my middle and 3rd child could have ice cream but my eldest of 14 couldnt .. my 14n=month old baby cried after his portion as the portion you are given is so very small it didnt even satisfy him, the drinks MUST have been watered down as they were so weak.. the soft drinks were awful.. If it wasnt through meeting such great UK people in the hotel this would have been a disaster, the good thing of the hotel is it is all English. One of the entertainments team Dave I felt sorry for as he was so very eager to please, anything you asked for you could have , just that when you go away, you shouldnt have to ask about entertainment it should be handed out to you. Certainly would not go back again! Feel sorry for all the families that are going this season.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank bobajob028
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2011

3 of is went here for a week last week hotel was very clean we had a new room the hotel looks stunning but the food was terrible we ate out for all our meals and so did other guests all the snacks u can get from the pool area were a joke if u orderd a roll n ham or tuna it came in a burger bun same as a chesse toastie that was in a burger bun to the alcohol tasted like it was waters down the hotel was very strick only guests were allowed in hotel n they knew if u had anybody in coz of the amount of CCTV they have got shame bout the food and drink because apart from that it's a lovely hotel.

  • Stayed: May 2011
    • Value
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1  Thank Lisasweaton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2011

We booked this hotel as a last minute holiday last august - being told we would be in a refurbished room. On arrival we checked into our room which had a broken TV, a very very uncomfy bed, our "pool view" was actually of wasteland, and a dark dingey bathroom with a very dull light. We asked nicely if we could be moved and there was nothing available - fair enough that's not the hotel's problem, I do think this is an issue with Thomson miscommunicating when we booked.
The hotel itself was spotlessly clean and the dining very hygeinic which was good.
An issue I had with the hotel was the tiny restaurant. On arrival we were allocated a table which we would use for the whole of our stay. What we didn't realise was that we would be sharing this table with two other couples. This made mealtimes pretty awkward as I do like to be sociable but we go away to spend some time with each other - not total strangers!
The food was not very varied at all - I ended up eating very small meals because there was not a lot of choice and if you didn't like a couple of things you were stuck. We actually commented that for children there wouldn't really be a lot there to eat especially if they were fussy.
The pool was clean, and the English lady behind the bar was lovely.
I wouldn't return to this hotel or Laganas as the resort itself wasn't really for me. If you are on an 18-30 holiday with friends and want a clean place to stay, go for it.

Room Tip: Ask for a refurbished room! The others are awful!
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  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CantWaitForMyHoliday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2011

Where do I start! We requested a quiet hotel .. This was not! The room was nice we were in one of the new rooms.. But with this it was facing what looked like the sewer pond and a farm out back where a dog was chained to a tree 24/7 and barked 24/7!!
We requested a quiet hotel as I was traveling with my cousin in her late 40's & 2 seventeen yr olds .. Thompson told us it was outside laganas, on arrival we found it was right near the strip. We could not walk out at night as we were grabbed. People were being mugged right outside the hotel. My cousin was spiked with drugs by someone staying at the hotel & ended up in
the hospital. The person then turned aggressive everytime he saw us & we ended up petrified for the rest of the stay, we alerted the hotel who seemed not to bothered.. One of the reps even said we must be mistaken as there are no drugs on the island?? Ok yeah??
Food repetitive & not Greek! Chips , chips & more chips.
The only positive part of the holiday was the entertainment the staff did an excellent job every evening!
All in all if your looking for a nice relaxing stay do not book this hotel & do not book with Thompson

  • Stayed: August 2010
    • Value
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2  Thank Chelleby11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about smartline Margarita Hotel

Address: Laganas 29092, Greece
Location: Greece > Ionian Islands > Zakynthos > Laganas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Laganas
#4 Romantic Hotel in Laganas
Price Range: $124 - $453 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — smartline Margarita Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 96
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
smartline Margarita is a charming All Inclusive hotel with a warm atmosphere and a beautiful garden. The hotel is an ideal choice for families. Guests stay in bright and modern rooms, and the hotel's restaurant serves home-grown fruit and vegetables as well as specialties from all around the world. The hotel has an inviting and relaxing pool area with three pools, including a kids pool and a relaxation pool for adults only, and if you want to enjoy the gazing sun by the sea, the beach is just a 10 minute stroll away. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Margarita Hotel Laganas
Hotel Margarita Zante
Smartline Margarita Hotel Zakynthos/Laganas

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