We stayed at the Caretta Beach from 30 May for 10 days as a family of four with two children aged 8 and 5 and had a fantastic time.
I've been to lovely 4 and 5 star hotels all over the world with my husband but once kids come along you adjust your criteria and expectations. Certain parts of the Caretta Beach are more 3 star than 4, but on the whole the facilities and everything else about this hotel are great, the price is very good compared to other hotels and its totally suited to a family with kids, so I would definitely recommend it.
The hotel is situated close to the airport so the 10 minute transfer is a bonus. You can see the planes taking off when you're sat in the Water Park but it didn't bother us in the slightest and the planes don't fly at night.
The weather wasn't as good as I'd hoped but that's hardly the hotel's fault! We had 2 bad days out of 10 and the rest of the time it was sunny in the day (mid-20's), but cool of an evening.
This is the area that lets the hotel down and for me stopped it being a true 4 star. Accommodation consists of 2 storey blocks spread around the grounds. We had a one bedroom apartment. It was a dated and quite basic but spacious and adequate for the amount of time we spent in it. You have to pay for the safe (we paid 20 Euros for 10 days), but worth doing. It will say in the room you need to pay for air conditioning but it was free. We had a TV showing English channels (BBC, CBeebies, ITV) so useful for catching up with news back home. There was a little kitchen area in one corner with a sink, fridge, microwave and cupboard. Not really much use to self-cater with, but an bonus for all-inclusive. The maids came in 6 days a week and our towels were changed 4 times in 10 days which was ok for us.
The restaurant is self-service buffet. Breakfasts were a choice of Continental and Full English. Lunch and dinner had a choice of a fish dish, a couple of meat dishes (usually pork, turkey or chicken), some show cooking and the usual veggies and salads. There was a kids area with chips, pasta and sauce, sausages, chicken nuggets, etc. Lots of cake desserts, jelly, ice cream and fruit. On the whole the food was lovely (the chicken pie was the best I've ever had!). My daughter and I can be quite fussy but we ate well the whole holiday. At the main bar and Water Park bar you can also get snacks all day i.e. toasties, pizza, chips, etc and best of all you can help yourself to ice cream as much as you want which was lovely as in previous hotels you can only have them at set times. All our family came back considerably heavier than when we went!!!
Lots of swimming pools of various sizes. Note - the hotel don't provide beach towels so you need to bring your own. The most popular pools seemed to be the main pools near the restaurant, one of which had a net across for water volleyball, etc and those in the Water Park. The Water Park is absolutely brilliant and is enclosed to the side of the hotel and is open 10.30-5. There were always sun loungers available but if you want a prime spot I'd suggest queuing up from 10.15. There's large shallow pool with slides and water features suitable for children up to around 10 years old. There was a wave pool which operated at set times of the day. A lazy river and the larger slides, some in a tunnel, some with twists and turns and a multi lane slide, two which you sit in rings to go down and the ultimate kamikaze slide. About half are open at any one time and there were hardly any queues to get on. What I loved was you could position yourself on a sun lounger in the middle of the water park and watch your kids in whichever area they were in, plus there were lots of life guards on duty.
The evening entertainment consisted of a disco at 8pm for young children followed by adult shows, etc but I can't comment on these as we never watched them in full but they didn't look overly impressive. There were organised football matches (which the boys all loved) from 7-9pm and there was a fair type area with bouncy castles, trampolines, go carts, merry-go-round rides, etc but note these are not included and were 1 or 2 Euros each to go on. The best value by far was the bouncy castles as they stamped your hand so you could come and go all evening for 2 Euros.
There was a kids club which operated through the whole day. My kids only went for 2 sessions but had a lovely time.
We found the staff all to be very helpful and friendly.
1. There was only one double wardrobe with 2 drawers in our room for 4 people which is totally inadequate!! Some clothes had to stay in the suitcase the whole holiday! There was plenty of space in the main area to put a chest of drawers in and this should be done.
2. The bathroom had no shelf or cupboard for toiletries. We had to balance my husband's shaving gear and our toothbrushes, etc around the edge of the basin!
3. No bottled water was provided anywhere! There were water dispensers but all you could take was a cup at a time. Bottled water should be available around the hotel and in the rooms.
4. The restaurant opening times need some amending. Breakfast started at 8 which was too late. Anyone going on a day trip or an early flight had to miss breakfast. There were also a lot of families with young kids who wake early who wanted to have their breakfast earlier. I would say 7 or 7.30 would be a better time to open. Dinner started at 7 and oh my God, what a bun fight!! There was always a queue at opening time (& much annoyance caused by some people who just went straight to the front - mostly Russians!) Anyone arriving at 7.30 could not find a table. As the evening entertainment started at 8, most people wanted to be in at 7 so they could be out by 8. I would strongly suggest amending the opening time to 6pm so they'd be less of a stampede.
These bad points are definitely outweighed by the good. Its a hotel which keeps kids entertained and as any parent knows, if the kids are happy and occupied, then you get to have a relaxing holiday. We would definitely go bad to his hotel again if the situation arose.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Caretta Beach is a modern hotel situated in Kalamaki on the south coast of the most beautiful island in the Ionian Sea, Zakynthos. The hotel is in a private, picturesque area by the main road of Kalamaki, only 4km from the capital city Zakynthos Town and 2km from the International airport of the island. The soft sandy beach is only a 5 minute walk away and is the home of the famous loggerhead turtles, Caretta-Caretta. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Caretta Beach Kalamaki
- Hotel Caretta Beach
- Carreta Beach Holiday Village Zakynthos/Kalamaki