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“Lovely staff, great food.......but not a 4 star hotel”

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Bitzaro Grande Hotel
Ranked #5 of 30 Hotels in Kalamaki
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 30, 2014

We stayed from 09/05/14 - 23/05/14, the hotel was spotlessly clean and the staff were wonderful (even remembering your name on every occasion they saw you). The food was varied and plentiful and on many nights had a theme night (the Greek night was to die for). Special mentions to Takis, Aspasia, Nicky, Tomas, Laura and Vladimir as they were all so lovely, but all the staff did a fantastic job.

BUT........this is what lets the hotel down - there is no hotel shop (and if you have walking difficulties or small children in prams then you will find it extra difficult to get to the supermarket on the main road, as you have to walk up a hill). In addition, tea/coffee making facilities were advertised.....sure, there is a kettle in your room, but once you'd used the 2 sachets of coffee when you arrived, they were NOT replenished and you had to go and buy your own from the supermarket if you wanted a drink (and no water was left in the fridge).

Other 4 star hotels in Zante DO have the above, so I'm unsure why the Bitzaro Grande has been given the same star rating.

There were many lovely guests who we got to talk to, many of them had stayed many times and returned year on year. But, unfortunately I won't be one of them.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank MerGirl1975
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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656 - 662 of 1,516 reviews

Reviewed May 29, 2014

just came back from our 3rd visit to this hotel & what can I say , we have had a fantastic time the hotel is spotless we had room 302 on the 3rd floor facing the front of the hotel nice & cool as it did not grt the sun in the afternoon ,the staff here ar wonderful & will do almost anything they can for you , nikki at the pool bar works so hard & never forgets your name she is lovely as is kostas at top bar the lads in the restaurant one in particular I call him George cluney would teach us a bit of Greek every morn toms a diamond works very hard as his animation team do lovely sweet Laura & oli my sweet pea they work very hard to please the food is lovely something to suit all my better half loves the snack bar at the pool even the maids are lovely & leave your rooms spotless we have met some amazing people some from before & some new hope they return next May as we are but were back in sept bring it on

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  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank sandrariley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2014

