The Bitzaro Grande Hotel Zante. 30.Aug 2012 to 13ep 2012
This may seem a strange title but all will be explained so please read on. I will give you a true report as to what this holiday destination is like, then, it will be up to you.
This hotel is a family run concern owned by the mother and run by other family members.
We chose this hotel advertised by Thomas Cook as it was advertised with good reports on Trip Advisor. Having daytime flights we arrived at the hotel at 1930hrs Thursday 30th August 2012. We were greeted with a warm smile and shown to our room 132 on the ground floor overlooking the pool. The rooms are adequate and clean and no faults could be found. Having arrived in time for the evening meal we were greeted by a restaurant admin supervisor called Karin. She asked for our room number which confirmed that we were booked in for all evening meals as we were all inclusive. Later we found that Karin was there to prevent non-entitled guests from having meals they had not paid for. Food was well laid out with a varied selected but a little limited, but all piping hot. The waiters were helpful and polite and soon cleared plates as they were finished with.
The pool is well maintained and cleaned every day and there are plenty of sun beds yet still people put towels on them at 0500hrs. No need, I placed ours at 0730hrs and there were still plenty left to choose from. There are 2 bars 1 inside the hotel and a pool bar which is run by Nicky a lovely lady where you can obtain drinks and snacks all day from 1000hrs to 1700hrs. The pool side bar is open from 1800hrs to 2300hrs. The main bar is open from 1800hrs to 2359hrs so there is plenty of drinking time if you so wish. The barman was always cheerful and would talk to you to make you feel at home. Smoking is only permitted in outside areas of the hotel.
The rooms are cleaned daily and fresh towels are placed in the bathroom every day. Some people may be put off by the fact that toilet paper was not to be put down the toilet but placed in the bin provided. This is because the drainage system is not very good and is subjected to blockages.
The Thomas Cook rep Craig commonly known as Bisto was a great help and his introduction meeting was short, sweet and to the point. It did not drag on for hours, (well done Craig). This is one of the hotels he looks after and is available 6 days of the week. Even on his day off in the evening he sits and chats to all Thomas Cook patrons.
The reason for the title is that Zante is known for the turtles that lay their eggs in the sand close to the sea and in the dunes. Leatherback turtles are in decline and they are doing everything to help save them. The nests are marked with a triangle to protect the nest and the areas are patrolled by wardens who make sure that you do no stray in to the nesting areas. You will see that there are no sun loungers or parasols owned by the hotel there but there are some that are privately owned and will cost you 7 euros a day. The Greek government forbids hotels from building close to where the turtles lay their eggs. This however does not prevent you from buying your own sun brolly and laying on a towel. The sea is crystal clear and safe and you can wonder out some 200 yards and it will still only come to waist level. To snorkel is safe also but limited in what you will see.
This hotel is more for the older generation as there is little for teenagers to do. Younger children are quite happy in the pool with their parents. There is some day time entertainment with quizzes and games so there is plenty to do if you do not want to just laze on a sun bed.
As to shopping there is nothing in the town of Kalamaki which is where this hotel stands. We had planned to do some shopping and after asking Karin the best place to go she suggested Zante town. Either a 1 euro 50 bus ride which are infrequent or direct by taxi at 10 euro each way. This turned out to be a waste of time as we were not told that all shops are closed on a Sunday. Looking in the shop windows they had very little to offer. You are advised to stay away from Laganas as this is the area of nightclubs and drunks. The Falaraki of Zante. To be honest the area is a disgrace and needs to be cleaned up to remove its bad name.
2 things that you need to know, first the air conditioning is not constant. It is on from 2200hrs to 0700hrs and from 1400hrs to 1900hrs. The reason for this is that the electricity supply is a little antiquated and the power is diverted to the restaurant and cooking facilities. Secondly, water, there is no drinking water in the rooms but you can buy it from the bar at 1 euro 25 for a 1.5 litre bottle. Outside the hotel is a mini market where 9 litres will cost 1 euro 60 so the choice is yours. You can fill a bottle from the water cooler in the pool bar but this a little inconvenient if you, like us, like a cup of tea first thing in the morning.
Aircraft do fly directly over the hotel but don't worry there are no flights after 2230hrs so you will get a good nights sleep. They start landing around 0530hrs but we did not find this to be a problem.
To complete this report the flights back to the UK were late afternoon and you are asked to vacate your room at 1200hrs, we asked if we could keep the room until 1400hrs which they were happy to let us have at no extra cost. If we were to keep the room until 1600hrs it would have cost us 40 euros. Overall we had a great time meeting loads of new friends.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Bitzaro Grande
- Bitzaro Grande Kalamaki
- Bitzaro Grande Hotel Zakynthos/Kalamaki