It's very difficult to know where to begin, but I will try. My wife and I took our toddler to this hotel for a fortnight. We had reviewed our holiday choices extensively, and this hotel had great reviews. Upon arrival, we were pleasantly greeted by Nicky. No-one took our bags, we were just given (sketchy) verbal directions to the room. We were only given 1 room key, which was attached to a large magnetic key fob, needed to operate the power to the room, and the air conditioning. The room was quite a distance away from reception, and was clean and tidy. However, we had requested a cot-bed for our toddler, and I had expected that the hotel would have removed the single bed which was also there, in order to make room for the cot bed. They hadn't, so there was no room to move, and our toddler had several accidents during our time there, including one where we had to call a doctor. The room was a very standard double room, with a very dated bathroom. The decor looked very much like something designed in the 70s or 80s. The room had a very limited amount of storage space, so we ended up using the single bed as a wardrobe. I was surprised to discover the safe, but an old style key locked safe, with no key. When I enquired about the safe at reception, the guy told me I would have to pay €30 for the use of the safe. Also, I asked how to turn on the air conditioning, and it appears that this is not included in your holiday price, and there is a charge of €4 per night for the privilege. In any case, we had missed lunch due to it having taken us nearly 2 hours to cover the 15 minute transfer from the airport, so we went to the snack bar. We ordered 2 burgers and some chips. The menu comprised cheeseburger, burger, chips, ham and cheese sandwich, ham and cheese toastie, tuna sandwich or greek salad. The cheeseburger I received was cold throughout, so the food didn't bode well. During our very limited visits to the snack bar, I watched in dismay, as guest after guest would try to pick up their drink, only to spill the contents on the shiny tiled floor, as the thickness of the cups was so thin, they are borderline unusable. This same area around the snack bar is the area used for the 'entertainment'. As I write this, I am smiling, as the entertainment is predominantly limited to bingo, quiz and music. It is worth knowing that, without any intended prejudice, the majority of the guests are over 60 years old, therefore bingo is very well supported. The pool area is very pretty, and the pool very well maintained. However, the water is almost always too cold to be able to used, and the children's pool is just a smaller shallow pool with the same cold water. I forgot to say that the hotel room had no information about the hotel, only a 2 sided piece of A4 paper with what amounted to the rules of the hotel. Firstly, no sunbeds are to be reserved, secondly no children are allowed in the jacuzzi pool. However, as there are NEVER any staff around the pool area (other than the pool guy), no-one enforces any of the rules, and in fact, on walking to breakfast on our first morning there, probably 80-90% of the sunbeds had towels on them. Likewise, each and every day there were toddlers playing in the jacuzzi bath, so I am not sure what the rules are meant to do. Another rule, visible at each of the 2 bars (each having 1 staff member serving drinks at all times), is that guests are asked to order a maximum of 2 drinks at a time. However, in practice, guests regularly order 4-6 drinks, and are served. I even questioned Nicky at the snack bar when, on one occasion, she served one of the 'favoured' guests (will explain later) with his request for 15 shots of ouzo (in glass shot glasses at the poolside). There was nearly always a queue at each bar, but mostly the snack bar, in fact, I don't think I have queued more at any other hotel. We even had to queue for dinner and lunch, and the queue at the buffet counters was torturous. One of the things that disappointed me most was the hotel's policy of mopping the marble steps and floors of the lobby just before breakfast. I slipped 3 times, and fell once in reception (in front of staff who did nothing to help), jarring my back. When I went to reception to report the fall to the guy who had seen me fall, he brushed me off, and said don't worry, he would report it for me. I don't believe he ever would report it. The quality of the food was shocking, which was even more stunning when I tell you that the food which was worst during our stay was the Greek food! We found various places to lunch on the main strip in Kalamaki, serving much better Greek food. Breakfast was grim. 3 ways to murder an egg, it should have been called. I don't think the cooks know what a soft yolk is. In fact, almost all the meat offered during the fortnight was absolutely murdered, leaving it dry and chewy. At this point I really am at a loss to know why this place gets such good reviews. Here, I believe, is why. The hotel appears to operate a 2 tier system of service. We saw many guests whilst we were there, who were on their 5th, 6th, 7th or even 9th visit to the hotel. Guests who arrive on their 5th visit or more receive loyalty rewards, in the form of a gold (coloured) wristband. This entitles them to 'special' items or services. The hotel does not offer towel hire, so, once you receive your gold band, you receive a hotel green towel as a gift (bearing in mind you will have spent somewhere between £6,000 and £8,000 on these holidays). You can also enjoy air conditioning for free. I don't think that there is much more than that, from what I could see anyway. However, what was evident during the fortnight, was that the way the very few staff interact with the gold band members is really quite different than from any other guests. This apparent loyalty scheme really does have some bizarre value for many of the guests. As we heard some of them chatting on their departure day, they were already arranging dates between them all to come back again next year. My final rant is about facilities. There are none. Not even a small shop on the complex. We had travelled with our 2.5 year old toddler, and all we had to keep him occupied was a wooden type play area outdoors with a slide and 2 swings. The ground around this enclosure was really not well kept, with weeds and nettles within easy reach of toddlers feet. Also, although fenced off, the one gate was permanently open as it could not be closed due to the fact that the gate did not fit inside the gatepost. The second thing for toddlers was a play room. This consisted of a (dirty) padded floor, a plastic table with some plastic stools (one of which was broken, and to my mind represented a danger to toddlers as the broken end could impale a child should they fall on it), a plastic slide and a caterpillar style tunnel. That was it. No activities for toddlers, not much for older children to be honest. Activities for adults weren't much better. A typical day would be 09.30 - stretching, 10.00 - killer pool, 10.30 - French boules (I think they meant petanque), 11.00 - killer darts. Added to that, all there was in the evening was bingo, bingo and karaoke or a club singer if you were really unlucky. All joking aside, they pay scant attention to health and safety. Wet shiny floors at breakfast time, sharp wire at toddler's hand height over the pool bridge, floors around the pool uneven, with some stones jagged or broken. Some people we met who also had a (bored) toddler with them said that she had cut her foot on a sharp tile in the children's pool. Anything I found which merited mentioning, I took a photo, so please see these attached. I've already spent too much time on my rant, but I would summarise as follows. If you are looking for a hotel where the food is not just same old, day by day, but really overcooked, or you want a place where none of the staff can ever bother you (there aren't enough of them there), and a place where you can spend your evenings playing bingo until bedtime, or a place where you are not part of the 'old boys club', then the Bitzaro Grande is for you. I might think differently when I am over 60, but right now, it's absolutely not for me.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled with family
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8  Thank steve c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghelly2014, Manager at Bitzaro Grande Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 29, 2014

Thank you for your review.
I'm very sorry for the fact that we failed to fulfil your expectations.
Going through your Review carefully I have to say that I am very surprised to read almost no area of our hotel pleased you. Also as our staff member told you on your departure date it would be nice and useful if we could have known of all these during your stay instead. Trip advisor is an important tool and we understand guests are looking for things to upload but on the other hand for us it is more important to solve problems of our guests during their stay instead.
Thank you for the beautiful swimming pool photo, also it is interesting to see the rest of them, let me just note here that the problems on the tiles happened, as you probably very well remember, on a very rainy day and are fixed already. On the same period of your stay there were some 6-7 year old children in the hotel that managed to ruin some things in the kid’s room, we are already working on its improvement too.
Rules are there for adults to follow dear guest and yes it is true our staff try their best to make our guests happy even if this means serving more than what the rules say. On any wet floor occasions signs are placed for your safety.
Our gold members are loyal guests that do have some extra Services in the hotel; all our guests however receive what they have paid for according to the tour operator’s brochure or more. If any guests make friends during their stay and feel like having some shots we will not make all of them stand up to cue for one shot each! Our staff is encouraged to have the flexibility to understand this kind of things.
You arrived in the hotel on the First week of May where we had some bad weather days that kept our swimming pool water a little cold and indeed most our guests are lovely 60years old couples. It can be true and I am very sorry for this that kids animation on early season needs to be improved. We will work on this with our animation team.

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Reviewed May 28, 2014

I really meant to write this brief
review and say how much we enjoyed
our stay at the hotel.

What can we say as everything was perfect
and so well organised in a such a friendly
atmosphere.

The location of the hotel close to that lovely beach,
the food, the drinks, all the staff without exception,
the managers and of course the owners of the hotel
created for us a fantastic holiday. It was great.

We have now booked to go
back next year .

Room Tip: Try a sunny room
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  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank Grecophile034
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2014

We have just returned from a very good 2 week stay at the Bitzaro Grande. We had a room just behind reception which was certainly well maintained with the paintwork etc looking fairly newly done. It was kept very clean by the maid with linen and towels changed every couple of days. We did get some noise from guests wheeling suitcases along the corridor and cleaning staff in the mornings but we didn't hear anything from the entertainments area.
The hotel has fantastic staff working in the bars, restaurant and on reception who can't do enough for you and work hard with a smile on their face at all times.
On the negative side, the evening entertainment could be improved, we didn't expect West End standards but sometimes the lack of rehearsals and practice really showed and it was a bit embarassing to watch!
The main issue for us was the food. There is a good choice for all 3 meals but in the buffet restaurant the food was never hot enough. It was also very bland and while we appreciate that not everyone likes spicy food, what was served lacked seasoning, herbs, garlic etc so coupled with the temperature it could be very tasteless. However, there was always a good selection and the food was presented nicely. Although we were all inclusive, we did eat out a few times which we found very reasonable locally.

All in all it was a lovely holiday in a hotel which was excellent value for what we paid.

Room Tip: If you need a quiet room, ask for a room away from the pool.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Mrsf2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2014

it was are first hoilday to greece,and it won't be are last we had amazing time,met some lovely people,the hotel was clean,tidy,friendly staff,they could'nt do enough for you,really good food always something there too eat even if you did'nt like the main dish of the day.the entertainment staff was great people.thomas,laura,vladamire,oillie, made are hoilday.also the barman costos was good.also nikki buy the pool bar she was lovely always remembered are names,going back next year can't wait.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank Andrea R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2014 via mobile

Spent 2 weeks at the Bitzaro and I'm sorry too say I do not agree with the reviews!
The hotel is clean and all the staff are really friendly.
The room was big and spacious as we had a duplex apartment but was in dire need of a revamp! Not 4 * at all! Our room over looked the pool bar and was in fact next too it, we got all the noise from the very loud day and evening entertainment. Not good when you have a small child. It did finish at 11pm but still it was very noisy up untill then!

The food was mostly good, but very repetitive towards the end of the 2nd week! Saturday night seems to be fish night so watch out for that if you don't like fish as it was ALL fish. Had a lovely Chinese themed night once during our stay.
Don't ask for a pack up if your going out for the day! 3 dry pieces if bread with 1 piece of ham and cheese stuffed in with a tiny bit of salad! Totally pointless!
Snack bar food was lovely however! The all inc drinks were great as was the ice cream!

The evening entertainment was not our thing but sadly we couldn't escape it with our room being above the pool bar where it took place! It was 2 games of bingo which the hotel went crazy for followed by karaoke or a quiz/ show!
The day time entertainment was games such as darts, pool etc and the team ( who didn't wear uniforms and looked like young kids on holiday) would come around asking if you wanted to participate. If you didn't you got around 30 mins peace until they came to ask you too play the next game!

The most disappointing thing for me was the total lack of things to do for children! Absolutely no entertainment was aimed at children! There was supposed to be kids time (a disco) on at 8.45pm( too late if you ask me) and most nights it didn't happen because there was not enough kids about! That's fine I get that, but couldn't they put music on so my little one could dance on her own instead of going round chatting to the regulars and the gold wrist banders!!! After 2 nights of seeing my daughters disappointed little face we gave up and didn't go back down! Through the day there was nothing other than the pool for kids, which was freezing as it was early in the season and hadn't had chance to warm up. The baby room was pathetic! A plastic slide and a scooter with a broken wheel, and the park wasn't much better 2 swings a large slide and a set of monkey bars! Perfect for a 4 year old! Not!!!

Sorry too all you repeat customers and gold wrist banders who return year on year, but I just don't share your enthusiasm for this place and will not be returning it recommending this hotel!!! It didn't live up too the reviews!!

Stayed: May 2014
4  Thank rach11pink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghelly2014, Manager at Bitzaro Grande Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 29, 2014

Thank you for your Review, also thank you for choosing to spend your holidays with us.
Your Review is very useful for us.
All the comments on the food and our restaurant will be discussed with our Chef who is really interested in improving our menu to reach all expectations. Let me just say here, Fish night takes place every second week (14days) and always has one or two meat choices too. Should you have entered the restaurant on that day you would have seen them on the main buffet. In any case concerning our meals, we are very much interested in our guests’ opinion and Special dietary needs, it is never a problem for us if we need to cook a special dish for our guests.
Also we understand your comments on the kid’s entertainment and we will make sure our animation team makes an effort to keep Children happy during all months of the season.
Thank you once more for all your comments and should you change your mind I hope to see you again in the future and have the chance to show you our improvement on the areas that didn't please you.

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Additional Information about Bitzaro Grande Hotel

Address: CL Zante, Kalamaki 291 00, Greece
Phone Number:
Location: Greece > Ionian Islands > Zakynthos > Kalamaki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Kalamaki
Hotel Class:3 star — Bitzaro Grande Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 140
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Also Known As:
Hotel Bitzaro Grande
Bitzaro Grande Kalamaki
Bitzaro Grande Hotel Zakynthos/Kalamaki

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